Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Another Fool

See, I told you I was going to get around to making a post about Just Another Fool! It is a few days later than I’d hoped; blame it all on Slender Man. He’s the reason behind everything.

Just Another Fool was the first major blog based Slender Man ARG, and along with Marble Hornets, is one of the stories which really established the current Mythos. However, while MH defined many of the in-universe concepts, most of JAF’s influence is technical and stylistic concepts.


The plot of JAF is surprisingly simple for such an influential work; it’s far shorter than the majority of other Slenderblogs online right now. The creator of the blog is Logan, whose friend Matt just died recently after struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his tour in Iraq. Following Matt’s death, Logan received a notebook which Matt had drawn/written in during his hospital stay. Logan began to post the contents of the notebook online, while also investigating Matt’s death and what happened to him in Iraq. According to the official story, Matt’s squad was killed by a child suicide bomber. According to Matt, they were attacked by Slender Man.

While doing this investigation, Logan goes crazy and disappears. His friend Joshua picks up the blog, although Logan occasionally posts crazy cryptic messages/warnings on it. Eventually deciding that finding out the truth behind the notebook isn’t worth it, Joshua gives the notebook to Dav Flamerock, who posts it on YouTube. Then Logan is found dead; Joshua leaves to identify the body, and there the blog ends, with the implication that Joshua was killed by Slender Man.

Relation to the Mythos

In terms of in-universe content, JAF adds surprisingly little. There isn’t much that wasn’t already covered in Marble Hornets. What it did instead was set up a framework which many other ARGs would follow. To quote TVTropes, ”If there's a written blog that gradually takes on a more insane tone after Slendy gets involved, culminating in the current blogging character being replaced by a friend who is not so deeply entrenched in the madness, you can thank Just Another Fool for that.”, and ”This blog pretty much started the trend of having ARG blogs about Slender Man screwing with people.” Many blogs just skip the second part (the replaced by a friend bit), and end with just the current character going insane, but the influences are still apparent. Many ARGs follow a similar style of descending into madness that JAF did; even the codes used by insane characters in other blogs are similar (such as forming a sentence from the capitalized letters in a seemingly nonsensical phrase). The prominence of Notebooks can also be attributed to JAF, and it’s almost unheard of for someone being stalked by Slender Man to not get a notebook to draw cryptic stuff in (there is now an in-universe explanation for this; those that are being stalked by Slender Man feel a compulsion to write or blog about their experiences, as a side effect of Slendy’s presence.)

Interestingly enough, unlike in many of its imitators, Slender Man has only an implied role in JAF. He’s mentioned, but none of the characters talk about seeing him, which is very different from the “Slender Man is right outside my window!” that you usually get from ARGs. In fact, if you wanted to, it’s possible to interpret the entire story without any involvement from Slendy. Matt was already a fan of the Mythos before the attack in Iraq, so his mind formed the story about Slender Man attacking them as part of his PTSD. Logan got too involved in what Matt believed, until he believed it as well, went insane, and gouged out his eye. Joshua died in a regular motorcycle accident. But that’s not an interpretation many people are likely going to take from it, as it’s far less entertaining than “Slender Man killed them all!”

In-Universe Implications

While there isn’t as much here as there was for MH, some things still need to be mentioned.
First off, the implication of Matt’s death is that Slendy single handedly killed an entire squad of U.S. soldiers. It’s interesting that he would engage in such a violent, confrontational act; while Slendy being physically aggressive isn’t unheard of, it is very rare. It also proves beyond a doubt that bullets don’t mean nothing to Slendy. Slender Man also reportedly gouges Logan’s eye out after his disappearance, making the Slender Man in JAF a much more physically aggressive Slendy than is the norm.

