40 Clever Hoaxes, Tricks, and Pranks: A Look into the World of Mischief 2

26Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was so obsessed with winning that he would cheat at cards, but felt morally obligated to return any money he won as a result of said cheating.

27. There was fake Dutch reality show named De Grote Donorshow, where patients competed for a dying woman's kidney. It was created with the intention of raising awareness about the lack of organ donors. Six weeks after the show aired 12,000 new donors had signed up.

28. Discovery Channel's reality show "Amish Mafia" is an elaborate hoax.

29. U.S. radio host Jerry Klein produced a show in which he called for all U.S. Muslims to get tattoos and marks on their IDs which would identify them as Muslims. Many listeners expressed support. At the show’s end, he revealed it to be a hoax highlighting the dangers of extremism.

30. The ‘Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus’ was a hoax designed by the University of Connecticut to test 7th graders’ ability to decipher fake news on the internet presented as real. They all failed. Some even maintained that it was real even after confronted with the hoax, a phenomenon called belief perseverance.

31William Marsh Rice

William Marsh Rice

In 1988, as a prank, 11 students rotated the 2,000 pound statue of the university’s founder William Marsh Rice 180 degrees. Only one student was caught and he never snitched.

32. In 1948, people believed that a species of 15-feet tall penguins existed in Florida after 15-inch penguin footprints were found on Gulf beaches. Zoologist Ivan Sanderson invested and even claimed it to not be a hoax. It turned out that Tony Signorini was stomping around in the sand wearing 30-pound, 3-toed lead shoes as a prank for over 10 years.

33. Former KISS drummer, Peter Criss, once as a prank dressed up like a Nazi and knocked on the door of Gene Simmons’ (who is descended from Holocaust survivors) hotel room and demanded to see his papers.

34. While filming Indiana Jones, the crew played a practical joke on Harrison Ford. While he was chained to a large stone as part of filming, Barbra Streisand appeared in a dominatrix outfit. She proceeded to whip him before Carrie Fisher threw herself in front of Ford to protect him. This entire sequence was filmed.

35. A Canadian company, as a joke, started selling canned fresh air (Vanity Air), but the product became a hit when marketed in China. They package compressed air from the Rocky Mountains into aluminum cans that sell for $10-$20 each.

36Well to Hell hoax

Well to Hell hoax

The “Well to Hell” was popular hoax in Russia. According to it, there were reports that a group of Russian engineers (while drilling into the ground) broke into Hell, and screams of the damned could be heard. The Trinity Broadcasting Network ran with the story and claimed it proved the existence of Hell.

37. American film director M. Night Shyamalan created a hoax trying to convince people that his obsession with the supernatural came from a near death experience during his childhood. He went as far as getting a Sci-Fi Channel documentary crew to sign non-disclosure agreements.

38. In 1967, the Berkeley Barb, a counterculture newspaper published a fake story about extracting hallucinogenic chemicals from bananas to raise moral questions about banning drugs. People didn't realize it was a hoax and began smoking banana peels to try to get high.

39. After a photo of Keanu Reeves looking sad and eating a sandwich alone on a bench went viral, he responded by writing a book of sad poems entitled “An Ode to Happiness” as a joke.

40. A magician named Jasper Maskelyne used “magic” to help the Allied forces against the Nazis during World War 2. He used illusions to help the Allied troops hide tools and maps in everyday objects to fool the Nazis.