A lot of classic pastas first saw the light of day on 4chan, so this theory is entirely unsurprising. Mary, who had been a sysop for a Chicago-based BBS in , is one of about people who saw the image when it first appeared on the Internet; she is also the only one ever to speak about it. The interview does not go as planned: When the narrator arrives at her home, they find her barricaded in her bedroom, spouting terrified-sounding nonsense from behind the door.
The interview goes unconducted. The following year, Mary sends the narrator a lengthy email both apologizing for the failed interview and explaining her experience with smile.
Ever since she first stumbled upon the image, she writes, it has haunted her, coming to her in her dreams every single night. She did not, though; that's why she refused to see the narrator on that day. Now, she implores the narrator to stop their search for information about Smile Dog. She apologizes again. But then, something curious happens: Some time later, the narrator receives yet another email, this time from an unknown address, with a single file attached to it.
Will the narrator look at it? Everything on the Internet is a hoax , remember? Well, almost everything, at least. Daniel W. VanArsdale houses an incredibly impressive online collection of chain letters; his oldest one dates back to , so clearly, people on this earth have been at it for a pretty considerable amount of time. While some Luck letters are geared towards ensuring the recipient's good fortune, a huge number of them threaten their readers with misfortune instead, be it general bad luck, bodily or mental harm, or even death.
The one way to stop that dastardly letter's mojo in its tracks? Perform an action of some sort. Just… well, what if? No — so, just to be on the safe side, we pass the thing on anyway, thus perpetuating the hoax. Back in the days when snail mail was your only option, continuing the chain involved a certain amount of to-do: Digging up addresses, replicating the letter, addressing envelopes, purchasing postage, and so on.
As the Internet became a part of our daily lives, however, suddenly chain letters could be passed along with the typing of an email address and the click of a mouse — and if you thought about the really big picture, your reach could be wider than you ever could have imagined before. Posting something in a public forum — a BBS or a listserve in the early days; a website or a Wiki in more recent years; countless social media sites; you name it — can get that message out to every single person on the planet with an Internet connection.
So what if everything else will be in even more danger? Not your problem; your work here is done. Just think how terrifying The Ring would have been if YouTube had been around when it first arrived on the scene. The worst part is the fact that we might stumble upon it unknowingly, with no warning and therefore no way to protect ourselves.
In this respect, it essentially becomes a virus — both a computer virus and a human one. Of course, though, most if not all of those classic gloom and doom chain letters aren't real — and neither, for that matter, is the Smile Dog image.
Heck, the fact that there are so dang many images claiming to be smile. Seeing an actual image called smile. By Lucia Peters.