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  • In April of 2012, L.S. Riley was having  nightmares. He'd always been a night person,  

  • staying up well after his  roommate had fallen asleep,  

  • but now he had even more of  a reason to stay out of bed.

  • Riley had once heard someone say that fresh  air was the best way to chase the demons away,  

  • so he'd started taking night walks to avoid  the terrors in his sleep. But Riley was about  

  • to learn a hard lesson: The worst nightmares are  the ones that come for you when you're wide awake.

  • This is the story of the Smiling Man.  

  • What happened? Who is he? Why are some  smiles so creepy? And most importantly,  

  • how could you survive an encounter with  him? There's only one way to find out...

  • Like we said, Riley had a habit of taking  nighttime walks. He lived downtown in a major  

  • US city, and he'd been taking his nocturnal  strolls around town for four years without  

  • any kind of incident. He'd once joked to a friend  of his that in this city, even the drug dealers  

  • were polite. Maybe that's why he let his guard  down on the one night that he needed it most.

  • It was Wednesday, a little after 1:00 AMand Riley was walking further away from  

  • his apartment than he usually wouldHe was at a police-patrolled park,  

  • normally as safe as your back yardHe noticed that the whole town seemed  

  • unusually dead tonight - he hadn't seen anyone  during the entire duration of his walk. But as  

  • he rounded the corner into a small, dark  side street, that was about to change.

  • In the distance, he saw the silhouette oftall, lanky man, dancing. It was a kind of odd,  

  • loping waltz, somewhere between a dance  and a walk. There was something off about  

  • the man. Something uncanny. Riley shooed away the  irrational fears and figured the guy had probably  

  • just had a few too many drinks at a local barHe walked out onto the road to give the stranger  

  • more space on the sidewalk, but as the two got  closer, Riley realized he'd made a mistake.

  • The man was moving a little too gracefully  to be a drunk. He was dressed in an old suit,  

  • his face craned up, looking at the  night sky. Riley noticed his eyes  

  • were practically bugging out of his headand most notably, he was wearing a wide,  

  • toothy smile. The kind of smile that looks  almost like it hurts. A creepy, cartoon grin.

  • Riley crossed the street to give the Smiling  Man a wide berth, but the man stopped,  

  • perfectly parallel with him across the  street. He was looking in Riley's direction,  

  • still facing skywards. Riley kept moving, wanting  to put as much distance between them as possible.  

  • A block later, he looked over his shoulderand saw the Smiling Man crouched in the shadows  

  • a few feet behind him. Still grinningbearing his teeth like a predator.

  • Riley was frozen as the Smiling Man rose  to his feet and began waltzing towards him,  

  • faster than any person should be able to. He was  in grabbing distance when the Smiling Man stopped  

  • in front of him. Terrified, Riley choked outdesperate noise. He wanted to sound intimidating,  

  • instead, he sounded terrified. But Riley  got lucky - the Smiling Man turned tail,  

  • and began waltzing off in the other direction.

  • Riley got moving again. He was closer to  his apartment; he just needed to get inside,  

  • and then he'd be safe. But that's when he heard  the footsteps behind him: Pounding at the asphalt.  

  • He turned and saw the Smiling Man sprinting  towards him like a maniac, eyes bulging,  

  • smile still freakishly wide. Lucky for Rileyperhaps because of fear and adrenaline, he could  

  • run faster. He sprinted until his legs burned  and he was finally able to lose the Smiling Man.

  • He returned to his apartment that nighttraumatized but alive. He lived in that  

  • city for six months after that, but he never  took a night time walk again. The nightmares  

  • in his head had nothing on the nightmare he  encountered on the streets that one night.  

  • Riley knew from something in the man's face  that he wasn't drunk and he wasn't high.  

  • He was truly, dangerously insane, and Riley  had been lucky to escape with his life.

  • Riley posted this story on the r/LetsNotMeet  subreddit, a place for people to post real,  

  • frightening encounters they've had with strange  people across the globe. It seemed like a freaky  

  • isolated incident, but as it turns out, L.S.  Riley was only one of many people who'd had  

  • terrifying encounters with the Smiling Man. He  was just the person to finally give it a name.

  • In fact, so many people out there had had their  own experience with this terrifying grinning  

  • phantom, they started the r/TheSmilingMan  subreddit to share their experiences.

  • A user named PoptartMuncher relayed a terrifying  encounter outside his home. He saw a distant,  

  • waltzing figure as he was pulling into his  driveway. When he got out of his car and  

  • began walking towards his house, the figure broke  into a frantic sprint, just like in Riley's story.  

  • PoptartMuncher ran into his home in a paniclocking all the doors and windows. That's when  

  • the Smiling Man appeared at his front door, trying  to slide it open, his face pressed up against the  

  • glass. He grinned and hissed out the words, “I'll  be back again for you”, before waltzing away.

  • Another user with the appropriate handle  “grinningmanwatchinghad the Smiling Man appear  

  • outside of his home in the dead of night. He  lived in an isolated farmhouse out in the woods,  

  • so when an unusually tall, grinning  creep appeared in his yard,  

  • staring in through the windows, he knew that  nobody was coming to help him. He was just  

  • lucky that the Smiling Man wasn't able to  enter his home that night, and eventually  

  • decided to waltz off of the property. Things  could have gone a hell of a lot worse.

  • A former Smiling Man-skeptic with the username  Anonyme13 had the closest encounter yet.  

  • While outside his home, he saw the Smiling  Man appear and begin waltzing towards him.  

  • He looked so terrifying and unnatural that Anonyme  literally collapsed to the floor as he approached.  

