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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Pranks
Mystery Letterbox
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 11, 2013
A red letterbox has appeared on the side of a bridge crossing the Thames in the village of Sonning-on-Thames. It's accessible only from the river. The Royal Mail says it's "a mystery to us." What makes this story doubly strange is that spoon-bender Uri Geller happens to live in this town and was interviewed about it by the BBC. He speculates that "the ghost of a mischievous little girl" might have put the letterbox there. Uri Geller mystified by letterbox on Thames Sonning Bridge BBC News Entertainer Uri Geller and other villagers say they are mystified by the appearance of a red letterbox in the middle of a…
Categories: Pranks Comments (3)
Bricked-in Car Prank, 1964
Posted by The Curator on Thu Aug 29, 2013
October 1964: The work of pranksters. A car boxed in by brick walls on a foot bridge of the North Branch of the Chicago River in the 5000 block of North Spaulding. Source: Chicago Daily News.
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
The Girl Scout Cookie Order Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 18, 2013
This is all over the news. [oregonlive, csmonitor] Some girl scouts in Portland, Oregon thought they had landed a massive sale of cookies when they received an order via email for 6000 boxes — a $24,000 order. Whoever was handling the order (a scout's mother, I assume) exchanged some emails with the buyer, and everything seemed legitimate. The buyer was even an acquaintance of the troop. So the girl scouts went ahead and processed the order, committing themselves to receiving 6000 boxes. And then they discovered the mega-order was a fake. The buyer was actually a young girl using her mother's email address. The girl was apparently young enough…
Categories: Pranks Comments (1)
Do not push this button!
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 20, 2013
Here's a prank that's also an interesting experiment in social psychology. In the middle of a busy public square, a big sign over a red button says, "DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON." Of course, random people walking by inevitably do push the button. At which point, everyone in the square appears to drop dead. So what does the person who pushed the button do? Does he/she try to help the people? No. Every single person who pushed the button runs away, as if trying to escape being found out. The prank was filmed in a square in Rio de Janeiro. The TV presenter Silvio Santos provides a narration (in portuguese). More info at forbes.com.…
Categories: Pranks, Psychology Comments (4)
The Proposal Rejection Prank
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 18, 2013
The Proposal Rejection Prank is a perennial favorite. Back in 2005 I posted about how a couple had developed a routine they were performing at basketball game halftime shows, in which the guy would propose to the girl in front of the entire crowd. But instead of saying yes, the girl would break into tears and run away. It never failed to get a reaction from the crowds. The PrankvsPrank duo recently performed the identical stunt at various locations outdoors. Their resulting youtube video currently has over 4 million views.
Categories: Pranks, Sex/Romance Comments (0)
The Frank Zappa Frieze Prank, 1975
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 15, 2013
Bridges Auditorium stands on the campus of Pomona College in Southern California. A frieze on the front of the building displays the names of five great composers: Wagner, Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and Schubert. But for a few days in April 1975, Chopin's name disappeared and was replaced by that of another iconic, but more modern composer — Frank Zappa. For years, no one knew who put Zappa's name up there. But in 2012, the pranksters finally revealed themselves, submitting a dossier about their prank to Pomona College Magazine, which published the details in its Nov. 2012 issue. The pranksters were Pomona math majors John…
Categories: Pranks Comments (3)
Dead Bodies Rising
Posted by The Curator on Tue Feb 12, 2013
Viewers of The Steve Wilkos Show on CBS affiliate KRTV in Great Falls had the program interrupted on Monday by an emergency alert that delivered this warning: Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages on screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous. Seems that someone had hacked into the station's emergency alert system. The police (who are looking into the matter) report that four people called them to check if the alert was…
Categories: Death, Pranks Comments (3)
USC Glamour Queen Hoax, 1944
Posted by The Curator on Sat Feb 02, 2013
In April 1944, the University of Southern California held its annual Campus Queens beauty contest. Each dormitory and sorority was allowed to put forward one candidate. Several "non-org" (or non-affiliated candidates) were allowed to enter the contest as well. This made for a total of 20 contestants vying for the title. Six winners would be selected by an all-university vote. Their prize was that their full-length portrait would appear in the university yearbook. (Not much of a prize, but I suppose it's something they could show their grandkids later in life.) However, that year an imposter appeared among the candidates. Can you spot who it was? The odd-woman-out, or odd-man-out…
S?it Yourself
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 09, 2012
This image that recently appeared on the May 4 cover of the Living section in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is all over the blogosphere. Does the heading say "Suit Yourself" or "Shit Yourself"? The real question is whether this was an innocent accident, or an artist's prank. Kind of like the penis on the Little Mermaid video cover. The artist swore he didn't put it there intentionally, but that was kind of hard to believe. After all, how could he miss it?
