Chain letter emails all feature several things:

  • A hook to get you to read it.
  • Some bits of supposed information, which is almost certainly false upon closer inspection.
  • Something to motivate you to send it on further, such as supposed good/bad karma, greed, etc.

Though these are commonalities, there are several types of chain letter email.

The Hoax
Chain emails of this sort usually reference things like the Good Times virus, or something else out to destroy you/your computer in an absurd fashion. With the advent of email scripting in certain email clients, it has become harder to squash outbreaks of this type.

The Urban Legend
If you read these, you will learn that:

  • You shouldn't flash lights at other cars to get them to turn their lights on.
  • You should avoid friendly people in foreign countries -- they want your kidneys.
  • You shouldn't check change return slots because of HIV-infected needles.

The What If It's True
These will promise you $1000.00, a free copy of Windows 2000, or somesuch if you'll just forward that email, preferably with headers intact.

The Poor Sick Boy or Girl
These tell you that some poor sick boy or girl needs you to send them a postcard. Or that the American Cancer Society will give 3 cents for each person it's forwarded to -- headers intact, of course.

The Are You My Friend
This email usually features an inspiring message and the comment you should send it to all your friends, especially the person who sent it to you.

How not to forward chain letter emails

Chain emails can be very annoying but many people think they are fun. Everyone has at least once received an apparently silly chain that claims it will make your dream come true, provided it is forwarded to enough people.

Important :If you do enjoy forwarding email chain letters, please use the undisclosed recipients technique when filling the destination field.

If you are not of the superstitious kind, this junk spam will slowly clutter up your 5Mb limited email box, possibly resulting in a loss of important documents. But the worse is still to happen : even though you have informed relatives and friends that this kind of mail doesn't interest you, one day or another your address will be included in a non undisclosed recipients-ed mail, sent to tens of people around the world that will likely forward it again and again, resulting in your email being given to hundreds of other prople very keen on sending spam in return. Determining the consequences is left as an exercise to the reader.

Do not think, because you believe in the existence of chain email demiurges working all day to fulfill your dreams, that these letters are blessings. When you get about 10 such emails a day and feel that you MUST spend the 10 minutes it takes to do what's written in it, well, you loose an hour a day. And don't forget that the more you send chain letters, the more you get. I am convinced that above 20 letters per day, you do not have enough time left to take advantage of the demiurges' work.

You might be thinking : "this situation can't last long, there must be a workaround". And you are perfectly right ! Here is one.

If you analyze how chain emails are constructed, you will notice that they all start by a short introduction :

Hi, this letter was sent to me by my sister who is a strong believer in witchcraft and magic.
followed by the instructions :
Think of something you want to happen and forward this letter to your friends. If you forward this letter to at least 20 beloved friends, your wish will come true.
and the true facts :
It worked for me. The next day my dream came true. I heard of a friend whose wish came true in one hour.
But the most interesting part is the warning bit.
If you do not do this, the exact opposite will happen. Trust me.

All you have to do is think at the exact opposite of what you want to happen, and do the exact opposite of what the letter instructs you to do. For the given example, you were instructed to forward it to at least 20 beloved friends, the exact opposite is not to forward it to 20 beloved friends : you can either forward it to less than 20 friends, or to 20 or more people that you hate.

This workaround works whether you believe in chain letters or not. It has many advantages. Firstly, you get the opportunity to try if the chain letter works since it has the exact same consequences as if you had done what was instructed. Secondly you avoid the drawbacks of the classical chain email forwarding technique. Thanks to this method, it is possible to deal with (and possibly make your dream come true) as much as 10 chain letters in less than 5 minutes.

I found what I believe is the original copy of this on some forum several years ago. Through some stroke of genius I only saved the body of the message, and the author has been lost. Apparently it's so hilarious that there are now countless copies floating around. If anybody knows of the original author, please /msg me.

I'd also like to warn you that it's a bit harsh, graphic, and uses colorful language.


Hello, my name is Basmati Kasaar. I am suffering from rare and deadly diseases, poor scores on final exams, extreme virginity, fear of being kidnapped and executed by anal electrocution, and guilt for not forwarding out 50 billion fucking chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe that if you send them on, then that poor 6 year old girl in Arkansas with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her off to the traveling freak show.

Do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give you and everyone you send "his" e-mail to $1000? How stupid are you? Ooooh, lookyhere! If I scroll down this page and make a wish, I'll get laid by every Playboy model in the magazine! What a bunch of bullshit. So basically, this message is a big FUCK YOU to all the people out there who have nothing better to do than to send me stupid chain mail forwards.

Maybe the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my apartment and sodomize me in my sleep for not continuing the chain which was started by Jesus in 5 A.D. and was brought to this country by midget pilgrims on the Mayflower and if it makes it to the year 2000, it'll be in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest continuous streak of blatant stupidity.

