If I were King, Sending Chain Letter Emails…

…would be punishable by Slow Dial-Up.

We’d all agree that spam is an annoying nuisance —a pesky swarm of e-mosquitoes dive-bombing our in-boxes. We all hate it so much that we would never knowingly forward spam to our friends. Right?

Several times a week, I get what I call “superstitious spam emails” from friends—the 21st Century version of chain letters. You know the kind: Read this little prayer, ditty, cute pics with captions, and forward it to fill-in-the-number of your friends. When you do, you’ll receive some fabulous good luck.

Does the sender really think that by simply forwarding an email to several friends they’ve somehow garnered special dispensation from the email fairies? I’d guess that’s 25% of the reason. The other 75%? The email’s threat of bad luck if it’s not forwarded.

The one in my in-box this morning gave this dire example of what might befall me by not forwarding: “When the President of Argentina received this letter and called it “junk mail”, 8 days later his son died.” I’d venture to say that it wasn’t the email’s power that killed the son, but rather the father’s corrupt dealings.

Rationally, we all know that. So why do some of us feel compelled to forward these emails anyway? A quick revisit to our Psych-101 class provides the answer. When faced with the choice between pain or pleasure, the majority of people (and animals) will choose to avoid pain. These email chain letters are a poignant case in point: We would rather chance annoying our friends than risk the implied bad luck.

Amazing, isn’t it?

61 thoughts on “If I were King, Sending Chain Letter Emails…”

  1. This morning,i got the same email about the presidents son.I feel like someone is trying to see how far such an email can go..our God takes no pleasure in our suffering/death/misery…

  2. Do not send these on to your friends and family. Furthermore, I don’t know about you guys but my God didn’t know about email, didn’t threaten people with death if they didn’t participate in chain emails, the Argentina president’s son was also a drug dealer and beat women, so…just saying.

  3. I too get these chain mails all of the time. I am a believer in Jesus and find it very annoying that people think you have to send an email to so many people in order to receive God’s Blessing. Like some of the people who responded to this post, I too have tried telling people that I don’t like this type of email and they will agree with me but soon afterwards I receive one from them. I would also like to know why would a good friend or somebody who claims they love you send something that could bring “bad luck” to you? If they really cared wouldn’t they want to spare you? I totally agree with what Brian and many others said. God’s Blessing to all.

  4. thank you guys for the wonderful reviews..imyself was scared at one pt: after i have had deleted this mail but now i feel much relieved…………glad to have seen your blog

  5. I just received this although mine had a well painted image of two angels, one kneeling and praying, one holding a sword, both of them “beautiful” matriarchal blonde ladies. It had all the text of the aforementioned plus a novena from mother Theresa. I consider this to be Cyber Bullying, witchcraft, or worse. I scared the you know what out me

  6. I received the email just a little while ago. I’ve never believed in these things but this email which states that the Argentinian President’s son died… I just had to google it to know if it was true. When I came across this page and after reading it realized where and what my faith depends on… definitely not e mail forwards

  7. I recently received that email and responded to ALL thusly:
    It’s a miracle!!
    God came to me and told me that YES, he still loves each and every one of us and will keep all who pray to him in his graces.

    He did, however, add that he will NO LONGER be sending his blessings in the form of forwarded mass email threats.
    He also wanted everyone to know that if you receive such an email to not feel impelled to pass it on, no matter how much the author implores you to do so.

    It seems that God is cool with everyone not feeling pressured to forward on an email for xxx years of good luck.

    If you receive such an email, no sweat, God says it’s OK to delete.

    Also, I did a little research on the President of Argentina and his dead son.

    It seems that, yes, the son of former Argentina president Carlos Menem was killed in a helicopter accident in 1995, but claims of a connection between the accident and the president’s supposed failure to forward an email is nonsensical and nothing more than idle speculation. In fact, it seems quite doubtful that this particular email had even begun to circulate AS THE INTERNET WAS TWO YEARS AWAY FROM BEING INVENTED, much less AVAILABLE in Argentina!