Categories: Photos/Videos, Pranks Comments (6)
Poop Dollaring
Posted by The Curator on Wed May 09, 2012
Scatology has always provided fertile ground for pranks and humor. In fact, I've read scientific speculation that farts and feces probably provided the inspiration for the very first jokes told (or staged) by our early hominid ancestors. Witness how modern-day chimpanzees find it endlessly amusing to fling their feces. This might provide us with some context for the prank called Poop Dollaring. (Though it's probably more analysis than the prank deserves.) Its method is simple: smear feces on a dollar bill and then place it so as to "tantalize the gullible". Back when people used pay-phones, a variant of the prank involved stuffing dog poop into the coin return box. Unfortunately I remember…
Categories: Gross, Pranks Comments (3)
Get Goated
Posted by The Curator on Fri May 04, 2012
Imagine you're going about your day, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, there's a goat! That's the premise of the goat prank that's become a tradition in Spokane, Washington. The link includes a video of a Spokane anchorwoman who keeps repeating excitedly, "I've been goated! I've been goated!": Surprise! You Have Just Been 'Goated!' khq.com Spokane community members have the opportunity to play a great practical joke by having a real baby goat delivered to offices or meetings. A $50 donation to Wishing Star will send a goat to an unsuspecting friend or co-worker on the day of choice. The recipient will be asked to make a…
Categories: Animals, Pranks Comments (1)
I noticed several odd pranks in the news: Touching women's stomachs: Tosh.0 had a segment on his show about women's reactions when you lightly touch their stomachs while they're sitting down, and he encouraged his viewers to try this during the commercial break to see what would happen. According to Time, lots of people promptly began posting videos to youtube showing themselves doing this. "I've buried the body": Over in Western Australia, many people are reporting that they're receiving a puzzling text message: "I have buried the body like you told me to. What do you want me to do now?” Police are telling them to ignore the message, and are warning the pranksters that sending such…
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
The Car Switcheroo Prank—this couldn’t be done today!
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 12, 2012
Marjorie writes in again, with a story told to her by an Aussie friend (in his words). What I love about this story is that it's set in a time and place where people actually left their cars unlocked, with the keys on the front seat, expecting that the cars would still be there when they returned. I was living in Hobart in 1977 and, driving home, I noticed a friend's car parked outside the corner store at the bottom of my street. I was expecting her to come visit later that afternoon and thought she might be in the store, so I parked behind her. She wasn't in the shop, and I couldn't see her…
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
The Pulling Up Piccadilly Prank
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 06, 2012
I recently received the following email from Marjorie: In the late 50's, on the morning of April 1, a group of Sydney City Council workers went with jackhammers and other machinery and started an approved excavation in the middle of George St. (the main drag). Hoaxers from Sydney University called the police and warned them that a group of Uni Students dressed as Council workers were tearing up George St. They simultaneously went to the site and warned the workers that a group of students, disguised as police, were on their way to disrupt the job. The result was, understandably, chaos in the main street. I was told about this when I was about 19, (1963) but never…
Categories: Pranks Comments (0)
The Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 15, 2012
The Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1873 includes an article about the mathematician/inventor Charles Babbage. In this article, there's a page-long footnote discussing some hoaxes, and at the end of this footnote, there's a brief reference to the existence of a curious group that called itself the "Society for Insulting Women and Frightening Children": What is this Society? I haven't been able to find it mentioned anywhere except in this Smithsonian Report. But it sounds like a clandestine group of 19th-century pranksters. The footnote is signed "J.H.", which I assume stands for Joseph Henry, the Secretary of the Smithsonian…
Categories: Pranks Comments (2)
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