I am absolutely floored. I have had about 36 hours now of denying that this could ever be possible, and I’m still having trouble with it. I leave it to you, my friends, to tell me what you think.
As I scanned through my new emails at work yesterday this is what I saw on my screen:
(You will need to click on this and increase the size of it to get the full impact).
My first instinct was to hit reply and write “Who are you and why did you send this?”
It is no surprise that it bounced back as sender not known.
I was basically on the verge of hysterics (but other than some crying managed to keep it sort of together). Who would be so cruel as to send something like this?
There are a couple of things that don’t make sense. Most people who read my blog do not know where I work, much less know my work email address. If this is someone’s idea of a bad joke they have to know both.
And I don’t think that ANYBODY knew that when Chris wrote me notes, or sent me emails, he always signed them “Love You, Chris” – NOT “I Love You, Chris” or “Love, Chris”. It was also the last words he said to me when he was still capable of comprehending who he was talking to. On Wednesday night when I called and the phone was put to his ear, I told him I loved him and I would be there in the morning – he said ‘Okay, night night, Love You’. Thursday he was no longer understanding or recognizing anyone.
This is too great a mystery for me to handle on my own. I can handle the dragonflies, no one forced that dragonfly to land on my windshield – it did it of its own free will.
I can handle the music increasing in volume – stuff like that happens.
I can even handle the Christmas Present from Chris – I had no idea what the print number was when I bid on it – and in fact didn’t even notice it until Robbie pointed out that it was 137.
But computers require human intervention – they don’t do things on their own (I know…that’s questionable!!).
So I contacted friends who are involved in IT, and the IT departments of our Montreal and New York offices and forwarded them the messages and the headers, with the hope that they can try and find out the origin of this email.
So far this is what I’ve gotten back:
From the head of IT in New York:
“Shelly, I would not know where to begin with this. Looks like someone is playing with your head. Let me see what I can find out from some other resources.”
From another of the IT guys in New York:
Anthony asked me to try to locate the source of an e-mail message you forwarded to him earlier today.
Here is what I was able to find.
The message was originally sent to your xxxxxxx.com e-mail address. These messages are received here in Uniondale NY, and then forwarded to your current xxx.com mailbox. Here are the Uniondale firewall log records recording the event.
computer gobble-de-gook removed
Unfortunately, the original source IP address is lost because all of our mail is first filtered by an anti-spam service before arriving at the firewall.
While the originating e-mail address and domain can be easily forged, I did a whois lookup to find out the registration status of rattuboy.com.
more computer gobble-de-gook removed
This domain was created on December 1, 2008 (only 2 months old) and if you visit the rattuboy.com website, you are presented with a form to unsubscribe from the espgau newsletter. I’m pretty sure the message and website are created by spammers for the sole purpose of collecting valid e-mail addresses.
So they are putting it down to a “coincidental spam”. I have a problem with that on several counts. First, in 13 years I have never seen a SIGNED spam letter, much less one that says “Love You” with a signature. Also I’ve never seen a spammer send a motivational poem – Viagara sales, Russian brides, all sorts of porn – but not poetry (even if it is bad poetry). And again, if it was spam why did it get through the spam filter, and why did no one else get it?
So I took my quest for help outside of the company, to my friends and Chris’ friends. A few offered to assist. If anyone else feels qualified to join in the hunt let me know and I’ll send you all the header information.
So far it has all been a dead end.
One friend writes:
The email came from the domain it says, rattuboy.com. The same server hosts about 20 other domains that all seem to be spam related, and it looks like the whole business is a spam serving operation. Chances are therefore that this is just a very unpleasant coincidence and the message you got was either an attempt at virus spreading or spam of some other nature. The specific email address used does not exist and the registration details for the domain appear to be fake, which is another sign of a spam operation.
It’s possible someone used this service to set up a ‘newsletter’ distribution account and send you the mail in question, however, tracing that individual is likely impossible given the shady nature of the people who operate servers like these. I’ve fired off some notes to some contacts at upstream internet providers to see if they can help. As I say though, given the ‘fingerprints’ on the headers it looks like a coincidence to me.
Another friend found the poem on an e-card site SuperJobs Online. However the email didn’t originate from here either, because it came as plain text, not as an e-card.
Other friends have written:
The message doesn’t sound like Chris, but since I like to create the most positive interpretation of any event, here’s what I’ve chosen to think about this: Chris was working through someone to get a message to you. The fact that the message itself is a bit trite is a reflection of the medium’s abilities. But Chris still managed to tell you that he loves you in a way that you would recognize — and that fact that he used technology to do so is entirely in keeping with his personality. So f you can, turn your thinking away from someone being cruel to Chris’s love for you — which was real and, as far as I can see from everything you’ve told be, ongoing.
If you can accept dragonflies and numbered prints — this shouldn’t come as such a shock. He’s obviously trying to comfort you…
And it’s pretty good advice he’s given you,
and then there was this that made me think from Chris’ sister:
You know, there is one other possibility I considered. I recall reading somewhere that even though they were divorced, Joe Dimaggio sent a red rose to Marilyn Monroe’s crypt every week after she died. I am feeling like it is possible that on some level, Chris knew and he arranged something like this so you would know he is not gone.
So, there it is….and I’m still not sure what to believe. There are so many “possibilities”.
- The email DID NOT come from any of Chris’ email accounts that I know. However, the domain that it came through was purchased in December – I don’t know how to tell if it is one of the domain names that Chris did own that I let expire.
- Was this email sent prior to his death, and got held up in a server queue somewhere, and was sent when the server was rebooted for some reason?
- Did Chris know that he was not going to make it and set this up to come to me sometime in the future?
- Was it someone who thought that this would make me feel better but didn’t realize how badly it would backfire?
Basically, this has set me back three months. The scab has been ripped off a wound just starting to heal, and I’m just about as raw now as I was after Chris died. Everything in me wants to refuse to give this credibility, but the fact is that no one who knew my old work email also knew how he signed his notes.
If anyone else wants to play Sherlock Holmes, let me know and I’ll send you all of the stuff (headers and such) that I have deleted from here. If you have other ideas or opinions that will make sense of this I’d love to hear them.
For now, Shelley is going back to the cave to lick her wounds.