Everything about Jeff the Killer’s unclear origin

Jeff the Killer

A deranged teenage serial killer with a ghostly pale face and a joker-ish smile has spooked people online since the early 2010s. Jeff the Killer is notorious for going on rampage killing sprees and whispering the words “Go to sleep” to his victims before he takes their lives.

The character’s popularity has generated animations, books, and spinoffs mostly featuring his archnemesis ‘Jane the Killer’. Amidst the diverse set of stories that have since emerged, Jeff the Killer’s origin has become a bit muddled. But there is more to his beginning than a mere creepypasta.

Jeff the Killer is a fictional character of a very popular creepypasta uploaded in 2011

In the famous creepypasta about the character posted in 2011 and reuploaded in 2012, Jeffrey “Jeff” Alan Woods was a normal thirteen-year-old boy who moved into a new town with his family. One day, while Jeff and his brother, Liu, were walking home, they were cornered by three bullies who threatened to harm them with knives.

During the encounter, Jeff brutally beats the bullies up. When the police arrive, Liu takes full responsibility for the assault and is arrested. Jeff falls into a guilt-ridden depression over his brother’s arrest at his expense.

Things become worse when Jeff meets the bullies again at a birthday party of a neighbor. In the ensuing fight, Jeff kills his bullies in self-defense. However, he does not escape unharmed and is burned by one of his bullies with alcohol and bleach. The trauma of it all and being disfigured from the burn changes something in Jeff and he becomes violently insane.

Jeff then engages in a series of disturbing behavior, from mutilating his face into an everlasting smile to burning off his eyelids so that he can never close his eyes. He begins his murder spree by killing his parents first and eventually killing his brother who was recently released from juvenile detention.

In the earliest version of the story, Jeff disfigured his face after accidentally spilling acid on himself

Jeff the Killer may have gained popularity since appearing in the 2011 creepypasta but the earliest version of the story dates back to 2008. Sesseur, a member of the online art community DeviantArt, is believed to be the creator of the character.

Sesseur had posted a video titled “Jeff the Killer” on October 3, 2008, that contained the now-popular image of Jeff and also provided a backstory on the character. However, his original video and channel were taken down by YouTube for violating its community guidelines.

Nonetheless, nearly ten years later, he reuploaded the video on September 8, 2019, on his new channel. His version of the story only mentions Jeff and his brother Liu and does not detail Jeff’s well-known murders of his parents. But he does explain how Jeff got his infamous appearance; the pasty white face and the red grin.

According to the video, Jeff was a normal boy in his mid-teens and lived with his much more popular older brother, Liu. One day, in an attempt to clean his bathtub, he accidentally spilled acid on his face and neck and permanently disfigured his face. The writing states:

“Jeff was hauling a gallon of acid into the bathroom to clean out his bathtub. He slipped on a bar of soap, in which he fell, and the acid splashed all over his face. Damaging his face, the neighbors heard his cries and took him to the hospital…never again, was Jeff the same.”

Jeff was inspired by the Japanese horror character ‘Ichi the Killer’ to mutilate his face into a permanent smile

Although the video insinuates that Jeff became a killer after the acid incident and was “doing the world a favor [by] killing the humans that infest this world”, it does not mention particular victims, unlike the creepypasta.

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Sesseur’s origin story of Jeff and the creepypasta are two different tales of Jeff the Killer with the only similarity found in the presence of Liu in both the stories.

On his DeviantArt account, Sesseur specifies that the acid which disfigured Jeff was sulfuric acid and provides a follow-up on what happened after the accident. Not only was Jeff traumatized by his new appearance, but he was also angry at people for “treating him like a freak” and not accepting him anymore.

As a result, Jeff decided to lean into proving himself as a freak and made it his mission to scare people. To achieve that goal, he grew out his hair and applied hydrogen peroxide on his burned face to turn it “pure white”.

He also took inspiration from the Japanese horror movie character ‘Ichi the Killer’ to cut his mouth wide open into a grin and pressed hot steel to the cut to make it permanent. A line of the story reads:

“My brother told me I was becoming a monster, mission success, my artificial eyelids that surround my eerie eyes tend to swell causing them to curl.”

Sesseur claims that the story he made about Jeff in 2008 is the original version of the tale and the creepypasta that emerged later is more of a fanfiction created by an anonymous fan.

Jeff the Killer’s infamous photo was rumored to be of a real person who died by suicide

Apart from the online stories about Jeff the Killer, an unsettling rumor about the popular image associated with him made the rounds on the internet. It was widely circulated that the picture of a girl named Katy Robinson was photoshopped to create Jeff’s image.

It was alleged that in the April of 2008, Katy had been driven to suicide by cyberbullying and fat-shaming after posting a picture of herself on a board of the 4chan website. Her supposed sister posted about her suicide on 4chan and a few months later, the first video of Jeff the Killer featuring the image was uploaded on YouTube by Sesseur.

However, the claim was debunked when it turned out that the photo belonged to a very much alive Heather White. Moreover, Heather confirmed the photo as hers and said that she was unaware of 4chan’s existence in 2008. It is likely that Katy Robinson did not exist at all.

Strangely, the picture had appeared on the Japanese website pya.cc in November 2005 and is also seen in the 2007 Japanese video for a horror film project titled “NNN臨時放送”. As both appearances preceded the Jeff the Killer story, the origin of the image remains a mystery.

On the other hand, Sesseur claims that he created the image by wearing a latex mask in his room in 2005 and uploaded it for free use online. In 2008, he added more photoshop to the image to create the character of Jeff the Killer. When questioned about the credibility of his claims, he wrote:

“The reason I can’t recreate the image in the same location is because I don’t live where I did back in 2005, and the things I had are long gone. I think I still have the same jacket that’s behind Jeff, though. Other than that, there’s no way for me to prove it, and if nobody believes it then what can I say?”