If you're going to forward something, at least send me something mildly amusing. I've seen all the "send this to 50 of your closest friends, and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being" forwards about 90 times. I don't fucking care. Show a little intelligence and think about what you're actually contributing to by sending out forwards. Chances are it's your own unpopularity.


The Four Basic Types of Chain Letters:

Chain Letter Type 1:

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Make a wish!!!

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No, really, go on and make one!!!

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Oh please, they'll never go out with you!!!

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Wish something else!!

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Not that, you pervert!!

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Is your finger getting tired yet?

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STOP!!!

Wasn't that fun? Hope you made a great wish :)

Now, to make you feel guilty, here's what I'll do. First of all, if you don't send this to 5096 people in the next 5 seconds, you will be raped by a mad goat and thrown off a high building into a pile of manure. It's true! Because, THIS letter isn't like all of those fake ones, THIS one is TRUE!! Really!!! Here's how it goes:

  • Send this to 1 person: One person will be pissed off at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
  • Send this to 2-5 people: 2-5 people will be pissed off at you for sending them a stupid chain letter.
  • Send this to 5-10 people: 5-10 people will be pissed off at you for sending them a stupid chain letter, and may form a plot on your life.
  • Send this to 10-20 people: 10-20 people will be pissed off at you for sending them a stupid chain letter and will napalm your house.

Thanks!!!! Good Luck!!!


Chain Letter Type 2

Hello, and thank you for reading this letter. You see, there is a starving little boy in Baklaliviatatlaglooshen who has no arms, no legs, no parents, and no goats. This little boy's life could be saved, because for every time you pass this on, a dollar will be donated to the Little Starving Legless Armless Goatless Boy from Baklaliviatatlaglooshen Fund. Oh, and remember, we have absolutely no way of counting the e-mails sent and this is all a complete load of bullshit.

So go on, reach out. Send this to 5 people in the next 47 seconds. Oh, and a reminder - if you accidentally send this to 4 or 6 people, you will die instantly.

Thanks again!!


Chain Letter Type 3

Hi there!! This chain letter has been in existence since 1897. This is absolutely incredible because there was no e-mail then and probably not as many sad pricks with nothing better to do. So this is how it works:

Pass this on to 15,067 people in the next 7 minutes or something horrible will happen to you like:

Bizarre Horror Story #1

Miranda Pinsley was walking home from school on Saturday. She had recently received this letter and ignored it. She then tripped in a crack in the sidewalk, fell into the sewer, was gushed down a drainpipe in a flood of poopie, and went flying out over a waterfall. Not only did she smell nasty, she died. This Could happen to You!!!

Bizarre Horror Story #2

Dexter Bip, a 13 year old boy, got a chain letter in his mail and ignored it. Later that day, he was hit by a car and so was his boyfriend. (hey, some people swing that way). They both died and went to hell and were cursed to eat adorable kittens every day for eternity. This Could Happen To You Too!!!

Remember, you could end up just like Pinsley and Bip. Just send this letter to all of your loser friends, and everything will be okay.


Chain Letter Type 4:

As if you care, here is a poem that I wrote. Send it to every one of your friends.

Friends

A friend is someone who is always at your side,
A friend is someone who likes you even though you stink of shit, and your breath smells like you've been eating catfood,
A friend is someone who likes you even though you're as ugly as a hat full of arseholes,
A friend is someone who cleans up for you after you've soiled yourself,
A friend is someone who stays with you all night while you cry about your sad, sad life,
A friend is someone who pretends they like you when they really think you should be raped by mad goats, then thrown to vicious dogs,
A friend is someone who scrubs your toilet, vacuums and then gets the cheque and leaves and doesn't speak much English... -no, sorry that's the cleaning lady,
A friend is not someone who sends you chain letters because he wants his wish of being rich to come true.

Now pass this on! If you don't, you'll never have sex ever again.


The point being?

If you get some chain letter that's threatening to leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it's funny, send it on. Don't piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth, who's been tied to a dead elephant for 27 years, whose only savior is the 5 cents per letter he'll receive if you forward this mail, otherwise you'll end up like Miranda. Right?

Now forward this to everyone you know otherwise you'll find all your knickers missing tomorrow morning.

I don't get so many emails from friends. I'm the sort of person who, for whatever reason, generally has to actively engage others to establish communication. That is to say, I have to contact other people, they rarely come spontaneously to me. So nothing irritates me more than when an email from out the blue turns out, on inspection, to be nothing more than another bland forwarded chain email, usually these days in the form of a 'questionnaire' and doubtlessly with some clever new twist on the formula: Answer these questions about the person who sent this! Answer these questions about how you think others see you! Blah blah blah. I never respond to these emails. I have a variety of reasons, but the one that occurred to me most recently was the thought of who originally wrote the chain email.

