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Pranks
At 9 a.m. George Terry Dinnie left his house to walk Buckley, his bouvier des Flandres. When he returned, an hour-and-a-half later, he discovered that his 2500 gallon pond had disappeared. He figures someone took it, though he doesn't know why or how someone removed that much water: "They pumped the water out faster than I can fill it up again. It's as weird as weird can be." Something fishy is going on. That's for sure. [morning call]
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Sat Jun 27, 2009
Comments (7)
Pranksters in Inverness have made it even more difficult to find Nessie by moving the road signs for Loch Ness so that they point in the wrong direction. The leading suspects are concert-goers attending the RockNess music festival.

But here's the part of the article I found interesting. One resident "likened the alterations to World War II, when the authorities removed signs to prevent German soldiers from navigating their way round the country if they invaded."

I didn't know that had been done during WWII. I can't imagine that a lack of road signs would have significantly slowed down a German invasion. [Press and Journal]
Categories: Places, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 26, 2009
Comments (12)
Apparently there's a tradition of past employees of Jiffy Lube breaking into the store and stealing the bleeder valve on the compressor, thus rendering the machine useless. It's called the "Jiffy prank." At least, that's the excuse Paul Marvella is giving to explain why he took the valve. He later returned it, but nevertheless the store is charging him with felony commercial burglary. [Hernando Today]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 24, 2009
Comments (3)
Proof that the art of the student prank hasn't quite died. N.C. State University student Joseph Carnevale has been arrested and is facing misdemeanor charges for damage to property after creating a "barrel monster" that menacingly pointed its finger at motorists on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. The creation of the monster is documented at nopromiseofsafety.com.

I couldn’t get it out of my head. Its that itch, that need to make real an idea that has rolled around in one’s head for days, snowballed itself into a temporary obsession that just has to be satisfied.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Comments (8)
A telephone caller, posing as a representative of a fire alarm company, convinced employees of a Comfort Suites Hotel to activate the sprinkler system, which resulted in thousands of dollars worth of damage. (tricities.com)

This type of prank is definitely a recurring theme (see the rectal exam prank call, strip-search prank call, and satellite medical exam call), but I'm not sure what to call it. Maybe the "manipulative phone call prank," though that's not very catchy.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 12, 2009
Comments (5)
If you're well-versed in hoax lore, you might have heard the story of the South American Reetsa Expedition. It's a hoax attributed to the New York City prankster Brian G. Hughes, who was active as a hoaxer from around 1895 to 1910. (He died in 1924.)

He pulled off quite a few hoaxes. Around 1895 he submitted a cat to the New York cat show, claiming it was a rare breed known as the Dublin Brindle. After it won a prize, he revealed it was just an alley cat. A few years later he tried a similar stunt at a horse show, submitting a horse named Puldeca Orphan. It was really a street-car horse from the railway company. (Puldeca Orphan = Pulled a Car Often)

But the South American Reetsa Expedition was, according to H. Allen Smith, author of The Compleat Practical Joker (1954), one of his "most celebrated gags." Hughes told the media that he had financed an expedition to search for a rare South American creature, the Reetsa. For a year he supplied them with updates about the expedition. Then, finally, he announced that a Reetsa had been caught and would be shipped to New York City. On the day of its arrival, reporters were gathered at the pier as Hughes proudly led a mangy bull down the gangway. Reetsa was "a steer" spelled backwards.

The story of the Reetsa Expedition is told in many anthologies of hoaxes. For instance, it appears The Big Book of Hoaxes (the cartoon anthology of hoaxes). It's also mentioned on the wikipedia page about Hughes.



Since I've been adding a lot of new material to the Hoax Archive recently, I decided it was high time to add the Reetsa Expedition. But instead of just parroting the standard story about the hoax, I tried to track down some original news reports about it. I figured there would have to be something. However, I've been able to find absolutely nothing. There's no mention of it in any newspaper archive, such as newspaperarchive.com, the google news archive, or the proquest archives. I found quite a few obituaries about Hughes. They described many of his pranks and hoaxes, but none mentioned the Reetsa Expedition. That alone contradicts the claim that it was his most celebrated hoax. In fact, the earliest reference to it I can find is in H. Allen Smith's 1954 book, and Smith offered no date or source for the tale. So I'm concluding that it's one of those classic hoaxes that never actually happened. Kind of like the September Morn hoax I debunked a few months ago. Though, of course, I'm willing to change my mind if anyone can unearth any evidence that it did occur.
Categories: Animals, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 10, 2009
Comments (6)
The Dallas Morning News worries that in many Texas schools the senior prank is a fast disappearing tradition. The reasons for its departure: high-tech security and stricter discipline standards. One senior is quoted as saying, "Maybe we'd do something if there weren't cameras everywhere and punishments weren't so crazy."

Well, it's not disappearing everywhere. This year students at Fort Walton Beach High School slipped the "F word" into the yearbook by spelling it out in red letters spread across several pages. Students at Christian Community School ordered 5100 free priority mail boxes from the post office and stacked them floor to ceiling in the school hallway. And some students at Normal Community West High School released greased pigs into the auditorium.
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri Jun 05, 2009
Comments (7)
The BBC reports that Welsh-language road signs mysteriously appeared on the Longthorpe Parkway in Cambridgeshire. They suspect it was the work of a practical joker. Presumably a Welsh practical joker.
Categories: Literature/Language, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Fri May 29, 2009
Comments (2)
Scottish high school students were given a survey to find out what resources they would like to see in the area to help it develop. The answer: fast-food restaurants, cinemas, and a brothel. [BBC]
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Mon May 11, 2009
Comments (14)
Students at Fruita Monument High School in Colorado welded an Eagle hatchback around the school's flag pole as a senior prank. It took them an hour and 15 minutes of welding to do it. Now this is more like what a prank should be... not like that garden-planting prank from a few weeks ago. [KITV]
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Thu May 07, 2009
Comments (7)
One of the mysteries of law enforcement in the age of YouTube: Why do people proudly post videos of themselves engaged in illegal acts? They're just begging to have the police come knocking on their door. So anyway, the latest example of video self-incrimination involves two Domino's employees who created a prank video showing one of them farting on the food and sticking it up his nose as the other one laughed and egged him on. They posted the video on YouTube and it promptly went viral. Domino's then fired them (the two had to see that coming). One of the two emailed the company a groveling apology: “It was fake and I wish that everyone knew that!!!! I AM SOO SORRY!” Nevertheless, Domino's is still planning to press felony charges against them. The video has now been removed from YouTube, but Consumerist still has a copy of it posted. [NY Times]
Categories: Law/Police/Crime, Pranks, Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Apr 16, 2009
Comments (4)
Seniors at Westlake High School in Texas are being praised. For their senior prank, they chose to build a garden in a traffic island. Hmm. I think it's a nice gesture, but is it really a prank? At my High School I think the senior class all chipped in to donate a bench, but we never called it a prank. However, if the Westlake seniors surreptitiously planted seeds in their garden that will sprout a year from now, spelling a rude message, then I'll be impressed. [wlfi.com]
Categories: Pranks
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 15, 2009
Comments (9)
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