"Blue Star" LSD Tattoo Urban Legend Examples

Scanned-in Versions:

56K gif Posted as an "official notice" at the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru on 11 October 1988.

282K jpeg Sent out on CIBA-GEIGY's Health Care Management Program letterhead. From the Joseph Zimmerman collection, marked October 1988.

119K jpeg Posted by Mark Pharmacy in Wayne, New Jersey. From the Joseph Zimmerman collection, marked October 1988.

181K jpeg Found in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1989.

47K gif Directed to Muhlenberg College Faculty and Staff Parents, 5 February 1989.

199K gif Found in Gander, Newfoundland in September, 1990.

134K gif From a homeowner association newsletter (Dec. 1990). Unusual in that the "WINDOW PANES" are described as containing "a number of kings" each of which is laced with drugs.

21K gif "Metropolitan Police Information" dated November 1992, with an appended note indicating its hoax nature.

281K jpg From the Suburban News of northern New Jersey, Fall 1993. Joseph Zimmerman notes: "This was actually submitted by a well-meaning police sgt. in our neighboring community."

191K gif Sent out by the Superintendant of Schools in Oakland, New Jersey in October, 1993. "This may or may not be happening in Oakland but it is certainly an alarming situation that you must be made aware of as parents." From the Joseph Zimmerman collection.

54K gif From the "Mosquito Squadron" newsletter, Winter 1995.

132K jpeg Found in Italy in 1996.

116K jpeg Found in South Africa in 1996.

100K gif Distributed at a Texas elementary school in March 1996.

117K jpeg Found in "The Village Voice" (a community association newsletter) in June, 1996.

62K gif A fax dated 24 June 1996 that did the rounds of Panasonic and a St. Francis Public School somewhere before a collector found it.

135K gif Faxed from the Minden Press-Herald in August 1996

214K gif Nice skull-and-crossbones version found in September 1996. "This message was received from a local hospital. Its message and content are accepted as true and accurate."

275K jpeg From the Joseph Zimmerman collection, sent by the "Eastern Regional Family Service Center" September 1996

55K gif Faxed into Roseville, California in October 1996.

188K jpeg Originally printed on blue card stock. Found at the Parker Lincoln Building in Raleigh, North Carolina in January 1997.

159K jpeg Found in March, 1997. This is a fairly canonical version of the flyers being propagated at that time.

113K jpeg Found in March, 1997 at DuPont Chemicals in Victoria, Texas.

68K jpeg This version, an almost verbatim copy of the DuPont flyer above, was printed up as a news item in March, 1997 in the Yorktown, Texas News.

138K gif WARNING!!! found 13 March 1998

87K gif From the South Carolina State Troopers Coalition, found in Whiteville, North Carolina on 4 May 1998

82K gif Posted at Joseph Teres School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 1998 (references this site as its source)

153K gif Posted at a Toys 'R' Us office in Paramus, New Jersey in August 1998

106K gif Posted at an apartment complex in Clearwater, Florida, September 1998

151K gif "Meyer," who sent this version to me, said "A Pharmacist was giving this out in West Chester, PA 10/98"

108K jpeg Sent out by the Texas Migrant Council in October, 1998. Submitted by George McKinney.

81K gif Found in the Alvarado School Newsletter, San Francisco, California. on 30 October 1998.

127K gif Sent out by the Principal of John P. Faber School in Dunellen, New Jersey in November 1998. Claims the warning "has been verified with our Police Department."

80K gif A bulletin sent to employees of Ward Manufacturing in Blossburg, Pennsylvania in November 1998. A note indicates that this version was passed out at a school. Submitted by 'Foote."

80K gif From the Joseph Zimmerman collection. Note says "Gerrard Berran School. One parent brought it in. 11/98"

119K jpeg From The Penny Saver Shopping Guide of Mansfield, PA. November 1998. Submitted by 'Foote.'

