I first met in person with Mary E. in the summer of 2007. I had arranged with her husband of fifteen years, Terence, to see her for an interview. Mary had initially agreed, since I was not a newsman but rather an amateur writer gathering information for a few early college assignments and, if all went according to plan, some pieces of fiction. We scheduled the interview for a particular weekend when I was in Chicago on unrelated business, but at the last moment Mary changed her mind and locked herself in the couple’s bedroom, refusing to meet with me.
For half an hour, I sat with Terence as we camped outside the bedroom door, I listening and taking notes while he attempted fruitlessly to calm his wife. The things Mary said made little sense, but fit into the pattern I was expecting: though I could not see her, I could tell from her voice that she was crying, and more often than not her objections to speaking with me centered around an incoherent diatribe on her dreams – her nightmares.
Terence apologized profusely when we ceased the exercise, and I did my best to take it in stride; recall that I wasn’t a reporter in search of a story, but merely a curious young man in search of information. Besides, I thought at the time, I could perhaps find another, similar case if I put my mind and resources to it.
Mare E. was the sysop for a small Chicago-based Bulletin Board System in 1992 when she first encountered smile.jpg and her life changed forever. She and Terence had been married for only five months. Mary was one of an estimated 400 people who saw the image when it was posted as a hyperlink on the BBS, though she is the only one who has spoken openly about the experience. The rest have remained anonymous, or are perhaps dead.
In 2005, when I was only in tenth grade, smile.jpg was first brought to my attention by my burgeoning interest in web-based phenomena; Mary was the most often cited victim of what is sometimes referred to as “Smile.dog,” the being smile.jpg is reputed to display.
What caught my interest (other than the obvious macabre elements of the cyber-legend and my proclivity toward such things) was the sheer lack of information, usually to the point that people don’t believe it even exists other than as a rumor or hoax. It is unique because, though the entire phenomenon centers on a picture file, that file is no where to be found on the internet; certainly many photo-manipulated simulacra litter the web, showing up with the most frequency on sites such as the image-board 4chan, particularly the /x/-focused paranormal sub board.
It is suspected that these are fakes because they do not have the effect the true smile.jpg is believed to have, namely sudden onset temporal lobe epilepsy and acute anxiety. This purpoted reaction in the viewer is one of the reasons the phantom-like smile.jpg is regarded with such disdain, since it is patently absurd, though depending on whom you ask, the reluctance to acknowledge smile.jpg’s existence might be just as much out of fear as it is out of disbelief.
Neither smile.jpg nor Smile.dog is mentioned anywhere on Wikipedia, though the website features articles on such other, perhaps more scandalous shocksites such as gotse (hello.jpg) or 2girls1cup; any attempt to create a page pertaining to smile.jpg is summarily deleted by any of the encyclopedia’s many admins.
Encounters with smile.jpg are the stuff of internet legend. Mary E.’s story is not unique; there are unverified rumors of smile.jpg showing up in the early days of usenet and even one persistent tale that in 2002 a hacker flooded the forums of humor and satire website Something Awful with a deluge of Smile.dog pictures, rendering almost of the forum’s users at the time epileptic. It is also said that in the mid-to-late 90s that smile.jpg circulated on Usenet and as an attachment of a chain email with the subject like “SMILE!! GOD LOVES YOU!”
Yet despite the huge exposure these stunts would generate, there are very few people who admit to having experienced any of them and no trace of the file or any link has ever been discovered. Those who claim to have seen smile.jpg often weakly joke that they were far too busy to save a copy of the picture to their hard drive.
However, all alleged victims offer the same description of the photo: a dog-like creature (usually described as appearing similar to a Siberian Husky), illuminated by the flash of the camera, sits in a dim room, the only background detail visible being a human hand extending from the darkness near the left side of the frame. The hand is empty, but is usually described as “beckoning.” Of course, most attention is given to the dog (or dog-creature, as some victims are more certain than others about what they claim to have seen). The muzzle of the beast is reputedly split in a wide grin, revealing two rows of very white, very straight, very sharp, and very human-looking teeth. This is, of course, not a description given immediately after viewing the picture, but rather a recollection of the victims, who claim to have seen the picture endlessly repeated in their mind’s eye during the time they are, in reality, having epileptic fits.
These fits are reported to continue indeterminably, often while the victims sleep, resulting in very vivid and disturbing nightmares. These may be treated with medication, though in some cases it is more effective than others. Mary E., I assumed, was not on effective medication.
That was why, after my visit to her apartment in 2007, I sent out feelers to several folklore- and urban legend-orientated newsgroups, websites, and mailing lists, hoping to find the name of a supposed victim of smile.jpg who felt more interested in talking about his experiences. For a time, nothing happened and at length I forgot completely about my pursuits, since I had begun my freshman year of college and was quite busy. Mary contacted me via email, however, near the beginning of March 2008.
