All pranks are hilarious – until something goes wrong. This list of practical jokes gone wrong cites elaborate jokes that ended with illness, arrest, and even death. While most of them share a common element of teenage boys, another running theme is reckless stupidity. . . or, more likely, both of these things combined. Don’t try these pranks at home.
What are some great pranks gone wrong? What are the worst cases of practical jokes gone horribly wrong? You may think it’s funny to light farts and scare people (those go together, right?) but there happen to be some times that a funny joke went horribly wrong. These are the best of the worst prank results ever.
High School Senior Charged with Felony for Playing with Dolls
On his last day of high school in June 2011, 18-year-old black student Tyell Morton zipped up his hoodie, pulled on some latex gloves, and snuck into the girls’ bathroom with a mysterious package. Believing that he was trying to bomb the school via the ladies’ locker room, officials evacuated the building and called in the Indiana State Police bomb squad and K9 force to dispose of the package. The cautious response cost the school over $8,000, but turned out to be a major overreaction – after all, all the box contained was a sex doll.
Still, the state wanted to make an example of Morton to deter any other fun-loving teens who might try to enjoy themselves or rouse rabble in the future. Morton was arrested and charged with institutional criminal mischief, a felony that that carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison.
Students Poison Teachers with Laxatives
If you work in an office, school, or other mind-numbing place that you have to go to every day for most of the day while the rest of the world goes on outside your beige walls having fun without you, you know how exciting it can be when someone brings in free food. In 2008, three jerk high school seniors in Brooklyn made delicious-looking homemade chocolate-iced Bundt cake dotted with some sort of red candy and dropped it off in their school office.
Educators and staff happily dug in, but almost immediately, five of them began to experience mouth numbness, chest tightness, and major tummy rumbles. The truth came out: Those little red chunks of candy were actually Dulcolax. Two victims went to the hospital, where doctors said their symptoms were consistent with those of insecticide poisoning.
“Nobody’s died from a laxative,” said a friend of one of the perpetrators. “He thought it was funny. I thought it was funny, too.”
Icelandic Teenager Calls George Bush’s Private Number
16-year-old Vífill Atlason doesn’t remember where he got the private phone number for the leader of the free world, but he had it for a few years before he made the call in 2007 to ask for a private meeting. A White House spokesperson insisted that he actually dialed the main switchboard for the West Wing, but – hold on to your hats – that turned out to be a big fat lie. Claiming to be real Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Vífill was passed through several levels of security, each quizzing him about his identity (questions he easily answered by consulting Wikipedia).
In the end, Bush’s secretary told Vífill to expect a call from the President soon. Instead, the police showed up at his home, hauled him back to the station, and interrogated him for several hours under orders to find the source of “the leak.” In a country none too enamored by George W., Vífill Atlason became a local hero.
So what did the teenager plan to say if he ever got Bush on the phone? “I just wanted to talk to him, have a chat, invite him to Iceland and see what he’d say,” he said. Sounds like a pretty good strategy.
Teens Cover Stop Sign, Kill Two Old Ladies
The teenaged male human isn’t known for being at the height of his mental acuity, so it’s hardly shocking when one does something really, really, really stupid. In August 2011, two comedic geniuses (18 and 19, both dudes) in a town near Columbus, OH, had the hot idea to wrap a stop sign with several layers of plastic wrap and petroleum jelly, effectively obscuring it from drivers.
The brilliant masterminds were so proud of their accomplishment that they bragged about it on Facebook. Many motorists made it past the hidden stop sign with no problems – after all, they drove through that intersection every day – but the uproarious laughter didn’t last long. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, Jeanne Shea, 80, drove past the covered sign and into the intersection An oncoming vehicle hit Shea’s car and killed her passenger – her sister Mary Spangler, 85. Shea was in critical condition for three weeks, her leg amputated above the knee, before she died in September. Nice job, fellas. The boys pleaded guilty to charges of reckless homicide.
Dude Kills Friend with Fake Gun
From the files of “You’ve Got to Be F*cking Kidding Me”:
Two pals, Nicholas Bell (23) and Jeffrey Charbonneau (24), were staying in Vermont with the family of a third pal during Thanksgiving in 2010. Charbonneau was peacefully sleeping, so Bell did what any good friend would do: Picked up an unfamiliar air rifle, aimed at his buddy’s chest, and fired. He was just trying to wake him up, so imagine his surprise when Charbonneau started spurting out blood. Poor guy was pronounced dead at the scene. Oops.