123K gif From W.L. Fabricius, Alcohol- and drugadviser, County of Southern Jutland, Denmark, who notes: "I tried to find the hospital of Sct Clemens in Geldern - but had only success in upsetting the nice director of Sct Clemens - in Oberhausen. This bizarre story is able to create its own life." November 1998.

148K gif Two urban legends for the price of one! This version includes the "lights out" and Blue Star legends on one flyer. Submitted by Mark Mumma, dated March 1999.

228K gif From the Joseph Zimmerman collection. "A young child could chomp on these and have a fatal trip." Undated.

132K gif From Spain, but not in proper European Spanish. Not dated.

204K gif From the Joseph Zimmerman collection. An added note says "no such sheriff in Hunterdon County." Undated.

106K gif "Drogengefahr für Kinder!!" source and date unknown.

175K jpeg J. O'Donnell comes from Danbury Hospital in Denver, Colorado in this version.

114K gif "Look, listen, and learn," source and date unknown.

Versions of the warning from all over the globe:

A very early version, found in urban legend researcher Jan Harold Brunvand's book "The Choking Doberman and Other 'New' Urban Legends." This version dates back before the "blue star" motif upstaged Mickey Mouse.

In 1992, a newspaper in Abu Dhabi announced: "Mystery Message on LSD hits shops too: Dubai police investigating source of the fax."

This note from Norway describes a "Bart Simpson" LSD scare there in late 1993.

In January, 1994, an IBM employee found this version of the warning.

And the legend spread by email at Sun Microsystems in January 1994: "This is not a joke. Please read this note and pass the word around. We have some sick people on this planet!"

There was an outbreak of flyers in California in 1994, discussed on the newsgroup alt.folklore.urban.

The on-line newspaper of Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced in May of 1995: "Warning to Parents!!!! Kids get addicted to paper!"

Posted to the "Vet to Vet" mailing list in June of 1995: "I hope it isn't true, but I will talk to the boys about it anyway, just in case."

In June of 1995 this alert was posted to the Frame-Relay email list.

Posted to an equine medicine mailing list in June of 1995: "If this is real, the jerks have really sunken to new lows."

Posted to a feline medicine mailing list in June of 1995: "What I don't understand, is ho [sic] anyone could be so greedy to do this to anyone... let alone a child. I am speachless [sic] with disgust."

The "techwr-l" email list got hit in July of 1995 with the warning: "Read This If You Have Kids..."

The "Cave's [sic] of Ice" home page reprinted this "RCMP bulletin regarding a new way to marking [sic] drugs to your youngest children" dated July 1995.

Found in New Jersey in January of 1996: "The content is so important that I want to post it here."

This version was posted in February, 1996 to the usenet newsgroup alt.child-support: "I do not know the source or if it is true but it sounds real enough to me."

This version ("Dangerous Drug") hit the usenet newsgroup soc.culture.vietnamese in February, 1996.

From the "Scouter's internet Compass" 16 Feb. 1996.

This version ("Warning to parents! Drugs in school!") hit the usenet newsgroup soc.culture.vietnamese in February, 1996.

The South African newsgroup za.schools saw this "Urgent Warning to Parents" in April of 1996: "I know nothing else about these drugs, I simply posted this message when I read about it today."

From the "NOAA HDQ Resource Development Center" (17 April 1996)

From the "Kidz Planet: Parents' Air Base" comes this version of the warning, dated May 1996.

This "Warning from Langley Hospital" was posted to usenet groups in May of 1996.

This version hit alt.parenting.solutions in May of 1996. "This may not be in your area yet!!!!! But I am passing it along as an awareness process." (Yes, five exclamation points).

An email version from NASA Langley Research Center in May, 1996. This version, circulating in military sites, was an epidemic that quickly hit civilian locations.

This email warning, from InterGraph in May of 1996 was quickly passed to MicroSoft.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers circulated this email warning in May 1996: "Military leaders, if students/children will use it, so will your soldiers."

