Ultimate List of Practical Jokes
One joke that we did in residence was the Chinese
Fire Drill I don't quite know why it is called that. Anyway..
The victim is on the pot in the dorm washroom. Everyone grabs a bucket (we used
the waste baskets from our rooms) and fills the buckets with water. Take a paper
bag and set it on fire, toss it under the door into the stall. Yell fire as
everyone tosses the water into the stall. Needless to say the fire as well as
the victim get very wet.
This one fellow in the house was hit a number of times and took to relieving
himself in other locals. We followed him a couple of times and nailed him in
many parts of the residence.
Later of course we conspired with our victim to get back at the original instigator
of the drill. The guy in the stall had a bucket of water, and when the the instigator
tossed the bag in we all hit him.
It is common for draftsmen to sprinkle SCUMEX (powdered
rubber eraser) on tracings prior to doing any drawing on it. This reduces smearing
of the pencil marks and such and results in a cleaner tracing.
At a former employers we had replaced the Scumex at one draftsmans desk with
dried parmesian cheese. It looked about the same. It was extremely interesting
watching him draw for a while and then begin to smell the paper. Took the poor
dude almost 10 minutes to guess that he had been gigged!
I just pulled one on somebody -- I slipped some of
those anti- shoplifting strips into the lining of the victim's favorite jacket.
I was set to pull another one, but didn't get the chance - to cut out a silhouette
of a gun from metal and hide it in a piece of carry-on luggage.
Two teachers at my high school started a practical
joke war that culminated in a junk mail war of huge proportions. They finally
called a truce and got it cleared up and the mail stopped, except for the military
mail that one had signed the other one up for. He wrote (honestly) that he had
graduated from a fine college and was interested in the Marines, Air Force,
When I left, about two years after this, he was still getting phone calls from
2-4 times a month.... they were very persistant even over he (loud) objections
that he was 45 and not interested in a career change...
New secretary (second day on the job) answers telephone
as is told in official tones: "This is the phone company. We are testing
a new circuit wiring scheme in your offices. Please keep everyone off the phones
for the next 10 minutes. We will be verifying the correct wiring of your system
by passing hot steam through the wires. Instruct your employees to place their
phones on the floor, or, better yet, wrap them in towels to avoid scalding themselves.
We will advise you when the tests are complete click." After momentary
panic, the secretary begins a frenzied "Paul Revere" routine, running
from desk to desk while glancing frequently at her watch. Just as the 10 minutes
are about up, she bursts into her boss's office (while he is in the midst of
an important long-distance call) and, screaming, grabs the receiver from his
hand and flings the whole phone under his desk...
Tell someone you can pin a glass of water to the wall
-- a real glass, not a paper cup, using an ordinary straight pin. Naturally
they won't believe, so you set out to prove it.
Get a glass of water and a pin. Hold the glass up to the wall and start to pin
it up. And then drop the pin. You've got the glass in position just right, so
you ask your victim real nice to get the pin for you. When they bend down to
pick it up, dump the water on their head.
This works especially well when there's a crowd of people watching. It can also
be very dangerous for the joker, so be careful if you try it.
one time in my undergrad days, it was snowing like
mad out. someone decided it was time a make a snowball. then someone else suggested
that we should put this snowball in this one guy's room-- nobody liked this
guy-- so when the word got around, half the people in our dorm section came
out and help! we got this sucker so BIG that it must be at least 4 feet in diameter.
it took about 6 person to haul the darn thing up 3 flights of stairs. we got
the snowball into this guy's room while he was out, turn off the heat in the
room and left all the windows open, so the snowball won't melt too fast. well...
the turkey came back 3 hours later and found a HUGH snowball sitting in the
middle of his room, and started melting! I still have the picture of the snowball.
(if you really wonder how big the snowball is, just imagine a snowball the size
of a normal dinning room chair!)
This reminds me of a similar stunt we used to enjoy
at the dining hall in my undergrad days. The food service used opaque plastic
salt and pepper shakers with pop-off tops that could be pried off with a knife
blade if you were persistent enough.
PREPARATION (in a restroom nearby): (1) Empty salt ( or pepper) from a previously
'acquired' container and fill about 1/3 full with concentrated lemon juice.
(2) Place a thin tissue across the opening, poke it down a bit to form a depression,
and fill the depression with about a teaspoon of baking soda. (3) Cover (from
the inside) the holes of the top with tape of the appropriate color. (4) Replace
top on container and trim visible tissue from around the top.
Carry the device to dining hall (upright and as stable as is possible... for
your own sake).
After discretely placing the shaker on your table (only place it near to you...
see caveat \#1 below), observe the next person to use the salt (pepper). (S)He
will shake lightly at first, then harder as nothing comes out. Due to the breakdown
of the tissue and the pressure resulting from the classic acid/base reaction,
the top will pop off (quite spectacularly) amidst a shower of foam. Your victim
(as will as everyone around) should have quite a reaction, since one does not
usually observe this type of behavior in a salt (pepper) shaker!
CAVEATS: 1. The top will come off with some force. If the holes are sealed well,
this will happen on about the second or third shake. Once, though, due to poor
sealing, it took about 5 seconds, during which time our victim started looking
at the shaker to examine the "foamy stuff coming out" of the holes...
we quickly grabbed the shaker from her to direct the top towards the ceiling
before it went off. So, watch carefully!
2. The "foam shower" (lemon juice \& soda) may ruin you victim
meal... be prepared to pop for another one.
3. Don't do this if your victim or anyone near ground zero is dressed up (this
joke will flop at board meetings and the like).
This joke has been done 50 (yes, 50) years ago by
First, a little background:
He lived in a small village, north-west of Quebec City along the St-Laurent
river. In those days, toilets were located outside the house in what we call
in good ol' french canadian 'becosse', from 'back house' I think. These are
a little wood shack with no floor over a hole in the ground where you ... You
Now, for the joke:
He and a friend were thrown out of a party by the doorman.
When it was really dark,, the doorman went to investigate what was knocking
at the window. They had suspended a rock to the window frame so it hung right
it the middle and tied another string to the rock and hid behind the 'becosse'
where they pulled that second string to make the rock knock in the window. That's
an old trick. The doorman wouldn't fall for that one. So he followed the second
string in the dark and soon concluded that they were hidding behind the 'becosse'.
He ran toward the merely visible wood structure...
But my father-in-law and his friend had taken care of moving the shack six feet
... Boy he fell in the shit !!
This one hasn't come up despite the presence of UCLA
on the net. I'm led to the sad conclusion that the tradition has died.
In the mid '70s, just before it was overrun by fanatic Dungeons \& Dragons
(tm) players, the UCLA Computer Club was host to a long series of "glitter
traps." Example: joke subject sits at a desk, pulls out a drawer. A string
runs from the back of the drawer, up the wall, into the false ceiling, over
to a spot directly over the subject's head, where it triggers the trap: a mousetrap
whose action snaps a card away from its position covering a funnel, releasing
a handful of glitter, which flows down the funnel, through its spout, through
a hole in the ceiling acoustic tile, onto the subject. It was wonderful to watch:
a muffled snapping noise, a quiet "chuff," and the slow, glittery
descent of a cloud of brightly colored dust, to settle over the head and shoulders
of a club member who by now has assumed an expression of appreciative resignation.