Bonus prank: A 2009 video on Charbonneau’s Facebook page showed Bell shooting him with a BB gun while hysterically laughing. Well, at least Charbonneau doesn’t have to hang out with him anymore.
Mischief-Maker Murdered for Egging a Car
Did you ever egg houses when you were a kid? Me neither – it seemed rude – but hey, diff’rent yolks for different folks. 14-year-old Danny Crawford and his buddies liked to throw eggs at cars late at night. A direct hit probably just tickled them pink. (Even though a splatter on a window would make the nicest mess, a hit on a car door would cause the most real damage – I don’t know which of these results Crawford preferred.)
In Dec. 2006, the boys targeted the wrong car. As the driver of a grey Jeep barreled toward the boys, someone inside pulled a gun and fired multiple shots, hitting and killing Crawford. Talk about road rage.
High School Senior Shot for Stealing Balloon
Vandalized Bus Fights Back
Firefighter Dies Chasing Scoundrels
Boys Serve Teachers Pot-Laced Muffins, Nearly Kill Them
When you’re in high school, one of the easiest ways to take out your teenage angst and frustration is to target the men and women who oppress you every day: your teachers. It almost never works. Joseph Tellini and Ian Walker, 18 year-old students in Dallas, TX, got their revenge by baking marijuana into brownies, which they then dropped off in their teachers’ lounge. Either they didn’t do it right or they had cheap terrible pot, because 19 of the staffers who ate the muffins got so sick, they ended up in the emergency room.
One teacher said, “It affected me for 10 days. I had never had marijuana before.”
The boys pleaded guilty to several charges and were sentenced to pay restitution and do volunteer work. In Walker’s letter of apology, he promised, “I guarantee everyone that this experience has opened my eyes to the real world. … I have learned a great deal from it and will never do anything remotely illegal again.” Then he went to the University of Texas, which I hear is a dry campus.
Students Steal Golf Cart, Kill Cop
Girls Arrested for Ruining School Floor
Long-Term Prankster Convinces People to Get Naked Nationwide
I know, I know – You would never fall for this one, but the fact is that this happened more than 70 times in 30 states between 1992 and 2004. The phone calls all followed a similar pattern: A man, claiming to be a police officer, would telephone a manager or supervisor at a small business, usually a fast food restaurant. He would ask the manager-in-charge to help police detain a suspected criminal employee or customer, giving a vague description that matched someone in the store or restaurant. Over the phone, he would tell the manager to take the suspect into a private location, have her strip naked, and sometimes abuse her.
The weirdest, creepiest incident happened in a Kentucky McDonald’s in 2004, when an assistant manager and her fiancé (who she called to the scene) imprisoned an employee for 3.5 hours, had her strip, spanked her, and forced her to perform oral sex – all because of what the man on the phone said. The entire ordeal was captured on surveillance camera (and the couple broke up that very night).
Police eventually drew the connection between incident across the country and traced the caller’s number to a phone card, a Wal-Mart, and a surveillance video. They arrested David R. Stewart, a correctional officer and married father of five. Among his belongings, they found dozens of applications for police department jobs, hundreds of police magazines, and various police-style uniforms, guns, and holsters. He was charged with impersonating a police officer and soliciting sodomy – but not convicted. Nonetheless, since his arrest, the prank calls have stopped.
BTW, the 2012 movie Compliance is based on this ripped-from-the-headlines true story. It is a decent watch if you have nothing else to do.
Police Investigate Woman For Putting Laxatives In Brownies Meant For A Co-Worker
In Adrian, Michigan, a 47 year old woman lost her job and received a visit from the police for a prank involving laxatives. On May 3, 2018, the company MMI Engineered Solutions received a tip that an employee was planning to serve laxative-laced brownies at a co-worker’s going away party. The police showed up at the woman’s apartment to investigate. While she initially denied drugging the brownies, she later admitted she had done so after an officer informed her they planned to do forensic testing. While the woman received a warning, no charges were pressed.