Receivers are people who, for some unexplained reason, become "tuned into" the same frequency as one or more of The Fears. This entails both auditory and visual hallucinations related to the Fears they are 'tuned in to.' The reason why certain individuals become a Receiver in the first place and why Receivers become tuned in to a specific Fear(s) is unknown. It is also a mystery as to whether or not a method to stop being a Receiver exists.
It is speculated that a Receiver will eventually become the Servant to the Fear they are tuned into. This theory is supported by an alternate version of Tav Lowe who became a Proxy for the Slender Man in a parallel universe.
So far there are four major instances of a Receiver:
- The first is Tav Lowe from brighter than a spoon. He was tuned into the Slender Man, hearing and seeing many hallucinations associated with him. He also had a hallucination involving The Cold Boy, but it is unknown if it was due to being tuned into the Cold Boy or if it was just interference (since he was near).
- The second was an unnamed woman that Agnes told Tav about. She was tuned into an unknown Fear. The woman could no longer bear the hallucinations, so she killed herself.
- The third is Penny Balisong from The Jeanette Experience. Penny was tuned into the Smiling Man, a Fear without a body. However, she was able to release him through an unknown ritual, but doing so apparently burned her eyes out and made her blind. It is unknown if she is still a Receiver or not.
- The fourth is a person known as the Knight of Coins from Ace/Knight/Ten/King. He is tuned into an unknown Fear, which he wants to get rid of, thus the reason they are hunting Jeanette and Penny. They want to know how Penny unleashed the Smiling Man, so they can do the same.
Tav only experienced auditory and visual hallucinations, while King appeared to experience painful headaches. This suggests the effects of being a Receiver might vary from person to person.
Due to the Overseer's experiments with the Azoth, it has been shown that exposure to Azoth can create Receivers tuned in to the Slender Man. However, it is unknown how long these Receivers will last or if a difference between them and "natural" Receivers exists.
Being tuned into a Fear has the unintentional side effect of giving Receivers the strange ability to see through a Perception Filter. In Case File Juliet 005, the SMSC brought in a Receiver under their care to determine whether or not a local woman in their custody suspected of being a Doll was being controlled by The Wooden Girl. The Receiver was able to confirm this when they saw The Wooden Girl's strings implanted into the woman's limbs.