Another, more short-lived ploy was to suspend a wooden horseshoe by a string
from the ceiling in the corridor, such that the horseshow dangles a couple of
inches above the top of an upright broom. Most conventional brooms will stand
on their straws with a little coaxing. We attached a sign labeling the horseshow
"wood magnet." Quite a few people took it at face value.
Another Cow joke I attribute to my 'Ol chemestry prof
was the placement of a cow onto the roof. I would presume a fairly storng roof,
but once up there it would be hard to hide the fact to the cow that any direction
would be down.
Another pratical joke involved the use of outhouses. Once the target has established
himself you take up the slack on the attached rope which has been measured to
set up tremendious harmonics in the structure. When the rope transfers your
strumming to the outhouse, it usually falls apart with a most revieling nature..
I was once in a nice family-style restaurant when
I observed some kids supergluing the dishes to the table. They also attached
the silverware, napkins, salt, pepper, etc. If it wasn't already nailed down,
it was now. They stayed long enough to let the glue set, and then paid and left.
They watched as the poor busboy tried to get the stuff off of the table.
Also funny is supergluing a quarter to the sidewalk. I know its old, but in
the city, with the diverse types of people around, it gets really amusing. I
watched this old lady whack at it with her cane for about 10 min. cursing......
A few months ago I saw a newspaper clipping which
told of a newspaper in Illinois (I think...) which ran a story warning consumers
that, on such-and- such day, Illinois Bell would be "blowing the dust out
of the phone lines" and that all phone owners should cover the earpiece
of their phones with a bag to catch the dust.
Bell made them print a retraction, after receiving numerous calls asking what
sort of bag to use ...
People, they are amazing.
When I was in college our RA told us of a good one
that (supposedly) some friends had pulled a couple of years earlier. These two
guys made up a concoction of all kinds of left overs, semi-pureed it in a blender,
and filled a hot water bottle with it. One of them took the hot water bottle,
taped it to his stomach inside of his shirt and put a short piece of hose into
the top so that it came up to the front of his shirt collar, but not visible.
They both went to a local pub and sat at the bar, acting already slightly intoxicated.
After having a couple of beers the guy with the hot water bottle says that he
is feeling sick a couple of times and "barfs" VERY loudly all over
the bar to attract attention. Naturally this causes the patrons to move away
from him, all except his buddy, who calmy pulls a fork out of his coat pocket
and begins EATING the stuff. ;-) I don't know how true it is, but I'd love to
have been there watching faces if it was...
Two very hot-headed people lived directly across the
halls from each other. Dave got a piece of 1/2" rope and tied their doors
together with about a 6" gap of slack. Waited until 2:30am and knocked
REALLY HARD on both doors.
Interesting way to wake up...having two steaming mad football jerks slamming
each other's doors open and shut. The Resident Advisor was NOT pleased :-)
I can't resist a few:
1. Once you have stolen a dormmate's room keys, the room is yours to plunder.
As a variation, steal the dorm keys but reverse the lock (so the keyhole faces
INTO the room); we had a mechanical engineer who got this down to about 20 seconds.
Then loudly announce to the victim you own the keys, but "let" them
win the race back to their room. PRESTO! Locked inside their own room (with
no keys). If you've fixed the phone to continually ring, they get very pliable
after about 10 minutes.
2. We connected our secretary's electric typewriter to a variac (can vary the
line voltage). At about 40-50 volts (out of the 110) the little ball makes three
or four jerky attempts before finally striking a faint imprint. Fairly pathetic
3. Reverse the horizontal yoke leads on terminals (so the text comes out backwards
from right to left). This works best on a software team who thinks they have
just released the firmware for screen drivers. Besides, hardware people figure
it out too quickly.
4. Hand lotion inside of an air hose on the final assembly line is effective,
but very vindictive. Use with caution (now, I'm not saying I ever did this,
but I "saw" it done once :-)
And the standard saran wrap across women's toilets, Karo syrup, flour in the
shower, water-filled surgical tubing jammed in a drawer....ah, for the good
One night when you have a few friends around, take
turns calling the same phone number, a really obnoxious acquaintance that won't
recognize your voices is always a good choice. When the person answers, try
to leave a message for John Smith (or any name that sounds real). Insist that
you have the right number and even read their number to them. Have a bit of
fun here, and stretch this on as long as possible. Repeat several times, once
or twice an hour. Let everybody have a turn at calling. Just as the party is
breaking up, call one last time. Tell the poor soul answering the phone that
you are John Smith, and ask "Are there any messages for me?" This
is sure to get a groan.
Seven friends once pulled this at my college cafeteria.
One put a hot water bottle filled with pea soup down his chest; he sat at the
head of a table, with the other six friends sitting along the sides. When the
cafeteria was pretty full of people, he made a loud noise (to attract attention),
stood up, bent over and squeezed his chest. This caused a huge gush of green
liquid to spew all over the table; the other six immediately began to eat this
green liquid. I think a lot of food went uneaten that night.
Here's one that my roommate and myself did to a residence
buddy. One morning (early) we taped together a bunch of sheets of newspaper
to cover the victims doorframe. Then taped this big sheet over the doorframe
which left a gap of about two or three inches between the sheet and the door.
Then we filled the gap with paper balls right to the top of the doorway. When
he opened the door he was showered with a barrage of paper balls (makes a nice
mess too!) Of course, the door has to swing in for this to work!
My roommate was (and is) rather inventive and can be quite nasty. He buttered
all of the toilet seats in our wing of the residence (fortunately told me first).
He also buttered doorknobs at one point. We wrapped celophane over the toilet
bowl then replaced the seat: this one can be really messy!
Try this: hang a shower curtain out a window. When the person below reaches
out and pulls it in, pour a bucket of water onto the shower curtain. Listen
to hear the results. Requires a nosy neighbor below you.
Six friends of mine and myself tried a less complicated version of the classic
dismantling of a car and putting it back together somewhere strange. We lifted
a friends car that was parked between two other cars and turned it so that the
front and back end were facing the neighboring cars. This posed quite a problem
for our friend when he decided to go home. Requires either a small car or a
lot of very strong people! :-) I take no responsibility for any back injuries
that result from this. Of course I take no responsibility for any of my actions.
There are, of course, some fairly standard pranks that are pulled in residence.
Typically, people are shafted on their birthday which is therefore a hazardous
date to reveal. Total demolition of a room is quite common, but lacks any real
humor. A common shaft is to remove everything from the victims room and set
it up somewhere else exactly as it was. The best examples I saw of this were:
a room moved to the roof of a science building, a room moved to the front courtyard
of the residence (really funny when it started to snow!) and a room moved to
the dining hall.
