Back in 2014, twelve-year-old Payton Leutner made headlines across the world.
The sixth-grade student was stabbed nineteen times by two of her classmates.
When it was discovered why twelve-year-olds, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier had carried out the attack, the world took notice.
Upon their arrest, the sixth-graders admitted they did it to appease Slender Man.
For those that don't know Slender man was an online fictitious character.
People wanted to know why a creepypasta Internet meme created on an online forum led two girls to stab their classmate nineteen times.
For the first time since the horrific events of 2014, Payton Leutner has spoken out.
Now, seventeen years old, Payton has taken part in a "20/20" interview.
Have you heard of Slender Man?Like most memes, they rise and fall out of public interest. If it was not for the horrific stabbings attached to this meme perhaps this bogeyman would have disappeared long ago.
Slender Man is still popular.
via: AmazonYou can even purchase Slender Man costumes on Amazon.
There's even been a Slender Man movie.
via: IMDbReleased under much controversy, following the stabbings, Sylvain White released Slender Man in 2018. The horror movie followed a group of friends who become obsessed by the internet lore of the Slender Man and decide to prove he doesn't actually exist. That is until one of them mysteriously goes missing... Spooky, right?
The movie was a little too close to home for some.
via: IMDbBill Weier, the father of Anissa Weier, one of the girls that took part in the stabbing called the trailer "extremely distasteful." In respect to those involved in the crime, Theaters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin decided not to show the film.
But where did Slender Man come from?
via: Knowyourmeme.comAnd what was it about this online bogeyman character that captured so many people's attention?
Introducing Eric Knudsen...
via: Theslenderman.fandomEric Knudsen, otherwise known by his internet chatroom persona, Victor Surge came up with Slender Man.
This was the first image of Slender Man.
via: knowyourmeme.comKnudsen entered a competition in July 2009 on the Something Awful internet forum. It was a photoshop competition wherein contestants were challenged to make images of imagined paranormal activity.
Knudsen created two images.
via: knowyourmeme.comBoth featuring the ominous character, Slender Man lurking in the background. Knudsen added to his submission with extracts of text from imagined witnesses. These texts described the abductions of groups of children and referenced the character's name: "The Slender Man."
Thus became The Slender Man...
via: Knowyourmeme.comThe thread that mythologized the character grew and grew, with Knudsen adding to it constantly. The 4chan board was full of people creating Slender Man related artwork and memes.
The myth grew and grew...
Guys. Is slender man real? LOL— Smallzy 🎧 (@Smallzy 🎧)1565940650.0
Slender Man became iconic...
Trump: “I want you to investigate CrowdStrike.” Zelensky: “Wait...what?” Trump: “CrowdStrike. The 4chan thing.”… https://t.co/2PwYZRfX5S— John Henson (@John Henson)1569766256.0
Introducing Trender Man...
via: knowyourmeme.comIn 2012, a Tumblr user known as Conjured Charisma posted this image to their page. The internet went wild. A sub-genre of Slender Man was born and the memes began to roll in.
But as much as some people took Slender Man as a joke...
via: Knowyourmeme.comPeople did not realize what the effect of the internet boogeyman had on some young people.
Internet obsessions can become dangerous.Most twelve-year-olds get obsessed with pop stars, boybands, actors that played the lead in their favorite vampire book... But what happens when twelve-year-olds get wrapped in the adult joke of a child-killing boogeyman?
The kids got roped into the myth.
It's better known as the Slender Man Trial. These drawings were found in the young girls notebooks: https://t.co/ovtqByzM20— Serial Killers (@Serial Killers)1455910145.0
They planned to kill their friend Payton.
Twelve-year-olds Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were arrested.
It was decided that the girls would be tried as adults.
At hearing for defendant Morgan Geyser, judge in the #Slenderman stabbing case rules she and Anissa Weier will have… https://t.co/NSf1ieRe9F— Nick Bohr (@Nick Bohr)1481565511.0
The sentencing has caused controversy.Whilst some people have agreed with the charges put against the girls, others have sympathized with their age and the mental delusions that led to the killing. Apparently, one of the girls claimed to psychiatrists that before the killing she had "conversed with Lord Voldemort and one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Payton was just a child too when she suffered the attack.
via: Twitter/ ABC2020Now seventeen-years-old, Payton wants to reclaim her story and not just be known as the girl who was stabbed.
Payton's parents also feature during the interview.
via: Twitter/ ABC2020They go into detail about how the incident affected them as a family, and how they have tried to move forward over the past five years.
The interview will be available tonight.
She was the young girl, stabbed 19 times by her best friends. Now, Payton Leutner’s parents speak to @DavidMuir abo… https://t.co/TSchTrCHbU— 20/20 (@20/20)1571959800.0