Slenderman: The Fictional Monster Who Instigated Real Evil
Everyone’s favorite urban legend has evoked sinister repercussions
Several years ago, Slenderman was pretty big at my school. I used to play Slenderman video games and read all about him on the likes of Creepypasta or any other spooky website I could find. We all knew he wasn’t real, of course. But any way I could creep myself out, I would do it.
The Internet, especially back when I was in junior high, had a much bigger impact on people. Most kids truly believed that this tall, ~slender~ monster was truly out to get them and steal their souls (or whatever he did, it's been a while since I've caught up on the lore).
Unfortunately, this paranoia amongst children and teens led to a horrifying act in on May 31, 2014. 12-year-old Morgan invited her two best friends, Anissa and Payton, to a slumber party celebrating her birthday. After a night of normal sleepover activities, the girls decided to play hide-and-seek in a nearby park the next afternoon. Payton slipped away to hide- but was not prepared for the horror about to befall her once she was found.
Payton was greeted by Morgan standing over her holding a large kitchen knife. Morgan then sat on the victim in order to restrain her, but released her once she began to cry out and draw attention. While Anissa was given the knife, she insisted that she was too squeamish to commit the murder and returned it to Morgan, who proceeded to stab Payton an appalling 19 times.
The girls fled the scene, leaving Payton for dead, and began to walk down the road for nearly 5 miles, finally catching the attention of police near a furniture store. With the knife still in their possession, they didn't have much of an alibi.
Incredibly, Payton survived the attack and managed to drag herself out of the woods and catch the attention of a cyclist. She was taken to the hospital where she was told that she had narrowly avoided death, having been stabbed merely a millimeter away from her heart. Once Payton was stable, she immediately identified her attackers as her two best friends who, unbeknownst to her, were already in custody.
So what led Morgan and Anissa to attempt such a heinous act on someone they considered a friend? The girls had developed a strong obsession with Slenderman months before, when they had begun to plot Payton's gruesome murder. As cold-blooded as this attempt on their friend's life was, the girls felt the undeniable need to go through with it because the child-snatching monster allegedly told them to.
Morgan and Anissa had the idea that "Slender" would reveal himself to them once Payton was dead. Their intent was to please him with their devotion to him, prove that the "leader of Creepypasta" was not just a myth and acquire access to his mansion in the woods. Unfortunately, the delusion was so strong that Morgan appeared to show zero remorse for the brutal attempt on her best friend's life, leading to her being institutionalized for early onset schizophrenia.
It was revealed that the girls believed that Slender would kill their families if they did not go through with their plot. The court ruled a not guilty verdict for reason of insanity, committing Morgan to a mental institution and sentencing Anissa to three years in locked confinement followed by psychiatric evaluation for the remainder of her sentence of 25 years to life. Anissa eventually submitted a letter to the court, expressing an apology and deep regret for the events that occurred in 2014.
While this horrible case isn't the only near fatal attempt to appease the urban legend known as Slenderman, it's unnerving to realize the overwhelming influence the Internet can hold over young, impressionable people. Thankfully both victims of Creepypasta's most famous entity survived, but the unforgettable trauma of the ordeals will undoubtedly last a lifetime.