    I am merely a conduit,

  8. Carrie, Assja and Paulose, you are the “Peters” (Rocks) of today’s faith. You have really strengthened me. I just thought isn’t this a joke, just saying the president of Argentina lost his son, without any name or year…., I decided to search, and found, well some truth and connectivity of event. Still I did not believe that our Holy Merciful God can be so vengeful. So mean, so small a competitor!!! That’s how I kept reading and found this page. What if I have just got the new email address and know nobody to forward mails to…??? Oh no. This is rubish. Let’s pray that those funy wishes do not happen. We have better ways of spreading the good news of Mother Mary than this.

  9. Today i received this mail. but I didn’t belive,
    But I strongly believe Jesus, mother Mary, everything. but this type of emails make people more scared instead of knowing Jesus love, mercy, secret of holy sacrament. The purpose of Jesus came to world not for Lottery, Job, food, Prosperity, money etc.. , he came to world for saving the people sole for everlasting life with God (In heaven)

    Miracles happened in Jesus name is true.
    If you read Holy Bible you can see Jesus did so many Miracles, yes he did the miracles for people to believe in God and turn from sinful life to holy life. If he didn’t do the miracle, the people will not believe his words.

  10. …now its almost end of May 2010, and this thing is still circulating. My first reaction was, “rubbish, bin the stuff? What a small God would that be if he needed the use of means like blackmail to gain followers!!!” And it annoyed me most that although by logic and by belief I know it’s just ridiculous rubbish, there was still teensy weensy feeling of insecurity and fear with flashing thoughts of black magic, devil worship and God knows what else. I threw the thing into the junk but I couldn’t refrain from searching the net for facts… That’s how I came across this page and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who is annoyed about this mail. Anyway, who’s got so much time to come up with this kind of rubbish??? What is going on in their minds? And what do they gain from it? They can’t even enjoy their power play because they don’t see the mail recipients!

    Carrie, I really loved you made up mail. I had a good laugh about it! Wonder how long that one will circulate!!

  11. Why would a true Christian send smut that God would kill you or harm you if you didn’t forward an email to a set amount of people? If I had to slap a deity on it, I wouldn’t say it was God…. So I decided to be a smart alec and send a made up one back, replying to All. About a week later, it was forwareded to me! I think the coffee I spewed cleaned out my nostrils.

    “Look at this number. 1.
    Cross your fingers.
    Send to 22 people or this is the
    Number of eyeballs you will have left.
    Proven to be true. I can see you…why?
    Because I still have two eyeballs.
    Tick Tock. “

  12. This email is still circulating.

    I really want to respond to the person who sent it but it’s my aunt. I’m always a little torn as to how to react to these sort of things. On one hand I recently changed my email address and in the same email I added a paragraph on how much I hate spam, forwards, chain hoaxes and the like. Seems like it fell on deaf ears.

    I guess I simply have to see it the way the author of this blog describes, as a human psychological phenomena, and pardon those who don’t take the time to question things.

    Thanks for this blog, it is much appreciated!

  13. I also just got the email but now it has a picture of Jesus on the cross and if you look at a different angle the picture turns into the face of Jesus. I usually delete these but then I got scared as well, so I looked it up and this blog was the first thing that came up. It seems like this has been going on for a while. Also the whole idea of faith in Christ is not about good or bad luck, it is about love, love for God and each other. So I deleted it as well. And if you think about it, if you send it out, wouldn’t you be sending pain to others rather than grace?
    Anyway thanks again for the blog.

  14. Demitri Pramatia

    It’s march 1st 2010 and my girlfriend just received this text from her mom. We just got in a huge fight over it because I asked her why her mom would send this junk to her and not delete it. I’m glad I googled the topic and found this blog to insure me that there are still logical people in this world that don’t waste there time with this junk mail.

