Stop spreading urban legends via e-mail!

September 30, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

I’m posting this in reaction to a mail that I received today. A kind warning: not only can e-mails like this spread computer virusses and spyware(not to mention a huge amount of panic), but it also takes up a lot of space in people’s inboxes. If you are not sure about a “warning”, check on www.hoax-slayer.com or www.hoaxbusters.org.

Another thing: by sending mails like this around, you may even give a criminal a new idea. For instance, before this mail, I haven’t heard of burundanga or it’s uses.

Another thing: it always astounds me that otherwise intelligent people fall for e-mails claiming that Nokia/Bill Gates/Veuve Cliquot or watsisname down the road is now all of a sardine using e-mail marketing for his business and therefore tracks your mail, and that after sending this on, you will receive a hundred trillion billion rands in your bank account, not to mention the free laptop and cellphone and game farm. (And possibly, even a woman that a certain Mr Jackson is uplifting…)

Also, I believe in God, and I also know that He is not the kind of God that will punish or bless me in reaction to how many e-mails I forward or don’t forward.

Regarding the latest urban legend:

Forwarded emails warn that criminals in the U.S. and Canada are using business cards impregnated with a potent street drug called burundanga (aka scopolamine) to incapacitate victims before attacking them.

Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: May 2008
Status: Mostly false

Example #1:
Email contributed by Cally, Aug. 25, 2008:

Subject: BE AWARE! READ THIS GIRLS!

Share with your sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, female friends, EVERYONE.

NEW WARNING!! Incident has been confirmed

In Katy, Tx a man came over and offered his services as a painter to a female putting gas in her car and left his card. She said no , but accepted his card out of kindness and got in the car. The man then got into a car driven by another gentleman. As the lady left the service station and saw the men following her out of the station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath. She tried to open the window and realized that the odor was on her hand; the same hand which accepted the card from the gentleman at the gas station.

She then noticed the men were immediately behind her and she felt she needed to do something at that moment. She drove into the first driveway and began to honk her horn to ask for help. The men drove away but the lady still felt pretty bad for several minutes after she could finally catch her breath. Apparently there was a substance on the card and could have seriously injured her. The drug is called ‘BURUNDANGA’ and it is used by people who wish to incapacitate a victim in order to steal or take advantage of them.

Four times greater than date rape drug and is transferable on simple cards. So take heed and make sure you don’t accept cards at any given time alone or from someone on the streets. This applies to those making house calls and slipping you a card when they offer their services.

Example #2:
Email contributed by Irene, May 12, 2008:

Warning…Be Careful!!

This incident has been confirmed. Ladies please be careful and share w/everyone you know!

This can happen anywhere!

And Another Warning . . . Last Wednesday, Jaime Rodriguez’s neighbor was at a gas station in Katy. A man came and offered his neighbor his services as a painter and gave her a card. She took the card and got in her car.

The man got into a car driven by another person. She left the station and noticed that the men were leaving the gas station at the same time. Almost immediately, she started to feel dizzy and could not catch her breath.

She tried to open the windows and in that moment she realized that there was a strong odor from the card. She also realized that the men were following her. The neighbor went to another neighbor’s house and honked on her horn to ask for help. The men left, but the victim felt bad for several minutes.

Apparently there was a substance on the card, the substance was very strong and may have seriously injured her.

Jaime checked the Internet and there is a drug called “Burundanga” that is used by some people to incapacitate a victim in order to steal or take advantage of them. Please be careful and do not accept anything from unknown people on the street.

Comments: Is there a drug called burundanga used by criminals in Latin America to incapacitate their victims?   Yes.

Do news sources confirm that burundanga is being used to commit crimes in the United States and other countries outside Latin America?   No, they do not.

The above story is almost certainly a fabrication. Two details betray it as such:

  1. The victim allegedly received a dose of the drug by simply touching a business card. (All sources agree that burundanga must be inhaled or ingested, or the subject must have prolonged topical contact with it, in order for it to have an effect.)
  2. The victim allegedly detected a “strong odor” coming from the drug-laced card. (All sources agree that burundanga is odorless and tasteless.)

What is burundanga?

Burundanga is the street version of a pharmaceutical drug called scopolamine. It is made from the extracts of plants in the nightshade family such as henbane and jimson weed. It’s a deliriant, meaning it can induce symptoms of delirium such as disorientation, loss of memory, hallucinations, and stupor.

You can see why it would be popular with criminals.

In powdered form scopolamine can be easily mixed into food or drink, or blown directly into victims’ faces, forcing them to inhale it.

The drug achieves its “zombifying” effects by inhibiting the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain and muscles. It has several legitimate medicinal uses, including the treatment of nausea, motion sickness, and gastrointestinal cramps. Historically, it has also been used as a “truth serum” by law enforcement agencies. And, like its street cousin burundanga, scopolamine has frequently been implicated as a stupefying agent or “knockout drug” in the commission of crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, and date rape.

2 antwoorde op Stop spreading urban legends via e-mail!

  1. I have so many friends who do this, it’s not even funny. And I thought I only surrounded myself with intelligent beings. 😉

  2. optout het gesê op September 30, 2009

    I also hate receiving this nonsense and respond with a link to snopes.com pointing out that it is a hoax. We have so much to worry about as far as crime and violence is concerned in this country that we don’t need to feed people’s fear unnecessarily.

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