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Delusional & Dangerous: The Story of the Slender Man Stabbing

Updated: 2 days ago


            On May 31st, 2014, a cyclist in Waukesha, Wisconsin came upon a little girl bleeding profusely along a dead-end road. The little girl begged for help as the cyclist called 911. The girl, covered in her own blood, told her rescuers that she had been stabbed multiple times by her best friend. In a story that shocked the nation, two twelve-year-old girls were responsible for stabbing another twelve-year-old nineteen times. Adding to the bizarre nature of this case was the motive for the attempted murder. This is the story of the Slender Man stabbing.



            Slender Man, sometimes spelled Slenderman, is a fictional supernatural character originating in 2009. The character is an elongated man wearing a suit and without a face. He has multiple tendrils on his back that he uses to inflict his horror. Stories of Slender Man were rampant on the website Creepypasta Wiki. It was on this website that Anissa Weier became aware of the character.

            Anissa Weier was born November 10th, 2001. She grew up with her father Bill and mother Kirsty, who divorced prior to 2014. Anissa had a somewhat strained relationship with her mother, which she later defined as co-dependent. According to Anissa, her mother once told her that she should have aborted her. Despite this, Anissa seemed to have a great relationship with her father who monitored her online use and provided her with love and attention. Despite his efforts, Anissa did read Creepypasta Wiki stories and became fascinated by Slender Man.

            Anissa was somewhat of a bully and not very popular in her elementary school. She didn’t really have any friends until she befriended another outcast, Morgan Geyser. Morgan Geyser was born May 16th, 2002, to Matt and Angie Geyser. Unbeknownst to Morgan until after the horrendous decisions she made in 2014, her father was diagnosed as schizophrenic as a young man and had spent time in multiple hospitals for psychiatric care. In HBO’s documentary Beware of Slenderman, Angie Geyser said that Morgan was a surprise, but a happy one. While not explicitly said, it is understandable that Matt would not want to risk passing his illness on to a child.

            Morgan struggled to make friends. Since she was a toddler, her creativity was her strong suit. She would create songs and stories. Her mother did state that, in retrospect, there were signs that perhaps her daughter had a mental illness. She did not realize her daughter was sick until 2014, but she said that her daughter expressed a lack of emotion to sad situations. For example, when Morgan first watched the movie Bambi, she seemed unfazed by the death of Bambi’s mother. Despite this, Morgan seemed like a normal girl.

            Morgan was not normal, however. Morgan states she can remember seeing people that no one else did and hearing voices since the age of three. Her strange behavior no doubt affected her ability to make friends. In the fourth grade, she finally made a friend. Payton Leutner, whom she had known since kindergarten, befriended Morgan. Payton said she befriended Morgan because she didn’t like that the girl had no other friends. The girls bonded over their shared love of cats.

            From fourth grade to sixth grade, the girls were inseparable. In sixth grade, however, Morgan met Anissa Weier. The two girls rode the school bus together and quickly bonded. Anissa and Morgan both had trouble socializing with their peers. However, the girls were able to relate to each other. Anissa didn’t seem to like that Morgan was also friends with Payton, whom they called Bella as a nickname. Anissa introduced Morgan to Creepypasta Wiki and Slender Man. Morgan was amazed by Slender Man, claiming to have seen him multiple times throughout her life. She connected her hallucinations to Slender Man, believing she was not crazy after all.

            As sixth grade went on, Anissa and Morgan grew closer and closer to each other. As a result, Morgan and Payton started to drift apart. Morgan became upset with Payton when the girl admitted she did not see the hallucinations that Morgan was seeing. Payton was scared of the Slender Man stories and wanted to distance herself from Anissa and Morgan. Anissa, on the other hand, was thrilled to be friends with Morgan. Although Morgan was “quirky” as people called her, Anissa felt comradery.  The girls shared stories of Creepypasta characters, especially Slender Man.