  15. I got the same text this morning from my cousin and was amazed that so many people have also gotten the same text/e-mail over the years. I have also noticed the picture people describe varies so obviously its not true. I am neither christian nor catholic, but I do know that this is offensive to those who are strong in those beliefs. I do believe in God, the Son, and the Mother, but I don’t label myself to a certain religion. I think we should not forward this to anyone so we can stop the process of this chain letter and one day it will be no more. (-:

  16. As a Catholic I’m deeply agonised. Christ our saviour and his Mother (our’s too) are icons of compassion and love and these people are vandalising the most sacred playing at the hands of miscreants, some innocently but some perhaps deliberately.

  17. I sourly responded to the person that sent this to me via text, ” The President of Argentina is a woman. Nice use of possessive pronouns.” I didn’t realize that they would be circulating around a 15 year old fact, and automatically assumed they meant the incumbent president.

  18. here it is jan 16,2010 and this email is still going strong….
    I’ll send it on only because………we sometimes need to be reminded that there is a God out there………and it doesn’t hurt to say the the Our Father Pray

  19. Hi yall, its around 11 pm here in Bulgaria and I’m just stopping by to tell you guys the “surprising news” that the blasted picture is still going on around and this is the second time I’ve recieved it. It’s been a long time since I’ve first deleted the junk and I’m still alive and well so I’ll just delete it again. I guess it’s pretty surprising that people still fall for these things but what can you do… But I noticed that both time I’ve recieved this has been from people I know to be extremely supersticous. Anyway, I’m glad I found this blog, so I could share this ‘annoying’ experience with all of you. I read some pretty interesting stuff too, so thanks for that.

    Have a nice year you guys XD

  20. 2 years later and guess what? I just got the spam.
    And I googled.
    And I’m here.
    I checked the people that the sender sent it to, and she didn’t send it to any of her friends. Just to me and other random people. I only met her once and emailed her one for business. I guess she didn’t want to curse any of her friends. Hahaha.

    Great reflection by the way.

  21. I just received that exact spam today… and I was curious about it, since saying a president’s son DIED after calling that spam junk mail is kind of controversial, so I googled about that son’s death. Amazingly the son DID die. Eek. But not because of that silly spam of course.
    And guess what, yes, the spam is STILL circulating – and its 2009!

  22. I received the same email as mentioned above by the friends. As I had some same experinces, as far as I can remember one of them was on a polish burned baby, Alexandra, so I searched again. Your blog was of so much help as i understood this is a spam again. So, at first I send my thanks to you and all my friends, who did not believe in such a thing, and second I am going to send a reply to the friend who sent me the spam.
    I just wonder how some people make benefit out of these holy men. I am not a christian but a Muslim, but I do beleive in Jesus Christ.

  23. Yeah, pathetic little email is still going round in October I’m afraid. Funny thing is it was a bit late arriving in my inbox. So far I’ve lost my Father to old age, my long term girlfriend to God knows who and my job of 20 years to nepotism. Hee hee, all part of lifes ups and downs I’m afraid. Personally I’ll be quite happy to delete this “thing” that is an insult to junk mail. At least junk mail may be of use to somebody somewhere but this doesn’t even benefit the originator of it. Anyway, who knows, maybe when I delete it its supreme magical powers will work in reverse for me and start bringing good luck my way again haha. ‘Til then i’ll just try and make my own luck.

  24. Just to let all know the email is still circulating, received one today with Lady of Guadalupe, a few months back, received one with Jesus on a cross with a faded image of a man in the background believed to also be Jesus.
    I also believe this email was originated from Latin, i.e. Argentina + Alberto Martinez.
    Nucleardream’s Blog has a topic on this called: ‘Virgin Email (Take2)’

    Gotta love the logic!

    I sent this email back to each sender, explaining the power of God, goodness VS evil, with quotes from St Johns verses, ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ If you’re a christian, this is what is practice to believe.

