Two 12-year-old girls from Waukesha, Wisconsin have been charged with first-degree attempted homicide after allegedly stabbing their friend this past weekend as an offering to a fictional Internet character called Slender Man.
Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier face up to 65 years in prison.
The Journal Sentinel reports “the victim, whose name has not been released, was stabbed Saturday 19 times, including in the heart, one of the wounds barely missing a major artery.”
It’s a confusing story, so we’ll try to piece it together here.
What (or who) is Slender Man?
The fictional man is depicted as tall and thin with a featureless face, dressed in a black suit and hides in the woods. According to the Wikipedia page, “Slender Man is commonly said to stalk, abduct, or traumatize people, particularly children.”
Since 2009, Slender Man has gone viral, appearing in various stories on sites like CreepyPasta, games, and apps. Aleks Krotoski, a commentator for BBC Radio 4, called the Slender Man “the first great myth of the web.”
He is depicted in lots of different ways, as you can see from the search below:
“She seemed normal,” [a friend] said, referring to Weier.
The Daily Dot reports that after the girls spent tons of time obsessing over Slender Man (Weier even had a picture of Slender Man as the background on her iPad) they allegedly believed Slender Man was “watching” their families and asked them to kill someone,” believing if they could carry out a murder, Slender Man would spare their families and take them to his mansion.
The murder would make the girls what some corners of the web call proxies — those who are under the influence and control of Slender Man.
According to peers, Geyser and Weier were good friends with their victim, and planned the murder attempt for many months.
The Journal Sentinal says the victim was “one millimetre away from certain death.“
Charged as adults
Pre-teens Geyser and Weier are currently being tried in Waukesha County Circuit Court as adults. The girls’ attorney hopes to “reverse waive” them into juvenile court, with a maximum sentence of 13 years.
Nancy Kaser-Boyd, a forensic psychologist at Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, told the Journal Sentinal that the girls’ actions were rare, but that “typical 12-year-old children know that killing a person is a permanent action.”
“Plotting such an action over many weeks, and whispering about it on the bus, as one of the girls told police they did, demonstrates a malevolence,” she was quoted saying.
“There is a sadistic quality to that.”
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