Date Added: March 6, 2002
In true chain-letter fashion, we're warned to be on the watch for a terrible crime that's happening "in alarming numbers." But not so alarming, apparently, that any reliable source would report it.
Please keep all windows rolled up when stopped at traffic lights, as only cars with windows down are being targeted.
Groups of teenagers have been caught, in alarming numbers, playing a new and dangerous game called Spunkball. Spunkball consists of a group of teens in a car pulling up to a stop light, and looking around for a car stopped near by with an open window. When one is spotted, the teens shout, "Spunkball," and throw a gasoline soaked rag that has been wrapped in aluminum foil through the open window.
On the outside of the foil attached a small fire cracker, with the fuse lit. When the fire cracker explodes, it shreds the foil, and the rag is ignited, causing a large flame that may catch the interior of the car on fire.
Spunkball playing has already claimed two lives, caused uncountable injuries due to burns, and caused thousands of dollars in damage to automobiles.
The best defense, say authorities, is to keep all windows rolled up when stopped at traffic lights, as only cars with windows down are being targeted. If you are at a red-light and hear a shout of "Spunkball," and notice something come flying in your window, the best thing to do is to have all passengers immediately exit the vehicle. DO NOT try to retrieve the object, as it will ignite once the fire cracker explodes.
PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO EVERYONE YOU CARE ABOUT.
We've all seen gaggles of bored teens hanging out on corners, in parking lots or cruising in their cars. Admit it, your pulse quickens with nervousness when you see them. It is believable that they are capable of such a dangerous act as the one described above.
But, if "spunkball" (or "spunk ball" as it is spelled in some versions) is so common, why is it that you had to hear about it first in an anonymously authored and randomly distributed chain e-mail?
Dismiss the idea that this is a warning from Allstate Insurance. Poor Ms. Maggio is among several unlucky folks who became associated with this note because they received and forwarded it, adding their name, contact information and unwarranted authority to it through False Attribution Syndrome.
The warning may have started as long ago as 2000 and circulated without any signature until at least 2002.
The chain contains no location information, no dates, etc. - Omissions that immediately put it in the realm of Urban Legend. I have found absolutely no evidence that "Spunkball" is being played anywhere.
While I can't say that teens in groups haven't been known to do some pretty dangerous things, this letter unfairly classifies any group of teens as a threat. Furthermore, its spread actually increases the likelihood that Spunkball may actually be tried out of curiosity, just to see if it works. That's reason enough to Break this Chain.