    Also provide a link to this and other blogs…thanks

  25. Hi all,

    I too received this stupid e-mail but with Krishna and Rahda on it instead of Mary or Jesus. If this picture was sooooo sacred and cursed why are there so many different versions? Ha ha. What a bunch of crap. I HATE this stuff. I’m deleting it now. Since my fate in doing this is certain death or bad luck I’ll write back and let you guys know if I got hit by a train or ate poisonous sushi.

    Take care

  26. i´m from croatia.
    got an e-mail yesterday, translated on croatian and with a photo of mary on it.
    i´ve send it to ´junk´ cause god is good – and… you know what i mean.
    not even there´s a holy photo or a puppy bear i just don´t like chain letters.
    send this and win lottery…i´m feeling tottaly sad people are buying this things, crazy.
    but as this email disturbed me i´ve googled this president of argentina + son and found this blog… i´m soooo happy there are people thinking the same!
    enjoy life!

  27. I just received this email and thought to myself, “What should I do?” I’m dissapointed with myself for wondering what to do. I don’t like chain letters either, but I was so intrigued because of who I received the chain letter from. I decided to check to see when the President of Argentia’s son died. This is how I found this blog.

    Thanks so much for this information. The email implies that God kills those who reject him and that’s not true. God is loving and concerned about all of us and is familiar with rejection. He doesn’t just kill you because of it, but has given everyone freedom of choice. I’m glad I serve God for he is a loving and compassionate God.

  28. Yeah I just got this today?! I laughed it off, deleted it and sent an email back to my friend (and my other friends she sent it to) saying how ridiculous it was if they thought it was true and to ignore it. I HATE junk mail! I have better things to do at work (like work)than read stupid emails like this!

  29. Here is it early August and this stupid thing is still meandering its way around the internet. I just received it from an uncle I haven’t spoken to in over 5 years. Gee, thanks for that. Delete!

  30. I cant believe people believe this stuped chain lettters and actually are afraid that something will happen to them and send this stuff to other people.

  31. Yes, I also googled the argentinian president and found that one of the former president’s son’s died in a plane crash a few years ago… I could not imagine him receiving a picture like the one I received of Krishna and Rahda (one of your correspondents called them Stupid–How do you know?) and I wondered who was taping the pres as he went through his emails, back in the 90’s. So I found this very cool blog, thanks. The reason I was compelled to think about this here email was 1)at least it isn’t one of those Christ-based blackmailing emails, telling me god will turn from me unless I go to him through JEEEESUS, and 2) I had a dream a few years ago in which there was a very similar covered pond full of water and floating candles and flowers, but intead of Krishna and Rahda it was Ganesh in the middle, and he was alive and smiling. Weird, I know, because I am not Hindu nor Catholic nor Baptist nor Muslim, nor…. To me, religions that are more philosophic than magical are one thing, but the magical ones remind me of superstitions. I like magic and mystery, too, otherwise the dream would not have fascinated me. I even like what I know of the prophet and rebellious Rabbi, J.C. But I am fine with my connection with the universe, won’t send it on—unless I decide to annoy one of the relentless individuals who send my the Jesus emails. Funny.

  32. Hey, so today I received this text reading the same thing. This is horrible and quite annoying. Jesus Christ should not be used to bring good or bad luck to people. God bless all of you.

  33. hey, I got the same message.. but I deleted it cuz im a Christian.. I know I’m not gonna be cursed unless God wants me to.. but highly unlikely..
    n I dont believe in superstition.

  34. I got my first “text message curse” this morning. Mine was different though…it had a picture of Samara’s eye (from the movie The Ring) and said if I don’t forward to 10 people, I’ll die in 7 days. I got this nice little gem from my best friend of 13 years, who NEVER sends me text messages. I can’t even send text messages on my phone unless I pay for each individual one. So you can imagine how pissed I was to get that. I deleted it, and am trying to forget about it, but it’s just so angering to me that people do this. It’s cruel. :(

    Steph, this just shows the hold that the power of superstition has over some people. Yay for you for deleting the message. 