This email warning his the U.S. Census Bureau in May of 1996, but is different in format from others circulating at around the same time: "I got this through the agency so it must be really going on in the streets."

This version hit ParcPlace-Digitalk by email in May of 1996: "I have not personally substantiated it, but the topic is too important to ignore out of hand."

Qualcomm, Inc. from San Diego was hit by an email outbreak in May of 1996: "Please give this your widest possible dissemination."

Of course the legend was posted to the usenet group misc.kids (May, 1996)

The newsgroup triangle.general (May, 1996) was also hit: "[W]hether it is true or not, I thought that its content was serious enough that it warranted posting."

A version sent to many people on the ARMY-WFXXI mailing list in late May 1996.

This email version hit Pennsylvania in the Spring of 1996: "I'm just passing it on because if there is an inkling of truth, then it's important!"

A member of the entheogen mailing list considered this version of the flyer a "well-crafted piece of propaganda."

A strange version that was posted on several usenet newsgroups in June, 1996. Oddly, the text is naturally right-justified, and many new details have been added -- this version seems to be a rare occurance of this urban legend having been deliberately engineered as a hoax. (A later version, posted by the same author, had all of the text aligned in the shape of a diamond).

A "Homeschool Talk Item" from Fargo-Moorhead that uses the justified-margins version.

Posted to the Hungarian-American email list and to usenet in June, 1996. "Many schools are already aware of this problem."

Posted to usenet in June of 1996. "I hope this is nothing but better save [sic] than sorry."

The newsgroup alt.parenting.solutions was hit by this version in June, 1996.

Mail headers show how this version hopped around Cornell University.

This version hit Dyess Air Force Base in June, 1996, and was circulated widely from there.

This version was posted in June, 1996 to the alt.parenting.solutions newsgroup.

This was sent to a database mailing list in June, 1996. "This isn't DB2 related but I thought I should help spread the word on this and you all are the largest audience I know of."

Los Angeles Air Force Base was hit by the email virus in June of 1996, and their home page was briefly invaded.

From the Alborz High School Alumni Email Forum (18 June 1996).

"The following was transmitted by e-mail over the military's Internet by Captain William Kraus, an attorney with the Labor Relations Office of the U.S. Air Force."

The soc.culture.nigeria newsgroup was host to this version. "Also, alert others... Have a great day!"

The sci.space.shuttle newsgroup saw this warning. "I realize that it is not Shuttle-related, but it is of concern to parents."

From the Hope United Methodist Church Times Of Hope newsletter, a "Drug Alert Received on the Internet" dated July 1996.

From the Lansing (New York) Central School District bulletin, a "Warning To Parents: An Appeal To The Young." (July 1996)

Posted to usenet in July 1996. A copy of the "William Kraus" version.

Blue Star hits Israel, along with some other urban legends. (8 July 1996)

Vectored in a Navy newspaper in Guam. "James O'Donnell" is given as the name of the authority. (11 July 1996)

A version that was spreading in Manila, the Philipines, is debunked here. (16 July 1996)

Posted to a Rice University (Houston, Texas) newsgroup in July of 1996. Claims that it's being distributed by the Houston Police Department to their D.A.R.E. officers. "So far as we know, there are no reported cases in the Houston area at this time. Unfortunatly, [sic] this type of crime has a way of spreading very quickly throughout the country." Also, a new variation of the Danbury source: "J. O. O'Donnell."

This version was distributed by a neighborhood organization. "[I]t freaked me out when i read it which is why i want to share it with you." (16 July 1996)

Intended as a parody, this usenet message warns that the cards used in the popular game "Magic" are soaked in LSD.

A German version posted to usenet in September, 1996.

Another German version from de.soc.familie, circa September 1996.

Full of great justifications are these copies of the warning from the "Mom to Mom" mailing list in early September 1996.

