The year is 2007. Your razr–hot pink–chimes. You just received a message. There is a blurry image of a girl you’ve never seen before. The text underneath reads:
This is Kelsey Mason. Back in 2004, Kelsey was reading in her room by an open window. Her brother ran in wearing a mask to scare her. She startled back and fell out of the window. Her brother screamed, and her family rushed outside and saw her lying on the ground with her neck cracked. She was dead.
A year later, Brandon Madison was reading a message about Kelsey. He did not forward it to his friends. That night, as he was sleeping, he was snatched out of bed and thrown out of his window. His family discovered him the next morning on the ground with his neck cracked.
If you don’t forward this message to 10 of your closest friends in the next 5 minutes, Kelsey Mason will come into your room tonight and kill you.
Uh-oh. The threat is definitely fake… but are you willing to take that risk? To put your life on the line? It doesn’t take you long to make your decision. After all, you only have five minutes.
Eleven years later and spooky chain texts and emails have faded away, but only to be replaced by slightly less ridiculous Instagram and Facebook posts stating things like:
Like this post or your dad will die in a car accident this week.
Repost this image or (insert random name) will kill you tonight.
Every time I see a post like this, no matter how absurd it is, I get just a little bit paranoid. Do I want to die over a like? Or for my mom to die? She is not even involved in this situation. Who makes these posts? No matter the year or the technological developments, it seems that people will always have an obsession with targeting the universal fear of death for likes or for reposts or, more simply, for fun. Maybe they love chaos. Whatever their motivations, these posts do receive likes and reposts. Death is perceived as so random and uncontrollable that people are often unwilling to risk it, especially for something so stupid.
What are your thoughts on these kinds of posts? Have you ever like or reposted anything along these lines? Or forwarded a chain email or text in your youth?