  35. I just received the email with all the same as above but like everyone else i came and googled too as i i was afraid :(
    The picture on mine was of Jesus on the Cross with a blurred version of Jesus in the background

  36. I got the same spam too but instead of forwarding and deleting, I did a litle “googling” and found out the current president is a she and doesn’t have a dead son and the previous one’s son is doing Shakira the singer.
    This is a stupid indian picture from some even more stupid temple.

  37. For the record, the picture is a photograph of the Painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Whether you believe in apparitions of the Virgin Mary is your own personal affair-the forwarding of annoying (or even distressing) chain email is not.
    Cheers for the blog-its good to know I’m not the only one who ends up with a moral dilemma whenever I’m faced with these emails :)

  38. Hi all…i ‘m from Greece and i just received this so called Christian mail…First, excuse me for my poor english…I wanted to say that this mail has been translated in greek too…It’s unbelievable what some people do. I did the same thing that some of you did, like searched the internet about Alberto Martinez…and found this blog…Anyway, congratulations to the maintainers of the blog, nice work…
    Cheers from Greece

  39. While this type of spam e-mails are mostly annoying, we are missing the larger message, which creates an ethos of self-entitled mentality within the world we live in. I received this e-mail from an Indian person, whom I do not know, with the photo of Radha Krishna in it. I only suppose he found me through Yahoo!’s directory as a devotee of Krishna, and planned his cyber attack. While I did find the photograph of Radha Krishna very pleasing, I was ashamed at the audicity of this person, a complete stranger. This type of communication implies, if not directly, that the Supreme Almighty Lord is somehow obliged to us, His servants. Somehow, by propagating these images via e-mail, God will repay us with lavish reward and we will be “favored” by Him and we know we are ever-so deserving of it. What obligation does God have to us? The intention of worship is surrender in and of itself. We should not expect rewards for preaching or spreading His messages. And certainly He does not want any glorification, regardless of how grand it may be, if that glorification is not sincere. My post is this: send that e-mail to your friends and family, but stop the chain-cycle. Delete the foreboding warning below the photo/painting and just send it because you love God. :)

  40. I received this junk mail as well.
    Both version even.
    I’ve sent an email back to one of my friend, (the one who sent Mary version) and now I got another one. I wonder, why don’t people just google the stupid junk mails and know whether to forward or not. Not only does it save us from reading all these shit. It also make the inbox more free for important stuffs!

    Thanks for the post you made about this. I seriously start hating these junk mails. *sighs*

  41. I received this junk email this morning – they have substituted the picture of Mary with a picture of Radha and Krishna, knowing that I am a Hindu. It appears that this junk email is still travelling round the world in different formats.


  42. Hi, this is cB from Singapore. This kind of mails are spread across people / places and there is no relegion escaped from this. Infact, I’m from Hindu relegion and the guy ( who want to annoy people) made it very cleverly with a hindu god attched to it.

    just ignore it!

  43. i also received that mail saying that with the pic of mary The President of Argentina received this picture and called it ‘junk mail’, 8 days later his son died. A man received this picture and immediately sent out copies…his surprise was winning the lottery. Alberto Martinez received this picture, gave it to his secretary to make copies but they forgot to distribute: she lost her job and he lost his family. This picture is miraculous and sacred, don’t forget to forward this within 13 days to at least 20 people. Do Not Forget to forward and you will receive a huge surprise!!
    i got this from a friend on my computer and googled it and find this please some one give some advice that i should forward this or not

    Moeen, This SPAM email has been making the the rounds for YEARS! It plays on people’s fears and superstitions. There is no basis to this email — positive or negative. Please do your friends a favor and don’t forward any emails. Especially, junk like this one.

  44. Hey, good site… i too received this mail but with a picture of Lord ShriKrishna and Radha. I am an Indian. After reading the mail, i didn;t delete it… but i searched on the google by the Argetina president+son and i got tis blog.

    Thanks all for sharing ur views.

