Old Wives' Tales
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Claim: Forwarding an Internet chain letter will get you listed in The Guinness Book of World Records.
Origins: This crazy Internet chain letter appeared in August 1998. It has since turned up in numerous places despite the ridiculousness of its premise. Something for nothing will always have its allure,
When it comes to giving the ego a quick boost with a shot of unearned fame, one should keep in mind there ain't no free launch.
By definition, Guinness is interested in world records; biggest, fastest, longest, oldest. If there were a category for longest-lived
The record keepers have very strict rules about what they will list in their pages and the procedures that have to be followed if any record attempt is going to be honored by them. According to a couple of entries in its "Tips for Record Breakers" section:
Remember that if the record you want to try to beat is not in the book chances of it being introduced are slim.In short, there's no way to verify an
The criteria used to establish a record are as follows: the record must be measurable, must be independently corroborated, must be completely objective, and should preferably be the subject of worldwide interest and participation.
Provide documentation at all stages. We cannot send out witnesses so we need all the proof you can gather.
Guinness explains its position very clearly on its site, saying of this particular canard:
Guinness World Records does not accept any records relating to chain letters, sent by post orMoreover, the idea that each of the participants would get his name in the book even if a measurable record was set and verified is nuts. The Guinness Book of World Records lists accomplishments, not lengthy cast calls of those who participated in them. Grabbing an entry at random from the book, Guinness says, "The record attendance at a one-day barbecue was 44,158 at Warwick Farm Racecourse, Sydney, Australia on
We are sorry if you have been taken in by a chain letter claiming to be legitimate and are now disappointed to learn that it is not.
Also, unless the letter is intended to become an ever-lengthening inbox-choking missive with each person's forwarding information left intact upon it, there's no way to know who forwarded the note and who did not. All the rumors about
In the spring of 2001, a surface mail version of the leg-pull began appearing in the mailboxes of kids everywhere. It states the chain letter was started in 1986 by Austrian children and if it is kept circulating until December 2001, the chain will be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records with each of the participants named. Recipients are instructed to copy the missive six times then mail the letter to six youngsters. Each of the envelopes is to be inscribed "POST OFFICE: THIS IS AN OFFICIAL GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS CHAIN LETTER."
It's every bit as much a hoax as the Internet version was. There is no such attempt in progress, nor would Guinness be interested in one. The surface mail version is specifically targeted to kids which makes this doubly sad. Children love to receive things in the mail so it's a shame one of the few letters they'll receive is an out-and-out hoax.
Bottom line? If you want to get into the book, learn to grow peppers. If you can beat
Barbara "grading on the bell pepper curve" Mikkelson
Last updated: 5 March 2012
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