Mollie Chambers

As COVID-19 continues to keep me cooped up inside, I have found myself binge watching an unhealthy number of documentaries. My most recent binge “Beware the Slenderman” brought to my attention a horrific stabbing that took place in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

In 2014, two 12-year-old girls lured their supposed best friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times. The two girls later revealed that they did this to please “Slender Man.”

However, unlike most cases I’ve covered thus far, their victim survived. Payton Leutner is the survivor of the stabbing and has since spoken out about her attack to ABC News. Leutner revealed during her interview that if the knife her 'friends' used on her had been the width of a human hair deeper it would have cost her her life.

While this documentary is full of shock facts regarding this case, I’d like to highlight the three that stood out to me most:

1. The age of all three girls

On May 30, 2014, Payton Leutner, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier had a sleepover to celebrate Geyser’s birthday. Geyser’s mother recalls that on the night of the sleepover, the girls were acting like “typical 12-year-olds.” They were running up and down the stairs, and their laughter could be heard all around the house.

Leutner revealed to ABC News that she had been looking forward to the sleepover for weeks and couldn’t wait to spend time with her friends. However, she had no idea that the next day her life would be changed forever.

It saddens me that behind a night that seemed so innocent, there was such a sinister plan in place. Geyser and Weier were able to fool not only their best friend but also Geyser’s mother. The acts these girls performed showed maturity beyond their years, maturity that could have been used for good.

2. Worshipping ‘Slender Man’

Slender Man is a fictional character that originated from a scary story written on Creepypasta Wiki. He is described as a tall, thin, faceless man who abducts children. Geyser and Weier both formed a strange obsession with this character, which made their friendship grow stronger.

The duo grew so obsessed with the character that they longed to live in the Slender Man mansion. This mansion was supposedly where the character lived along with the children he abducted. The girls believed that in order to gain entry they needed to kill someone.

It was the girls’ longing to be with Slender Man that drove them to stab Leutner. Geyser and Weier committed this heinous act with only one goal in mind: pleasing Slender Man.

I find Geyser and Weier’s devotion to Slender Man the most puzzling element of this case. When I was 12 years old, I was obsessed with One Direction, but there’s no way I would have killed my best friend over them. The level of loyalty they felt towards a fictional character is something I will never understand.

3. Geyser and Weier’s behavior during questioning

Despite being stabbed 19 times, Leutner was able to crawl out of woods and onto a main road where she was spotted by a biker. After finding Leutner soaked in blood, he called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital. At the hospital, Leutner revealed to authorities that her attackers were her best friends.

It didn’t take authorities long to find Geyser and Weier. After being found, they were taken in for questioning. During their questioning both girls exhibited behavior that I found odd.

While being questioned by detectives, Geyser asked where Leutner was and if she was dead. It wasn’t only the questions themselves that raised red flags for me but also the tone in which Geyser asked them in. Throughout the duration of her questioning, Geyser kept the same unapologetic tone. She did not appear to feel any remorse for what she had done.

Weier also had her share of questionable actions during her interrogation.

Weier asked the detective how far her and Geyser had walked. She likely asked this question to be able to map out just how close she had gotten to the Slender Man mansion. This is an absurd thing to worry about when you’re facing possible time in jail. I believe this shows just how deep Weier’s devotion to Slender Man went.

Geyser and Weier were both charged with attempted murder and are currently serving time in prison. However, Leutner’s family says that their daughter will live with the emotional trauma the two girls caused her forever.

Mollie Chambers is a freshman majoring in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at mollcham@vols.utk.edu.

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