This story is going to start a little more in Kraken’s court of cryptids and creepypasta, but just wait. The true crime is there.
Let’s start out with a question: Who is Slender Man?
If you’ve been around the internet for a bit, you’ve heard the stories and seen the pictures. This creature was even inspiration for a creature in Minecraft. But’s let’s start at the beginning.
A user known as Victor Surge in the Something Awful forum posted a photoshopped image under “Create Paranormal Images”. This user, Eric Knudsen, was inspired by Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Silent Hill, Resident Evil and even folklore like Mothman and The Mad Gasser of Mattoon.
Just ten days after the initial post, another Something Awful user, Troy Wagner released the first web series about Slender Man called “Marble Hornets”. And this is all just the start of something that can only be described as a viral sensation.
Slender Man is anywhere from 6 to 15 feet tall with no face or hair. He is often portrayed wearing a dark suit and having large, sharp tentacles extending from his back. He stalks his victims using fear and paranoia to drive them insane. The original stories said he would stalk his victims before impaling them on trees and removing their organs. More modern stories focus on the psychological torture of victims.
In 2013, two 12-year-old girls in Waukesha, Wisconsin discovered the story of Slender Man and believed it to all be true. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were fascinated and believed Slender Man was stalking them. They would talk endlessly about it, veiwing websites and videos. The two were fast friends when Anissa moved to the school district in 6th grade, meeting Morgan’s best friend Payton Leutner.
Payton and Morgan became friends in 4th grade when Payton saw Morgan sitting alone for lunch. Not liking the sight of someone without friends, Payton sat down and the two were inseparable from the start. But Payton did not like the Slender Man stories, websites and concepts. But the three friends spent much of their time together having sleep overs and hanging out like normal girls their age.
Meanwhile, Morgan and Anissa lived in the same apartment building. They would ride to school together and often spend time without Payton with their conversations usually focused on the mysterious Slender Man.
By December of 2013, Morgan and Anissa were convinced they should become proxies of Slender Man. A proxy is someone who serves Slender Man. Their are under the influence or control of Slender Man, acting out his wants or needs. The girls believed that in order to become a proxy, they needed to kill another human. And they decided it would be Payton.
For months, the girls planned. They made supply lists, and even talked of their plans openly by using codes like saying the word “cracker” instead of “knife” as they figured out the details.
On May 30, 2014, the three girls gathered at Morgan’s house for a slumber party to celebrate Morgan’s birthday. The next morning, when Payton woke up, the other two girls were already awake and downstairs. They then went to a local park to play hide & seek. Morgan and Anissa had packed their supplies in advance including snacks and a knife with a 5” blade.
Once at the park, the attack started in the bathroom when Anissa tried to “knock her out”. The failed attempt was more annoying to Payton than antagonistic, and the three continued into the wooded area. Once they were in a secluded spot, Anissa alerted Morgan to start screaming thinks like “Go wild!”
Payton was stabbed 19 times with stab wounds piercing her stomach and liver. One of the stab wounds to the chest missed a major artery by less than 1mm. At this point, Payton could not stand and said she couldn’t see anything either.
Anissa and Morgan told her they would go get help, instead grabbing their backpack and starting to hike to Nicolet National Forest. Their goal was to meet Slender Man in his mansion in that forest, 200 miles away from where they stabbed Payton.
Realizing they left her for dead, Payton somehow drug herself to a nearby road. A cyclist saw her bloody body and called for emergency services. The first officer on scene asked her “Who did this?” and Payton was able to reply “Morgan” before being rushed to the hospital.
Following emergency surgery, Payton was in the hospital for another week before being released to continue her recovery.
Anissa and Morgan we apprehended while Payton was hospitalized, and their police interviews are even on YouTube. Anissa was extremely upset and agitated while Morgan was incredibly cold and removed as though she felt no remorse.
The two were charged as adults due to the extreme nature of the crime. Morgan was charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, and Anissa was charged with attempted 2nd degree intentional homicide. While waiting for the trial, both underwent psychological examinations.
Morgan was diagnosed as schizophrenic, having had experiences hallucinations from early childhood. Her room was filled with drawings and journal entries of the monsters that haunted her including Slender Man and Voldemoort, both of which she spoke to often. Some of the pages even included phrases like “just kill me” along the margins.
In the three years before trial, Morgan did make a lot of progress in the treatment and management of her mental health. She was no long hallucinating, although she did still hear voices. The jury found her not guilty due to mental illness and she was sentenced to 40 years in a mental health facility. Schizophrenia usually involves delusions, hallucinations, unusual behaviors and often paranoid thoughts.
Anissa was diagnosed with share psychotic disorder. This is a rare disorder characterized by a shared delusion of two people. The inducer, or primary, of the relationship suffers from a strong delusion and influences the other individual (the secondary) to believe the delusion. She was also found not guilty due to mental illness and was sentenced to 25 years in a mental health facility.
In September of 2021, Anissa was released under the conditions of direct supervision and a GPS ankle monitor. Last month, a Waukesha judge sign an order to have the ankle monitor removed, but she is still under supervised release.
Morgan petitioned for release in August of this year but withdrew a few months later. It is expected she will petition again in 2024.
To end on a happy note, Payton fully recovered. As of last year, she was attending college with dreams of becoming a doctor and is reported to be doing well. In a 2019 interview, she even said that the horrific incident did have a positive effect on her life. Before she was just a kid with no focus or direction, but the ordeal made her want to focus on medicine to help people who may end up in similar situations she experienced.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541211/#:~:text=Shared psychotic disorder (folie%20%C3%A0,based%20on%20a%20delusional%20belief.
https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/schizophrenia#:~:text=Schizophrenia usually involves delusions (false,paranoid%20thoughts%20or%20hear%20voices.