Subj: Last summer’s interview
Dear Mr. L.,
I am incredibly sorry about my behavior last summer when you came to interview me. I hope you understand that it was no fault of yours, but rather my own problems that led me to act out as I did. I realized that I could have handled the situation more decorously; however, I hope you will forgive me. At the time, I was afraid.
You see, for fifteen years I have been haunted by smile.jpg. Smile.dog comes to me in my sleep every night. I know that sounds silly, but it is true. There is an ineffable quality about my dreams, my nightmares, that makes them completely unlike any real dreams I have ever had. I do not move and do not speak. I simply look ahead, and the only thing ahead of me is the scene from that horrible picture. I see the beckoning hand, and I see Smile.dog. It talks to me.
I thought for a long time about my options. I could show it to a stranger, a coworker… I could even show it to Terence, as much as the idea disgusted me. And what would happen then? Well, if Smile.dog kept its word, I could sleep. Yet, if it lied, what would I do? And who was to say something worse would not come for me if I did as the creature asked?
So, I did nothing for fifteen years, though I kept the diskette hidden amongst my things. Every night for fifteen years Smile.dog has come to me in my sleep and demanded that I spread the word. For fifteen years I have stood strong, though there have been hard times. Many of my fellow victims on the BBS board where I first encountered smile.jpg stopped posting; I heard some of them committed suicide. Others remained completely silent, simply disappearing off the face of the web. They are the ones I worry about the most. I sincerely hope you will forgive me, Mr. L., but last summer when you contacted me and my husband about an interview I was near the breaking point. I did not care if Smile.dog was lying or not; I wanted it to end. You were a stranger, someone I had no connection with, and i thought I would not feel sorrow when you took the diskette as part of your research and sealed your fate. Before you arrived, I realized what I was doing: I was plotting to ruin your life.
I could not stand the thought, and in fact I still cannot. I am ashamed, Mr. L., and I hope that this warning will dissuade you from further investigation of smile.jpg. You may in time encounter someone who is, if not weaker than I, then wholly more depraved, someone who will not hesitate to follow Smile.dog’s orders. Stop while you are still whole.
Terence contacted me later that month with the news that his wife had killed herself. While cleaning up the various things she’d left behind, closing email accounts and the like, he happened upon the above message. He was a man in shambles; he wept as he told me to listen to his wife’s advice. He’d found the diskette, he revealed, and burned it until it was nothing but a stinking pile of blackened plastic. The part that most disturbed him, however, was how the diskette had hissed as it melted. Like some sort of animal, he said.
I will admit that I was a little uncertain about how to respond to this. At first, I thought, perhaps it was a joke, with the couple belatedly playing with the situation in order to get a rise out of me, but a quick check of several Chicago newspapers’ online obituaries, however, proved that Mary E. was indeed dead. There was, of course, no mention of suicide in the article.
I decided that, for at least a time, I would not further pursue the subject of smile.jpg, especially since I had finals coming up at the end of May. But the world has odd ways of testing up. Almost a full year after I’d returned from my disastrous interview with Mary E., I received another email:
I found your e-mail address thru a mailing list your profile said you are interested in smiledog. I have saw it it is not as bad as every one says I have sent it to you here. Just spreading the word.
The final line chilled me to the bone. According to my email client there was one file attachment called, naturally, smile.jpg. I considered downloading it for some time. It was most likely a fake, I imagined, and even if it weren’t I was never wholly convinced of smile.jpg’s peculiar powers. Mary E.’s account had shaken me, yes, but she was probably mentally unbalanced anyway. After all, how could a single image do what smile.jpg was said to accomplish? What sort of creature was it that could break one’s mind with only the power of the eye?
And if such things were patently absurd, then why did the legend exist at all? If I downloaded the image, if I looked at it, and if Mary turned out to be correct, if Smile.dog came to me in my dreams demanding I spread the word, what would I do? Would I live my life as Mary had, fighting against the urge to give in until I died? Or would I simply spread the word, eager to be put to rest? And if I chose the latter route, how could I do it? Whom would I burden in turn? If I went through with my earlier intention to write a short article about smile.jpg, I decided, I could attach it as evidence, and anyone who read the article, anyone who took interest, would be affected. And, even assuming the smile.jpg attached to the email was genuine, would I be capricious enough to save myself in that manner?
56 Comments on 'The Curious Case of Smile.jpg'
A classic. That pic still gives me the creps.
This post needs to be proof read and corrected as there are a few typos and mistakes.
The picture however is seriously creepy.
My friend read this. The next day at school she said she was having dreams about smile.jpg. I believe this is the real image.
I avoided looking at the picture for 10 minutes 😀 great pasta!
Good Pasta, but no bad dreams though lol
Never had the dreams but every time I see that pic I get so paranoid it ain’t funny.
