The Indian Chain Letter
In June 1961, an old woman named Hilda Jones died and left most of her savings and various things of value to her younger sister, Mary, and her only son, Eddie. She also left some money to her two nieces, Claire and Julie Reynolds. After Hilda's funeral, these two girls overheard a strange story being related by one of the funeral guests in the parlour. He claimed that, upon her deathbed, Hilda Jones had asked her son to get rid of an old biscuit tin in the loft. He was to throw the tin out and he had been emphatically told not to look inside it. Well, Eddie had not had a chance to go up to the loft yet, so Claire and Julie decided to go up and investigate for themselves and they soon came upon an old rusted tin box. Julie opened it and found that it contained old documents and phtographs and Claire pulled out a long envelope and persued it. What she read made her go cold. It was a chain letter. The letter read:
'If you have read this far, you must keep reading and follow the instructions. This letter originated in India and has been received by thousands of people. If you do not make thirteen copies of this and send it on to thirteen people, you will die a terrible death. First, people in your family will become ill and later die.
If you are hoping to marry one day, you will die all alone and sinlge, if you fail to send copies of this letter. If you are engaged to be married, your sweetheart will desert you for another, unless you send off copies of this letter. If you do not do as this letter instructs, friends will also turn against you. But if you copy the letter thirteen times, you will have luck in every endeavour. You have six days to forward this letter. Do not break the chain. Send the copies off now, because you might forget later'.
Claire showed the letter to Julie and she was also shaken by its sinister contents. Now they knew why there aunt had wanted the old tin to be thrown out unopened. Claire was engaged to be married to a man named John O'Brien in one months time and was terrifed by the chain letter's promise that sweethearts would dersert loved ones if the letter was not copied. Claire decided to consult her local priest about the letter and, after she had shown it to him, he strongly advised her to throw it in the bin immediately.
Anyway, the wedding plans went ahead and the ceremony was due to take place at St Anne's Church in Edge Hill. On the day, Claire looked beautiful in her ivory-coloured wedding dress but, sadly, her bridegroom failed to turn up - John O'Brien had had a sudden change of heart. Claire was naturally devastated and was convinced that the chain letter had cursed her so, in an attempt to put things right, she started sending copies of the letter out. Not only did she send them to people she didn't like, but she also posted several of them to people she had picked out of the telephone directory at random and didnt even know. As a result, at the beginning of the 1960s, a wave of chain letters spread right across Liverpool and sevral people were said to have commited suicide, or at least made suicide attempts, because they were convinced they had been cursed. These letters ruined many lives, but most people simply ignored them, and rightly so. However, many superstitious and gulible folk had a terrible time because of them.
In 1971, a Huyton man made a startling deathbed confession. He revealed that, in the 1950s, he and a friend had concocted the so-called 'Indian Chain Letter' and had posted copies of it in Lawrence Road, Wavertree. It had originally been intended as a joke, he lamely explained.
Incidentally, this particular story turned out well in the end, when Claire later married John.