            By Christmas of 2013, the girls had decided that they wanted to become proxies for Slender Man. While Anissa and Morgan’s stories differ on whose idea it was, the girls decided together that they needed to offer a sacrifice to Slender Man. They decided they needed to commit the murder of someone they loved in order to please the fictional character that they both believed to be real. Morgan also told Anissa that if they didn’t go through with the plan, Slender Man would kill their families. Morgan believed she had seen Slender Man when no one else had because she was the chosen one. Anissa pretended to see him too, mostly to please her friend.

            The girls started planning a murder as they rode the bus home from their sixth-grade classroom. They decided that they should kill Payton.  The girls fantasized about living in Slender Mansion, a mansion that Slenderman and other Creepypasta characters lived in. They believed that the mansion was somewhere in the forest near where they lived. In preparation for the crime, the girls made lists of things they would need including cheesecake to please certain Creepypasta characters. They also made a list of items they would need to secure for their plan.

            The planning continued in secret for six months. Both Morgan and Anissa’s parents deny seeing any signs that their daughters were disturbed. Anissa’s family did not know about her obsession with Slender Man. Morgan’s parents had known but believed it to be as harmless as a young person liking scary movies. They didn’t know Morgan was having hallucinations and delusions and believed the character to be real. As sixth grade started winding down, Morgan started planning her twelfth birthday party.

            Morgan had planned to go roller skating with her two friends, Anissa and Payton, for her birthday. She was then going to have the girls over for a sleepover. The party was planned for May 30th, 2014. All three girls seemed super excited about the sleepover, but Anissa and Morgan had another reason to be excited. The girls had decided that May 30th would be the night they made their sacrifice to Slender Man and went to live with him in his mansion.

            Payton’s parents had grown to dislike Morgan somewhat. Once, Morgan had started a fire in their home. Morgan was also pretty sassy and didn’t care what anyone thought. On the night of her sleepover, Payton’s mother told her that she couldn’t take Payton until later that evening. Morgan asked Payton something along the lines of “Who does your mom think she is? It’s my birthday!”. Despite the reservations her parents had, they allowed Payton to go to the sleepover believing that the girls would play with their dolls and enjoy innocent fun.

            Morgan’s sleepover birthday party started off amazingly. Morgan, Anissa, and Payton went roller skating. The girls laughed and giggled as you would expect three twelve-year-olds to do. They played on their tablets after returning back to Morgan’s house. Eventually, Payton fell asleep. Morgan told Anissa she would wake her at 2 am and they would kill Payton at that time. The original plan was to stab Payton and leave her in Morgan’s bed covered up like she was sleeping. The girls planned to then run away to Slender Man’s mansion. Anissa even wrote a goodbye note on her phone.


(The girls the night of the sleepover, at the skating rink)

            Morgan said she decided not to wake Anissa because she wanted to give her friend Payton one more morning. Morgan stayed awake most of the time, a side effect of what was surely a mental illness. Insomnia can exacerbate symptoms of mental illness and psychosis. The next morning, the girls ate doughnuts and giggled together as if nothing was wrong. Then, Morgan asked her mother if the girls could go to the park. Usually, Morgan was not allowed to go without parental supervision, but her mother allowed the girls to go alone this time. After all, her daughter was almost a teenager.

            The girls played on the playground equipment for a while. Morgan secretly showed Anissa that she had a knife which she had taken from her kitchen that morning. The two girls decided to get Payton in the bathroom of the park and kill her. The plan was to prop her up on the toilet and run away. The girls thought the bathroom would be a good place because there was a drain in the floor for blood. When all three girls went into the bathroom, Anissa had a hard time initiating the attack. She heard it was easier to kill someone who was asleep, so she asked Bella to go to sleep.

            Payton refused to go to sleep that morning inside the park bathroom, finding the request quite odd. Payton did not necessarily care for Anissa because she was “weird” and this request cemented her feelings. Since Payton would not cooperate, Anissa hit her, pushing her head into the concrete wall. Payton became upset, but the girls agreed to go for a walk together in the nearby woods. Payton found Anissa strange, but she had no idea she was in danger.