When I was younger, I had a practical joke genius for a working companion. We
both worked in the same computer store for a while. He left and became manager
of another store. I remember receiving an envelope with his firms return address
on it. Inside was a very silly brochure. I said aloud "There has to be
something else in this envelope". So I looked and of course there was a
sheet of paper. It read "No there is nothing else in this envelope!"
I could never get him back for anything that he pulled but he was an inspiration.
The last practical joke that I will relate was one that he taught me and it
requires a bit of time to prepare. First you need: iodine cristals and some
amonium hydroxide. Mix the two together and a brown sludge will form. Drain
off the excess liquid and let the sludge dry. The result? Snap powder, a pressure
sensitive explosive. Just sprinkle this on the floor and watch people's reactions.
Its quite amusing.
I have lived in several different houses with a bunch
of guys. Needless to say things got pretty rowdy sometimes and many were victims
of some pretty funny jokes. One of the favorites as I recall (and still is)
is to go into the bathroom while the victim is taking a shower, and pour a bucket
of extreeeemmmlly cold water on them over the top of the shower curtain. This
is quite a shocking experience, and if you are fast enough you can get away
before the victim finds out you did it.
I remember one guy I lived with getting this all the time. One time he got sick
of putting up with it and jumped out of the shower into the hall squirting shampoo
at everyone in sight. The next time this happened the guys were ready with a
camera to take pictures of him as he ran out of the bathroom. These pictures
were later shown at his bachelor party.
1) Got a neighbor that's a real pain in the ass? Do
they have a lawn? Do they have a garden that's accessible? Yes to all the above?
Great! Go out and get yourself some grass-killer and fill the suckers hose with
the stuff. Then sit back and wait for them water their lawn! Nuff said?
2) Does the person that you want to get even with drink red wine? If so, have
I got one for you! Get yourself some Neutral Red, a water soluble, crystalline,
red dye. Mix some into the persons wine and wait for them to take a leak. (Nuetral
Red comes out as red as it goes in, and people have a tendancy to get really
nervous when they start pissing what they think is blood!
3) (I'm surprised nobody mentioned this one yet.) Go to a pet shop and buy a
fancy looking pet collar and leash. Then, the next time you see a dead animal
in the road, attach the leash and collar setup to its neck. Attach the whole
thing to revengees rear bumper, making sure to toss dead animal under the car
so it won't be seen. When revengee drives away, chances are he/she will be stopped
by either a cop or a member of some animal lovers group for draggin some poor
defenseless pet down the road. Either way, they are gonna have some awful quick
explaining to do!
4) Last, but certainly not least, is a great stink bomb. This one takes a bit
of time for preparation, so it's not too good for spontaneous revenge. (But
it's worth the time!) Get a quart jar with a rubber seal. (Mason jars work quite
well.) Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of crystal Drano along with about an inch
or so of warm water into the jar. Place the lid on the jar and allow the mixture
to sit in a warm place for about an hour. Take the lid off and add six egg whites,
(no yokes). Add a quarter cup of Methylene Blue, then fill the jar to within
an inch of the top with water. Seal the jar tightly and allow to sit for four
to six weeks. (I warned you it takes a while!) When the 'bomb' is ready to use,
you can either throw it like a molitov(sp?) cocktail, or shake it up and pour
the contents out, making damn sure you don't get any on yourself. The results
have to be seen, or is that smelled, to be beleived!
Is everyone out in net land familiar with Sensormatic?
They are the company that make the large plastic clips that set off alarms when
you exit a department store. I used to work for a department store and the is
what we did.
Open up the clip and remove the shiny piece of paper. It is about an inch long
and about half an inch wide. This is the "thingy" (that is the technical
word for it) that sets off the alarm. This "thingy" is easy to insert
into a pen case, lining of a jacket ...
We did this to a co worker and needless to say, he had problems wearing a particular
jacket to work.
We have various local spots where the teenagers park,
cruise, hold drag races, drink beer etc. We happen to own a white 1983 Dodge
Diplomat, the exact kind of car used by the State Patrol around here as well
as many law enforcement agencies nationwide. (Actually our car WAS a state patrol
car, but that's another story). Anyway, my brother in law, who is a cruiser,
would occasionally borrow this car and drive it down to the cruising spots.
Needless to say, when they saw him coming there was brief but furious activity.
He finally had to stop doing this because it made his friends so mad.
People hate to pass us on the freeway too. It is not unusual to see some Camaro
or Porche come zipping along through traffic until he is about 2 car lengths
behind us, then decelerate to a perfect 55.00 miles per hour. It takes him about
10 seconds to look us over, decide we aren't in uniform, notice that we don't
have state license plates, and make up his mind. He will then typiclaly test
how fast his car will accelerate to about 90 mph.
They had a 'witchy' old lady next door that was constantly
complaining about everything and everyone in the neighborhood. After one really
good round about kids and pets messing up her spotless front yard, my buddies
planned what turned out to be a better joke than they originally thought. Juvenile
as we all were, they planned to write some dirty words in her meticulously-groomed
front lawn with some kind of powder that would stand out. The only thing they
could find was some Ortho Super-Gro Lawn Food (white powdery stuff). They wrote
the message in the dead of night, and next morning it was bold and white for
the world to see. The 'kicker' came after. She came out, saw the graffiti, and
immediately grabbed a hose and WATERED IT OFF!
To this day, those sections of grass are just a little bit greener than everything
around them, and the words can STILL be read!
This reminds me of a story that a former roommate related to me. In college
he and a group of friends got revenge on complete strangers. ....Well, let me
set up the situation.
Y'know how sometimes you gotta park real far away from your destination because
certain types of people like to take up two parking spaces...? Well, he and
his friends got a little ticked about this, especially during weekends at the
school. One day, they decided to get even with every \verb+"#@@#\$#@$&&"+
that took up "their" space. They turned the car sideways. As he said,
"He wanted that space so bad, now he can have it for a loooong time!"
In a similar vein, tell your victim that you have
a test of coordination you would like him to try with you. Find a door with
a fairly large crack between the door and the wall when the door is open. (You
know, over by the hinges; across the width of the door from the doorknob...)
You need an egg (NOT hard-boiled), and a wood floor (you don't want the egg
cracking on carpeting, do you??). Now, have your victim get on the opposite
side of the door from you, and put 2 fingers through the door. Hand him the
egg, in those two fingers. Working with him, trade the egg back and forth a
couple of times, moving UP the door frame. After you have his confidence, leave.
He will be trapped there, holding this egg by two fingers through the door.
If he lets go and nobody takes the egg, it will crash to the floor. Best to
do in the person's own room.
A few years ago some members of the infamous Dartmouth
Outing Club pushed an occupied one-seat outhouse off its foundations, onto its
door. The victim tried in vain for a few minutes to roll the entire building
onto a different side, but soon gave up, as it was too heavy. She then was forced
to climb out through the seat, and over the pit near the bottom (now side) of
The followup to this episode was that some `friends' seized me in the middle
of the night and tied my feet in a noose suspended in a tree. But that's another
This practical joke is hearsay. A fellow student some
years ago related the following. Apparently another student was a bit of a braggar.