  45. To Ewere, the “human bird” is an angel and its obviously not a picture of Mary, but rather a picture of a painting on a wall!
    I agree with Sonny – the past President of Argentina, Carlos Menem’s son died in 1995. Since this chain e-mail seems to be quite recent, it is surprising that they use a 13-yr old fact. Furthermore, I am apalled that all of us have taken time to comment on this useless waste of time that someone created – I still don’t know what purpose it serves. It doesn’t seem to be a virus and it is not promoting the Christian or Catholic faith, so I do not understand why someone would waste time creating such an e-mail! :S

    Stay junk free…!

  46. I just received this emial via Text messaging! I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I receive this from a really good friend, and I was dissapointed to see this on my cell phone. The picture was of Jesus on the cross and a photo of Jesus next to the cross. Also, mine read “The president of Argentina received dis picture and called it junk, 8 days later his son died. A man received this & immediately sent out copies…his surprise was winning da lottery. Alberto Martinez received this picture, gave it to his secretary to make copies but they forgot to distribute; she lost her job his family. This picture is miraculous & sacred. Send to 10 ppl…

    I googled the “facts” which were in this Text message, and I ran across this blog. I am glad to see that a lot of people are upset as I am. I am still in shock that people will stoop so low to play with our heads. One part of me says, forward the message to people, because I don’t want a curse to be attached to me. The other part of me, knows this is a Text message is a fraud. I am really glad that I saw your blog.

  47. hey, well said.I received this e mail that mentions the President of Argentina..I got annoyed and deleted it. But then a slight fear touched my mind, and I searched google giving president+ argentina+ son+ letter…to test whether this incident really happened or not. Often these stories are created by men to put fear on the minds of the people, just like the medieval age. But google brought straight to ur blog page…I read, enjoyed and felt nice. Thanks for that…

  48. I also stumbled at this blog when I received the same JUNK. Im a Christian. This is sheer Nonsense. I immediately replied the sender with a few comments. First, Whot took that picture of Mary? There were no cameras when Mary Lived. Secondly, Who or What is the human bird underneath. That proves it is a composition. People are getting wiser. I have deleted it as JUNK. The Name Mary has no connection with goodluck. The only Name we know is JESUS.

  49. u just got the chain letter too and tried to google it to see who “Al berto Martinez” was. then i stumb;ed across this blog.

    The fact of the matter is the person who started this basically said re-send this email or you are cursed. Not very good terms for “good luck”. I guess it works its magic on peoples frailties and their insecurities about hat many of them dont know too much about: God. If people knew their divine right it would be as easy to dismiss this.

    Plus “Al berto Martinez” doesnt exist: notice the space inbetween Al and berto

  50. I got this same email. I’m a strong Christian and Bible believer. This kind of thing both angers and saddens me. You would be a truly merciful “king” to only sentence the sick pups that create this stuff to slow dial-up! Thhey obviously know what they are doing and don’t care about the folks that they affect! If this kind of sick-o trash-creators have a King, then I think that it must be our spiritual adversary. Warm regards, Rob
    Response to receipt of email showing a photo of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ that says: VIEW PICTURE CAREFULLY!!!!!!! The President of Argentina received this letter and called it “junk mail”, 8 days later his son died.
    A man received this letter and immediately sent out copies…his surprise was winning the lottery.
    Alberto Martinez received this letter , gave it to his secretary to make copies but they forgot to distribute:
    she lost her job and he lost his family..
    This letter is miraculous and sacred, don’t forget to forward this within 13 days to at least 20 people.
    Do Not Forget to forward and you will receive a huge surprise!!

  51. Sonny LUndqvist

    I received that e-mail also today November 3rd 2007 . Interesting that the son died in 1995 and the president was using Internet then! :-)

    What I find even more amazing is that this piece of spam is STILL circulating the internet! 

  52. Great observation and reflection – I just got the same e-mail about the son dying….amazing what people will do in the hopes of good luck…..

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