            In the woods, Anissa and Morgan quietly argued over who would stab Payton. Morgan gave Anissa the knife three times, but Anissa was too “squeamish” and couldn’t bring herself to stab Payton. Eventually, they agreed that Morgan would commit the crime. Morgan, who liked to pretend she was a cat, requested that Anissa pet her to calm her nerves. Morgan told Anissa she would not kill Payton until Anissa said it was time. As Anissa walked away from the other two girls, she said “Now”.

            With the greenlight from Anissa, Morgan announced that Payton should not be afraid of her as she was just a little kitty. Then she jumped on Payton, sitting on her legs. She began stabbing her once best friend as Anissa cheered her on, telling her to “Go crazy!”. Morgan stabbed Payton nineteen times. Throughout the attack, Payton told Morgan she hated her and had trusted her. Morgan kept stabbing. Morgan, covered in blood, then left the scene with Anissa. Anissa told Payton they were going to get her help, but that was a lie.

            Anissa and Morgan started walking, excited to get to Slender Man’s mansion. The girls made their way into a Wal-Mart store, believing no one would pay attention to their bloody clothes because people often dress and behave weird inside Wal-Mart. They were right. No one noticed the girls with blood on their clothes. Morgan used the Wal-Mart bathroom to clean as much blood off of her as she could. The two then went back to walking, on a mission to find Slender Man.

            Meanwhile, Payton managed to pull herself out of the wooded area and next to the road. She was found by a man cycling through the area. At 9:50 am on May 31st, 2014, 911 was called. The city of Waukesha was relatively safe, so the stabbing of a twelve-year-old was beyond shocking. Payton told the police that her best friend had stabbed her. She told them it was Morgan and Anissa. While she was rushed to the hospital, the search for the other two girls began.

            At the hospital, Payton was found to have nineteen stab wounds and massive bleeding. She was rushed into emergency surgery shortly after her mother arrived at the hospital. She had twenty-seven surgeries to repair damage to her heart, liver, pancreas, and stomach. Miraculously, she survived the horrible tragedy. The recovery would be long and painful, but Payton Leutner had survived.

            Meanwhile, Anissa and Morgan walked several miles over the next five hours. They got food from a local business giving away free snacks. They had also brought some Kudos bars with them to sustain them. They came to an interstate and decided to walk up the ramp. Anissa, who was not athletic and was disturbed by the screaming she heard from Payton during the stabbing, begged Morgan to go home. Morgan told her that they would be executed if they went home. Shortly after, the girls were captured by police along the interstate when a motorist reported two young girls walking along the busy highway.



            When brought in for questioning, the girls were separated. Apparently in Wisconsin, juveniles are allowed to be interrogated without a parent or attorney present. Both Anissa and Morgan signed a Miranda waiver, agreeing to speak with the police. The girls were very honest about the events of that day, although they blamed each other for developing the idea. Anissa asked how far she had walked, curious because she was not typically athletic. Morgan seemed emotionless and matter of fact about the whole thing.

            Anissa and Morgan both told the detectives questioning them that they hurt their friend in order to please Slender Man. Anissa explained they wanted to be proxies and live in the Slender Mansion. Morgan said she felt she had no choice as Anissa told her the stabbing was necessary. When asked if she regretted stabbing Payton, Morgan said she doesn’t live with regrets. Anissa showed some remorse, but both girls expressed that they felt that murdering Payton was necessary to protect their families.

            As the world learned of the “Slender Man Stabbing” is Wisconsin, it became international news. Payton recovered in the hospital and eventually went home with her parents and little brother. She started seventh grade that fall with the rest of her class- except Morgan and Anissa. Throughout the summer of 2014, lawyers for the girls protested the prosecution’s attempts to have the twelve-year-olds tried as adults. Morgan was diagnosed with schizophrenia and oppositional defiant disorder, finally learning of her father’s diagnosis and history. In July, Anissa was placed on suicide watch. Neither girl seemed to understand they were not going to be going home at first.

            On August 22nd, 2014, Morgan was found not competent to stand trial and transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Unfortunately, the focus of the hospitalization was to educate her on the legal system and ensure she was competent. Despite being diagnosed as schizophrenia, the girl was not treated with psychiatric medications. This led to her mental status deteriorating. By November of 2014, doctors determined Morgan was now competent to stand trial. With this, she was transferred back to county jail.

