It was a horrific act that transfixed the nation in 2014. Morgan Geyser and her friend Anissa Weier, both 12, lured Payton Leutner, also 12, into the woods after a sleepover. There, Geyser stabbed her 19 times as Weier urged her on. Why? To appease the fictional Slender Man, a tall, spidery paranormal figure who is said to stalk children. Leutner survived the attack. Geyser admitted to the stabbing; and she’s spending the next 40 years of her life in a mental hospital.
But how much do we actually know about Geyser? She may only be 15, but she’s experienced more than most do in a lifetime. Despite being a media sensation, it’s important to remember that Geyser has been sentenced for a gruesome attempted murder. For those fascinated or unnerved by her, we’ve found some interesting facts about her. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about Morgan Geyser and her part in the 2014 Slender Man stabbing.
Morgan Geyser was born January 1, 2002. She grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a small city just 20 miles west of Milwaukee. By all accounts, Geyser had an entirely normal, average childhood. Her parents Matt and Angie Geyser were happily married. She was close to her brother Will and loved pets.
According to a fellow six-grade classmate, Geyser was smart, capable, and cool. That is, until they entered the fourth grade. Then, the classmate said, Morgan started acting “weirdish” and became more and more obsessed with “suicidal things” and with the idea that “Slenderman was coming to get all of us.”
The classmate says that she distanced herself from Geyser after she brandished a sledgehammer, saying it was a weapon and she could do anything she wanted with it.
Little else is known about her life until that fateful day in May 2014, when the quiet, well-mannered Morgan Geyser stabbed her friend, Payton Leutner, 19 times, leaving her for dead.
Morgan Geyser’s Parents
Morgan Geyser’s parents, Matt and Angie, seem to share a love of the macabre. Matt enjoys listening to the stoner rock band Deadboy & the Elephantmen. In fact, his Instagram handle is deadboy420. On his Instagram account, which is now private, Mark posted a photo of skull knuckles, saying, “I think I’d like these.” He also gave his wife a skull and crossbones birthday card.
There is a photo on his now-private Instagram account of him and Morgan at a Green Bay Packers game at Lambeau Field. In it he says, “Damn! She’s a pretty girl. I see trouble in my future. lol”
Matt Geyser was well aware of Morgan’s fascination with Slender Man. In a now famous account, Morgan drew a picture of Slender Man on a napkin. Her father loved the drawing so much he posted it on his Facebook page; beneath the picture he wrote, “Only Mogo draws Slenderman in crayon on a napkin when we are out to dinner.”
Despite being a tight-knit family, Angie said there were no warning signs that her daughter was mentally ill or had murderous intentions. In an interview, Angie Geyser said she had no idea her daughter was capable of carrying out such a heinous act.
“I never would have imagined that my daughter was capable of hurting another person,” Angie Geyser said.
“They [Morgan and Payton] would sit up in Morgan’s room and they would do each other’s nails, and they would laugh, and make a mess,” Angie Geyser said. “They were just typical girls.”
Except we now know that Morgan wasn’t a typical girl. While behind bars, Morgan underwent a mental health evaluation. During the extensive evaluations, Morgan received a rare diagnosis for a young girl: early onset schizophrenia.
Angie said she wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis, because Morgan’s father Matt has schizophrenia. He had been hospitalized at least four times as a teenager to treat the mental illness.
Angie recounts how she learned that Morgan had been visually hallucinating since she was three years old. One of her hallucinations, Angie says, was a tall, slender, shadowy figure. “I think that’s probably what ultimately solidified her belief in Slender Man.”
Morgan, sensing she was different, hid these delusions from family and friends.
On May 31, 2014, Geyser and Weier lured their friend, Payton Leutner, into the nearby woods after a sleepover. Geyser stabbed Leutner 19 times, while Weier shouted “Go ballistic. Go crazy. Make sure she’s down’…”
They left Payton for dead, but she wasn’t. She crawled out of the woods and waved down a passing bicyclist who called 911.
The two girls attempted to murder Payton in an effort to impress Slender Man and to prove to skeptics that the mythical creature was in fact, real. It was a premeditated plan.
After leaving Leutner for dead, the two planned to trek 300+ miles north to the Nicolet National Forest, where they believed Slender Man lived in a mansion. In their minds, killing Leutner would not just impress Slender Man, but it would also make them “proxies” to Slender Man, leaving them just two steps below the Slender Man in the mythical pecking order.
However, the two girls were caught quickly and confessed to the murders. All three girls were 12 years old at the time.
“Beware the Slenderman” is a creepy 117-minute HBO documentary directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky about the 2014 Slender Man stabbings.
“In no way is this a whodunit. It’s a whydunit. It’s a howdunit. How could this have happened? And the answers are very complex,” Brodsky says.
Brodsky gained the trust of the girls’ families and conducted in-depth interviews with them about Morgan and Anissa over an 18-month period.
“The film goes into the minds of the perpetrators, but I also think it goes into the mind of us as a society,” Brodsky says.
“Slenderman appeals to us for many reasons. The facelessness of him means he can be whatever we need him to be. He’s not just a man that preys on children. Some children see him as a guardian angel. Some kids see him as a protector. These girls, they really believed in his power.”
Most critics said the documentary was a straightforward, inevitably engrossing true-crime story.
Crime and Punishment
On February 1, 2018, Morgan Geyser was sentenced to 40 years in a mental facility. The now 15-year-old will be 55 when she is eventually released.
During the proceedings, Geyser wept and apologized to Leutner and her family, “I just want to let Ella and her family know, I am sorry. I never meant for this to happen. I hope that she is doing well.”
In delivering his sentence, Judge Bohren said he could not overlook the severity of Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier’s crimes.
“What we can’t forget is this was an attempted murder, it would have been murder but for just simply time and the interference of serendipity – that the knife wound was not placed in the exact position to kill her, that she didn’t bleed to death and that somebody found her.”
“Otherwise this would be a murder case.”
After the 40-year sentence was handed down, Geyser put her head on the defense table and cried. Her attorney said she would appeal the sentence every six months.
In December 2017, Weier, was committed to 25 years in a mental hospital. She will be 37 when she is eligible for release.