A widely spread urban legend to the effect that some gangs were having new members apply LSD to the buttons of public payphones as a rite of initiation. This legend probably arose as an email hoax on or around April 1, 1999. The initial text of this email follows.

Subject: FW: Please be careful using payphones

Hello, this is to warn everyone of a new thing happening in communities as a gang initiation and such. If you care about anyone, please forward this to them immediately so they can learn of the possible harm. Even if you don't read this, at least forward it to people.

Hello, my name is Tina Strongman and I work at a police station, as a phone operator for 911. Lately, we've received many phone calls pertaining to a new sort of problem that has arisen in the inner cities, and is now working it's way to smaller towns. It seems that a new form of gang initiation is to go find as many pay phones as possible and put a mixture of LSD and Strychnine onto the buttons. This mixture is deadly to the human touch, and apparently, this has killed some people on the east coast. Strychnine is a chemical used in rat poison and is easily separated from the rest of the chemicals. When mixed with LSD, it creates a substance that is easily absorbed into the human flesh, and highly fatal.

Please be careful if you are using a pay phone anywhere. You may want to wipe it off, or just not use one at all.

Please be very careful.
Let your friends and family know about this potential hazard.
Thank you.