On a warm morning in May 2014, three 12-year-old girls bounded toward the woods for a game of hide-and-seek. However, things quickly took a chilling turn. Two of the eight graders, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, allegedly had been plotting the murder of their friend Payton Leutner, for months. After luring Leutner into the woods, they proceeded to stab her 19 times with a kitchen knife.

Thankfully, Leutner survived the attack, after being left for dead by her “friends.” She was found by a passing truck driver, delivered to a hospital and treated for the multiple wounds, two of which were to major organs.

Geyser and Weier allegedly did this so they could get in good graces with Slenderman, a fictional horror character born from a dark corner of the internet, who is said to abduct and kill children.

Beware the Slenderman, a documentary premiering on HBO, will gives viewers an inside look on the background of the teenage attackers, their families, and the ongoing court case where they will be tried as adults.

Some of the most troubling parts of the documentary was the footage of Geyser and Weier speaking with detectives just hours after the stabbing. Geyser was calm and emotionless when recounting the events, not crying or showing any remorse. Weier, on the other hand, cried multiple times when questioned, but when referring to the stabbing, described it as “like lionesses chasing down a zebra.”

The attempted murder was clearly premeditated; a checklist was found titled “supplies necessary” and included things like: “pepper spray, map of forest, the will to live, weapons (kitchen knife), and flashlights.”

In the documentary, a private investigator showed the court perturbing drawings of Slenderman, all found in Geyser’s room. On the drawings were phrases like “he will find you,” “I want to die,” and “the pain is inside.” It’s later revealed that Geyser had been living with undiagnosed schizophrenia, which made her believe her visions of Slenderman were real. Viewers also learn that her father had also suffered from schizophrenia his whole life.

Weier, on the other hand, who initially seemed like just a girl who wanted to fit in and make friends, turned out to have a more menacing side. Her YouTube viewing history was found, and showed videos of a questionnaire to see if you’re a psychopath, and a cat killing a mouse. On the cat video, she commented that she liked how the cat beat it to death.

Though the victim and her family didn’t take part in the documentary, her tale was still told, by her detective Shelley Fisher. Fisher’s retelling of Leutner’s story is chilling, especially when she tells of when Morgan climbed on top of Leutner and whispered “I’m sorry,” before stabbing her multiple times.

Beware the Slenderman premiers on HBO Monday, Jan. 23, 2017.


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