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Internet’s most disturbing photograph begs question: Who was Jeff the Killer?

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Known as Jeff the Killer, he became one of the Internet’s most disturbing legends and favorite bogeyman. His picture shows a pale, nose-less person with soulless eyes and an odd, almost Joker-like grin on his face. The creepy picture spawned several horror fiction stories, YouTube videos, and even a Jeff the Killer video game. But what is the true origin of the eerie 2008 photograph that appeared suddenly on the Internet with little or no explanation striking fear and wonderment in all who viewed it?

The origin of the Jeff the Killer legend

Jeff the Killer appeared on the Internet sometime during or prior to 2008 with no explanation. The photo spread fast, and theories spilled forth as quickly as the photo circulated throughout the Internet. As the phenomena grew, people wondered, who was Jeff the Killer and where did the photo come from?

Some proposed Jeff the Killer was a hybrid photograph created from the eyes of a cadaver and the mouth of a dog. Was the picture a result of Photoshop magic? Others noted that a sequel to the popular horror movie Saw did indeed appear a few weeks after the photo was discovered on the Internet. Was the curious photo publicity for a horror movie? The picture appeared on a popular message board along with other “valid” ghost photographs. Was Jeff the Killer the spirit of a long-lost soul?

Jeff the Killer theories arise, and an Internet meme is born

The most common legend explaining Jeff the Killer begins with bullies pouring bleach on the face of a timid, innocent youth and then lighting the bleach on fire with a match. Face burned beyond recognition, Jeff began experiencing symptoms of psychosis, his mental state degenerating into a soulless, drooling shell of a person. One night, his mother heard cries coming from the bathroom. She went to investigate and found Jeff on the bathroom floor, carving his own face (slicing his mouth and eyelids) with a knife. When asked why he would deface himself, he explained that he simply wanted to “smile forever without feeling any pain”.

The mother returned to the bedroom to warn the father when Jeff appeared suddenly in the doorway crying, “Mother, you lied!” Jeff then murdered his mother and father with a knife. Later in the night, his sister (Liu) awoke to find Jeff lying in bed next to her, staring into her face. He said calmly, “Go to sleep” and then stabbed her to death.

Legend says that Jeff the Killer committed suicide after the fateful events.  Today he hides in your closet and when discovered, whispers “go to sleep” before disemboweling everyone in the home while they lay asleep in their beds.

Oddly, the Jeff the Killer legend may be based on fact.

The heartbreaking story of Katy Robinson

According to legend, in the Fall of 2008, Katy Robinson posted a picture of herself on a 4chan board forum. Forum users bullied her relentlessly about her weight and appearance. The day following, her sister posted another picture of Katy on the bulletin board, the picture we know today as Jeff the Killer, along with a message that read:

“Attention 4chan,

Yesterday, I found my sister in her room, crying her eyes out. I asked her why she was feeling down, and she said it was because she is fat.

I became furious, demanding she tell me who was making fun of her. She said that she posted her picture on a website called, “”. She continued to say that this website made fun of her and posted “shops” of her picture.

I am appalled.

Take a good look at this picture, because this beatiful [spelling sic] woman, my sister, committed suicide later last night.”

The pain from the bane of her tormentors became such that poor Katy committed suicide. Or did we just birth another meme?

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