            As 2015 came and went, Payton continued to heal her emotional and physical wounds. Anissa and Morgan, kept apart during their incarceration, had developed a dislike for one another. Anissa had become popular amongst her fellow inmates, most of whom hated Morgan. Their lawyers filed motion after motion, trying to reduce the charges and have the case transferred to juvenile court. They were not successful. The only hint of “success” came in December when a court agreed to send Morgan back to the psychiatric hospital and finally start medicating her mental illness.

            In March of 2016, Morgan’s condition had improved with antipsychotics enough for her to be transferred back to county jail once more. Their respective lawyers continued to file motions to have the girls tried as juveniles, have their bail reduced, and have their charges lessened. None were successful. In May 2016, Morgan attempted suicide and was sent back to the psychiatric hospital.

            Finally, 2017 brought criminal trials. Anissa Weier’s trial was first. The defense presented numerous psychiatrists who believed that Anissa was suffering from a shared delusional disorder at the time of her crime. She had not required antipsychotics as Morgan had, but they found her to be very susceptible to peer pressure and she continued to believe that Slender Man may be real. In September 2017, a criminal court found Anissa not guilty by reason of insanity. She was remanded to the psychiatric hospital Morgan was residing in. The hospital took measures to continue to keep the girls separated. The judge sentenced Anissa to twenty-five years in the psychiatric hospital. However, the law allows her to apply for conditional release after three years.

            Morgan accepted a plea that allowed her to plead guilty in exchange for a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict. She was remanded as well to the psychiatric hospital. She was sentenced in 2018 to forty years in the psychiatric hospital. As Payton started high school, her attackers were given treatment at a mental institution. Payton and her family had agreed that the hospital was the most appropriate place for the girls to be. Payton also told detectives that she believed Anissa was not as culpable as Morgan in the crime.

            In 2020, the covid pandemic took over the world. In a contactless ceremony, Payton Leutner graduated high school. She gave interviews the year before, demonstrating her amazing strength. She told her interviewer that she was thankful for her experiences. Although they were traumatic, she said the experience inspired her to pursue a career in medicine. She went on to attend college in the years that followed. She lives a fairly private life, not defined by the evil acts of her so-called friends.


(Above: Payton Leutner)

            In 2021, a judge approved a petition from Anissa Weier for conditional release. She was sent to live with her father and required to wear a GPS monitor at all times. Anissa was also not allowed any contact with Payton Leutner through 2037. She would be court monitored until she was thirty-seven years old. In 2023, Anissa successfully petitioned to have her GPS monitor removed. She continues outpatient mental health treatment with the support of her family.



            Morgan Geyser’s story became more and more bizarre. Her psychiatric condition seemed to improve and then deteriorate once again. She befriended another woman in the hospital who had killed her child with a plastic bag. She at times continued to have delusions of Slender Man. She had several hallucinations in which she had imaginary friends. Some were friendly, keeping her company, but others were not. She told her mother she was getting married, upset that her mother wasn’t excited for her. She said she married one of her hallucinations.

            Morgan and her lawyers have petitioned several times to be released, stating that what is best for her is to pursue treatment outside the hospital and to interact with others her age. As the judge once said, what was best for the girls was not necessarily what was best for the community. In 2022, Morgan told doctors that she had faked her schizophrenia symptoms to avoid being sent home to her father. She now claimed her father had sexually abused her. Doctors do not believe that Morgan has been faking her symptoms, but she is certainly manipulative and beyond “quirky”.



            Morgan’s last petition was denied in April of 2024 as doctors agreed she was not ready to leave the hospital. She had a history of multiple suicide attempts and continuing delusional behavior. Morgan’s father died in 2023. While I cannot confirm, it is believed that he committed suicide. Morgan also told doctors that she never learned how to feel or have remorse. Morgan will be allowed to petition the court every six months for conditional release. Since the girls were found not guilty by reason of insanity, they will not have a criminal record.

 

 

 

References

Beware of Slenderman (2017) HBO Documentary- available on Max streaming service.

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