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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Pranks
Don’t Smash Out The Window! — Yet another example of the "manipulative phone call" prank. A man staying in a Best Western hotel in Jamestown, NY received a call telling him that the fire department and HAZMAT were in the hotel investigating a gas/carbon monoxide leak. The caller advised the man to smash out a window to avoid injury or death. The man then proceeded to do this. According to the article, "The Jamestown Police Department is advising the public and businesses to be aware of this type of scam, and to…
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (6)

Enforcer Skunks — There's a lot of speculation in the town of York, New Hampshire Maine about the skunk signs that were placed on many traffic-enforcement signs on April 1st. The signs feature hand-painted, smiling skunks wearing yellow sashes with the word "Enforcer" painted on. The signs also have a drawing of a zebra with the statement, "Whoever says they did it, didn't do it." When asked if the police were going to be contacted, Community Development Director Steve Burns said, "They're our No. 1…
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (4)

Mystery Lamb Prank — Why did pranksters steal a lamb from Jim Dufosee's field on Salisbury Plain and leave it on a doorstep of a house in Pound Street. Nobody knows. However, the picture of the lamb being held by the farmer should provide you with your daily dose of cuteness. [wiltshire.co.uk]
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (0)

Fake Parking Tickets — • People are angry at a bar in New Zealand for placing fake parking tickets on thousands of cars in Auckland as an April Fool's Day prank/promotional stunt. The thing is, these fake tickets weren't like the typical ones that, upon examination, are obviously fake. These were exactly identical to real tickets in every detail except for listing a different website and phone number. As a publicity stunt, I'd say it crosses the line. [stuff.co.nz]
Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2009.   Comments (1)


Fake Grave — Deacon Freeman Moore doesn't think that the fake grave someone dug behind his church was a funny prank. It had a black, wooden cross at one end, with the name "Eli" on it. He called the police, who did a bit of digging before deciding it was a hoax. [ajc.com]
Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009.   Comments (1)

The Science of Whoopee Cushions — Science has determined the funniest whoopee cushion sound, based on a survey of 34,000 people. It is a long, whiny fart, lasting at least seven seconds. Young, European women tend to be most amused by fart sounds, relative to other demographic groups. And the noise of flatulence gets funnier the more you listen to it. The research was conducted by acoustics Professor Trevor Cox of the University of Salford, working in conjunction with the charity Comic Relief. My theory is that farts…
Posted: Wed Mar 18, 2009.   Comments (12)

The mystery of the gift-wrapped postbox — It happened in Edinburgh, on McDonald road. But why was it wrapped? Nobody knows. A Royal Mail spokeswoman suggests it may have been a "romantic gesture." The box has now been unwrapped.
Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009.   Comments (1)

Green Dye in Nuclear Pool Prank — Happy St. Patrick's Day. Today the water in the White House fountains as well as the Chicago River will be dyed green. And looking back through prankster history, I found this case from 1988 in which someone put green dye in the pool where radioactive nuclear fuel was stored at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Oddly, the plant officials were unwilling to admit it was a St. Patrick's Day prank, even though it happened on the eve of March 17. As reported in the San Jose Mercury News
Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009.   Comments (0)

Free Flattery — Too close to a fake thing. Brett Westcott and Cameron Brown like to stand on a corner in Times Square and compliment people walking by. They say they're doing this in a genuine attempt to spread good cheer. The problem is, many people have difficulty judging their sincerity: Brown admits some students think they're playing a practical joke. "Some people question our sincerity, but we're 100 percent sincere. We wouldn't be doing this for two hours every Wednesday for eight months if we…
Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009.   Comments (10)

Love in the age of Facebook — It's hard to tell how much of this story is genuine. Stuart Slann supposedly learned the hard way part of the truth of the old joke that on the internet the men are men, the women are men, and the children are FBI agents. In Stuart's case, Emma, the woman he thought he met on Facebook, was actually two guys playing an elaborate prank on him. Apparently they lured him into driving nine hours to meet Emma in Aberdeen, and then they revealed the truth to him. And since this is the age of…
Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009.   Comments (6)

