The Curious Case of Smile.jpg by JML
1/24/12 – Team Conclusion
After much research and team conversations involving Matt Valentine, We have concluded that the oldest traceable image tied to this story is in fact the original one with the smiling human looking teeth and the bloody fingerprints “smile.dog.jpg.” Everything else has been photoshoped manipulations/hybrids of this original. People constantly sending me what they believe is the “real” Smile.jpg. I plan to compose a new page of all the images I’ve received that people think are the real ones. Feel free to send what you think is “REAL.” As for this page, the original (or at least as far back as we could trace) is the strange image with the bloody finger prints on the Poloroid. This is our professional opinion, if there is such a thing regarding this subject. So what happened to me testing the photo? Well I’ve had numerous nightmares, but I’ve always had nightmares. I can’t recall if I’ve seen the grim Husky in my dreams. I’ve had many Alien nightmares. Maybe the Husky is a Star Gate to a ship full of Grey’s holding strange probes? Some self proclaimed mediums that have come into my house say I have brought spirits into it from past ghost hunts. All I can conclude is it is a very eerie intriguing photo. If you let it haunt you, it will gladly do so. Judge for yourselves with an open mind. Sincerely, ~Shad
8/15/11 – Freedom of Speech
You would be amazed at the amount of hate mail I get for leaving this article online. Let me set the record straight… No I am not trying to shape the minds of the youth or evoke fear with negative blasphemy. I was simply told a story and tested it out for myself. As a paranormal investigator, my team and I tread the waters of the unknown to uncover mysteries and separate the fiction from fact.
Just recently a young woman sent me an email pleading for me to take this story down. She claims her fiancé committed suicide by shooting himself in the face. She stated that he was obsessed with this story and had even gone so far as getting a tattoo of the Smile.jpg dog. As tragic as this is, I cannot be held responsible for the brash acts of others. I remember when Ozzy used to get blamed for suicides in the early 80’s. The religious community was up in arms claiming that Osbourne made them do this by slipping subliminal backward masked messages into his songs. This is absurd.
I will not be held responsible for the actions of others, and I will continue to practice my rights as an American under Article 19: The Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship.
7/3/09 – I received an email on July 3rd 2009 from my friend Matt Valentine simply asking: “Have you heard of smile.jpg?”
I replied to him with my honest answer which was: “No I haven’t…. sounds like a file? What is it?”
He then went on to tell me the story: “I just stumbled onto it last night. Apparently its an old image that no one knows where it came from or what its purpose is but it has a weird effect when people look at it. Its very hard to find and when it is found its usually deleted or replaced with a fake image in its place. It could be all in my head but it did make me feel weird like there was something behind the image looking back at me when i first saw it and i immediately had to close the window browser. Not that the images in the picture were scary but that the colors or patterns were having some hypnotic psychological effect on me. Well you should just be the judge for yourself. Below is a link to the story and the pic. Let me know what you think. -Matt G.
Since this email from Matt Valentine, I have researched this story and have downloaded the mysterious image to my hard drive as well. I’ve studied it for the past five days. I can tell you this… I’ve had very VIVID nightmares. The image does stick with you. I’ll catch myself thinking about it at random times throughout the day. Those of you who know me, know that I’ve always had nightmares. But this week has been different. They’ve felt more “real.” I’m not saying I’ve bought into this story, but I will say… it’s a bit ironic. Choose for yourselves. At the bottom of this letter there is a link for you to download the original smile.dog.jpg. Now here’s the story of Mary. This image is said to have completely ruined her life. ~Shad
The Curious Case of Smile.jpg by JML
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 with 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.
Mary 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 nowhere to be found on the internet; certainly many photomanipulated simulacra litter the web, showing up with the most frequency on sites such as the imageboard 4chan, particularly the /x/-focused paranormal subboard. It is suspected 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 purported 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 as ****** (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 half 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 line “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 that is 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, very human-looking teeth.
What Aether Paranormal and Matt Valentine believe is the oldest traceable photo associated with this story.
Feel free to to test the authenticity of this story out for yourselves. Simply download this image to your hard drive. As a paranormal researcher I have already done so myself. Simply click this link and the download will begin immediately.
Journal log: 4/30/2010 1:42am
I was having a tough time sleeping tonight and decided to study the photo a bit more. I took it into photoshop and enhanced it and found a very interesting artifact above the “beckoning hand.” It appears to say “PO:” I really don’t understand what this could mean. This photo is full of mystery. I aim to keep digging deeper and get to the bottom of this story. ~Shad