DARK WEB: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA
PART 25: JEFF THE KILLER REVISITED – AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH KILLERJEFF/SESSEUR A.K.A. JEFF CASE
Long term readers of this series of features on the darker side of Internet fiction may remember that the very first feature I wrote was on the dark posterboy of Creepypasta, Jeff the Killer. Based on a decidedly disturbing image of ‘Jeff’s’ nightmarish face, Jeff is one of the oldest and most popular creations among the CP community. However, as big an icon as Jeff has become, his origin has been shrouded in mystery and more than its fair share of controversy. As I wrote before, Jeff’s earliest appearances seem to be as an image posted to the website, newgrounds.com, in August 2008.
The post claims that Jeff is actually summoned through a ‘Bloody Mary’-style game. Those who wish to call Jeff must switch off the lights, then sit cross-legged in a closet and, while turning their head back and forth, repeat the following saying three times: ‘He’s in here with me.’ Upon doing this, the player is instructed to close their eyes and call out to Jeff. He is then said to appear, his face mere inches from the summoner’s and begin to scream at them. The only way to dismiss Jeff is to compliment him — failure to do so will result in something KillerJeff ominously refers to as ‘a nightmarish field trip’.
Pretty soon a number of ‘backstories’ for the picture sprang up, one of the very first of which was in a comment that accompanied the picture on newgrounds in which, when questioned about why Jeff looks the way he does, KillerJeff replied: ‘I was holding a container full of acid when I slipped on my soapy floor and it spilled all over my face, luckly someone heard my cry for help and took me to a Hospital, the doctors fixed my face up and vola, I’m sexy!’
It was this origin which formed the basis of a video uploaded to YouTube by user Sesseur on 3rd October 2008. Sadly, Sesseur’s YouTube account has since closed, but the video used the popular Jeff the Killer image as well as another, rougher looking draft of the picture along with text accompanied by The Posie’s track, I Guess You’re Right. Once again, the story told of an accident involving a slippery bathroom floor, a bucketful of acid, devastating facial injuries and a subsequent psychological breakdown that lead to Jeff becoming a serial killer. In 2011 another origin story for Jeff was written, one in which his facial injuries were caused by a gang of bullies, a story which has since become the most popular backstory for Jeff.
Yet as popular as this version of events became, the originator of the Jeff the Killer legend seems to have been forgotten. Sesseur has since disappeared from YouTube, but there is a DeviantArt account in that name. Of course, a shared name on the internet means nothing (I’ve seen Catfish, I know the web is full of phonies and fakers) so when I managed to make contact with this Sesseur I remained cautious.
However, KillerJeff still seems to be the oldest source for Jeff the Killer and is notoriously difficult to contact… until now.
After months of looking (and plenty of dead ends) I managed to contact KillerJeff directly who confirmed that he and Sesseur are indeed one and the same. What’s more, he confirmed that the DeviantArt account also belongs to him.
It seems that both Sesseurs, plus KillerJeff are one and the same individual — one Jeff Case, a 22-year-old man from the east United States.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited by this breakthrough, and even more delighted when he agreed to answer my questions about the creation of one of the internet’s most infamous monsters for the readers of UK Horror Scene.
What follows below is an interview with the original creator of Jeff the Killer.
UK HORROR SCENE: The most obvious first – In your own words, tell us a little about Jeff the Killer?
SESSEUR A.K.A. JEFF CASE: He’s a tortured soul, once living a normal life, until a accident turned him into a disfigured freak that society shunned due to his freakish appearance, so he decided to become what they seen him as and tried his best to murder as many people as he deemed wicked.
He and his brother both hide out in a regular suburban New Jersey home with a very dark story behind it. Jeff’s brother Liu makes sure Jeff is hidden (he even managed to convince people that he died in surgery), hiding bodies that Jeff returned to the house hold, alluding police so no one would be suspicious of the Hodek household. Liu doesn’t murder people, he doesn’t want Jeff to be a killer but their bond is very strong so they both end up being crime brother. Jeff does the killing, Liu does the providing.
UKHS: What served as your inspiration for the character?
S(JC): Just sheer boredom, I was 15 years old, and I wanted to make something that would be a meme, I decided to make a short story and the picture I had since late 2006 was a perfect visualization of the main monster for Jeff the killer. In 2008 I made a simple 5 minute video of Jeff’s backstory. I never expanded the story there, because it was meant to be a short urban legend, until 2011 where someone took the story and popularized Jeff, however, vastly changing him from my vision of Jeff.
UKHS: Which idea came to you first, the image or the story?
S(JC): The image was made first, then 2 years later a story was made for it.
UKHS: Speaking of the story, there seems to be another very well-known origin story out there, which describes Jeff’s battle with bullies and subsequent disfigurement in a fire. What are your thoughts on this ‘alternative’ take on your character?
S(JC): It helped bring Jeff to fame, but it ultimately turned Jeff into what he wasn’t at all.
UKHS: Are you a fan of Creepypasta? If so, what is your favourite Creepypasta by a creator other than yourself?
S(JC): Back before the teeny boppers made creepypasta wiki to get their pasta fix, there was only a few good pastas on Encyclopedia Dramatica, the real scary stuff, none of that fan stories you’d find all over the pasta wiki.