His favourite topic was his car, and one sub-topic was the terrific gas milage
(pre-metric) it got.
So it began one evening. Fill up a one-gallon container of gas each night and
pour it into the victim's gas tank. Wait for the story each day to get better
and better. Repeat until it cannot be taken any more. I believe 2 weeks was
Finally the moment (days) of truth. Each night for 2 weeks, the effect was reversed,
and one gallon of gas was REMOVED from the victim's tank. It was amazingly effective
at reducing some of the stories. I suspect the truth was never revealed to the
Another harmless practical joke to be played on people
living in multiple story apartment buildings is as follows: Knock on victim's
door. Say, "I've got to use your window, someone's about to jump from an
apartment above yours." Run to window and look outside, but don't let victim
look. At this point your accomplice dumps a rag-filled dummy either from the
window above or from the roof. The dummy should be fully closed; for added realism
put some plastic bags of fake blood inside the clothes. On the sidewalk below,
a third accomplice puts down a plastic sheet, then covers it with a sheet painted
to resemble the sidewalk. After the body hits, let the victim see the gore,
then convince him to run down and help while you stay and call the ambulance.
As soon as the victim has left, signal your accomplice to remove the sheets
and the dummy and head for some prearranged hiding place. Then you leave the
apartment and disappear somewhere in the building; later, you make your way
downstairs and leave. The victim will race downstairs expecting to find a dead
bloody body and will instead see only clean, empty pavement. Of course, it is
best done late at night since the joke would be spoiled by a passer-by who informed
the victim of the "body's" fate. The fun comes imagining the victim
trying to convince the police or anyone else of what happened!
In our residence the lounge door can be locked (or
unlocked) by any room key from the floor. You can also remove the handles from
a door (ie the lock comes too) and switch the handles.
We did this to one guy, he was the only one who could lock the door to the lounge
(we never locked anyway) but everyone could get into his room. Every night for
a week (at about 3:30 am) someone would go in and do something to him while
he was asleep (nothing really nasty). As he was a sound sleeper, it actually
took him a week to figure out what was going on.
Disclaimer: Kids at home, Don't try this.
This one reminded me of a joke some of the guys on
our floor pulled on another guy while he was in the shower. While he was in
the shower, they took all his clothes and even his towel and hung them outside
in the hall (over water pipes in the ceiling - we were in the basement). I don't
know how long he stayed in there and/or whether or not someone ever gave him
back his clothes. The worst part of this one was that there were 2 shower stalls
in the bathroom - and I happened to be in the other one; it could of happened
In my younger days, while employed at a warehouse,
I was the butt of the usual practical jokes directed at newcomers.(Fetch me
a light-bulb repair kit, son;etc) As days passed, I noticed that one of my antagonists
was actually afraid of his terminal. This was at the time when the press was
full of accounts of the dangers of X-rays from color TV's, and this guy was
deathly afraid of the noise made by the high-voltage section of the CRT as it
warmed up. Each morning he sat in his swivel chair, coffee in his left hand,
and with the chair as far as possible away from the terminal, used his right
hand to quickly flick the ON switch, and then jerked it away from THE CERTAIN
DEATH THAT AWAITED. After the racket settled down, he would wheel up to the
terminal and commence operations. This situation was too good for yours truly
to pass up. I went upstairs and pulled out a stock item, a stadium buzzer, used
by high schools on the football fields to announce the end of a quarter. I came
in early the next morning and installed it in one of his file boxes, near the
terminal. I ran the wires out to the next office via a pass-thru, and alerted
all of the staff (but him) of what was about to transpire. He entered the room,
coffee in hand, and sat in his chair. All others were heads-down in work. He
adjusted his chair to the proper distance, reached way out for the switch, and
as soon as he pulled, I plugged in the cord. As the buzzer sounded, he assumed
the facial expressions of one who has seen death reaching it's skeltal fingers
to snatch him from the land of the living. Coffee flew to the ceiling, and for
a few brief seconds before hitting the opposite wall, a new world land speed
record for backward swivel-chair operation was established!
Preface: The person that this is played on must be
someone who really deserves it because it takes several people to pull off.
He must also live on the first floor of his dorm. It must also occur in the
winter in a suitably cold and barren area like Dartmouth.
We did this trick to someone we found very difficult to live with. When the
victim was away from his room we began to pile up a large amount of snow outside
of his window. The conditions were perfect. His window was divided into two
sections. One didn't open, the other (in theory) swung outward like a door.
The snow was wet and packed heavily and easily. (On colder days a hose may be
used to harden the snow.) We built a huge pile of snow which reached six or
eight feet back from the part of his window that swung. We then, as a demoralizing
factor, put a cosmetic layer of snow which completely covered the section which
When we had finished the outside work we went into his room and closed his shade
and curtain so that he would not notice what we had done until it was too late.
We then waited for him to come home. Luckily his room was on a side of the dorm
away from the entrance so that our work wasn't visible from the approach. He
arrived and entered his room. We listened outside his door until we heard his
shade go up and a sudden "What the F--K?" as only pure, white snow
was visible through the window. At this point we wedged a paperback book between
his door and the frame. (Similar to using pennies, but more effective.)
We then sat back and listened as he started towards the door. "Allright,
who put all the snow outside my...what the F--K? OPEN THIS DOOR!"
The show got more exciting as he, thinking that he could still just go out the
window, walked over, opened his curtain, tried to open the window, and became
aware of the magnitude of the problem facing him. He had no phone, and so could
not call the campus police to come help him. His neighbors would not heed his
cries, because most of them had assisted us with the trick.
We eventually released him, but only after he had come to the realization that
he needed to be more considerate of those living around him, or else face living
out the rest of a prematurely shortened life in a small, snow covered dorm room.
My favorite dorm practical joke involved collecting
newspapers for about 3 months by everyone. When a guy on my floor had a three
hour lab we crumpled up newspapers and completely filled his room from floor
to ceiling. When he returned, he had to go in through in the bathroom, and wasn't
even able to get the door open far enough to get through.
Want some fun times! Heres the way:
1. While your friend is sleeping, carefully water down his mattress. (If he
sleeps in a waterbed, just give it a few punctures)
2. Take an extension cord, clip off the cube-tap, seperate the wires, and strip
the two ends, exposing about two inches of bare wire.
3. Wrap one end around his left big toe, the other on his right.
4. Stand near an electrical outlet, plug the poor unsuspecting soul in!
This is a great ice breaker for your new roommate, etc. Cleanup is a bit, er,
messy, but well worth the gag. You can be guarenteed that the victim will be
impressed! And think of it: No retaliation! It's the perfect practical joke!
And to think that nobody's posted it yet.
About nine years ago the book "The Adolescense
of P1" was very popular at the computer shop where I was employed. In case
you don't know, this is about a hacker named Gregory and a computer program
he wrote which is self- perpetuating. Years later he is employed as an honest
Systems Analyst and has almost forgotten about his "child." Then the
system downstairs prints out "CALL GREGORY" and locks up ... followed
by a thickening plot, some humorous, some frightening.
