HEARTBREAK

‘Slender Man’ Blamed in Sioux Suicides

A Slender Man-esque figure may be behind the 103 suicide attempts made by young people on a South Dakota reservation this year. The mythical creature is called Tall Man spirit by some of the youths, and leaders say the kids blame him for encouraging the suicides. At least nine young people have killed themselves from December to March—a sharp rise from the total of five suicides reported in all of 2013 for youth and adults. Officials at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, whose 16,000 to 40,000 residents are plagued by other difficulties like alcoholism and poverty, say they don’t know what to do. “I don’t know if they were cyberbullied, or if they had living conditions they didn’t want to put up with, or they were sexually abused,” says Oglala Sioux President John Yellow Bird Steele. “Were they hungry? I don’t know.”