I got one of them once. It was hand-written and hand addressed and sent to me at my home. It foretold I'd be plagued with bad luck and various poxes unless I wrote out 20 more identical chain letters and sent them on their merry way to some other poor unsuspecting folk, and in doing so, totally ruining their day too.
Did I do it? Hell no. Instead I lit a match and with great satisfaction, burned that letter to a crisp. I then buried the ashes in the garden where I figured all that negativity would be nicely grounded and harmless. After doing that, and I assume breaking the chain, I didn't get the pox nor did my luck disastrously change - but I'm pretty sure my personal karma improved greatly.
With the rise of email, the chain letters of old seemed for a while to have gone the way of the dodo, but unfortunately they didn't die - they just slyly changed form. Now they're in your inbox instead of in your letterbox and they're sneakier than ever before; with flashing graphics, pink coloured fonts and subject lines that lull you into thinking that the sender actually means you no ill...
One type of chain letter (or should I say chain email?) I hate the most is the one that starts off all sweet and loving. Its opening paragraph says something like, "you are so loved, you are my best friend, you are worth the world to me..." How nice, you may say and how sweet. But by the time you scroll down just an inch further things start to change...."if you love your friends and your health, you'd better send this to 25 people, including the person you got this from in 15 seconds or you'll be VERY sorry."**
Another one sends you pretty pictures of rainbows and small praying children. It tells you how wonderful the world is with shots of breaching whales and panoramic vistas before exhorting you to show you love Jesus by, yes you guessed it, sending 25 copies out in 15 seconds before the Lord himself rips you a new one. I'm sure the saviour appreciates the sentiment.
One friend of mine still has this as her signature on her emails:
(\__/) This is Bunny. Copy and
(='.'=) paste Bunny to help him
(")_(") gain world domination
**being VERY sorry may include threats of bodily parts dropping off or you losing all your friends, your luck turning so bad that your own mother will disown you, or your dog dying on your birthday.