I worked nights. It wasn't hard to replace the boot file on our system disks
with another that typed out "CALL GREGORY" before replacing itself
with the original.
It's funny that there haven't been more computer practical jokes posted here.
What a marvelous opportunity the computer affords the practical joker!
I designed and wrote a point-of-sale system which was first installed in 1976,
after which I left the company. At midnight, December 31, 1977 every system
in the country stopped whatever it was doing, flashed every light and sounded
every beeper on every cash register, printed "Happy New Year" on every
printer, and went back to whatever it was doing. I wonder how that happened?
Some of the least elaborate practical jokes are the most effective. Go with
a couple of friends, stand near some busy street corner, and take a great interest
in some point near the top of a tall building, or maybe just up in the sky.
Watch the reactions of people around you.
Take an old windowshade, go to a gymnastics show or anywhere else where people
wear leotards, wait for someone to do a split, and tear the windowshade briskly,
making a very loud ripping sound ...
Go to any gag store and get a fake plastic vomit. Put it in a drinking fountain.
Wet it is amazingly realistic ...
Back around 1969 at another university, we had just
gotten time sharing facilities and because of the unrest (this was about Kent
State) we had armed guards protecting the computer and the few terminals. It
being around midnight, I got the guards playing an interactive monopoly game.
The next evening i was confronted by a VERY upset computer operator. Apparently
at about 4:00AM one guard landed on Boardwalk and the game ended when he didn't
have enough money to pay the rent. The guards DEMANDED the operator restart
the game and bcame more and more upset when he couldn't.
Recipe for LARGE quantities of soapsuds:
1. Fill a large bucket with hot water.
2. Empty contents of one bottle of dishwashing detergent into bucket (Ivory,
Joy, Dawn, or equivalent).
3. Drop in a few pounds of dry ice that has been crushed to small pieces.
4. STAND BACK!
Recipe will fill a phone booth, or a small room (or even a big one). A friend
and I once did this in the bed of his truck. While stopped at traffic signals
the whole bed would fill up to the rim with suds. Then, as we would accelerate
away from the light, large "chunks" would break loose and waft lazily
through the air, causing much consternation to the traffic behind. On the freeway
the result was much smaller pieces of suds billowing out of the back of the
truck. It looked like a snowstorm! It's funnier to see than the description
sounds. We were hysterical.
Also, the soap can be omitted from the above to obtain fog. A phone booth that
is opaque with dense fog looks pretty strange too.
Okay, this is something me and my best friend did
to our Comp. Sci. teacher senior year of high school.
We started this joke by getting into heated arguments for a week before the
actual event and of course everything was building up a big head of steam. By
this time the other kids knew something was up and we let them in on the joke,
so now we have about 30 people helping in our cause. Anyway, on the day of the
crime we went to the school's dressing room and, since we were both active in
the drama club, no one asked what we were there for. So, I get ready for the
fun by making myself a nice layer of plasti-skin and filled it with stage blood.
Danny, my friend, obtained the services of a prop knife, you know one of the
ones that retract and we tested the depth of the cut with the thickness of the
skin, it was right, so now we are set. We walk into class seperated by about
a minute and we start right where we had left off, teh name calling, the pushing
and all the other aspects of high schoolers that don't like each other. So Danny
pulls the knife out of his pocket and yells, "That's it Ray, you're dead."
So he swings at my neck and the knife cuts the plasti-skin and the stage blood
goes everywhere, I crumple in a gurgling heap and lay prone under the table
of trash80's. Mr. Waddington comes up and sees Danny standing over me with a
blood covered knife and sees me apparently dead starts to roll me over. I flop
over like any good corpse and he dabs at the blood now covering my neck and
says the line I was waiting for, "My God you killed him!" At that
moment, I opened my eyes and asked him what he was doing. I have heard of peoples
faces going white and now I saw it. After he relised what we had done, he congradulated
us on a job well done.
Where I used to work, one of the group leaders used
to have a Playboy calender. One of the young ladies who objected to the posting
did a mastectomy \& placed the paper in the phone between the pickup and
the connection. The phone seemed to be complete, but did not work.
One prank I haven't seen listed yet is the one I used
to do at summer camp and the college dorm. Take the top off the toilet tank.
Inside, there is usually a vertical plastic pipe about 1 inch in diameter. Going
into the top of this pipe is a little plastic tube. Turn the tube outward and,
if it is long enough, then put it toward the toilet bowl with the end just sticking
out. Replace the tank cover, making sure that the little plastic tube is just
sticking out. When someone flushes, the tube will squirt water.
One time in Colorado I did this at 3:00am. The guy that got caught must have
flushed with his elbow while still seated. His back was sprayed with ice cold
water. His language was abominable, and made funnier since this was a Christian
camp. Oh well, we're all human.
These are computer-related practical jokes played
by an old acquaintence years ago at a nameless university in Northern California.
He wisened up and stopped playing them when the various administrations of the
computer centers found out who it was. Sometimes I simply could not believe
that he would do things like this.
The first one was probably the worst. The undergraduate computer center was
being connected to a large terminal lab across campus via a long line across
campus. This had taken the technical folks who worked at the computer center
months of planning, pulling cables, attaching lines, reconfiguring the system,
and so forth.
It was at about this time that Jack (not his real name), wrote a program called
"GARB" (short for "Garbage") This program sat in the background
running at low priority. It would choose a random interval, sometimes seconds,
sometimes minutes, sleep for that interval, and then wakeup. At that point,
it would choose a random ASCII character and then choose a random terminal on
that computer and send the character to the terminal. Then it would loop back
into its sleep mode until the next time it woke up.
The administration and technical people spent weeks wondering why their attempts
at connecting cross-campus cables were causing spurious data across existing
lines, as well as the lines that had been connected. They had people out there
with the elaborate technical equipment trying to trace down the source of the
"noise" that was polluting the terminal lines with stray characters.
Quite a while later, they did indeed discover the problem and confronted Jack.
I'm not sure what happened after that.
Another thing Jack did, before that, was write a program called "GOD".
It would patch the running monitor and actually insert a jump into the code
that performed the logout-job function within the monitor. The jump simply took
control of the monitor to a patch-area elsewhere within memory where a simple
comparison took place to see if the logout being requested was of any jobs belonging
to Jack. If so, it simply did a no-op, with an appropriate return-condition
indicating success (so that the calling program which initiated the system call
would not know the job had not been logged out). This program, "GOD"
most came in handy to Jack during the wee morning hours when few people used
the system but the proverbial "wheel wars" occurred, in which enabled
superusers with privileges attempted to conquer each other in various ways.
Needless to say, none of the above behavior is tolerated by the administration
any more, with good reason.
Propose to the victim a co-ordination test, and tell
him that it has been taken by the brightest people around you (quote some scores!).
You sit in front of the victim and put your palms about twelve inches apart.
