Jeff the Killer
Jeff The Killer, also called Killer Jeff, is a famous creepypasta, fictional character, and image commonly used in screamers. Jeff the Killer refers to an edited image of a pale, noseless, unknown person with black eyes with white and black pupils, and a long canine-like smile, in a dark room with laundry hanging in the background. The creepypasta surrounding the image suggests that the person in the image is a 13-year-old serial killer named Jeff who sneaks into people's homes and whispers "Go to sleep" before killing them with a knife.
This image became controversial when it was believed to be of a supposed woman named "Katy Robinson," who had allegedly committed suicide in 2008. This belief originated on 4chan in 2008, but after years of extensive research, it was revealed that the image originated on a Japanese message board website called pya.cc in 2005. This more famous image, in particular, is also an edited version of another earlier version, called White powder (2) (also called JTK 1), which appears to be an edited image of a person with a googly, cartoon eyes and a large smile. The former file name of this image was "prettyFACE.jpg" before it was posted onto pya.cc. The more famous version was further edited in Adobe Photoshop to make the mouth stretch out using the liquify tool and the eyes edited to have white and black pupils.
The Creepypasta revolves around Jeffery Woods, a 13-year-old boy living in a suburban town with his family. After a move to a new neighborhood, Jeff and his brother Liu encounter three bullies who mug them at knifepoint. In self-defense, Jeff fights back and paralyzes the bullies. However, when the police arrive, Jeff and Liu are wrongly accused of attacking the bullies. Liu, feeling pressured, implicates Jeff in the incident, leading Jeff into a state of depression. Seeking to lift Jeff's spirits, his mother suggests attending a party. In a moment of rage, Jeff confronts the bullies and brutally beats them, resulting in the death of one. He lures the remaining bullies into a bathroom, intending to harm them, but they douse him in alcohol and set him on fire. Jeff survives but suffers disfiguring burns to his face, which he oddly embraces.
While in the hospital, Jeff learns that Liu was released after the truth came to light. However, upon removing his bandages, Jeff becomes obsessed with his disfigured appearance and proceeds to further harm himself by burning off his eyelids and carving a permanent smile on his face. His mother, realizing his mental state, confides in his father that Jeff is insane and needs to be eliminated. Upon overhearing their conversation, Jeff kills his parents and transforms into a serial killer. He enters people's homes, instructs them to "go to sleep," and proceeds to murder them. One of his victims includes his own brother Liu, whom he fatally stabs.
History and development
Prior to the release of the original backstory video, a character known as Jeff The Killer gained attention on the Newgrounds account "killerjeff," created by Sesseur on June 7, 2006. Sesseur portrayed his own version of Jeff in this account. In a news post dated August 10th, 2008, Sesseur mentioned discovering a photoshopped image on Encyclopedia Dramatica and decided to develop a backstory for it. Originally, Jeff was intended to be part of a game similar to Bloody Mary, in which a participant would need to hide in a dark room closet, sit cross-legged, and repeatedly say "He's in here with me" three times while turning their head back and forth. Afterward, the person was to close their eyes and call out the name "Jeff" to make him supposedly appear before them, until the participant stands still or compliments him; otherwise, nightmares were said to follow.
On October 3rd, 2008, a YouTube video presented a different version of Jeff The Killer's backstory compared to the one mentioned earlier. In this version, Jeff accidentally spilled a gallon of acid on his face while cleaning a bathtub. The more widely known version, created by a fan of his earlier work, depicts Jeff's transformation into an insane serial killer. Interestingly, Jeff's real name in this story is Jeffery C. Hodek, not "Jeffrey Woods." The original backstory video, which once existed, got removed when YouTube terminated Sesseur's channel. Subsequently, a Brazilian channel called PhenomenonPoltergeist re-uploaded the video to YouTube on January 20, 2014, but without any audio, as the original version contained "I Guess You're Right" by The Posies as background music. At a later point, the video with the original audio surfaced on YouTube through a user named Bob's Brother, but it was eventually deleted when that channel faced termination.
On August 14, 2011, the image was posted to 4chan captioned "Go to sleep"; the caption had become known as Jeff's signature catchphrase.
During the rise of creepypastas' popularity, various screamers incorporated the image of Jeff the Killer to frighten viewers. Examples of these screamers include Anne.jpg, Spooky Scary Skeletons and others. The first screamer to feature Jeff the Killer as a jumpscare image was in a YouTube video titled NNN Special Broadcast created on August 2, 2007, as part of a horror film project called "Victims of Tomorrow." In this video, the Jeff the Killer image appears at the 4:11 mark, followed by the text "おやすみなさい" on a black screen, which translates to "good sleep" in English, resembling the phrase "go to sleep."
4chan controversy and image origin
- See Also: 4chan
The image sparked controversy when rumors circulated that it depicted an unedited photograph of a woman named "Katy Robinson," who allegedly committed suicide due to cyberbullying on 4chan. The rumors stemmed from a post dated April 21, 2008, supposedly written by Katy Robinson's brother, claiming her suicide was a result of online bullying. However, other 4chan users disputed this claim, stating that the image was of a dog with a broken jaw. In an interview with ScareTheater, Sesseur, the creator of the earlier story, claimed that the image was of himself wearing a white latex mask.
Interestingly, the earliest known sighting of this image occurred on the Japanese message board, pya.cc, where two versions of the image (a less edited and a more edited one) were uploaded between September 10 and November 16, 2005, by users Mr. Malholland and Omega Boruto (Omega Volt). The first version, titled "White powder (2)," was less edited than the one associated with the character of Jeff. Further research revealed that the woman in the picture was actually named "Katherine White," who was alive and raising two children. A Reddit user even contacted Katherine on Facebook to inquire about the rumors circulating on 4chan, to which she responded by threatening legal action against those responsible for spreading the false death rumor on /b/. It turns out that the image of this woman was initially posted on the site TrueChristian.com on November 17, 2004.