I wasn’t really a fan of one specific one, but I really enjoyed the urban legend ones, none of the narrative stories that Jeff was turned into, but a story that was told by someone else, in a way that would really make you wonder if it was true or not. Those are the gold stories.
UKHS: Which writers, horror or otherwise, do you consider yourself a fan of?
S(JC): To be honest, I’ve got no horror writer of any that I look up to or can say I’m that big over. I know about Steven King, but I only know him for the movies that are based off his work. I know of H.P Lovecraft only by name and some characters. I am very fond of David Lynch’s style of horror, very surreal, nightmare-like, subtle. Jeff is not David Lynch inspired, if any horror writer/director was to be compared, it would maybe be Wes Craven, since Jeff will be slasher horror once I get to working on a full Jeff story.
UKHS: What work of your own are you most proud of?
S(JC): The ones that were deleted along with my youtube channel, due to people who didn’t agree with me creating Jeff and made it their goal to hide the fact that I’m the creator, so I have my pictures to be proud of, and the saved stories that will be within the Jeff-verse (non-official name) based on my percocet-laced dreams. I’m really eager to get my fictional universe out there to whoever is interested in the mythos that goes beyond Jeff himself, but other characters and events. It’s a really exciting thing for me and I hope that it all comes into full fruition — maybe then Jeff won’t be the only thing people ask from me.
UKHS: I did notice that your YouTube channel had been deleted. What happened there? Is there anywhere else I can send your fans to watch the origin story?
S(JC): People who think I’m a phoney is what happened. Many people tend to disagree with my version of Jeff and all they do is flag their problem away. Sadly there is no other video that I possess, someone might have a copy video somewhere, I do hold on to hope that I get my account back soon.
UKHS: The fans are very passionate about the character. Are there any examples of fan art, such as images, films or readings, in particular that have impressed you?
S(JC): The ones that don’t display him in sexual situations relieve me, and there are the ones that really have a different and cool spin on him — some are impressive that really make me think: “Aw shit, I want to do that with him too!”
UKHS: By the same token, are there any unauthorised attempts to cash in on the popularity of your character that have upset you?
S(JC): Many, but I’ve taken it all in my stride, as my production company (who’re going to help make Jeff more than just a story online) take care of the people who unfairly take the credit and money without any compensation for me. I welcome all the fan works, but when it comes to the monopoly of my creation they should understand how wrong it is to take what I made for themselves. I even get people telling me that on messages that it’s going to be for profit, no joke.
UKHS: Arguably the most popular spin-off is Jane the Killer. What are your thoughts on that character/story?
S(JC): In all honesty, I don’t read any of those fan stories that tend to go against what Jeff is about, so my opinion is pretty much neutral.
UKHS: The Jeff the Killer image is one of the most recognisable in all of Creepypasta. Where did it come from? Did you create the image yourself, and if so, what acted as the base model for your pic? I’ve heard rumours that it could be based on animals or even the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme.
S(JC): When it comes to the Overly Attached girlfriend, it wouldn’t make sense due to the fact that Jeff was around in 2006, and OAG was around like 2010-2012, something like that, so that speculation is rendered null.
UKHS: There has also been some controversy over Jeff the Killer caused by web users who claim the image is of a young lady named Katy Robinson who committed suicide after being bullied by trolls on 4chan. Would you care to address this?
S(JC): Oh yes, those rumors, I know all too well. The Katy Robinson one has become a little in-joke at this point, people speculate that it was a photoshopped version of her, because a person on 4chan said so, and they took the bait because 4chan is known to be creditable. I really wish that one day these rumors of Katy and Jeff would die, but people are people so I expect this to last until 2027 if Jeff is still relevant.
Jeff is a latex mask, that was worn. Three pictures were taken, two made it online. I’m not sure about the 3rd, I think it was sideways in the bathroom instead of the closet. One picture is unedited where the eyes are red around and the mouth is open, the edited one is where the eyes are blackened, and the mouth is smudged a little with Photoshop to make a smile.
The clothes worn during the two pictures were a white T-shirt and blue jeans. That’s the real Jeff a creepy mask.
UKHS: Do you still have the mask or any other pictures of it? Can you remember where you bought it? I’m sure readers would love the chance to own the same mask that inspired Jeff.
S(JC): The mask was purely man-made from latex and I think a little other material to have it cover the whole head, plus a wig ensemble. The pictures taken were long gone, and the mask was put in the closet after use so it’s definitely long gone. If I had that mask with me, there’s no telling how valuable it would be. But I do know that with every success there is merchandise, so I’m sure fans will be getting professionally made masks of Jeff instead of that crudely put together one that was the original.
UKHS: What else can your fans look forward to from you (and Jeff) in the days ahead?
S(JC): Aside from Jeff, I got a truck load of stories that I’ve been saving until the right time. New Characters, even ones that I will be in the process of purchasing from creators that don’t want nothing to do with them, a really rich world that I hope everyone will enjoy!
UKHS: Is there any link you’d like me to send my readers to so they can discover some more of your creations? Or any in particular that you’d like to share?
S(JC): Deviant art (http://sesseur.deviantart.com) is a good place to get the idea, soon I’ll be adding more pictures and story, so stay tuned!
Come back next time, when I’ll be revisiting another classic Creepypasta tale, complete with an interview with the man who created it.