The victims task is very simple. With eyes closed, his palms clasped together,
he should cautiously take his palms between your palms, remove them, and repeat
the process. Of course he must not touch your palms otherwise he "looses".
Each cycle counts as one point and "any average person can get 100 points".
As I said, tell him the scores of some other people you know.
Let him paractice a little with his eyes open. Then blindfold him (to avoid
the "natural" temptation of cheating) and say START. After a while
leave. it is a hilarious sight to see a person rock his clasped palms back annd
forth for no obvious reason.
Be sure to invite many of your friends to witness this sight. You will find
that this co-ordination test really sounds sincere, and many innocent people
who listen to you explaining to the chosen victim, actually volunteer to take
the test before the victim. This gives you a choice of victims to choose from.
OK, OK... I insisted on taking this test too and made a fool of myself !!
1. This one happened impromptu. A group of us were
novice UNIX hacks working for our department of computer science, all on similar
terminals. I had written a small program that would transmit a single character
at a time to another terminal. (No big deal, but no one else had tried it.)
One guy was typing away, and I was making his cursor "wiggle" by pressing
the forward and reverse arrow keys. He exclaimed that something was wrong with
his cursor. Another guy picked up on this, and explained that the cursor beam
must be loose. He gave the right side of the first guy's (John's) terminal a
good hard whack, I transmitted a carriage return. John laughed, but actually
sat there typing in (some text), and whacking the side of the terminal every
time he needed a carriage return, FOR SEVERAL MINUTES. Needless to say, we were
The second guy, (Tim), says "John, watch this!" and put his hand under
John's desk and gave the underside of the desk another whack: I transmitted
a "HOME" character, moving the cursor to the top of the screen, again
as if the whack had moved the cursor. John continues typing, whacking the bottom
and side of the terminal whenever he needs cursor motion. Tim smacks the top
of the terminal and I transmit a CLEAR key: it looked as if the characters have
been "knocked off" the screen. John is just about the get the lab
manager when we clue him in.
2. I once had a job as a COBOL programmer. A particular program was to input
no more than 20 items from an operator, and them produce the appropriate report
from them. I asked my boss what the program should do if the operator wanted
more than 20 items to appear in the report. He said, oh, that will never happen.
But what if it does, I asked. Gruffly, he said, have it notify the operator.
This particular machine had a seriously loud bell (control G) that sounded like
a real bell, plus it was fairly easy to make the screen flash off and on. I
coded it to flash and ring the alarm for a minute. I tried it once and it was
truly alarming. I never heard if anybody tried to enter more than twenty items,
but it is something I think about from time to time ...
on the subject of practical jokes on the computer,
i pulled the following one. when i was in college at new mexico tech (located
in socorro, which is spanish for help!), i was a programmer for several departments.
as a result, i was setting up some user interfaces. the machine was a dec 20
(with tops20) and there was a central terminal room with about thirty adm 3s
(now, there is a terminal) in it. anyway, when this 20 went down in a controled
manner it would send out a warning "dec 20 going down", then three
dots at one second intervals, then a "p", then go down. when it came
up, it would send out a message "dec 20 coming up", then three dots
at one second intervals, then a "p", then the login header. anyway,
the victum sat down to use a statistical package (it is so much fun to play
with people whose use canned stat packages). after he had been on for ten minutes,
he received the dec 20 going down sequence and then his terminal went dead.
so he waited (about five minutes). however, all during this time, everyone around
him was typing away merrily. finally he asked if the system had gone down. everyone
said no. then he asked the operator. again no. then the system manager. he finally
brought back the user servant (someone paid to answer user's questions) back
to the terminal. they played with the switches, then the user servant scratched
his head and said "beats me". about this time, the message "dec
system 20 reengaged" appeared on his terminal, then the three dots, then
the "p", then the message "automatic login in effect, status
at crash resumed" and he was right where he left off! the program that
caused this then deleted (and expunged) itself. to this day, i don't think he
knows what happened to him.
Another practical joke under the guise of a co-ordination
test is the following. Ask your victim to take a quarter and place it on a piece
of paper. Then ask him to take a pencil, and without removing his finger off
the quarter, to draw a circle around the quarter. Have him repeat the same exercise
with each of his fingers pressing on top of the quarter. Afterwards, have him
pick up the quarter and rub it along the bridge of his nose. It'll then be really
funny to watch him walk around with a black line on his face.
I also have heard of a practical joke that can be done to a person while he/she
is sleeping. If the person's hand is dipped in warm water, this causes a subconscious
relaxation of the bladder and causes the person to wet his/her bed. I have never
tried this, nor have I seen it tried, but I've heard it from quite a few people.
Has anyone out there ever tried it?
This is true. It seems that a colleague and myself
are scheduled to present a paper next month at an AI conference. We've never
heard of the conference nor did we write a paper.
Also, just today I got a letter that begins "Thank you for agreeing to
serve as chairperson of the following session at ICASSP-87 in Dallas, texas."
I've never met nor spoke to the person sending the letter nor did I agree to
be a chairperson. Either someone is setting me (us) up or this is a sneaky way
to get volunteers.
A computer related practical joke a played in my younger
days (2 years ago...) was to write an unstoppable program (disabled break, CTRL-C,
etc...) that would imitate the login procedure. I would leave it running on
a public terminal and whenever somebody tried to logon, it would always print
the message 'User validation error' (Or whatever message corresponding to the
operating system [that was VAX/VMS.] login error) and loop back.
Meanwhile, the user ID and the password were written in a file in my directory...
The only way to get out of the program was to turn off the gandalf box.
Back in the good old college days, when pulling all-nighters
(sure, you must have done some of those before!), at about 2 or 3am, try calling
someone to "remind" them to go to the bathroom (or do something).
Wait for half-an-hour or so, call again just to make sure s/he did what you
asked them to do earlier!
When I was out at Union College in Schenectady N.Y,
we had a great college radio station that would give away pizzas, movie passes,
clothes, etc. for answering trivia questions throughout the day. One day, my
friend and I recorded a trivia question on our tape deck and kept the tape in
the deck. A little later one of our good friends came over to visit and we were
all listening to the campus station. As soon as one of the songs ended, we turned
on the tape with out our friend noticeing and the D.J asked a trivia question
for a large pizza. Our friend knew the answer and since he was closed to the
phone, he immediatly picked it up and dialed the station. He was really excited
that he got through and started yelling the answer at the mystified D.J. He
was incredibly embarrased, we were trying so hard not to laugh it hurt.
DEC 20 practical jokes were rampant at an undergraduate
computer center I once frequented. One practical joker, call him Jack (yes,
the same Jack mentioned in an earlier message on this list), wrote a program
that was really rather nasty.
This program maintained two tables or arrays of strings. The strings would be
[FROM TTY NN: HI SWEETIE, JUST CAUGHT YOU LOOKING AT ME] or [FROM TTY NN: HEY
YOU GORGEOUS HUNK, COME OVER AND MEET ME]
The program would cycle through the system sending out these messages occasionally
to a random terminal, insuring that the terminal mentioned in the terminal messages
above would have an actual logged-in job. The person who received the message
would either be a) annoyed b) flattered and want to meet their admirer or c)
I heard that many meetings of users resulted from this program.
