Break the Chain Shopping Malls of Doom
Part II

Updated (12/26/2002) The September 11 terrorist attack on symbolic targets in the United States was totally unpredictable and has left many scratching their heads wondering when the next attack will happen and what form it will take. I the absence of cold, hard facts, we're forced to place our faith in rumor and hearsay, which is why these chains thrived.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

It's always better to be safe than sorry on these things.

Hi All -

I think you all know that I don't send out hoaxes and don't do the reactionary thing and send out anything that crosses my path. This one, however, is a friend of a friend and I've given it enough credibility in my mind that I'm writing it up and sending it out to all of you.

My friend's friend was dating a guy from Afghanistan up until a month ago. She had a date with him around 9/6 and was stood up. She was understandably upset and went to his home to find it completely emptied.

On 9/10, she received a letter from her boyfriend explaining that he wished he could tell her why he had left and that he was sorry it had to be like that. The part worth mentioning is that he BEGGED her not to get on any commercial airlines on 9/11 and to not to go any malls on Halloween.

As soon as everything happened on the 11th, she called the FBI and has since turned over the letter. This is not an email that I've received and decided to pass on. This came from a phone conversation with a long-time friend of mine last night.

I may be wrong, and I hope I am. However, with one of his warnings being correct and devastating, I'm not willing to take the chance on the second and wanted to make sure that people I cared about had the same information that I did.

Laura Katsis (Contact Info Removed)

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Another version started circulating soon after that seemed to corroborate the story.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Subject: FW: Stay away from Malls on 10/31/01

Hi all,

I received this email from business associate and I was asked to pass it on. I don't know if it's true, but better to take heed. Take care and be safe. Betty

**************************

My friend Colleen arrived for a facial when FBI agents were leaving Murad on Sunday, October 7, 2001. They were there to interrogate a girl who worked there to find out if she knew anything. The reason for their lead was she was best-friends with a girl who was dating an Arab man, who disappeared and was involved in the terrorist attacks on the WTC. He disappeared this summer and left her a note, saying the following in the effect of:

"I have to go away and will not be able to see you again. Please do me a favor and do not fly in any planes on September 11, 2001 nor shop at any shopping malls on October 31, 2001 ......... "

Don't know about you but I live across the street from a shopping mall, and my in-laws do too. Given my daughter is usually at their house on a Wednesday afternoon, right near the mall, am thinking of where else to go.

Halloween may not be so Happy.

Please send this to anyone that you know. Let's hope this isn't for real, but since it was actually left in a letter to a loved one from one of the people involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001, I am not taking it too lightly.

Love, Terrie (Contact Info Removed)

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A third version puts the reader even further from the source and changes the written letter to a girlfriend to an e-mail sent to someone who corresponds with a friend in Afghanistan:

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

LISTEN!!

DO NOT GO INTO ANY SHOPPING MALL ON OCTOBER 31 DO NOT GO INTO ANY PUBLIC AREA ON THAT DAY

My father in law has a friend whose girlfreind corresponds with a friend who lives in Afghanistan. He emailed a message 2 days before the attack and only said:

Do not fly on Sept 11 and do not go to any shopping mall on October 31.

My father in law has already contacted the FBI and the CIA and they are tracking the email, but I am taking it upon myself to warn all of you of what I heard and I am begging you to pass it on.

THINK HARD: they are attacking our culture: 911 and Halloween. Many shopping malls hold festivities for children and families on Halloween. There have been no increase in security measures since this attack at shopping malls. PLEASE heed this and have a very safe and conservative Halloween and PASS IT ON. DO NOT TAKE THE CHANCE THAT THIS IS FALSE.

One last thing: TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND THEN SOME

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Yet another version puts the supposed attack in Canada and the source as the author's boss' wife's sisters' "really good friend."

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Tentative Warning.....I'll Update on Monday

Last night at curling, my old boss (Neil), came and sat down, and told everybody this. His wife's sister has a real good girlfriend in Red Deer Alberta. Her husband is ARAB and has been missing since Sept.10th. She recently found a letter from him that she has had to turn over to the RCMP and the FBI. Her husband wrote it before he disappeared on the 10th. It outlined the WHOLE story of details of what was gonna go on, on Sept.11th. SO, that means he was one of the guys on the planes.. AND he outlined that he loved her, and warned her not to go to any large shopping center in any large city in Canada on October 31st. He warned her that there is gonna be a MAJOR terrorist attack on a large Canadian City and possibly more than one city, but Canada is a target on Halloween according to this guy who knew everything before the Sept.11th thing.

So, take this for what you will, but I gaurantee that I won't be in any major city, close to any large shopping centers.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Another version doesn't give a date, but identifies the target as fast food restaurants and the source as an anonymous person's "aunt's friend."

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Hey everyone,

My mom just told me something really important that I thought you guys should hear...

My Aunt's friend from work was living with her boyfriend who is Muslim. When she came home from work yesterday all his stuff was gone and he left a letter for her. The letter said that he was very sorry that he couldn't tell her why he was gone, but he warned her not to eat at any fast food restaurants...especially McDonalds. This guy worked at the McDonalds distribution center. My aunt's friend called the FBI and they came and took the letter.

Now, I know this sounds like just one of those hoaxes that is going around, and it is of course possible that this could be a hoax too. But, since I actually know the person that this happened to I'm taking it a bit more seriously. I care about all you guys, and wanted to share this with you for your health and safety. I'm not going to freak out, but I'm also not going to eat at any fast food restaurants in the near future...they're not good for you anyway!

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

In a time of national crisis, it is critical to ensure the information we send and receive comes from reliable and valid sources. The original letter is a third person retelling of hearsay from "a friend of a friend..." The subsequent versions are most likely deliberate fabrications or mutated relays of the original. In either case, they are neither reliable nor valid. No law enforcement agency had any reports of specific threats for Halloween day and neither Washington D.C. nor Los Angeles FBI office had any knowledge of a case involving a woman and a letter from her boyfriend.

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Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. Justice department has issued statements whenever they have reason to believe more terrorist attacks are imminent. They said - and President Bush confirmed - that they will take action when specific threats and targets are identified. The shortage of specific authoritative information has led many to give more credit to rumors than they deserve.

The fact is, nobody knows when the next attack will come - that's why it's called terrorism. Historically, terrorists have not been known to give away their plans, otherwise they lose what is often their only advantage. We must trust the proper authorities to keep us safe and give us the information we need. Doing otherwise only creates a state of chaos, which is exactly what terrorists want.

This warning brings up too many questions. We are all more alert than ever - what we need is vigilance, not paranoia. Unfounded and unverified rumors like the above can only produce the latter. I know many of us are scared and want to protect those we care about, but unsubstantiated rumors help nobody. Break this chain!

What Do You Think?


References: TruthOrFiction.com

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