What were they thinking? What were they trying to accomplish? Did they genuinely believe that their little quiz would be fascinating and worthwhile to the field of psychology, or a source of mirth and joy worthy of professional showmen, or even offer deep philosophical insights to the nature of being in a way that average Joe would understand? Or did they simply want to know if the good looking guy down the hall had noticed them and came up with a little scheme to find out? All these questions and more will be answered, all you need do is follow the instructions below:

We're going to need some resources for this one, it's a bit cumbersome as chain emails go, and for that I apologise slightly. Firstly- Actually let's get going with some numbers:

  1. Crappy one first, take some time to think of the strongest memory you have of doing something that makes you ashamed, embarassed, and saturated in self-loathing and doubt. Flesh it out in your mind, then boil it down to a simple sentence and write that sentence down. You can use windows notepad for this if you like. Keep it, we'll need it later.
  2. OK, this should be a little better, we're now to think of the best, most glowing accomplishment of our lives. The best thing you've done, that made you feel proud to be you, and probably made others proud, jealous or just glad to know you. Or perhaps no-one knows about it, a little private glory, whatever, it will do nicely.
  3. Now answer these questions. Make a note of your answers.
    1. Use an adjective to describe the colour red. An adjective is a describing word, eg "glorious". What does the colour red make you think of (in adjective form)?
    2. How do you feel about the torture of animals by small children? One adjective please.
    3. When you first had sex, how was it for the other person? Alternatively you could talk about a first kiss, or any other first physical act of intimacy. One adjective.
    4. Using a scale from 0 (suicidal) to 10 (euphoric) how does the phrase "Bill Clinton rarely wears a dress" make you feel?
    5. Using a scale from 0 (surfing a sea of adoring fans) to 10 (the cold, dark heart of a dead universe) how lonely do you feel at the thought of a plate of peas?
    6. If we say for the sake of argument, that god exists, and you meet him, except that he turns out to be a total idiot, what one adjective springs to mind?
    7. You pet a favourite animal, which immediately pees all over you. Adjective please.
    8. Another scale: for the rest of your life you must choose a place on the balance: 0 (no sex, lots of love) to 10 (no love, lots of sex).
    9. Have another go at the previous question, truthfully this time. No-one is watching.
    10. Your mother loves/loved you. 0 (enraged) to 5 (happy, but a little uncomfortable) to 10 (as jesus). Choose.
    11. Your father hates/hated you. 0 (not as much as you hate him) to 5 (well screw him then, his loss) to 10 (as jesus). Choose.
    12. The person who sent you this. 0 (selfish, naiive, contemptible asshole) to 10 (the one who gives your life meaning). Let them know how you feel. Include also an adjective.
    13. As above, only this time we're gonna keep it to ourselves, they don't get to know. Remember the adjective.
    14. Scale from 0 (the body is a machine, awareness is an illusion) to 5 (you are your soul, your body is just a machine) to 10 (your body is you, you are your body).
    15. 0 (the entirety of who you are is contained within your flesh) to 10 (the body is simply the expression of some divine will outside of the physical realm).
    16. What is your favourite human bodily fluid or excretion?
    17. The first word that pops into your head:
    18. Walking in the mountains you spot someone atop a precipice. They slip and fall freely. Do you watch them land?
    19. You as a figure of authority: 0 (no) to 10 (yes):
    20. How sexually alluring would you be, if that were what you were about? (0 to 10, as above)
    21. You are standing above the dead body of a child, a sharp, bloodstained knife is in your hand. You DID kill the child. Why? (Yes you did. Answer the question.)
    22. An angry person of the gender you are primarily sexually attracted to is shouting at you, they are in a position of superiority and are imposing and dominating. A short while later, you are embracing them (non-sexually) in your arms as they cry into your chest. One adjective.
    23. Now you are the 'angry person' from above, and the person who sent you this is the other character in the scene. One adjective.
    24. Swap the roles over. One adjective.
    25. The first word that leaps into your head:
    26. Mother. The first word that somersaults into your head:
    27. Lunchtime, friends are watching you pick up the destroyed remnants of whatever food you were excited about eating. Adjective please.
    28. How many people do you think fantasise about you sexually?
    29. How many of those interest you?
  • Right, now go away for a little while and rest. Come back in 15 minutes.
  • Hide away your answers from earlier. Read the sentence from part 1. Spend some time getting into the mindset.
  • You guessed it, more or less. This time start in the middle and work backwards, then when you get to the start, go to the end, and work back to the middle again.
  • Compare and contrast.
  • Choose from the following:
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because no-one cares.
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because you have private stuff there you don't want people seeing.
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because everyone is going to have the same answers.
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because the questions are stupid and the answers mean nothing.
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because you don't want people seeing how narcissistic you are.
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because you can't be bothered.
    • Do not send your answers to anyone because you know that everyone else just doctors their answers for public viewing anyway.
    • Do what the hell you like. It's just a stupid email. Do some work. Go for a walk outside. Smile when no-one is looking.
    • :)

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