  • The Smiling Man crouched over him, and leaned  in so their faces were almost touching. Anonyme  

  • described feeling the man's breath on his skin: It  was cold, like a winter breeze. He got lucky, and  

  • the Smiling Man let him go. He was able to get uplimp back into his home, and shut the monster out.

  • The subreddit moderator, a user called  HeckToTheYeah65, studied all the entries  

  • on the subreddit to extrapolate the  best description of the Smiling Man.  

  • He's always above six feet tall, often wearing  an old-fashioned suit and sometimes a small hat.  

  • He often looks up at the sky and can be  identified immediately from his strange,  

  • waltzing gait. Many of the stories seem to come  from the state of Iowa, and he typically stalks  

  • dark streets and isolated homes. And of coursehe's never seen without his wide, unnatural smile.

  • So who or what is the Smiling Man? He's  become the stuff of Internet legend,  

  • and fans have drawn parallels with a number of  popular creepypastas. These include Smile Dog,  

  • the classic tale of an image believed by many  to be pure evil. If you haven't seen our video  

  • on Smile Dog already, the gist is that it's  an image of a Siberian Husky with a wide,  

  • demonic human smile. Anyone who sees the image  is haunted in their dreams by the monster,  

  • encouraging them toSpread the Wordand  infect more victims by showing them the photo.  

  • Another, similar Creepypasta often associated  with the Smiling Man isThe Grinning Man.”

  • In this story, the narrator's friend dieshorrific death. The only lead on what may have  

  • caused it is an email he received, containing  a photo of a grinning face and the trigger word  

  • Desperation.” Exposure to this is believed  to cause violent insanity in victims. However,  

  • this isn't the only Grinning Man often associated  with the monster we're covering in this video. And  

  • if the connection holds water, the Smiling Man may  have been around for a lot longer than we thought.

  • The town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is no  stranger to weirdness. If the name is familiar  

  • to you, it's because it was where the legendary  Mothman was first sighted. But a lesser known  

  • monster was also sighted here by a sewing machine  salesman named WoodrowWoodyDerenberger in  

  • 1966. Woody was driving along a hill just outside  Parkersburg on Interstate 77 when he encountered a  

  • strange vehicle: It looked almost like a giant oil  lamp, traveling towards him on the road. He pulled  

  • over in sheer confusion. That's when a hatch  in the vehicle opened, and someone stepped out.

  • He was a strange man with a dark  overcoat and an unseasonably dark tan,  

  • but the strangest thing of all was his freakishly  wide grin. The man identified himself to Woody as  

  • Indrid Cold, and told him that this would be the  first of several encounters. But Woody reported  

  • that Cold's grin didn't shift once during this  conversation - he was speaking telepathically.  

  • He even encouraged Woody to share the story with  the authorities, before climbing back into his  

  • strange vehicle and disappearing. Two other men  reported a similar experience that same night,  

  • describing the grinning Cold disembarking from  his craft and asking them strange questions.

  • Cold kept his word and met up with Woody several  times after that. He told the sewing machine  

  • salesman that he was an alien from a planet named  Lanulos, simply visiting earth. The 1960s were a  

  • real heyday for mysterious, grinning figures. A  few weeks before Indrid Cold allegedly appeared  

  • in West Virginia, two young boys - James Yanchitis  and Martin 'Mouse' Munov - encountered a similar  

  • figure in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Both boys claim  to have spotted theStrangest man they ever saw”  

  • standing behind a chain link fence. He  didn't say a word, he just stood there,  

  • freakishly tall and grinning like a maniac. That  certainly sounds like the Smiling Man to us.

  • Nobody could blame you for feeling freaked out  right now. Is he an alien, a monster, a demon,  

  • or just a dangerous, smiling lunatic? And why is  a smile - a facial expression meant to indicate  

  • happiness - so disturbing in the right contextAccording to a research study performed by the  

  • University of Minnesota, it all depends on  the type of smile. The study aimed to find  

  • out what makes a smile seem likable, and what  makes a smile seem creepy or off-putting.

  • The study found that the following features were  often associated with creepy and threatening  

  • smiles: Being too wide, showing too many teethand conforming to a “V” shape. Sound familiar?  

  • According to a meta-study published by the BBCthere are nineteen different types of Smile,  

  • each one communicating something differentThe Smiling Man's signature grin seems closest  

  • to what the article calls theAngry-Enjoyment  Smile.” These wide, fixed grins often indicate  

  • a malicious intent, or a kind of sick joy in  hurting others. That's why it's often applied  

  • to frightening villains, from Jack Torrance to  The Joker, and the Smiling Man is no exception.

  • Sometimes, a smile like that of the Smiling  Man can indicate sickness and disease.  

  • The rare illness Risus Sardonicus, often  associated with tetanus and Wilson's Disease,  

  • can cause facial muscle spasms that  force the face into a malicious smile,  

  • orRictus Grin.” This definitely sounds like  the Smiling Man's painful-looking cartoon grin.

  • Finally, how can you hope to avoid the Smiling  Man? Well, according to the Smiling Man subreddit,  

  • your best bet is to avoid going out at nightespecially if you live in a quiet or isolated  

  • area - keep your doors and windows locked, and  if you ever encounter the Smiling Man himself,  

  • don't make a noise and get out of  the area as quickly as possible.

  • The Smiling Man could be anywhere nowPerhaps even a little closer than you think...

  • Now check outScary Urban Legends  That Will Keep You Up At Nightand  

  • True Scary Stories - TRY NOT TO GET SCARED  CHALLENGE 2019” for more terrifying videos!

In April of 2012, L.S. Riley was having  nightmares. He'd always been a night person,  

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The Smiling Man - Explained (Creepypasta)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/23
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