This parody of the standard blue star warning circulating on the internet in late 1996 takes the point of view of someone who can't believe perfectly good LSD would be wasted in this way...

From the "School Announcements" of St. Joseph's school in Seattle, Washington comes this brief warning. (17 Oct. 1996)

Posted to soc.culture.malaysia in November 1996.

Posted to soc.culture.belgium in November 1996.

And here's a version from Malaysia, transcribed from a xerox into the newsgroup soc.culture.malaysia. (21 Nov. 1996)

Geruchtenvirus op Internet! Something about blue star in Dutch dated 29 Nov. 1996.

The Bikers' Rights Action Group of Michigan included the warning in its December 1996 newsletter.

From the Minority Health Mailing List, 8 Jan. 1997. "This is six months old but probably, unfortunately, still relevant."

Here's a colorful version brought to you by "[t]he finest Paramedics in the world" in San Diego, circa January 1997.

Posted to the newsgroup misc.kids.health on 24 February 1997.

The Birney Bee, an elementary school newspaper dated March 1997, has versions in English and Spanish.

Another version from S.D. Paramedics, dated 10 April 1997. This one has been augmented with lots of new stuff and a lengthy and hysterical justification.

From the 'frugal' mailing list (5 July 1997), this version includes the advice to "post it on a telephone post" and notes that "[t]he best thing is to not buy any tattoos at all."

"Important Warnings for Everyone" posted to a Geocities page in March, 1998.

From RapidWEB's message board, dated 24 March 1998.

This warning, which circulated in April 1998, credits these very pages as its source. And so the blue star goes full circle.

From the Free Catholic Mailing List to bit.listserv.catholic on 2 May 1998.

From the Superintendent of Schools in Mantua, New Jersey, and dated 18 May 1998.

This full-circle version was reported in alt.folklore.urban in May 1998.

Posted to bit.listserv.catholic in May, 1998. "NOT A HOAX!!!"

"WRITTEN MOTION, Councillor Fortes, that the School Department send out an informational bulletin to all parents regarding the BLUE STAR which is being sold to school children in the form of a tattoo and which is soaked with LSD..." - from the New Bedford, Massachusetts city council calendar, 28 May 1998.

Country Sings Out For Child Protection: "The below information may or may not be a 'hoax'... but it really doesn't matter.... one drug induced unwittingly ina maliciously into a child's body is TOO MUCH." (Found on the web, August 1998)

Posted in dejanews.members.soc.nicolemarie.circle_of_friends in September, 1998. "I thought this was important to send to everyone even those business I normally don't send these things too [sic]."

"Return of the 'Blue Star' LSD Tattoo" as reported on urbanlegends.miningco.com, with an example from October, 1998.

Posted in alt.fan.lion-king in October, 1998. "This mail maybe another internet hoax, but to be safe, I think we better take precautions."

Posted in alt.visa.us.marriage-based in October, 1998. "I know this is completely off our subject but felt it was important to spread around... please please pass it around as much as possible. A child in NJ already died from this 'tatoo'."

Posted in alt.childcare in October, 1998. Includes the new phrase: "...strychnine, which may cause irreversible brain damage in some cases. The drug is addictive and, in the quantities contained in the above items, can cause children to become additcts [sic.]."

Posted to alt.radio.talk in October, 1998.

Posted in alt.drugs in November, 1998

From The Marcus Garvey BBS, undated.

"...a number of people told me that it is not true [but] it is better [to] be safe than sorry..." (J. O'Donnel is with Tanbark Hospital; distributed by Hennepin County, MN; undated)

Jeff Sam's Child Safety & Parenting Page put this "Warning to Parents" on the World Wide Web.

The Nagarathar Discussion Forum was host to a version with lots of new authorities listed.

This version was found on the Elk Grove (California) Unified School District web pages.

"The Ogle County Sheriff's Office has advised us that this is a legitimate concern." (Found on the web, date unknown)

"Is This In Your School?" from Minnie's Drug Free Page.