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The Slender Man Stabbing: When Fiction Turned Deadly


The Slender Man stabbing case serves as a chilling reminder that the line between fiction and reality can be dangerously blurred. In 2014, two young girls, inspired by the chilling online myth of Slender Man, attempted to murder their friend, leaving a community shocked and questioning the dark power of the internet. This case, a chilling intersection of online culture, mental health, and the dangers of unfiltered access to potentially harmful content, continues to resonate, forcing us to confront the impact of the digital world on our lives.

Table of Contents

The Slender Man Myth

Slender Man, a creature born from the depths of the internet, has become a modern-day urban legend, a testament to the power of online storytelling and the human capacity for fear. The origins of this chilling myth can be traced back to 2009, when a user on the Something Awful forum, Eric Knudsen, submitted an image of a tall, slender figure with a blank, featureless face, wearing a black suit and holding long, tentacle-like arms. This image, along with a fictional backstory, sparked a wave of online interest, propelling the Slender Man myth into the realm of internet folklore.

The Slender Man’s mystique lies in its ambiguity and its uncanny presence. With no defined origin or motive, the creature represents a primal fear, a manifestation of the unknown and the unexplainable. His slender form, elongated limbs, and lack of facial features create an aura of unsettling disquiet, blurring the lines between human and monster. The Slender Man’s chilling ability to manipulate and stalk children, often leading them astray or driving them to acts of violence, further enhances his terrifying aura.

The Slender Man myth quickly spread across the internet, becoming a phenomenon of online communities and fan culture. Countless websites, forums, and social media platforms dedicated to the Slender Man sprouted up, filled with stories, artwork, and even video game adaptations that expanded upon the creature’s lore. The Slender Man’s widespread popularity and cultural impact are a testament to the power of creepypasta, the genre of online horror stories that thrive on shared fear and fascination.

The Case: The Stabbing and Its Aftermath

The Slender Man myth took a terrifying turn in reality in May 2014, when two 12-year-old girls, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, attacked their friend, Payton Leutner, in a wooded area near Waukesha, Wisconsin. The incident, which left Payton with 19 stab wounds, sent shockwaves through the community and beyond, highlighting the potentially dangerous impact of online culture and the complexities of human psychology.

Payton, a quiet and well-liked girl, had been friends with Morgan and Anissa for several years. The three girls, who shared a love for anime and fantasy, often played together, creating a world of make-believe and escapism. However, this shared reality took a sinister turn as the girls became increasingly obsessed with the Slender Man myth. They began to believe that Slender Man was real, a powerful entity who watched them and demanded sacrifices.

On the day of the attack, Morgan and Anissa lured Payton to the woods, claiming they were going to play a game. During the game, Morgan, armed with a kitchen knife, stabbed Payton repeatedly. After leaving her for dead, the girls walked several miles to a nearby park, where they were eventually apprehended.

The Trial and Consequences

The case of the Slender Man stabbing generated widespread media attention and fueled a public debate about the role of online culture and mental health in influencing violent behavior. The girls were charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and their trial in 2017 shed light on the harrowing details of the attack and the complex motivations behind it.

The defense argued that the girls, who were 12 years old at the time of the stabbing, were suffering from mental health issues, particularly shared psychosis, a rare condition where two or more people develop similar delusions or hallucinations. They claimed that Morgan, the primary attacker, was deeply affected by the Slender Man myth and believed she was acting on the orders of the creature. Anissa, while acknowledging her role in the attack, claimed she was pressured by Morgan and fearful of the consequences of refusing her.

The prosecution, however, argued that the girls were aware of the wrongfulness of their actions and were not acting under the influence of any mental illness. They presented evidence of the girls’ planning and their ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

The trial resulted in a controversial verdict: both girls were found guilty of attempted second-degree intentional homicide. Morgan, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was sentenced to 40 years in a mental health institution. Anissa, who was diagnosed with a delusional disorder, received a sentence of 25 years.

The Case’s Lasting Legacy

The Slender Man stabbing case serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers of online culture and the need for critical thinking and digital literacy, particularly among young people. The case fueled public discussions about the role of fiction in shaping our understanding of the world and the impact of unfiltered access to potentially harmful content on our perceptions and behaviors.

The case also brought to light the complexities of mental health and the need for early intervention and support for individuals struggling with mental illness. The defense’s argument that the girls were suffering from shared psychosis raised important questions about the role of mental illness in perpetrating violent acts.

The case had a profound impact on the victims and their families. Payton, who survived the attack but sustained serious physical and emotional injuries, has had to navigate the long road to recovery. She has spoken publicly about her experience, advocating for awareness and support for victims of violence.


The Slender Man stabbing case is a tragic reminder that the lines between fiction and reality are often blurred in the digital age. The case underscores the need for responsible online behavior, critical thinking, and awareness of the potential impact of online content on our minds and actions. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of addressing mental health issues, ensuring that individuals struggling with mental illness receive appropriate support and treatment.

The Slender Man case is not simply a story of internet lore turned deadly; it is a complex and unsettling case that forces us to confront the evolving nature of our relationship with the online world and the need to protect ourselves and each other from the potential dangers it presents.

FAQ Section

What is the Slender Man myth?

Slender Man is a fictional character created in 2009, originating as an online creepypasta. He is often depicted as a tall, slender figure with a blank face, wearing a black suit and long, tentacle-like arms. The Slender Man myth claims he stalks and often harms children, sometimes driving them to acts of violence.

How did the Slender Man myth influence the girls?

The girls believed that Slender Man was real and that he demanded sacrifices. They believed that by attacking their friend, they were appeasing Slender Man and avoiding his wrath.

Why were the girls not convicted of attempted murder?

The girls were not convicted of attempted murder because they were found to have diminished mental capacity at the time of the attack. They were both diagnosed with mental health disorders, which the court considered when determining their sentence.

What is the current status of the girls?

Morgan Geyser is currently serving a 40-year sentence at a mental health institution, while Anissa Weier is serving a 25-year sentence at another mental health institution.

What can be done to prevent similar incidents?

It is important for parents, educators, and community leaders to be aware of the potential dangers of online culture and to educate young people about critical thinking, digital literacy, and the importance of seeking help when encountering disturbing online content.