Some friends of mine in high school used to turn in
assignments from the old IBM /370 with start of execution at 07:58:00 Dec 7
1941 (apologies about the time if in error, but history is not my forte).
The hardest to do/forget practical joke that I know
is a variation on the theme of dismantling something large and then reassembling
it in someone's office/apartment/dorm room.
Locally there was a VP who was a Volkswagen Beetle Fan, so for his birthday,
some of the people who work for him stuck one in his office. It made the newspaper
when the refused to take it apart.
Allow me to be the first to recommend an excellent
book of $really$ nasty revenge getters. It's called "Getting Even: the
complete book of Dirty Tricks" (in 2 volumes, I believe) Unfortunately,
I don't have my copy here, so I can't give the author's name, but I think it
(they?) was published by Paladin Press.
It contains real gems for all occasions. (mad at the landlord that evicted you?
seal the apartment after introducing 10-15 cats and plenty of food/water)
Warning: most of these dirty tricks are $really$ nasty, don't use these on people
you might have to deal with in the future.
In 1972 I was working at a very boring job in an aerospace
factory. There were three guys my age (early 20's) in the department and we
werw always playing what we saw as a joke on some poor unsuspecting soul. I
was also in the Navy Reserve at the time and had to take two weeks off during
the Summer to due my training. When I returned from two weeks off, not yet bored
enough yet to begin playing more jokes, the other three guys went off their
heads pulling any kind of trivial, dangerous or otherwise obnoxious stunt they
could think of. At the end of the second day the supervisor called me into the
office and said:
"Jones, I don't know what's the matter with you but you better knock it
off. I've had two weeks of peace and quiet while you were gone and now that
you're back all hell's breaking loose. You go on back out there and stop bothering
I knew that I hadn't done anything but I didn't bother to protest. I could recognize
a well executed joke when I saw one.
A great trick I have gotten away with many a time
requires a little preparation, simply to go to the grocery and get a few packages
of Kool-Aid. Then while your 'prey' is away, simply spread it nice and liberally
into his bed, best if done in stripes, to leave his body in different colors.
This works best in a warm room where he is sure to sweat during the night to
If you have access to a two(or more) line phone, this
is a great one, dial the first six numbers of your prey's phone number, and
put that line on hold, then dial the other number; a pizza place, or his girlfriend
is good for starters, then escalate to college offices, activist terrorist organizations
and the CIA are good from then on. After you dial the second number, quickly
put the second number on hold, then dial the last number of the first number
and push BOTH buttons down at the same time to activate both calls at once,
then listen, but don't laugh, or they might hear you and do worse in return.
Try taping a drunk to his bed. Get a large roll of
masking tape and when he passes out wind it around him and the bed.
Another good one to do with a drunk is to put one of those fake bald heads over
his hair. Then when he wakes up ask him if he knows what he did last night.
I am far too Nice a person to ever have done these,
but a friend of mine...: 1. Leave old trash paperbacks around launderettes and
other public places. Write inside the front cover: Property of (Victim). I need
this book for my thesis. If found, please return to (address) for \$10.00 reward.
2. Post ads around town for a garage sale (or open house) at Victim's house
starting at 7:00 AM next Sunday. 3. Call lots of people and identify yourself
as the victim, and say "I was walking throught the neighborhood recently
and just realized I dropped my wallet. Could you please check the sidewalk in
front of your house and let me know if you find it? Thanks $so$ much. My phone
How about some chocolate Ex-lax in brownies.
Or maybe some ambesol in the mouthwash.
The best practical joke I know of is from MASH. However,
you need a reputation as an incorrigable joker for it to work. Just let the
person know you are going to play a big one on him within 5 days. (Pick your
time frame.) And that he will be powerless to stop you. If you do it right,
he'll worry himself to pieces and make a fool of himself. Then DO NOTHING.
Go to one of those miniature golf courses that has
a windmill hole. Replace the motor with one that can spin the windmill at about
1000 RPM. Then illuminate it with a strobe light so it looks like its moving
at about the same speed as before.
How `bout those relatives that seem to stay longer
If you had someone staying at your house, especially if they're traveling with
small children, help them pack up the car. Slip some limburger (sp?) cheese
into their car somewhere where it'll slowly get warm. You can imagine the consternation
when they pull to a rest stop to change junior's diapers and find nothing there.
Or the line, "Did you hit a skunk or ...?"
1) Get a piece of plastic as long as the victims bed
and a little over twice as wide. Remove his mattress from his bed frame and
line the frame with the plastic. Tape the plastic to the bed if necessary. Fill
with water (a hose connected to the tub is helpful). Fold the rest of the plastic
over the water, and make the bed. (Done to my roommate by mutual friend.)
2) If your victim has a roommate, switch all their possesions. Or, turn all
the posters upside down and hang the furniture from the ceiling. (Both done
3) If your victim $is$ your roommate, switch the material in your waste baskets
and pull his bed away from the wall a quarter of an inch every day.
4) Wait till your victim is away for a weekend. Dip everything plastic (pens,
phones, etc.) in liquid nitrogen, break it, and stick it together again. Everything
plastic will break when he picks it up.
5) Polish the floor and stick teflon to the legs of select items of furniture.
(The polished floor is a bit of a giveaway, but teflon isn't dramatically slick
if there's much grime.)
Maybe a bit on the "im"-practical side but
if REVENGE is what you want...
I s'pose the keyword (superglue) says it all. The places I've like to hit are
the person's car - namely the dust caps on the tire valve stems, the gas cap,
and the windshield wipers. Pretty nasty, ain't I?
Then there's always putting a paper bag of shit on the person's front step,
setting it on fire, knocking on the door, and running like hell. The victim
will come to the door, see the fire, and will usually try to stomp it out with
I'll be the first that these are rather terrible and childish but...
This was done to me when I was in college and living
in a fraternity house; Take someone's door and hide it for a while. You would
really be surprised how often you want to close the dang thing and it's not
there to do it!
A recent favourite in our residence has involved the
kidnapping of some small beloved object (teddy bear, harp seal, stuffed banana,
etc.). Once this object has disappeared and before its owner has noticed it's
gone, suspend it from a window in the dining hall, tv lounge, physics building,...
If small animals don't work for you, perhaps mens undergarments stolen from
the laundry might?
I think I have one of these books. It is by George
Heyduke (Hayduke?). When I read it, I was practically overcome with mirth. Some
of the things he sug- gests are hilarious! It says right in the book that it
is written for enter- tainment purposes only, and not to try any of the ideas,
so I guess he has his behind covered. Some of the better ideas that I remember
1. "Time bombs." This is the phrase he uses to describe chicken parts.
