By: David Bloomberg
Re: Urban Legends and TV
The local TV station here fell for a well-known urban legend about "Blue Star
Acid". They have an E-mail address, so I sent them the following. Their
response is attached also. Note the detail of their response and also the DATE
of their response as compared to the date I sent the E-mail.
Date: Thu Mar 02 1995 18:07:20
From: David Bloomberg of 1:2430/2112
To: Uucp of 1:1/31
Subj: Blue Star Acid
Attr: privileged crash sent
From: David Bloomberg, REALL Chairman
P.O. Box 20302
Springfield, IL 62708
(217) 787-9098 (until 3/4)
(217) 522-7554 (after 3/4)
As the Chairman of the Rational Examination Association of Lincoln Land
(REALL), the Springfield skeptics group, I'm disappointed to see that you and
Sheriff Williamson have apparently fallen for a well-known urban legend, and
reported it as if it were fact.
I'm talking about your report today on "Blue Star Acid." This legend has been
around for a number of years, and has been reported on in at least two of
Professor Jan Harold Brunvand's books on urban legends: "The Choking Doberman"
and "Curses! Broiled Again." Also for your perusal, here is an article which
appeared on this subject in LA a few years back:
AUTHORITIES DISMISS FLYERS ABOUT LSD AS WORK OF PRANKSTERS
* Drugs: The warnings, which have surfaced over the years,
appear at an El Segundo school. Some attribute their
spread to people who mean well but are misinformed.
by Jim Newton, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times, 18 April 1992
A puzzling hoax is frightening parents from coast to coast, most recently in El
Segundo, with fake warnings that their children are being exposed to new and
potentially lethal forms of the psychedelic drug LSD.
The warnings -- once taken seriously by police, drug experts and doctors -- are
being emphatically dismissed as a cruel joke. Yet, the rumors defy official
attempts to squelch them, and as recently as this month the flyers turned up at
St. Anthony's Catholic school in El Segundo, where administrators sent them
home to parents.
According to the one-page flyer, the new forms of the drug, some laced with
strychnine, are being sold to students as "tattoos" and designed to be absorbed
through the skin. Parents are asked to be on the lookout for the drug and its
"A young child could happen upon these and have a FATAL TRIP," warns the
typewritten sheet sent to parents of students at St. Anthony's. "It is also
believed that little children could be given a free 'TATTOO' by the other
children who want to have some fun cultivating new customers without the
Drug experts say there is no truth to that.
"We don't know where these come from, but they're bogus," said Ralph B.
Lochridge, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration's Los Angeles
office. "It's like UFO sightings. They show up everywhere."
Authorities do not know who is responsible or what their motives might be.
Some attribute the flyers to pranksters, others to well-intentioned people with
Washington drug authorities said the phony LSD warnings have been cropping up
across the country for several years, starting on the East Coast in such places
as Upstate New York and Pennsylvania and gradually working their way West.
Most often, the flyers appear in small towns, but they have found their way
into police stations, union mailers and major hospitals.
Although the hoax is centered in the United States, similar flyers have even
been found in Belize, Canada, Europe and Mexico, said Cornelius Dougherty, a
DEA spokesman in Washington.
The flyers are particularly hard to debunk, officials say, because they contain
some accurate information about LSD and its effects. That makes them
convincing, even to people who know something about the drug. But the flyers'
main contention -- that a new form of the drug has appeared and that children
are especially susceptible to it -- is untrue, authorities said.
"They're like a chain letter," said David Langness, a spokesman for the
Hospital Council of Southern California, which represents about 250 hospitals
in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara
counties. "They capitalize on anti-drug hysteria, and as far as we can
determine, they are a total hoax."
Langness said he did not know of any youngster admitted to a Southern
California hospital because of the effects of ingesting an LSD "tattoo."
DEA agents said that although LSD can be absorbed through the skin, as the
flyer notes, that is the least effective way of getting high from the drug,
which usually is taken orally.
Although some officials said the phenomenon has seemed to ebb since a peak of
activity in the late 1980s, a group of parents expressed alarm last week when
a flyer surfaced in El Segundo.
"I was completely baffled by this, and I was certainly worried," said Arlin
Alonzo, whose son attends kindergarten at St. Anthony's. "Here's this note,
which was the most disturbing news I've had in quite a while."
Mary Williams, whose 6-year-old son attends the school, said she was frightened
by the warning. "We sat down right away and talked about it. I don't know why
someone would do this."
St. Anthony's Principal Eileen Deck, who had the flyer sent to parents, said
she was surprised to learn from a reporter that the warning is a fake, and she
promised to alert parents.
The warning, she said, came to her attention through a parent who saw the flyer
at his job and thought other parents should be alerted. In addition to its
warnings about LSD tattoos, the flyer warns of tabs of the drug decorated with
Bart Simpson, Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters.
"This is a new way of selling acid by appealing to young children," the flyer
That, too, is a lie, officials say.
"The cartoon characters go all the way back in the history of LSD," Dougherty
said. "Obviously, Bart Simpson is new, but we don't see any evidence of an
effort to market this to young children."
Dougherty and other drug experts urged school administrators, hospital
officials and others to treat any anonymous warnings with skepticism. But they
acknowledged that the unsigned flyers can be hard for well-intentioned
authorities to ignore.
Often they are distributed because officials who happen upon them want to make
sure parents are not denied what appears to be an important warning about a
"You feel like if it's happening, you want to let parents know," Deck said.
"We didn't make a big issue of it, but we wanted to pass it along."
Date: Thu Mar 09 1995 08:16:10
From: romulus.ehs.uiuc.edu!accessil.com!n of 1:30114/0
To: David of 1:30114/0
Thank you for calling NewsChannel 20 Feedback. We appreciate your comments on
our story and thank you for the article. NewsChannel 20