Death threat in chain letter

A ghoulish chain letter with a death threat to those who dared to break the chain was doing the rounds in Craigavon in 1978.

It purported to come from a South American missionary and warned of death within four days.

The police condemned the letter as ‘insidious and deplorable’ and advised anyone receiving a letter to burn it immediately.

“This is a desperate and terrible way to frighten people, particularly if they are sent to the elderly,” said a police spokesman.

One of the chain letters was sent to a woman in Enniskeen who forwarded it to the ‘Mail’.

The letter, typed and posted anonymously from the Lisburn area, advised the woman to continue the chain by sending 20 identical copies to friends and neighbours.

It went on to cite the cases where people failed to do so and died mysteriously several days later.

Bit it alleged that those who continued the chain were rewarded with financial windfalls.

“I think this is really terrible,” said the housewife.

“What if an old age pensioner got one of them through the post?

“It is all so stupid but it has probably been sent to me, perhaps by a friend who did so out of fear or superstition.

It was claimed that the letter had been around the world nine times and was written by a missionary from South America.

People who sent on the letter, it alleged, received up to £2 million in financial windfalls.

But a youth in the Philippines and another man elsewhere failed to do so and died. Others had back luck and lost their jobs.