archive: SETI [ASTRO] Bizzare Letter

SETI [ASTRO] Bizzare Letter

Larry Klaes ( )
Mon, 17 May 1999 11:13:42 -0400

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordom set sender
to owner-astro using -f
>Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 18:57:41 -0600
>From: (Greg Crinklaw)
>Organization: CapellaSoft
>X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.5 [en] (Win98; I)
>X-Accept-Language: en
>To: ASTRO <>
>Subject: [ASTRO] Bizzare Letter
>Reply-To: (Greg Crinklaw)
>I thought some of you might get a kick out of a very strange letter I
>received today. The return address was C.I.T in Pasadena (Cal Tech).
>The post mark was from Denver...
>There was no signature or name, only a date. Here are some of the
>highlights. It begins thus:
>"You are invited to participate along with a number of your associates
>in a star search for a celestial object." Consider yourselves invited
>Now right there I knew it was trouble. A "star search for a celestial
>object"-- what does that mean? It goes on, "the purpose of the search
>is to determine the source and the specific nature of a Geo-physical
>event scheduled to impact an area in the northern part of the State of
>California..." At this point I wondered who had scheduled this event!
>There was even an "approximate" date and time specified to the nearest
>The letter goes on to describe the "area under influence" that "is
>implicated by a radius from" a city in northern California.
>But there's more! "You have been afforded the opportunity of having a
>location and date available to you prior to the event. If you are
>unable to make a determination on your own, do not hesitate to enlist
>the help of your colleagues." The letter goes on to suggest that I
>"report the location of the object under concern to the Minor Planet
>Center" because "the number of casualties associated with this event
>will be greatly reduced if civil authorities are given ample
>opportunity to adequately warn the general public." They don't even
>give a clue about what this object might be. Apparently thats what I'm
>supposed to figure out. Kind of a parlor game, I guess. Find the minor
>planet of death! I am dissapointed that the date of this "event" isn't
>January 1, 2000. Don't these people know the ground rules of the
>lunatic fringe?
>It ends by suggesting I copy the letter to "like-minded associates."
>Fortunately, I am not aware of any such people! ;)
>So what the heck is this thing? A sort of chain letter for scientists?
>I'm most intrigued by the address on the letter. It is addressed to my
>company (CapellaSoft) "Attn: Marketing Department." It's almost as if
>a mistake was made--the wrong address on the envelope, for instance.
>I'm imagining some lunatic mailing star party announcements for a club
>in Denver, but getting things mixed together with his/her other little
>project... Someone is apparently trying to stir up some trouble. I
>suppose it's a good thing that their attempt is so amateuristic.
>And hey, it didn't explode. That's always a good thing.
>Greg Crinklaw
>Astronomical Software Developer
>Astronomer, Educator, Skyhound
>Cloudcroft, New Mexico