I had to close my eyes to scroll to the comments, seriously creepy!
Good pasta tasted amazing. No dreams, but rely creepy.
Great pasta. The picture doesn’t really creep me out. No dreams, yet.
i like how that photo is probably genuine as you can see the beckoning hand!
Scared now 🙁
I have no dreams about it but when I see the pic it makes me paranoid! Good pasta, 4-5 stars
it’s a bit overlong, no? and as another user commented, quite a few grammatical errors / awkward phrasings. also, that picture is just grainy and blurry… why is it creepy?
bloddy hand in the corner BLOODY HAND IN THE CORNER 5/5 ;-;
That dogs eyes freak me out more then they smile…I don’t know why. Good story, it made me paranoid enough to not want to look at the picture.
I don’t know if it’s the quality of my phone or what but I don’t see the hand. The dog looks like just a creepy husky. Granted the story did make me paranoid about looking at the picture but when I actually look close it really is not that creepy.
not scary like wtf
try some one actually DYING
or smile dog needs LAWTS OF BLOOD
To put to rest people who are afraid this is the real pic of Smile Dog, there is no real pic of him. It’s been photoshopped so many times that the actual one was lost in the Internet. 10/1 breads for the story.
I read this in the dark with my too dogs lying next to me. I dreaded looking at the pic. Gave it a quick glance. Scary stuff.
I’ve seen this picture before, but this is the first time I’ve noticed the hand. Good Pasta, very creepy. Love it.
Ok so I was thinking about smile dog when I was in my bed and everyone in my house was sleeping! So when I was thinking about it I heard knocking on my door! O.O
i saw the pick felt a somebody’s watching you itch on the back of my neck scared to go to sleep now. i need to get off this sight now before i make myself go crazy and my biography ends up on this sight and the verify humanity thingy below um first grade math. but the picture i got stuck for five minutes starring at the pic did any one notice the dog kinda has a derp face
Good creepy pasta! Very scary i’ll see if i get the dreams if i never visit this site again, he has got me…
Good Pasta but the story kind of got ruined at the end. You said that the people who looked at the picture got epilepsy. I didn’t have a spasm attack. I guess that’s okay since you don’t want the readers to die but you get the point. Still it was really good.
Who else said ‘ Time to fuck with myself’ and typed in Smile.jpg? Cause that’s what I did
When I looked at the picture I could see the more demonic version of Smile Dog.
Now that I think about it, I’ve been having dizzy spells a lot more often ever since I saw the pic of Smile Dog at the bottom of this pasta. Seriously creeped out now, thanks a lot IAmBread. P.S. I wonder who posted Smile Dog the first time it ever showed up.
uh duz any1 else see the skeletal face in the lower fingerprint???
That image… Oh God! Creepy D:
Epic. How does one get the picture in a pasta? I’d love to include one with a story I’m writing…
Wow! AMAZING CREEPYPASTA. Especially the picture of the dog. Was I the only one who saw bloody fingerprints on the picture?
Help every time I close my eyes I see smile.jpg
Alao I didnt know you could put pics in your creepypastas
Wait did anyone see the letters in the window
Oh my God. There actually are letters in the window. Holy crap.
Oh my God. There actually are letters in the window. Holy crap. This is really creepy.
Apparently I’m more sensitive than I thought, that pic is freaky, I rate this pasta 8/10
lol I love this pasta
I’m so not freaked out…
Actually, yeah, I am.
This is a classic pasta
well made and that image will haunt me.
ur retarded lol
I smelled dog breath after this. But I also didn’t brush my teeth this morning. 9/10
Well written pasta! Although this picture is kinna funny
Super grateful for my non-demonic kitties now…
amazing and well written 5/5
I’ve Done Research On This, Many Websites Say That It’s True Which I Believe. smile.jpg Is A Creepypasta But I’ve Actually Met With Mary, Just Like The Pasta! I’m Am Super Paranoid And I Hope I Never See Smile Dog!
Who actually had the bravery to look straight at Smile Dog?
my heart started beating faster once the picture came into view!
ha!! — i liked this a lot.. good suspense 😛 this really creeped me out
I honestly loved it but I honestly will look up smile.jpg just to either see of its real or go insane because I’m bored
I honestly loved it but I honestly will look up smile.jpg just out of curiosity
That pic is sorta scary but have you seen the other one? That’s the one the freaks me out. I actually have had nightmares and smile dog has sorta been in them but that’s only because it’s scary
Like basing this on how scary it is I give the creepypasta a 9.5/10
So scary but cool!
At first that one other pic gave me like a panic attack tho tbh..
Amazing pasta one of the scariest ones I read, as soon as I saw the pic my heart kept out of my chest and and my courage said f that never have I been up a page so fast in my life 10 of 10
The pic scares me wayyyyy more than it should tbh