Informant: “In Middle School, I saw this story on Instagram about this girl named Carmen, who was being bullied at school. One day they were trying to embarrass her and pushed her down a sewer. But she did not come back up, so the police came. So, the police come, find her body. Broken neck. Face ripped off. The girls who pushed her said she just fell. So, then we go this boy named David, who heard about this story and laughed about it. He did not send the story to 15 people, as instructed”
Me: “Instructed by who?”
Informant: “He saw the story on Instagram, and you are supposed to share it to avoid her fate. So, then he gets in the shower and he hears laughing from the drain. And he got really freaked out, so he sent the story to 15 people. But it was too late. The next morning, the police found his with his neck broken and his face ripped off in the Sewer. The End.”
My informant is a 19-year-old female who attends the University of Southern California and is currently living in Los Angeles. However, she is from Chicago, IL and lived there for the first 18 years of her life. She first saw this story on the Instagram app in Middle School, around 2013. The informant says that although terrified, she does not remember reposting and survived. She thinks that is was simply a scary story that a Middle Schooler came up with to get repost on social media.
I collected this story through the informant, who is my roommate, while asking about any folk stories she has ever heard.
This story is a prime example of how the internet, most often older children, create and use chain mail to spam people’s messages. Most of the time the origin of these posts is untraceable, yet they reach all ends of the internet and are mostly passed along by children. They seem to use scare tactics to encourage certain ideas and to increase repost on social media. In this instance, despite the negative energy surrounding the post, it seems to encourage at least some semblance of consequence from “bullying”, as the ghost in the story wants revenge for her story not being truthfully related as a murder by her bullies. Upon research of the name Carmen Winstead on the internet, it does not appear that she was a real person, so the story is at least in some degree untrue, however whether it was influenced by another story, no one knows. The story seems to possibly be a type of contagious magic, where contact with the story results in bad lucks/unfortunate consequences unless properly rid of.