Informant Data: T.B is 20 years old and currently a student at Dartmouth College.
Social Context: Once the craze of Slenderman became viral, graphic artists and video game engineers created 1st person horror games based on Slenderman. One of the most successful games was “8 Pages”.
Cultural Context: The video game was released in 2012 to depict the quasi-folklore meme character known as Slenderman. It is a survival game that plays off of Slenderman’s reputation of abducting children in dark mysterious settings. The extreme popularity of it lead to a multitude of Youtube videos and recognition further spreading the folklore of Slenderman.
Informant Comments: “This was a game my cousin and I would play at midnight in front of the computer screen together. I can remember how scared we got when Slenderman would pop up on the computer monitor after static noise would play to show he was getting closer, but the real fear came after we turned the game off. We never even thought about going into the woods after the sun went down ever again and would fall asleep under the blankets scared of Slenderman.”
Informant Data: Marwa Eltagouri is a general assignment reporter out of Washington, DC. She attended Syracuse University where she got her BA in Magazine Journalism and Political Science. Eltagouri worked with the Washington Post until 2018, where she covered several stories on crime.
Social Context: I found this article on May 23, 2020, through the Washington Post’s website. Eltagouri has written several crime stories so the attempted murder was by Morgan Geyser was of particular interest to her.
Cultural Context: The Washington post article titled “A teen stabbed her friend to impress ‘Slender Man’ — and will spend 40 years in a mental hospital” depicts a murder attempt from 2014. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier stabbed their classmate Payton Leutner 17 times in an attempt to impress the mythical creature “Slender Man”. The two girls read about Slenderman online and felt compelled to commit the crime in order to protect themselves and their families.
Informant Data: G.B. is a 25 year old male with a college degree. He currently lives in New Jersey.
Social context: I interviewed G.B. on May 22, 2020 over FaceTime. I showed him an image of Slenderman with a young girl and asked for his comments and interpretations.
Cultural Context: In many of the versions of Slenderman he often targets young children and the setting often takes place in the woods. Many of the images of Slenderman have him situated in a frame with children or he is a lone figure standing among trees.
Item: (Image Pictured Above)
“The image of Slenderman is different than how I imagined because he doesn’t have the blades coming from his back”
The numerous depictions of Slenderman make for varying interpretations because each story puts a slight twist on the modern horror character. For instance, I think of Slenderman as the one in this picture.
J.T. is a student at the University of Buffalo. He is 19 years old and lives in New York.
Social context: I interviewed J.T. on May 10, 2020 over FaceTime. He shared his feelings of Slenderman and past memories he has of coming across Youtube videos of Slenderman.
Cultural context: The Youtube video titled “Entry #1” has amassed over seven million views and was posted on June 20, 2009. It was made as a part of a series by a channel called “Marble Hornets” which created more Slenderman content. The grainy video quality and missing audio adds to the realness of Slenderman, and the quick camera shots of the figure are a trademark feature to the popular creature.
Reddit user MLPTTM chose to remain anonymous in the chatroom but wanted to share their thoughts on the stories of Slenderman on Creepy Pasta.
Social context: I interviewed MLPTTM on May 19, 2020 through a chatroom. They shared their feelings of Slenderman and what peaked their interest when reading Slenderman stories.
Cultural context: Slenderman is an urban legend that originated through multiple stories shared across the internet. He is often depicted as a tall faceless man and is associated with disappearances and sinister powers.
Item: “I like him because most creepypastas try to scare you with blood, gore, and if you’re lucky hyper-realistic blood. Slenderman scared me with psychological horror; making me scared of fields, trees, and sometimes nothing. He has made me as paranoid as I’ve been in my life and I love the thrill. His design is simple and terrifying because it can make him visible in a field or invisible in a forest. His humanoid figure makes him seem real like him stalking you can happen. I think the biggest thing that makes him interesting is that nobody has any full idea what happens when he gets you.”
M.F. is a female member of the Class of 2022 at Dartmouth. She is affiliated with Greek Life, and she is from Minnesota.
Cultural: Pref night is the third and final “round” of Inter-Sorority Council rush, where each round is a different step of the process. After pref night, potential new members must determine which sorority they are interested in joining.
Social: This information was collected through a video chat interview. All current members of the Greek organization and selected potential new members must participate in pref night. The significance of dressing in more formal attire for pref night may be out of respect and to demonstrate that the matter is taken seriously.
On pref night, potential new members and current members of the organization must dress formally, often in all black clothing.
I recognized a similarity between this item and a different item collected- Fraternity Shake Out Clothing. It seems that formal attire is a common feature of both.
Hannah Marr is a captain of the Dartmouth Womxn’s Utimate Frisbee Team, known as Dartmouth Daybreak. She has been on the team, previously known as Princess Layout, since her freshman year. Born on November 24, 1997, she is from Falmouth, Maine. Hannah is a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2020. She has been playing Frisbee since high school and continued to when she came to Dartmouth.