An alternative story emerged from users on 4chan's /b/ imageboard, attempting to explain the origin of these images. This narrative revolves around an alleged woman named "Victoria," who worked as a webcam model on Stickam and utilized /b/ for self-promotion. A /b/ user took a screenshot of her face and asked the board if she was pretty. Subsequently, other users on 4chan began photoshopping the image and posting their edited versions in response, with one user posting a less-edited version along with the caption "Now you are." Once the woman became aware of the post, she promptly disappeared from the internet. "Victoria" is yet another example of individuals rumored to be the person in the image. Additionally, there is a separate rumor suggesting the image depicts an overweight Japanese girl in a room with hanging laundry, who allegedly spammed her image across the Japanese image board 2chan (Futaba Channel) in 2004.
The original file name of the less-edited Jeff the Killer image is White powder (2), suggesting the existence of another version that predates the existing two. Some people have speculated that an image known as "Green Eyed Jeff" may be the original, though this theory has been proven false. Investigators were able to track down Mr. Malholland, the pya.cc user who first posted the White powder (2) image on that site, on his Twitter account Miyama. His responses to the investigator's questions were:
- "To put it simply, in mid-2005, a cropped image of a video of a middle-aged Asian woman appeared in Japan. At that point [her] face was white. *I edited a little in Photoshop to post to "pya.cc".
- "I remember watching the video only once, but unfortunately I don't have it now. It also doesn't seem to exist on the internet."
- "By the way, the image I found is almost the same as white powder (Pt.2). I just made a few corrections. Therefore, the real creator is another person. and I think the video was indoors somewhere in Asia, but I don't remember."
- "Brightness was clarified by level correction. It's a minor edit. I hardly remember what filter mode I used."
- "It was 15 years ago, so I don't remember it, but it's "http://shitaraba.com" or others... However, since "http://shitaraba.com" is BBS, only someone made it was posted. The BBS has closed."
- "By the way, this image was posted on various bulletin boards as a surprise image. This image was going around as a Japanese meme back then. *The original story is a crop of an Asian (Japan?) Video, but I think no one probably remembers it. Then, good night again!!"
- "At least I couldn't find the video. I remember the woman in the video coming up to the camera."
- "Someone edited the cropped image of a video. This image was posted on various BBS as a scare image and spread in Japan. The reason why this image spread was that it was suddenly posted on various BBS and it was a scare image, so I think it left a strong impression on everyone."
- "There was no fixed name. For example, some people called it "いつもの画像", (usual image) "オバQ", and so on. I'm sorry, but this is the end of the reply to this tweet so that the message exchange is not cluttered."
Mr. Malholland (Miyama) suggests the image originated from an unknown video, and that Jeff the Killer is a highly photoshopped image of a woman. He claims the image was already photoshopped when he found it, and he slightly edited it further and posted it to pya.cc, meaning he created the White powder (2) (JTK 1) version, but not the original photoshop. Omega Volt took his edit and turned it into the famous Jeff the Killer image (JTK 2). For now, the complete origins of Jeff the Killer remain unknown, this alleged video remains lost, and the search continues.
- Cotter, Padraig. “Who Is Jeff The Killer? Creepypasta's Evil Villain Explained.” ScreenRant, 21 June 2019, screenrant.com/jeff-killer-creepypasta-villain-origin-explained/.
- Wilkinson, Chase. “6 Terrifying Creepypasta Stories That Need Movie Adaptations.” CBR, 30 Nov. 2021, from https://www.cbr.com/creepypasta-stories-that-need-movie-adaptations/.
- Cotter, Padraig. “Who Is Jane the Killer? Creepypasta Character Explained.” ScreenRant, 17 May 2019, screenrant.com/jane-killer-creepypasta-origin-explained/.
- Houston, Madison. “From Legendary Horror Icon to Internet Meme: Jeff The Killer.” Nerdvana, 1 Mar. 2017, nerdvanamedia.com/sci-fi-fantasy/legendary-horror-icon-internet-meme-jeff-killer/118341/.
- III, Fernando Alfonso. “4chan Hunts down the Origins of an Internet Horror Legend.” The Daily Dot, 1 June 2021, https://www.dailydot.com/unclick/4chan-x-origins-jeff-the-killer/
- [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhPpcvD01Ok&t=90s "Interview with the Creator of Jeff the Killer"] December 12, 2015 - via YouTube.
- [Jeff the Killer - new image origins? "https://www.reddit.com/r/creepypasta/comments/bd5wzp/jeff_the_killer_new_image_origins/"] - u/[deleted] on Reddit.
- [https://archive.4plebs.org/x/thread/23477917/ "Finding the unedited image of "Jeff" (Oldfag Edition)"] 28 Sep 2019 - Anonymous on 4chan.org
NOTE: The following links contain potentially scary images!
- Miyama's White powder (2) (JTK 1) edit: web.archive.org/web/20180118092048/pya.cc/pyaimg/pimg.php?imgid=17882
- Earliest version of JTK: web.archive.org/web/20051025223113/gazo05.chbox.jp/occult/src/1123087197322.jpg
- More famous image used for the character of Jeff (JTK 2): web.archive.org/web/20210618155920/pya.cc/pyaimg/pimg.php?imgid=20716
- Original story with no audio: youtube.com/watch?v=5RSDIIEoLkA
- Learn more: youtube.com/watch?v=aVAie3i18SA
If you recall ever watching such a video, as Mr. Malholland described, or have any helpful information, please let r/OriginalJTKImage know or reply in the comments.