"I Am Teddy" Chain Letter

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As posted on Facebook, Jan. 9, 2013:

Netlore Archive: Recipients of this Internet chain letter are warned that if they don't repost it, 7-year-old Teddy will return from the dead and kill them in their sleep. Via Facebook

Description: Internet chain letter / Ghost story
Circulating since: 2007
Status: Preposterous (details below)

Example
As posted online in 2007:

Hi, I am Teddy. Once you read this you cannot get out. Finish reading this until it is done!

As I said, I am Teddy. I am 7 years old. I have no eyes and blood all over my face. I am dead. If you don't send this to at least 12 people I will come to your house at midnight and I'll hide under your bed. When you're asleep, I'll kill you.

Don't believe me?

Case 1: Patty Buckles Got this e-mail. She doesn't believe in chain letters. Well, Foolish Patty. She was sleeping when her TV started flickering on and off. Now she's not with us anymore. Ha ha patty, Ha ha! You don't want to be like Patty, do you?

Case 2: George M. Simon Hates chain mail, but he didn't want to die that night. He sent it to 4 people. Not good enough George. Now, George is in a coma, we don't know if he'll ever wake up. Ha ha George, Ha ha! Now, do you want to be like George?

Case 3: Valarie Tyler She got this letter. Another chain letter she thought. Only had 7 people to send to. Well, That night when she was having a shower she saw bloody Mary in the mirror. It was the BIGGEST fright of her life. Valarie is scarred for life.

Case 4: Derek Minse This is the final case I'll tell you about. Well, Derek was a smart person. He sent it to 12 people. Later that day, he found a $100.00 bill on the ground. He was premoted to head officer at his job and his girlfriend said yes to his purposal. Now, Katie and him are living happily ever after. The have 2 beautiful children.

Send this to at least 12 people or you'll face the consequences.

0 people- You will die tonight
1-6 people- you will be injured
7-11 people- you will get the biggest fright of your life
12 and over- you are safe and will have good fortune!

Do What Teddy Says!!!! Hurry, you must send to 12 people before midnight

 

Analysis: There are many different kinds of chain letters, but all of them have the same basic purpose, namely to persuade readers to copy and share them with as many other people as possible. Some promise good luck, blessings, riches, or long life for passing them along. Others threaten misfortune, curses, poverty, or even death for not. In this case the threat is murder at the hands of the eyeless, bloody ghost of a 7-year-old child. Judging by how frequently this chain letter has been copied and shared, the ploy is extraordinarily effective.

Typically, there's some attempt made at a narrative (see links to examples below), but not here. Teddy's self-description implies he met a violent, unpleasant death and intends to make others suffer as he did if he doesn't get his way. I think we can safely say this is a chain letter written by and for adolescents. To everyone else it's purely a nuisance.

Here are more examples of ghost story chain letters:

Carmen Winstead
"If you don't repost this saying 'She was pushed' or 'They pushed her down a sewer' then Carmen will get you, either from a sewer, the toilet, the shower, or when you go to sleep you'll wake up in the sewer, in the dark, then Carmen will come and kill you."

A Little Girl Called Clarissa
"On a Monday night at 12:00 she creeps into your room and kills you, but slowly and painfully, slowly cutting different parts of your body then watches you bleed to death. If you don't send this to 20 people by midnight she'll be coming to kill you!"

The Clown Statue
"The children and the babysitter got murdered by the clown. It turned out 2 be that the clown was a killer that escaped from jail. If you don't repost to 10 peeps within 5 minutes the clown will be standing next 2 your bed at 3:00 am with a knife in his hand."

The Ghost Under the Bed
"People in Laredo, Texas received this image and did not send it and were killed outside a bar; it looked as if this woman killed them. Send it to five people or the woman will look for you."

Humans Can Lick, Too
"If you delete this letter you will suffer the same fate as the girl in the story did, years after the dog was killed. She was raped and killed in the same town and same house as the dog. Do not dismiss this letter, because if you do, a horrible thing will become of you, everyone will soon know your name."