Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Slender Man, Digital Folklore, And Dark Memes With Folklorists On Wednesday's Access Utah


From USU's College of Humanities and Social Sciences:

"If you’re 12, Slender Man lurks in the woods beyond the playground fence, faceless, taller than a slippery slide, arms and legs weirdly long, black-suited and silent.

"If you're Lynne McNeill, an assistant professor of English, Slender Man is a living, evolving, endlessly fascinating example of folklore in the making.

"And plus, 'he is pretty creepy,' she says.

"The June 18-22 conference brings folklorists from around the country to spend a week at Utah State University mingling with undergrad and graduate folklore majors. For these students, it’s a three-credit class. For the rest of us, the workshop is an opportunity to hear public lectures by such experts as Amanda Brennan, the 'meme librarian' for Tumblr, where she’s responsible for cataloging trends for the popular micro-blogging platform."


Amanda Brennan is Tumblr’s senior content insights manager and internet librarian. After graduating with her MLIS from Rutgers University, she began her career at Know Your Meme, researching the history of internet phenomena and niche subcultures. She has been at Tumblr since 2013 where she oversees The Fandometrics, Tumblr’s pleasingly scientific weekly ranking of entertainment fandoms on the platform.


Dr. Elizabeth "Libby" Tucker, Distinguished Service Professor of English at Binghamton University, specializes in children’s and adolescents’ folklore, folklore of the supernatural, and legends. Her books include Campus Legends: A Handbook (2005), Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses (2007), Children’s Folklore: A Handbook (2008), Haunted Southern Tier (2011) and New York State Folklife Reader: Diverse Voices, co-edited with Ellen McHale (2013). With Lynne S. McNeill, she is co-author of the forthcoming book Legend Trips: A Contemporary Legend Handbook. She has edited Children’s Folklore Review and served as president of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research and the Children’s Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society; she is also a Fellow of the American Folklore Society. She loves to travel and to go on legend trips. The Weeping Woman statue in Logan is one of her favorite legend trip destinations.


Trevor J. Blank is associate professor of communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam. He earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg, and an M.A. at Indiana University's Folklore Institute. He is the editor of Folklore and the Internet and Folk Culture in the Digital Age, co-editor of Tradition in the Twenty-First Century and Slender Man is Coming, and is the author of The Last Laugh. In 2010, he was awarded the American Folklore Society's William Wells Newell Prize in Children's Folklore for his research on "fartlore."

Wednesday, June 20:

  • 10 a.m.:  Presentation by Trevor Blank, "Celebrity Urban Legends, Humor, and Vernacular Expression Online" (May start a bit late due to radio interview)

  • 1 p.m.: Presentation by Elizabeth Tucker, "The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge"

Friday, June 22

  • 10 a.m.: Presentation by Amanda Brennan, meme librarian for Tumblr “The Aesthetics of Creepy Tumblr: Sixpenceee, Boneghazi, and Witchblr”

More about McNeill's edited volume, Slender Man is Coming, can be seen at

10AM: PRESENTATION - Dr. Trevor Blank, "Celebrity Urban Legends, Humor, and Vernacular Expression Online" (May start a bit late due to radio interview)


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.