The Story Behind The Slenderman Stabbing

In 2014, three 12-year-old girls went out to the woods to play hide and seek. There, two of the girls proceeded to stab the third 19 times before leaving her for dead. Their reason? Because Slenderman told them to. The whole thing sounds like something out of a horror movie, but the Slenderman stabbing actually happened - and captivated all who heard about it.

The legal proceedings that followed the Slenderman crimes are fraught with claims of mental illness and debate - can a child really be charged as an adult? They've also started a dialogue about whether the stabbing inspired by Slenderman is a call to arms for parents, most of whom have never even heard the Internet horror legend's name. As this tale begins to wrap up in 2017, we are still left with so many questions. Why did these girls want to stab someone for Slenderman? How do we handle a case like this? And what will become of these three girls wrapped up in this bizarre and horrific nightmare?

  • The Girls Were Only 12 When They Tried To Murder Their Friend

    One of the most shocking things about this whole incident is that all three girls involved were only 12 years old. One of the perpetrators, Morgan Geyser, had become friends with Payton Leutner (who also went by Bella) when they were both in fourth grade in Waukesha, WI. Morgan would later say that Payton - the stabbing victim - had been her only and closest friend for a long time. The second perpetrator, Anissa Weier, came into their friendship a few years later. They were a tightknit group at school and at home. They had sleepovers, talked on the Internet, and even played games with their American Girl dolls. Although they were a bit like social misfits at school, they were what you would consider normal 12-year-old girls.

    Until, of course, in May of  2014, when Morgan and Anissa attempted to stab their best friend to death in the woods.

  • They Stabbed Her 19 Times To Appease Slenderman

    On May 30, 2014, the group went to a local roller rink for Morgan's birthday and had a sleepover. For Payton, things seemed fairly normal, not knowing Anissa and Morgan had a sinister plan in mind. The two girls were convinced they had to kill their friend as a blood sacrifice to gain favor with Internet horror icon Slenderman. Morgan, in particular, talked about the fictional villain often, about how he was everywhere, and how he could kill anyone in three seconds flat. Anissa and Morgan became convinced that not only was this creature real, but he would kill their families if they did not kill Payton.

    They believed they were going to go live with him after the stabbing. They believed they would become monster children, and would live in a mansion in the woods with him forever. They assumed he would only appear once the stabbing was completed. So, they lured Payton into the woods with a promise of playing hide and seek in the early morning hours of May 31. Once there, Anissa sat on Payton and Morgan pulled out a knife. The two briefly argued about who was to do the killing, then Anissa finally told Morgan to "go ballistic" and the birthday girl started plunging the knife into her friend over and over again, whispering "I'm sorry" in her ear as she did. In all, Payton was stabbed 19 times. 

  • This Was The Second Attempt To Harm Payton

    Although May 31 ended up being the actual day that the pair of girls tried to kill Payton, it was not their original intent. The pair had started planning the stabbing months before, but didn't make a set plan. Then, when Morgan planned her birthday party, the duo formulated their attack. They decided to tape her mouth shut, then cut her neck with the knife. Then, they would cover her with a blanket and and leave while people thought she was still sleeping. But after they started feeling anxious about the plan - because there was no way to clean - they instead planned to kill her the next day.

    They went to a park and decided to kill Payton in the bathroom where there was a drain. When Anissa and Morgan tried to grab her, however, she fought them off, and the two stopped. Neither wanted to actually be the one to do the stabbing, and they couldn't decide who would do it. They struggled, then Morgan panicked, and the brief altercation was over. They apologized to their friend for fighting, and the three made up before going out for their fateful game of hide and seek. 

    When they went back to playing, Anissa and Morgan cornered Payton again - and this time they successfully hurt her.

  • Their Friend Lived By Crawling For Her Life

    Despite being 12, Payton wasn't going to go down easily. As she was being stabbed, she screamed she hated the girls, that she'd trusted them, and that she would never forgive them. The girls told her they were going to go get help, but instead left her there to die. Rather than wait around, Payton began to crawl. Unable to stand, she crawled little by little through the woods and made it to a road, despite having stab wounds in her arms, legs, and torso. She was then was found by a bicyclist who called 911. She was losing blood quickly, and surgeons had to work furiously to save her life. One of the physicians even said afterwards she was mere millimeters away from death. When she came to, she couldn't speak, but used a pen and paper right away to tell her parents that she wanted to go home.

  • Morgan Thought Killing Was Wrong But Necessary

    After Morgan and Anissa were found by police and brought in for questioning, it became clear that something was amiss with both of them.

    Anissa cried for most of the interview, saying she feared for her life and didn't want to kill anyone, but Morgan had said it had to be done. Both girls initially said it was the other who stabbed Payton, but eventually Morgan copped to it and admitted she was the driving force behind the attack. She repeatedly told police she didn't want to do it, and that it wasn't her who picked Payton as a victim, it was Slenderman. She said if she hadn't killed her, both Anissa's and her families would have been killed by him.

    Throughout her interview, she said again and again that it felt like stabbing her friend had just been necessary.

  • Who Is Slenderman?

    Slenderman (sometimes written as Slender Man) is a fictional scary story that was wildly popular in online horror communities. He originated from the site Something Awful, where he was depicted as a tall, shadowy, featureless figure haunting children. One image of him was so creepy to some, they created their own images and stories, some of which included false newspaper reports of "real life" stories of encounters with the entity.

    His story morphed into that of a creature with tentacles who could capture and kill children and adults. He was purportedly always watching, and had various ways he liked to kill people. This character was absolutely a fictional one, with no basis in an actual set of killings or legends. However, for Morgan and Anissa, Slenderman had become real, and the threat of his swift murderous ways was enough to prompt them to action.