As a prank, a man once climbed Mount Hood in the middle of the night and surreptitiously left a morning newspaper and a quart of milk for his friends, who were spending the night on the summit.
A British woman pranked her husband by pretending she had won the lottery. Three weeks later she actually won the lottery.
Gordon Ramsay intentionally fed a vegetarian volunteer meat on his show without telling him first as a prank. Ramsay laughed in his face and made fun of him when he complained after Gordon told him what he did. Ramsay previously admitted to doing something similar in 2003.
In the 1790s, an Oxford student introduced using guano (bird poop) as fertiliser. He spread guano across the university lawn, using it to spell G U A N O. The lawn was soon scrubbed, but when spring came, the word GUANO was clearly visible, growing higher and thicker than the rest of the grass.
In 2012, pranksters posted flyers falsely claiming a Taco Bell would be opening in their small Alaskan city of 6,000. When Taco Bell discovered this, they shipped in the ingredients for 10,000 tacos.
Saddam Hussein once pranked his guests by adding tabasco to koftas he cooked for them- some of the panicked guests initially fearing that the paranoid dictator had poisoned them.
On September 10, 1973, NASA Astronaut Owen Garriott successfully pranked flight controllers by playing a recording of his wife whilst on SkyLab. There were no women on board the space station and was used to make it look like there was a stowaway.
Controllers in Houston were startled to hear a woman’s voice beaming down from Skylab. The voice startled capsule communicator (CAPCOM) Bob Crippen by calling him by name, and then the woman explained: “The boys haven’t had a home-cooked meal in so long I thought I’d bring one up.”
After several minutes in which she described forest fires seen from space and the beautiful sunrise, the woman said: “Oh oh. I have to cut off now. I think the boys are floating up here toward the command module and I’m not supposed to be talking to you.”
As the Skylab astronauts later revealed, Garriott had recorded his wife, Helen, during a private radio transmission the night before.
On December 16, 1965, NASA received a prank transmission from two astronauts: “We have an object, probably in polar orbit… I see a command Module and and eight smaller modules in front. The pilot of the command module is wearing a red suit.” They then started playing, “Jingle Bells”.
A pair of Miami DJ’s prank called Fidel Castro in 2003. They pretended to be Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to get Castro on the line, and had a brief chat before telling Castro he had been fooled. Castro responded with a brief verbal tirade. The radio station was later fined $4,000.
In 1948, a man wore 30-pound, 3-toed lead shoes and stomped around a Florida beach in the night. The footprints lead people to believe that a 15-foot tall penguin was roaming their lands. He kept up the prank for 10 years, visiting various beaches. The hoax wasn’t revealed until 40 years later.