Slender Man has always had a strong association with trees (there are even some theories that he is some kind of sentient, malevolent tree), but this is very strong in JAF. When Matt claimed that Slender Man threw the bodies of his squad mates into a tree, despite the complete lack of a tree in the area where the attack took place. In addition, is a lot of tree-like imagery within the notebook. Most interesting is one of the codes Logan posts after going insane (codes posted below). When you take the capital letters, it creates HEIGDRUASILL. IGDRAUSILL is phonetic for Yggdrasil, so it becomes He Yggdrasil. Now, this could just be a shout out to House of Leaves. However, if it’s actually meaningful, it causes one to think; Slender Man is somehow related to trees. Yggdrasil is the world tree in Norse Mythology, which exists at the center of the cosmology. Little more information on it is given, and sadly, few ARGs have followed up on the Yggdrasil connection.

One final minor detail: Slendy is shown wearing a hat in one of Matt’s drawings. The only other time I have ever seen/heard of him wearing a hat was in someone’s avatar on a forum. It makes him look like the Question, or possibly the hat guy from XKCD, so I’m glad it isn’t commonly used.


Entry: KEY (November 2, 2009)

“you HAve come upon a door.

stop trying the haNDle if it’S not working.

if A dooR is locked, surEly you must first find THE KEY?”


No idea what it means. Doors play a prominent role in other Slenderblogs, especially Seeking Truth. However, these doors tend not to be very good things, so I can’t imagine wanting to open them, even if hands are keys.

Entry: Untitled 1 (December 4, 2009)

“HE dIGs and digs and digs and digs and digs and digs and Digs and digs and digs

the Rain pours and pours and pours and pours and pours and pours and pours and pours and pours

i am crumbling joshUA

staring at the world through this foggy glass

nothing can be [un]made while I lean upon this windowsill”


Related to Yggdrasil. Unsure about rain and digging imagery. Need to do more research into Norse Mythology before I can write more on this; may do an entire post if I can find enough connections to the Mythos.

Useful Links
Just Another Fool:
Notebook Video:
TVTropes Entry:

That’s all for Just Another Fool. On a closing note, I’ve caught up with Discuss the Findings. Yeah, just one blog; nowhere near my usual huge list of stuff I’ve read. I’ve been busy.
And I contributed to White Elephants (The rc car was my idea). I feel so proud of myself. Now I just need to wait for an angry Slendy to come after me as a result.


  1. Weird. My only experience with Slendy is Marble Hornets and yet the book/thing idea I came up with last night is somewhat similar to JAF. Coincidence? Or is it merely confirmation of Slendy's existence?

  2. I wouldn't go so far as to say confirmation of his existence; JAF is pretty standard in terms of Slender Man stories, so it's not surprising that any Slendy story would have similarities to it.

    On a related note, before I started seriously reading the ARGs, I was considering making a Slender Man story as well. Then I read Seeking Truth and found out that my main character was just a copy of Zeke Strahm, so I dropped that idea.

  3. Odin hanged upside-down from Yggdrassil by his own spear, and exchanged his eye for wisdom. Relevant; because it was self-inflicted, lends credence to the idea that Logan either lost the eye of his own volition or was seeking Slender Man willingly.

    The JAF commentariat spent a lot of time mulling over the Norse connection. There was speculation that Slender Man was Loki or Nidhogg or something, but because JAF ended the way it did, nothing really came of it. To me, Slender Man seems too personal to be a big-name world-relevant mythological figure; he's more of a youkai or fair folk sort of figure I think.

  4. I went back and looked--do you remember in JAF when people were supposed to call in and answer his answering machine's riddle? "HANDS ARE THE KEY" was a hint on how to continue the game. There was a clock in the background in a couple of Logan's pictures, and at the time shown on the clock, his voicemail changed to the riddle. ^^

  5. The "investigating the journal of my friend the madman" is a framing technique favored by H.P. Lovecraft. It may have been best used in "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward." I wouldn't be surprised if JAF borrowed it from Lovecraft.

  6. Hey, I don't know if you'll see this or not, but I made Just Another Fool and reading this put a big grin on my face. I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did when the game was going, and I apologize that the ending was so delayed (couldn't find someone to photoshop a better picture sooner).

    I was just talking about Slenderman to a friend and Googled my blog's name to see if anyone ever mentioned it and this just was nice to read. Thanks for playing!