The overly-wide, grinning mouth is a horror cliche. It’s a trope, albeit a successful one, that’s wormed its way into scary stories from around the world. So ubiquitous is its inclusion that it’s taken on a legendary status; it feels like something that’s always been around to scare people. Right?
In 1844, one of the first serial killers in Connecticut began a rampage. Little was known about the killer, save for their signature technique of disfiguration. While the victims were alive, they amputated their cheeks. When the bodies were eventually found, their toothy, skeletal smiles became fodder for nightmares, rumors, and legends. The killer was never captured.
Starting in 2012, local Connecticut message boards and forums started to feature messages and questions about ghosts.