Cultural Context: Frisbee Formal is an event that occurs during the winter term. Underclassmen must ask upperclassmen from a different team to formal in a creative way and send the formal invite to all of SPEW. In return the upperclassmen must respond in a similar fashion to all of SPEW. Frisbee formal is held at an undisclosed location where individuals chat and dance. A theme is announced ahead of time and people usually dress in “flair,” which is a colloquial term applied to fun, costume-like clothing, in accordance with the theme.
Social Context: This interview was conducted off campus in person. Frisbee formal allows individuals an opportunity to meet players from other teams and socialize in a different environment and usual for frisbee. Often times underclassmen do not know the upperclassmen they ask to formal. Formal is also a time when the men’s and women’s teams are mixed together, even though they play seperately. Formal is a fun event where people socialize and meet other people in the program.
“Frisbee formal is a really fun tradition that the frisbee program has. How it works is that underclassmen make really funny videos, whether it be a parody of a song, a dance that they’re doing or a little skit and they send the videos out via our listserv [SPEW] asking upperclassmen to the formal. Upperclassmen when they’re asked to respond with a similar fun video whether it be a song response or anything, and they’ll respond to the underclassmen. Everyone always says yes and it culminates with everyone going to a themed dance and where we all wear flair and dress up and have an awesome time. It’s a really great tradition that frisbee has. Frisbee formal is a really great way by which underclassmen get to feel comfortable around upperclassmen and the whole community gets to know each other better.”
“I always look forward to seeing all the invites and responses that get sent out on SPEW!”
Frisbee formal can be seen as a form of a rite of passage because attendees are usually invited or have invited someone else to attend. The asking and response process is lengthy and often takes a lot of preparation. Additionally, at this event, it is likely that you will meet new individuals from other teams within the program, which could be interpreted as a part of incorporating new members into the community.
Avery Feingold is a former captain of the men’s frisbee B team, Discomfort Trolley, and is a former member of PainTrain, the men’s A team. He is a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2017. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he now resides there post-graduation. He was born on September 25, 1995.
Cultural Context: The Psychotic Seed Award is an award given out to members of the freshman class from each team during the fall and spring terms at frisgiving (Frisbee thanksgiving) and banquet, respectively. It is awarded to individuals that exemplify the certain values of the team, including friendliness, positivity, and the warmth. The award is given in remembrance of and in honor of a former frisbee player nicknames “Townie,” who sadly passed away during his time at Dartmouth.
Social Context: This ritual was documented during a virtual interview. The award is presented in front of the entire frisbee team membership. Each term when the award is given, all previous recipients are asked to rise. This allows others to see the number of individuals who have previously received this award and fosters a sense of unity by demonstrating the amount of positivity and warmth that has been cultivated throughout the years of Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee.
Psychotic Seed Award
“There was a boy who played on the Dartmouth ultimate team in the 1990s who got to know everyone in Hanover so well that even though he was from Iowa, he was named “Townie” by the Dartmouth Ultimate team and that name stuck and became how he introduced himself to new freshmen when he was a senior. But when Townie was a senior he got brain cancer and died very shortly thereafter, so dartmouth ultimate, in his memory, every year gives out an award called the Psychotic Seed Award named after the sunflower seeds that Townie used to chew. It’s awarded to a rookie player from each team that exemplifies the friendliness, positivity, and the warmth that we want to embody on Dartmouth Ultimate.”
The informant did not provide any further comment.
The Psychotic Seed Award is one of the best parts of the frisbee program, seeing as it recognizes the good naturedness of the program members. However, at the same time is always a somewhat solemn thought in remembrance of the award’s namesake. Overall, this award strikes a good balance at recognizing and remembering the positive aspects of the frisbee program’s past and present.
Ariella Y. Kovary is a former member of the Dartmouth Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, formerly known by its previous name, Princess Layout. She is a member of the class of 2020 and is majoring in history and psychology. She played frisbee recreationally in high school, and played on Dartmouth’s team during her entire freshman year and sophomore fall. Born on August 27, 1998, she is from Mineola, New York.
Cultural Context: Sideline cheers and talk is an integral part of playing ultimate frisbee. Sideline cheers drive a lot of the energy on the field, pumping players up and helping them perform well and focus. Dartmouth Ultimate Frisbee has numerous sideline cheers that are creative, fun, silly, and unique.Many of them are centered around life at Dartmouth, pertaining to trees, Collis Pasta, and Webster Avenue and more. Additionally, sideline players also usually speak to the players on the field to help them gain more spatial awareness of the field and insight into what they should be doing during games. Overall, the sideline is a necessary part of a frisbee team; the players on the sideline play an essential role for the team.
Social Context: This ritual was documented in a one-on-one interview in Novack. Teams say cheers at practice and tournaments. They are a way for teams to demonstrate a united front against competition as well as energize themselves and teammates while playing frisbee. Teams are performed as a group, with all players saying the same words at the same time. Sometimes players will accompany cheers with physical dances, but that is not a necessary or integral part of the cheer.
