Two 12-year-old girls have been charged with repeatedly stabbing their middle school classmate in a wooded park near Milwaukee, a shocking attack allegedly influenced by a fascination with a fictional pop culture character.
It’s happened before.
In a sensational Florida case in 1977, for instance, 15-year-old Ronny Zamora was charged with murdering an elderly neighbor, a killing spurred, according to his attorney, by an obsession with violent television and a show featuring a bald police detective named Kojak.
A couple of generations later, the inspiration is a shadowy creature on the Internet called Slender Man, according to police. The medium has evolved from a TV in...