It's the rare individual who hasn't received at least one chain letter demanding that he send it on or forever suffer the consequences.
They are "a kind of psychological blackmail," says Gene Emery, founder of Chain Letters Anonymous, a service that handles unwanted chain mail. "What's so devious about them is that you're supposed to send them to friends!" A reporter for the Providence, R.I., Journal, Emery announced the service in 1991 through his weekly newspaper column and has been receiving letters ever since. In his years of running the service, Emery has categorized the letters into three varieties: money; good luck; and good luck / bad luck, in which the recipient is threatened with something terrible if he doesn't pass it along.
"You send us the letter, and we'll make sure it gets to the appropriate home," Emery says. "That means we'll put it in the waste basket for you."
Chain Letters Anonymous, P.O. Box 6866, Providence, RI 02940.