I guess when I first became part of the team and we were going to competitions and tournaments and things of that sort, I was not aware of what would go on if you’re not on the field. I thought it was a time just to relax and just like do homework. And I thought as a freshman that this was a great opportunity, even though I’m outside in the cold, I’ll just do my homework on the sidelines and be engaged partially. But I remember Angela Zhu, a ‘17, was like “oh no, everyone’s gotta get up on their feet and be rushing along the sidelines.” And I was like “but why, like why do we have to keep running along with the teammates that are on the field. They’re the ones who are playing and we’re not. It doesn’t make any sense.” But, in retrospect it did because the sideline engagement was like the encouragement as well as the enthusiasm for the players that were on the field. And I didn’t realize how much of a force that the people who didn’t play had on the people who did. And so its like a whole team engagement thing in which we’re shouting back and forth across the field to the other people that are on the sidelines and saying all these different sort of cheers , and we made up new ones, you know Kayliegh made that new one over spring break where you just say: “what time is it” and we’re all going back and forth saying “what time of the year is it? I don’t know. was it yesterday? Is it today? Oh it’s spring break!” and then we all lift up our shirts and expose our bras and say it’s spring break. It’s so great that these cheers have caught on to other teams in which – I forgot which team it was but some other team we were playing even used one of our cheers and they even said our college’s name so it just shows the impact of the cheer itself and how much it not only inspires the people who are on the field, saying they have a support system, but also how much it is an engaging activity and a whole team bonding effort for everyone on the sidelines. It really created some sort of unity among everyone, and like, yes, there’s really great players that are gonna be on the field most of the time, compared to those who are not, or those who are novices in the frisbee world as I was myself. But overall it was a thing that brought the whole team together. They were fun, and they were quirky, and they were just like spontaneous and engaging. And whether you just lose your voice or you had to hydrate on water it was just like part of the spirit of Ultimate. And then, even though I left the team pretty early, one of the cheers will always remain with me, and that one is ‘P is for Party.’ So it goes like: “P is for party and A is for alright! R is ready and T is for tonight! Y is for you ‘cause you know what to do! Let’s Partyyyy! Don’t let your mama know you partyyyyy! That you go to Daaartmouth!” So considering that I’m now a senior and that was part of my freshman experience that really carried throughout my whole college career. So I’d say that sideline cheers are pretty important to the team as well as the players themselves.
“One of my favorite parts about Ultimate Frisbee was cheering on my Buddy, Caitlyn Lee.”
The sideline cheer is one of the most important aspects of a frisbee game. Team performance is truly impacted by the support on the sidelines. If teammates are being loud and cheering the players on well, the team plays better.
Ruby is a new member of the Dartmouth Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, Dartmouth Daybreak, formerly known as Princess Layout. She is a member of the class of 2023 and intends to major in Geography. She played frisbee extensively in in high school on her school’s frisbee team, and she knew that she wanted to continue playing frisbee at Dartmouth. Born on November 6, 2000, she is from Shanghai, China.
Cultural Context: Team dinner happens every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in both fall and spring term after practice. In the winter team dinner is often before evening practice. This is a time when the program gets together in upstairs FoCo and dines together. There are traditions incorporated during this meal time as well, for example, it is common for individuals to “rosham,” commonly known as rock, paper, scissors, for who has to take down all the dirty plates. But mostly, team dinner is an unstructured meal where members chat about whatever is on their mind.
Social Context: This ritual was documented in a one-on-one interview in Novack. The frisbee program bonds over team dinners, where topics can range from program activities and frisbee to anything under the sun. Most team members will show up for team dinner, resulting in a crowd of two dozen often times. Sitting together in upstairs FoCo is a great way for team members to become more familiar with each other, and also allows for new members to have the chance to chat with the group in a calm environment, as opposed to practices or game time.
International Comparison – Team Dinner
“So, I have played three years on my high school team, and it was in a completely different cultural setting than Dartmouth. It was a high school mixed [gender] team. Transforming from my high school frisbee experience to Dartmouth, I found one significant similarity that we share, like my high school team and the Dartmouth Ultimate team. And it is that we spend a lot of time together eating meals. We used to eat meals after every tournament [in high school] and there was a specific restaurant that we’d always go to when we finished every tournament. It was kind of like a celebration and we just had a really fun time there. And I feel like its very similar to what we have now on the Dartmouth Frisbee team because we have team dinner after every practice.”
“I have been able to meet more people in the program through team dinner.”
Across cultures, we have found that team dinners are a commonality between Ultimate Frisbee teams. Both Ruby’s frisbee experience in high school in China and Dartmouth’s frisbee program have a very similar team dinner tradition. Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that relies on team dynamics for good performance, and this intricate dynamic is fostered over time. Traditional team dinners serve as an additional avenue for teams to foster this sense of community. The similarities between these two frisbee experiences is particularly notable because of the wide sociopolitical and cultural differences between Shanghai and Hanover.