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The book contest has now been running for a week, and I got a lot of great responses. It was pretty tough making a decision (and any choice like this is bound to be somewhat random), but I finally opted to award a book to 'Redmond' for his account of the brownies with the secret added ingredient that turns urine blue. I'm also giving a book to Quentin Smith for his description of how they filled a school administrator's office from floor to ceiling with shredded paper (in order to give him a little more paperwork). The photographic evidence of the prank being pulled was great. So thanks to everyone for contributing their stories, and if you didn't win, don't worry. I think I'm going to have some more stuff to give away pretty soon.
Categories: Miscellaneous, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sun Oct 10, 2004
Comments (2)
image One of the great things about having a website is that occasionally people send me free stuff, out of the blue. For instance, a British publisher named Harriman House sent me three copies of The Life & Death of Rochester Sneath by Humphry Berkeley. Since I don't have a use for three copies of the book, I've decided to give the two extra copies away.

But first, what is the book about? It documents a classic British public school hoax from the 1940s. Headmasters at elite British public schools such as Eton and Rugby began receiving letters from H. Rochester Sneath who described himself as a fellow Headmaster from Selhurst School nearth Petworth, Sussex. Sneath had many bizarre questions for his colleagues. For instance, he wanted to know how to deal with an infestation of rats, how to go about 'engineering' a royal visit, or whether it was advisable to provide special 'sex ed' instruction for the school maids. Remarkably, most of the headmasters believed that Sneath was a real person and responded seriously. Of course, Sneath wasn't real. He was the creation of Humphry Berkeley, who at the time was a student at Cambridge. When the hoax was exposed Berkeley was expelled for two years. This book collects together all of Sneath's letters and the responses he received. It's very short, taking about an hour to read, at most. But if you like British humor it's a classic, because Sneath perfectly skewers the pompous self-importance of the British upper class.

So here's what I have in mind. Since the book is about a school prank, post a description of a school prank in the comments section. Perhaps something that you participated in or have heard about. I'll choose the two pranks that I find the most amusing (and original) and send the winners a free copy of the book. Make sure that you include your email address in the appropriate box (though your email won't be publicly displayed... only I can see when people have entered email addresses, so that spammers can't harvest addresses from this site), otherwise I won't have any way of notifying you if you win. I'll let the contest run for a week before I choose the winner.
Categories: Miscellaneous, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sun Oct 03, 2004
Comments (38)
Customers who called up NTL (a British cable company) to report a problem were greeted by this bluntly truthful message: "Hello. You are through to NTL customer services. We don't give a f**k about you. We are never here. We just will f**k you about, basically, and we are not going to handle any of your complaints. Just f**k off and leave us alone. Get a life." The message was yanked, of course, as soon as NTL management realized what was going on... But really, I think I'd prefer the in-your-face message to something bland and innocuous and then being kept on hold forever.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 29, 2004
Comments (8)
This Portuguese message board has a nice collection of pictures of office pranks including the Chia Keyboard, the Keyboard Through the Desk, and the Newspapered Cubicle (via Red Ferret):
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 27, 2004
Comments (1)
A message posted on the microsoft.public.word.printingfonts news group:

When I print out flashing fonts they do not flash. I have tried a color
laser printer but even so they do not flahs. Do I need to update my printer soft ware. or is is it a problem with my
printer? THANK YOU

I bet this guy was constantly being sent to the store when he was young to pick up some striped paint, sweet vinegar, or straight hooks. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Pranks, Technology
Posted by Alex on Mon Sep 27, 2004
Comments (0)
The Anchorage Press reports on a prank whose grossness lies not in what is said, but rather in what isn't. Read it for yourself:

Troopers were called to Showboat II, a club also known as “Showgirls,” where “a female employee had spiked another female employee's drink with a laxative” according to troopers. No further details were given, and the investigation continues.
Thinking about this too much might just give me nightmares tonight.
Categories: Gross, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sat Sep 04, 2004
Comments (13)
Someone dressed in a gorilla suit has been jumping out from behind bushes and terrifying pensioners in Austria. At least, police assume it's someone in a gorilla suit, though I'm sure some would speculate that it could be a real creature. Commenting on the prank, one pensioner said, "It's really horrifying when a gorilla suddenly jumps out in front of you." Truer words were never spoken.

Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 16, 2004
Comments (2)
image This is one of those great pranks that only gets discovered a long time after the deed is done. Oklahoma State University officials realized that the letters 'OU' (the initials of their rival the University of Oklahoma) were gracing the side of their recently renovated stadium. Apparently one of the bricklayers working on the renovation project used darker bricks to spell out the initials of their rival. Unfortunately the officials are not taking the prank in very good humor. They've ordered that the offending bricks be replaced, at the expense of the contractor who did the work. Personally I can't see the initials that well in the picture that accompanies the article. I guess it's one of those things that you have to squint to see, kind of like the 666 on the side of the Alamo (though unlike the Alamo-666 thing, no one is claiming that demonic forces played a role in the OU prank).
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 13, 2004
Comments (6)
The Washington Post reports on a growing epidemic of eggings. As they say, "Nationwide, there is evidence of eggings escalating into much more than a practical joke." The reporter, Mitra Kalita, actually called me up to get a quote about this issue, and so if you go to the very end of the article (on the second page) you'll be able to read my profound thoughts about the phenomenon of egging. To tell the truth, I've never egged anyone in my life, so I didn't feel like much of an expert on the topic. But I do run a website about hoaxes and pranks, so I guess that makes me as much of an 'egging expert' (or egg-spert) as anyone.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 26, 2004
Comments (12)
image Magic Mackeigan decided to help his girlfriend quit smoking by filling her entire car up with gum. Valerie Karriman discovered the surprise when she walked out to her car in the morning. I guess she was late to work that day. Of course, gum melts in the sun, which is something that it doesn't sound like Magic thought about during his elaborate preparations. I'm assuming Valerie managed to clean the car out in time, but if she didn't I figure Magic would be out one girlfriend. (Thanks to Goo for the link)
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 07, 2004
Comments (5)
A bus shelter in Norfolk County, UK has become a favorite target for pranksters. Local residents woke to find the shelter transformed into a living room. "The culprits decked the shelter out with a comfy chair, a television, a lamp, a stereo system and even created a fake fireplace on the wall to complete the homely effect." This isn't the first time the pranksters have struck. Last month "a lawn appeared in the shelter, along with a gnome and a windmill." Unfortunately the article doesn't include a picture of the transformed shelter.
Categories: Gnomes, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Tue Jun 29, 2004
Comments (4)
In an otherwise dull story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about local school-district politics, one bizarre passage caught my eye:

The embattled Mento also sought to downplay his much-publicized conduct at last year's Christmas party, saying he blew up a bikini-clad doll as a harmless practical joke. An exact replica of the doll was displayed at the hearing, complete with the package labeled "Inflatable Fat Ass Party Doll"... All agreed that it took the superintendent about 15 minutes to inflate the doll and that many at the party were surprised at Mento's determination to finish the task.
"It took a long time. Someone joked about needing an ambulance because he might pass out," recalled Scott.

This is the kind of story where you know there's even more to it than they're telling here.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 23, 2004
Comments (4)
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