Who is "Jeff the Killer"? And is his picture haunted by a real death?

You're looking into the face of one of the internet's most disturbing legends: Jeff the Killer, whose face was burned off with acid and who hides in your closet, telling you to GO TO SLEEP. But where did this 2008 image come from? The story is as horrific as the meme itself.

Over at The Daily Dot, Fernando Alfonso reports on some of the possible origin stories for this internet horror legend, as uncovered by people in the 4chan community /x/.

The first tale of Jeff the Killer is probably this weird video from 2008, posted by Sesseur:

But since that time, it's blown up into an incredibly popular meme, morphing into hundreds of creepy incarnations, including stories, more terrifying Photoshops, and even videogames. The question is, where did that first image come from? /x/, a community devoted to urban legends and the supernatural, wanted to find out. There are a lot of theories, but one seems the most plausible — and chilling.

Writes Alfonso:

In the fall of 2008, a girl named Katy Robinson allegedly posted a grainy photo of herself taken in a closet on 4chan's random imageboard, /b/. As the story goes, the girl was bullied relentlessly for her weight and later committed suicide.

Who is "Jeff the Killer"? And is his picture haunted by a real death?

Redditor ninetofivehero claimed Katy's original photo was Photoshopped to create what is now considered the Jeff the Killer photo.

"In one less photoshopped version of the Jeff picture, a mole is clearly visible that's also visible in the picture of Katy," ninetofivehero wrote on Reddit. "It looks in a different position on the face, but that would be a result of the new mouth Photoshopped on to help create Jeff."

Who is "Jeff the Killer"? And is his picture haunted by a real death?

This is the early Photoshopped photo, which is more recognizably Katy.

As you can see, the closet scene with the shirt sleeves is retained in the final Jeff the Killer image at the top of this post, as is Katy's haircut. It does seem plausible that Katy's picture, further altered, became Jeff the Killer. This is therefore an internet legend build on another internet legend, about a teenager who killed herself after being made fun of on /b/.

There is a kind of "haunted Photoshop" aspect to the tale as well, with some people claiming that the final version of the Jeff the Killer face isn't Katy, but is made up of a corpse's eyes and a dog's broken jaw.

So we may have the origin of the Jeff the Killer legend — but we still aren't sure about the Katy suicide legend. Once we get to the bottom of that, we may indeed understand the true origin of this seriously creepy meme.

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