For the last few months, I've been getting letters from a guy who claims God is telling him to write to me. And that God would also very much like it if I would send him some money so that he can forward it on up to heaven. He's sent me about six or seven, one every few weeks.
Though the letters are very obviously printed en masse and sent out to a lot of people, they're personalized, and contain my name a lot. Which makes them really creepy to read. To add to the creepiness, they also have these "handwritten" (ie printed to look handwritten) notes all over them. Which I guess are supposed to make them look personal and passionate, but actually just look a bit like something a child rapist would scrawl in the margins of a 100 percent Unofficial Zac Efron Autobiography.
TBH, the letters were massively TL;DR, but the gist is: "If you send me a bunch of money, I will put in a good word with God, and he will make you rich as fuck, and also make you immune to illness, and make everyone love you too." I think, anyway, the majority of the text didn't actually make any sense:
"The INTENT of TERROR is to Steal from you the POWER to IMAGINE the New Future God has planned for you. This very moment as you're reading this Prophetic Truth Satan is doing all he can to ROB you of the POWER to IMAGINE the real release of this 'Millionaire Potential' POWER in your life."
Er, what's that now?
The amount of money God's asking for varies from letter to letter, but so far the amounts have ranged from £20 to £250. (Can we get some consistency up in here, God?)
Depressingly, almost all of the letters say something like this:
"Obey God in this final instruction by sowing a seed of £25.00. If you have to let something go for a few days or you have to borrow the money, do it! It will be worth it!"
"God is plainly asking for a sacrifice... Yes, a sacrifice, SOMETHING YOU CAN AFFORD IS NOT A SACRIFICE."
Which means the intended targets of these letters are people who can't afford to pay £25. Which is pretty grim :(
Oh, and they're from a guy called Peter Popoff (which is pronounced like this). Though you probably wouldn't guess that's his name from his signature.
I can understand why'd he'd like to make his name unreadable. Because if you google "Peter Popoff," you get to find out all kinds of interesting information about him. Like the time he was exposed as a fraud for lying about his abilities as a faith healer. Or the time he made $4.3 million a month from sending people letters telling them that God wanted him to have their money.
That's him, in that picture there. Before seeing that picture, I had no idea it was possible for a smile to be both totally devoid of emotion and unbearably smug.
He's a creative guy though. With each letter, came some kind of cheap, disposable shit that I was assured would bring me divine wealth:
This is the first thing they sent me. Some little pieces of cloth that came with three pages of instructions telling me which parts of my body to hold them against, and what prayers to say while I was doing it. The idea being that I would do that, then send them back to Pete with a check for £25. There used to be four cloths, but I ended up using the red one and the blue one as napkins during an especially lazy lunchtime. Pete told me in the attached letter that:
"God spoke to me as I was praying and told me THIS IS YOUR SEASON OF WINDFALL BLESSING! He then instructed me to rush these four powerfully anointed, MIRACLE PRAYER CLOTHS to you! Jamie, do not take this lightly!"
I guess I did take it lightly by wiping pickle juice on them. But at least I didn't let them fall into the wrong hands:
"If you are not serious about changing your life, getting your hands on at least £25,000 in the next few months, freeing yourself from that annoying health concern, and falling in love again (perhaps with someone you already know), then please dispose of these four MIRACLE PRAYER CLOTHS right now! Handle them carefully... Wrap them in foil and throw them in the trash can. It would be terrible for them to fall into the wrong hands."
This is from envelope of bullshit number two. A medal and a "slipper". These are what I was instructed to do with them:
"Place the Silver Slipper on your right foot and stand on the Bible... confessing... "I CONFESS THAT GOD'S WORD IS TRUE AND ALL OTHERS ARE LIARS, I WILL SUCCEED, I WILL LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE... You will receive a New Car, New Home, Better Job, Increase in Pay, More Money turn into mountain moving faith."
The parts of that which made sense sound very exciting, but IDK, given all the infinite things that exist in the universe, the contents of my reward seemed a little "tunnel vision" and slapdash. Also, you'd think God would have a better idea of what "silver" means. After all, the dude did invent both the substance and the word to describe it.
There was also some kind of explanation about "earthly anointed tools" that God gives to people on Earth to achieve miracles with. Like David's slingshot. Or Moses' rod. Or, in this case, one of those medals you give out at children's birthday parties, and a "slipper" made from some kind of material that looks a bit like paper (but somehow feels less valuable).
This is crazy, worthless trinket number three. A birthday candle, and a very small amount of shredded US currency. The idea with this one is to crumple the desiccated cash into a ball, then burn it, then rub the ashes on your face. And then send it to Peter with a bunch of money.
This one was a bit more vague. I couldn't find any instructions, but there were some stickers with acorns on them and these little cardboard circles with buckets on called "blessing buckets"... If I had to guess, I'd say you probably write a wish on the cardboard, stick an acorn sticker to it, bury it, and then send some guy a bunch of money. Again, I don't know, maybe I'm being too cynical.
This is a sachet of "Purple Royalty Anointing Oil" that I was told to open up, then rub on my hands and face. Because:
"THERE IS POWER IN AGREEMENT!! The holy Bible says 'if two on earth shall agree as touching anything... it shall be done.'"
Sneaky! Getting someone to touch something extensively, then, essentially, telling them that that means the Bible said they've agreed to pay you £40. Luckily, like all sane people, I have a pretty strict no-touching-chemicals-that-have-been-mailed-to-me-by-a-crazy-person policy. So I never actually opened the packet. Therefore, I didn't actually agree to SHIT. Fuck you, Pete!
Oh, and also, apparently, if I don't send Pete/God my money, Satan is going to rob AND murder me:
"I am not saying this to cause fear... BUT JESUS SAID, SATAN has come to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY... at this very moment Satan is trying to accomplish these vicious acts in your life. WE MUST STOP HIM... and WE MUST RELEASE THIS MIRACULOUS POWER!"
God, I hope Satan doesn't turn up at my house trying to murder me, that would be a total bummer.
Anyway, I'm sick of reading this shit. I feel dizzy, and can actually feel myself wanting to send Peter money just to make him leave me the fuck alone. So I'll leave you with this photo, of the rocks I'm going to send back to him in all of the pre-paid envelopes he's been sending me. Probably cost quite a bit to mail them to the US.
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @JLCT