On June 1, 2014, a trio of twelve-year-old girls ventured into the woods in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for a sinister game of hide-and-seek – a game that ended with 19 stab wounds and a slew of questions from the public.
Two of the girls, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, allegedly ganged up on their friend with a kitchen knife and left her, bleeding and helpless, until a bicyclist found her on Saturday morning. The most perplexing part of the children’s violent out lash was their motivation: to win the favor of a fictional internet character called Slenderman.
Geyser and Weir discovered Slenderman on the website Creepy Pasta, which features fictional horror stories from contributing users. The website clearly advertises that its contents are not factual, but the girls became obsessed with the character. According to the stories’ lore, Slenderman is a ghostly, faceless man who stalks and eats children. Over the course of several months, the girls became determined to win Slenderman’s approval by committing a similar crime. Geyser admitted that they had been planning to kill their friend since February.
Despite the numerous stab wounds, including one that was a mere millimeter from puncturing her heart, the girl lived and is now recovering at home. Police arrested Geyser and Weier hours after the girl was found. After being held on preliminary charges of first-degree attempted homicide, the two girls are being tried as adults, and bail has been set for each at $500,000.
As news of the girls’ charges reached the press, much debate has arisen about how the law should handle this pair of allegedly homicidal preteens. According to Geyser’s attorney, Anthony Cotton, Geyser is being held at a female juvenile detention facility, and the girls’ parents are appalled and shocked. Both girls, at this point in the case’s development, are being tried as adults. Cotton expects that they will both be subject to a mental evaluation soon in order to fairly determine the motivations behind the girls’ heinous actions.
Many are quick to blame Creepy Pasta, the place of Slenderman’s online origins. The girls’ apparently unmonitored access to the website – which has a gateway upon entry asking to confirm the user is 18 or older – lead many people to blame both parents and the website’s unfiltered content. The website issued a lengthy statement stating that they do not condone violence in any capacity and announced their new charity, Narrators uNighted, whose proceeds will go towards both the victim and preventative measures against similar violence.
If tried as adults and found guilty, Geyser and Weier could face up to 65 years in prison.