From: stein@erg.sri.com (Bruce Stein)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
Subject: "BLUE STAR TATTOO"
Date: 20 Apr 94 15:08:39 GMT

The "BLUE STAR TATTOO" legend surfaced again in San Jose, CA a couple of weeks ago. I was waiting to see if anyone else had seen it. I live in a mobile home park and it was distributed by the park management as "a service to parents". The notice was provided by one of the residents and NOT the school or police.

Since I follow this group I immediately recognized the notice. I did however do a little investigating here locally. I called the San Jose PD and talked to an information officer who had no idea what I was talking about. I was refered to a narcotics officer who was in the same boat. He did however ask me to FAX him a copy. After getting the results I expected, I tried to find the hospital with very little luck. The hospital listed is "J. O'Donnel-Danbury Hospital Outpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment Services" (try saying that three times fast). Does anyone have any knowledge of this facility.

I contacted the park management to inquire about it and inform them of my findings. They did say that another resident had given them some of the same information. I told them it was an "urban legend" and I had seen reference to the same tattoo here at least 2 wears ago.

I know I'm trying to shovel the ocean with a teaspoon but these "warnings" p##s me off. There are enough real dangers out there for parents to worry about without some ass#### trying to get at people.


From: da825@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Richard N Kitchen)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
Subject: Re: "BLUE STAR TATTOO"
Date: 21 Apr 1994 20:55:21 GMT
Blue Star tattoos showed up in the Torrance, California "Daily Breeze" Tuesday night. The article clearly labeled the story as a hoax. They mentioned the Danbury, Connecticut Hospital and the person's name, and the article clearly stated that there was no such person there, and the Danbuy Hospital didn't know anything about it.
From: jmingo@aol.com (JMingo)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
Subject: Re: "BLUE STAR TATTOO"
Date: 22 Apr 1994 12:45:03 -0400
   > The hospital listed is  "J. O'Donnel-Danbury Hospital Outpatient
   > Chemical Dependency Treatment Services" (try saying that three times
   > fast).  Does anyone have any knowledge of this facility.
  

The version that surfaced here in the San Francisco bay area a few months ago mentioned that Danbury Hospital was in Boston. I called the hospital, and they had gotten so many calls that that had set up a special line to deal with them, that explained that there was no such person and that the Blue Star thing was a hoax.

Anyway, I found that a quick scan of newspaper morgues in Knowledge Index came up with Blue Star stories going back more than a decade. I sent a letter to the local newspaper editor about this urban myth, and tracked down the two or three people who were distributing the sheets in full fervor and showed them what I'd found. All of them were horrified at being so hoaxed (especially when put in terms like "there are so many other things that could be a threat to children that a false warning just casts doubts on the real thing") and all promised to go back along their rumor trails and undo the damage.

To my surprise, they did. The rumor -- in this town at least -- quickly melted down because there weren't enough credulous people left to spread it very far.

People are happy and relieved if you can tell them the story convincingly and without condescension (which can be hard -- you want to shake them and shout, "How could you believe this crap?") You might also want to talk to your local police chief, if you can, so that when people call they don't unwittingly spread the rumor. This has happened -- they believe urban myths, even when it isn't supported by their own experience, as much as anybody (maybe more, if it looks like it will increase their anti-drug funding).

Good luck. Ignorance can be stamped out. Or at least challenged.

If nothing else works, blame the rumor on Satanists....just kidding.

--Jack Mingo




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