Humor Urban Legends A Little Girl Called Clarissa Share PINTEREST Email Print Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images Urban Legends Scary Stories Urban Legends in the News Classic & Historic Legends Rumors & Hoaxes Animal Folklore By David Emery David Emery is an internet folklore expert, and debunker of urban legends, hoaxes, and popular misconceptions. He currently writes for Snopes.com. our editorial process David Emery Updated January 25, 2019 Perhaps you've seen or heard about a chain letter that recounts the story of Clarissa, a little girl who was committed to a mental hospital after killing her own parents. Unsatisfied with that notable piece of mayhem, she broke loose one day and killed the entire hospital staff. After reading this lurid account of a modern-day Lizzie Borden on steroids, you may feel compelled to share the story with friends. That's a good thing because, according to the chain letter, if you fail to extend the chain, Clarissa will pay you and your loved ones a visit and murder you, too. This one example of the letter, one that was posted online in 2008: Warning! This is not a joke! Carry on reading! or you will die, even if you only looked at the word warning! ONCE THERE WAS A LITTLE GIRL CALLED CLARISSA, SHE WAS 10 YEARS OLD AND SHE LIVED IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL, BEACUSE SHE KILLED HER MUM AND DAD.SHE GOT SO BAD SHE STARTED TO KILL ALL THE STAFF IN THE HOSPITAL SO THE GOVERMENT DECIDED THAT THE BEST IDEA WAS TO GET RID OF HER SO THEY SET UP A SPECIAL ROOM TO KILL HER, AS HUMANE AS POSSIBLE BUT IT WENT RONG THE MACHINE THEY WERE USEING WENT WRONG. AND SHE WAS SAT THERE IN AGONY FOR HOURS UNTILL SHE FINALLY DIED.NOW EVERY WEEK ON THE DAY OF HER DEATH SHE RETURNS TO THE PERSON THAT READS THIS LETTER, ON A MONDAY NIGHT AT 12:00 SHE KREEPS INTO YOUR ROOM AND KILLS YOU, BUT SLOWLY AND PAINFULLY SLOWLY CUTTING DIFFRENT PARTS OF UR BODY THEN WATCHES YOU BLEED TO DEATH IF YOU DONT SEND THIS TO 20 PEOPLE BY MIDNIGHT SHELL BE COMEING TO KILL YOU! SEND IT SO SHE HAS ANOTHER LOAD OF PEOPLE TO GET AND FORGETS ABOUT YOU DONT BELVE ME HEY?EXAMPLE 1: JENNY DIDNT BELIVE THIS AND DELETED IT WITHOUT EVEN READING THE WHOLE THING! A FEW DAYS LATER ON THE MONDAY NIGHT SHE WAS WOKEN UP BYE LOUDE FOOTSTEPS AND HEAVY BREETHING THERE WAS CLARISSA STANDING THERE WITH A HUGE KNIFE AND WELL JENNY IS HISTORY NOW.EXAMPLE 2: TOM ONLY SENT IT TO 5 PEOPLE CUZ HE THOUGHT HED BE SAFE AND IT WAS PROBLY JUST A JOKE BUT OH HOW RONG WAS HE! HE DIED THE NEXT NIGHT ON MONDAY AND ILL TELL YA NOW IT WASNT PRETTY(JUST CUZ HE SENT FIVE HE DIDNT COMPLETE THE TASK)EXAMPLE 3: JOEANNA SENT IT TO 19 PEOPLE SHE THOUGHT IT WAS CLOSE ENOUGH AND WOULD DO BUT SHE WAS WRONG SHE DIED THAT NIGHT ON A MONDAY AND ONCE AGAIn The letter also has been posted in several other languages. Analysis As ghost stories go, this tale is more preposterous than most, but that hasn't dampened its success as an Internet chain letter. As of this writing, a Google search yields 60,000-plus postings of the text since 2008, most of them attributable, it appears, to gullible adolescents. "Clarissa" shares the same basic aim of all chain letters, namely self-reproduction. These copy-and-share texts promise everything from good luck, free money, or philanthropic beneficence on the positive side, to threats of misfortune, calamity, and even painful death on the negative, all in the cause of manipulating recipients into sharing them as quickly and as widely as possible. In common with others of its ilk, the "Clarissa" chain letter is especially insidious in that it targets young social media users and encourages them to repost the text randomly and repeatedly in comment threads on sites like Facebook and Google Plus. Chain letters don't have magical powers. Ten-year-old "Clarissa" never existed. Her ghost isn't going around killing people who fail to share this stupider-than-most chain letter. Think before you share!