Krassner’s Anti-Communism Poster — In 1963 Paul Krassner included a poster that said "Fuck Communism" in his magazine The Realist. The poster was very popular with counter-culture types. Kurt Vonnegut described it as a "miracle of compressed intelligence nearly as admirable for potent simplicity, in my opinion, as Einstein's e=mc2" because it demonstrated "how preposterous it was for so many people to be responding to both words with such cockamamie Pavlovian fear and alarm." Krassner himself often told this story about…
Posted: Thu Feb 05, 2009.   Comments (6)

George Washington Stilts — The Idaho Statesman has an article about nineteenth-century prankster George Washington Stilts, who was a native of Boise. Apparently he was the leader of a group that called itself the "Hornique-qui-bri-niques." This was usually shortened to "Hornies" or "Horrible Hornies." This group was known for painting their faces and dressing up in costumes on July 4th, then parading through the city streets, after which they would go on a three-day bender until they had to be carried home. The…
Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009.   Comments (0)

UBC Prank Fails — The University of British Columbia students given the responsibility for pulling off their traditional prank of hanging a Volkswagen bug from a bridge screwed it up this year. The cabling they were using broke, and the bug fell into the water below. Kids these days! Can't they even pull off a prank properly! Link: Vancouver Sun.
Posted: Tue Feb 03, 2009.   Comments (1)

Public Urination Permitted — Pranksters have placed signs in various places around Nottingham stating: "Public Urination Permitted After 7.30pm". The Nottingham City Council wants everyone to know that the signs are not telling the truth: "It is an offence to urinate in public and these signs have been put up illegally, for whatever reason." This prank is basically the opposite of one I reported on over a year ago in which pranksters placed signs in public lavatories that read: "Think Green. Think Safe. Do you…
Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2008.   Comments (3)

The Pimping Game — How to play the "pimping" game: Print a fake license plate on glossy paper using license-plate-like fonts downloaded off the web. Tape this fake license plate over your real license plate. Then purposefully speed in an area where you'll get photographed by speed cameras. Whoever owns the license-plate-number you faked will then get mailed a ticket. If you really want to get fancy, make sure the car you're driving is similar to the car you want to prank. Police report that kids are…
Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2008.   Comments (5)

Rectal Exam Prank Caller — John Brady has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment for calling random people and trying to convince them to perform a rectal exam over the phone. He got at least one person to do this. His modus operandi: "I would go through the phone book and pick random numbers and make telephone calls." Then he would ask them personal questions about their digestive system, and try to get them to follow his instructions. Prank calls of this nature (and victims dumb enough to fall…
Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2008.   Comments (4)

Helix High Hoax — Yesterday (Tuesday) there was a helicopter buzzing around in the sky outside my window for about half an hour. I was speculating what it might be: bank robbery, accident, men in black? No, turns out it was just a local, neighborhood hoax. (I live about 2 blocks from Helix High School in La Mesa, a San Diego suburb): A report of an armed man at Helix High School that prompted a lockdown on the campus Tuesday was a student hoax, police said. An investigation by school staff and the La…
Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2008.   Comments (5)

The Roofs of Cambridge — Pranksters at Cambridge University recently succeeded in placing a Santa hat on top of two seemingly inaccessible roof spires. Ten firemen and three fire engines spent an hour getting them down. From the Daily Mail: The culprit currently remains a mystery, but it is thought to be a student playing a practical joke. It is also not known how anyone managed to scale the buildings, particularly the spire of Humility, which is thought to be impossible to climb. One suggestion is that the…
Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2008.   Comments (8)

Time magazine lists its favorite “geek” pranks — Time magazine offers a roundup of what it describes as "the biggest pranks in geek history" -- limited to pranks perpetrated by MIT and Caltech students. The usual suspects are there: the great rose bowl hoax, Caltech relettering the Hollywood sign, etc. Except, uh, some of the items in the list clearly aren't pranks. For instance, creating a program that allows DVDs to play on any operating system may be a useful hack, but it's not what I would consider a prank. And I don't think MIT…
Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2008.   Comments (0)

The Pranks of Horace de Vere Cole — The Daily Mail offers a short biography of Horace de Vere Cole (1881-1936), a man who made pranks his life work. His most famous prank was the Dreadnought Hoax of 1910. Here are a few of his others: He "once stood in the street handing out free theatre tickets to a series of extremely bald passers-by with the result that, when viewed from the dress circle, the assembly of shiny bald heads in the carefully chosen seats clearly spelt out an expletive - complete with a dot over the 'i'."…
Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008.   Comments (8)

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