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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Pranks
Helix High Hoax
Posted by The Curator on Thu Dec 18, 2008
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 Mesa Police Department determined that the student who…
The Roofs of Cambridge
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 02, 2008
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 person used the famous book The Night Climbers…
Categories: Pranks Comments (8)
Time magazine lists its favorite “geek” pranks
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 02, 2008
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 student Star Simpson intended to cause a security scare when she wore her "socket to me" sweatshirt to Logan Airport. …
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The Pranks of Horace de Vere Cole
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 26, 2008
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'." He used to "wander the streets with a cow's udder poking through his flies. At the moment of optimum outrage, he would then produce a pair…
Categories: Pranks Comments (8)
National Kick a Ginger Day
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 26, 2008
Apparently this started with a character on South Park who described redheads as "evil" and "soulless". This gave a fourteen-year-old boy the idea of starting a Facebook group dedicated to the idea of promoting November 20 as "National Kick a Ginger Day". The group soon had over 5000 members, and unfortunately some people decided to take the idea literally. Redheaded students at schools throughout Canada reported being kicked and punched by other students on Nov. 20. One student, Aaron Mishkin (pictured), felt so traumatized that he skipped school the next day. Things like this just confirm my most pessimistic feelings about the…
Categories: Pranks Comments (65)
False Feces Demonstration
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 21, 2008
November 19 was World Toilet Day. In honor of the occasion, activists in Switzerland held a "false-feces demonstration" outside the Bern train station. This involved placing hundreds of fake rubber droppings on the pavement. The point of this fecal fakery was to raise awareness about sanitation problems around the world. The Sun has pictures of the plastic poo.
Categories: Gross, Pranks Comments (5)
Berlusconi’s Cuckoo Prank
Posted by The Curator on Fri Nov 21, 2008
I swear this is a real news story. It's not from The Onion: Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant Italian Prime Minister, played a practical joke on the German Chancellor today by jumping out at her from behind a lamppost when they met for an Italo-German summit in Trieste. Slipping away from the welcoming committee, the Italian leader hid behind the lamppost and emerged with a cry of "Cucu!" when Angela Merkel stepped out of her official car to enter the regional council headquarters where they were to meet. Reports said the German leader, who appeared amused, opened her arms and…
Categories: Politics, Pranks Comments (7)
Did college students fool President Bush into giving the Shocker?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Here's the claim, with accompanying picture: ASU Track Team Convinces George W. Bush to Give the Shocker. For those of you who don't know what The Shocker is, Wikipedia explains: The shocker is a hand gesture with a sexual connotation. The ring finger and thumb are curled or bent down while the other fingers are extended. The index and middle fingers are kept together (touching) and the back of the hand faces outwards (away from the gesturer). The gesture refers to the act of inserting the index…
Categories: Pranks, Sex/Romance Comments (7)
Students told aliens have landed
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 26, 2008
Strange "educational" stunts perpetrated by school authorities appear to be a growing trend. We had: 1) The Fake Attack at an Elementary School. (Students were told there was a gunman loose in the area in order to teach them how to respond in case a gunman ever really was loose in the area.) 2) Your classmate has died -- but not really. (Students were told that one of their classmates had died in a drunk-driving accident in order to teach them about the evils of drunk driving.) But a stunt recently played on kids at Edgware school goes to the top of the list for weirdness.…
Eye of Sauron Prank
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Pranksters at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign recently added the Eye of Sauron to the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower. The tower looks like it was designed to host it. The Daily Illini reports that those responsible for placing the Eye on the tower remain unknown.
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Mystery Coffin
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 19, 2008
A woman walking her dog in the Welsh countryside recently found an empty coffin sitting in the middle of a field. The coffin had a note in it: "Jump in, you're next." No one knows who put the coffin there, but the likely suspects are local students since it's freshman week and there have been other pranks in the region, such as "a tree full of knickers and a young driver sticky taped into his car." Link: North Wales Chronicle
Categories: Death, Pranks Comments (4)
A Prank Renaissance
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 12, 2008
The Wall Street Journal's Ellen Gamerman has written an article about the resurgent popularity of pranks. But the pranks aren't aimed at making fun of anything. Instead, their only goal seems to be to introduce an element of the surreal into everyday life. Examples include: "Freezing" events: people pose like statues in public places. going pantless in subways staging impromptu musicals in malls pretending to be zombies and roaming city streets crowds of people dancing to music no one else can hear. identical twins on subways mirroring each other's actions Not everyone is taken with the new pranks. Old-school prankster Joey Skaggs is paraphrased as saying, "the stunts lack a subversive, anti-establishment…
Categories: Pranks Comments (10)
Confused Prankster
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 25, 2008
MSNBC reported a case a few days ago of a confused prankster. A delivery woman showed up outside the house of Joe Biden with a pizza: After determining that no one inside had placed the order, the officer placed a call to "Chris," whose name was on the tag. "It's a prank?!" the officer asked incredulously. He then walked out of range of reporters to get some information from the pizza villain. There was a credit number on file, but no telling if it was valid. Or why anyone would target the Delaware senator at this time.…
Categories: Pranks Comments (3)
Art Object Prank
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 18, 2008
Small, round, orange stickers are appearing on objects all over downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. The stickers are stamped with the phrase "art object" and a price (ranging from one cent to $10,000). They're appearing on park benches, fire hydrants, store windows, etc. No one seems to know who's responsible for the stickers or what their purpose is. From the Appleton Post-Crescent: Police Lt. Steve Elliott said putting stickers on public or private objects without the owner's consent falls under the same local ordinances governing graffiti. "Definitely, it is against city ordinances. If…
Categories: Art, Pranks Comments (2)
26 Cheerleaders Squeeze into Elevator
Posted by The Curator on Mon Aug 11, 2008
Police responded to an emergency call to find 26 cheerleaders stuffed inside an elevator: The group of 14- to 17-year-olds was inspired to test an elevator’s maximum capacity while attending cheerleading camp at the university, The Dallas Morning News reported. When the elevator stalled en route from the fourth to the first floor, several girls panicked. The girls “managed to wiggle a few cell phones free to call for help,” the paper reported. Police and fire crew responded, but it took an elevator repairman 25 minutes to extricate the squad. The fad of telephone booth stuffing (which this…
Categories: Pranks Comments (8)
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