04 of 05 - Modern Compedium: Halloween - Vile smile.jpg
Usually when we’re talking about members of the memetic Vile family, I have a fair amount of freedom with the demon’s actual appearance. Memes that become popular on the internet are far more often derived from stories rather than images, with the text offering at least some leeway on how a creature looks. However, today’s demon, smile.jpg, appears to have happened the other way around.
And I say “appears” because, well… researching Vile demons is always a little tough, because the information on them is both difficult to come by and extremely unreliable. People love to blur the lines between the factual origins of Creepypasta and the fiction around them; after all, a lie is easiest to swallow when encased in the truth. This is especially true in the case of smile.jpg which, as far as I can tell, didn’t start out with an actual story around it. So the combination of the transitory nature of the internet and the naturally mytheopoeic nature of Creepypasta culture means that it’s pretty hard to figure out where exactly smile.jpg actually came from.
As far as I can tell, the image started to circle on imageboards and in Creepypasta circles some time in the late-2000s, perhaps 2008 or 2009. It started out as just one of those, “Look at this creepy image,” things, but eventually became so popular that people started to write about it. To this day there are thousands of variations on The One True Origin of smile.jpg, but I think far more interesting than its origin story is the effect it has had on paranormal circles on the internet.
I have a theory, and at this point it’s just a theory, that smile.jpg may be the Cursed Image that launched Cursed Images to wider popularity. The idea that pictures can hold supernatural juju like curses is, of course, as old as art itself, but the advent of the internet lended it a neat little cyberpunk twist. Before the internet, the idea that a curse could inhabit a picture was fairly typical, but it was never considered a way that a curse could spread. After all, copying an image takes an artist a long time, and even modern image duplication and distribution is a pretty labor-intensive affair. But with the internet, copying an image is as easy as right-click save, and there are whole sections of the internet whose entire purpose is to spread images. It was a way that curses could parasitise memes, and although that idea did exist before smile.jpg, I get the feeling that the popularity of this creepy dog image helped introduce a lot of people to the idea.
Anyway, smile.jpg actually violates one of the basic rules of the Vile family – the idea that the further a Creepypasta spreads, the less believable it becomes. Because smile.jpg doesn’t actually have a single solid story behind it, it actually retains much of its creepiness regardless of how far it spreads. It does however, have one serious issue that limits its power – frankly, I don’t think it’s actually that creepy. I actually think it’s pretty cute. And so smile.jpg actually lands near the bottom of the Vile family.
For more information about this and every other demon in the Modern Compendium, have a look at our extensive Data File, right over (here).
R is for Ryoji!
I know a lot people prefer Persona 4 over Persona 3. But real talk, P3 came out during my senior year of high school, so I was just in the right mindset for it to really hit a special chord with me.
Whenever I do NaNoWriMo it’s in an effort to write a bunch of fics. Problem: my fics tend towards the short side, so I often run out of ideas.
So! From the last week of October all through November, I’ll be taking requests from any of my fandoms. Even ones I haven’t written for two years or more!
If you don’t know which fandoms I’ve written for in the past, my AO3 profile is a good place to look, but here are some of the more recent ones (meaning written in the past year):
Bungou Stray Dogs
Chivalry of a Failed Knight
End Roll/Farethere City
Fire Emblem: Fates
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
Shin Megami Tensei
We Know The Devil
However, since I’m allowing such a wide range of fandoms, some of which I’m super out of practice with, I can’t guarantee that your request will get filled. I’ll make every effort to fill as many as I can.