Beware of the Chain Letter

Joshua D. Guilas | Staff Writer

This Halloween, I would like to focus on the simple concept of the chain letter. For those not in the know, back in the early days of the Internet, people had sent e-mail after e-mail after e-mail to their friends and contacts. These e-mails commonly claimed that Bill Gates would send you $245 or some arbitrary amount if you sent the e-mail to a number of your friends or that you would be cursed, killed or your soul would be removed from your body if you did not send an e-mail that detailed the death of a person who died in the 1950s.

A good example of a chain-letter is the Carmen Winstead chain-letter. Apparently, a girl died in the 2000’s and if you don’t pass on the e-mail to an arbitrary amount of people, you will die by the girl who was pushed down the sewer. In the e-mail, they even put in a little item that said “FACT” and explained that a boy died because he didn’t repost the letter.

Now to the adult minds, these concepts would be silly. After all, there is no reason to truly believe these concepts. However, to a child or a susceptible man, they would find these concepts to be truly terrifying. I remember the days where I went on Fanfiction.net as a child. I was constantly terrified of the idea that either I would be cursed or my parents would be cursed because I didn’t post a chain letter on the my Fanfiction.net profile.

In fact, I also “copy-and-pasted” phrases on my profile out of fear or I truly believed those facts. Another example is when I was a child and I had read a comment on a YouTube video at my cousin’s house. I don’t remember the words, but I do remember that it said that if I don’t paste it on five or ten different videos, I’ll lose my soul on the full moon. I was so scared that I closed the door to my room so that the ghost wouldn’t get me.

However, after I grew up and became more focused on my own life, I eventually realized that what I read was completely fake or foolish. They weren’t at all intelligent and neither did they have a basis in reality. Having realized that, I took them down and just looked back on the time of my childhood. In a nutshell, these chain letters are nothing more than an expansion on the tales that children would talk about in a campfire: terrifying tales of a chainsaw wielding maniac walking along the woods, those who would kill a boy without regret or sorrow. These concepts are childish, but would still make me happy.

It’s nostalgic after all.

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