Easily gotten at any supermarket, they are innocent little items that can be
carried almost anywhere (in a baggie, if neccessary). But when stashed in an
out-of-the-way place, like under furniture cushions in the house or under car
seats or in the trunk in a car, and given a little time, YOW! Watch out for
the smell! Gotten ripped off by a used-car dealer? Wait awhile, then take some
test drives in some other cars. With a few strategically placed "bombs"
in a car with the windows closed in the hot sun.... use your imagination. Getting
evicted? Remove some outlet covers or switch covers and stuff some of these
babies down inside the wall. They'll be impossible to find, and won't start
to smell until after you're long gone.
2. Parties. Parties are great fun to plan, especially if you plan them for someone
else to host (as a surprise). Print up a few flyers for a party at your victim's
house and distribute them where undesirables will be sure to see them. For example,
you might put up flyers around biker bars advertising "all the beer you
can drink", and "crowning of Miss Biker", or something equivalent.
Even if the reluctant host doesn't let them in his house when the horde shows
up, he will still wind up with a party on his lawn. Of course, if you're his
neighbor this gives you a good reason to complain to the cops or to his landlord,
3. Set your victim against a third party, or against another victim. Let other
people do your dirty work for you. Here's an example: Call up the electric or
gas company and impersonate your victim. Request that service be terminated
for a week or two (going on vacation, or whatever). As soon as that happens,
call your victim. Impersonate an officer of the gas/electric company, and be
very nasty and abusive, saying that service has been discontinued because of
non-payment of bills. This should rile up your victim, asasuming that he HAS
paid his bill and knows it. At any rate, tell him he must come down to the office
immediately to discuss the problem or you will send the police to his house
to collect, or something like that. Then, once you have him mad, and know he
is going to the gas/electric company, call up that company. Impersonate your
victim. Be very nasty, and try to get into an argument with a supervisor. Wind
up the conver- sation by saying that you are coming down there right now with
a gun, and you are going to kill somebody. Then hang up.
Or, if you call enough times so that people associate your voice with his name,
you could call back some time after the argument and make a bomb threat. They
would recognize the voice as being 'him', and knowing that he was disgruntled
would make him a prime suspect.
4. Buy a cheap toy gun. Plant it in your victim's car. Then call the police
and anonomously report that you saw a suspicious armed person in the area, and
give the vehicle's description and location. A variation of this would be to
plant baggies full of phony drugs. He probably won't be arrested, but he will
probably be stopped and harrassed.
5. Enter subscriptions in his name to the most filthy homo/bondage/snuff magazines
you can find, and change his address by one so his NEIGHBOR receives them. His
neighbors will not only be disgusted by his perver- sions, they will also be
irritated by the fact that he is too dumb to even get his address right on a
6. If you can get one of his credit cards, or even a charge receipt or carbon
copy of one, use the account to order gifts through the mail. Order gifts for
REAL friends and relatives of the victim, and have them delivered directly to
the recipient. It puts him in an embarras- sing position to have to explain
to his family and friends how his gift to them must be returned. Also, can you
imagine the guy trying to convince the bank that HE did not make the purchases?
Don't use his charge accounts for your own benefit, or you will very likely
Another joke which one can easily perpetrate goes
Fill a plastic, or rubber, tube with water. Hold the tube vertically up into
the air and with the thumb of one hand plug up the bottom hole of the tube and
place it next to your ear (hide the fact that you are plugging the hole).
Next, call a friend, or victim, and tell him that you are hearing something
really strange through the tube and he should come over and listen in on it.
When he gets close enough to your ear to listen turn the tube towards his ear
and release your thumb.
My favorite was to place a singles' advertisment for
the victim. I'll leave it to you to think of what to say, but my favorite was
(for a heterosexual person) to place an ad looking for someone of the same sex.
I believe this is from "The Complete Book of
First, go to the library and find some phone books for large cities. In one
of the phone books you should be able to find a person who has the same name
as the target. Then go down to the post office and file a change of address
for the target, forwarding his mail to himself in a far away city.
If I remember correctly the book states that this is very illegal and is only
included for amusement.
Enter subscriptions in his name to the most filthy
homo/bondage/snuff magazines you can find, and change his address by one so
his NEIGHBOR receives them. His neighbors will not only be disgusted by his
perver- sions, they will also be irritated by the fact that he is too dumb to
even get his address right on a subscription.
An ex-brother-in-law of mine did something like this for revenge on a downstairs
neighbor. He put a very kinky ad in the Berkeley Barb, which included said neighbor's
phone number -- "call any time".
Another person I know told me he once ordered some phony business stationary,
and used it to place an order for a 70,000 pound steel coil to be delivered
to this person's (a high school teacher) address. The coil showed up and got
dumped on the front lawn.
One of the best ones I heard, was to do the following:
During winter time in any part of the country where it gets really cold, take
your victims mattress, soak in water until it has reached it's saturation level,
then hang it outside until it freezes solid. Once solid, replace on the victim's
bed and make the bed up to look like normal. Boy will they be surprised when
they go to bed.
Next time when you are having dinner, keep an empty
jug of water on the table. When somebody asks you to pass the jug, pretend while
picking it up that it is full of water and heavy. Keep the jug on the table
near the victim. The victim will apply what he/she considers is appropriate
strength needed to pick up the jug. This will cause the jug to jerk up to a
significant height. The sight is very funny and so is the victim's face.
Must try to believe. Even the most prude of your aunts will not mind being a
victim of this joke.
AH yes.. ye ole highschool days.... (seems everyone
knows of or has done a VW bug stunt already). We also had a rather unliked teacher,
whose VW was carried up onto the gymnasium stage on the last day of school.
Needless to say, every year after that he arrived on the last day of school
driving the cab of his brother's semi.
This is more of a practical joke WITH a Beetle . .
. . MIT has some very wide, very long corridors that turn out to be VW-accessible.
One night a guy I knew started cruising the corridors. The practical joke came
when the campus police started chasing him. He whipped around a corner, into
a freight elevator, and away. They never found him.
My favourite practical joke involves on of those long
line-ups for tickets to a concert or something. First you go to the front of
the line and then walk the entire length, looking over everyone as if you were
trying to find a friend. When you get to the back you walk back to the front
doing the same thing, but this time even slower. Then when you reach the front
you turn and quickly run to the back again, machine-gunning everybody as you
go. Then you go up to the ticket office and say "Get it?" This is
a classic joke and as you can see it is also quite practical, since it gets
you to the front of the line very fast.
If you live in a dorm with tiles on the bathroom door,
pour rubbing alcohol in the cracks, wait for your victim to go into the bathroom
and seat himself, and light the alcohol.
If you can get into your victim's house, staple the sides of many paper cups
together so that they are in a ring or matrix configuration (anything too large
to drag out the door), and fill them all with water.
A friend who lived in Durham sent a postcard to his
girlfriend in Milwaukee that said "Here is a check for the twenty dollars
I owe you." and had a blank spot and a piece of tape on it.
Six letters came to him from Milwaukee, some with photos, none from people he
knew, and all expressing interest in a personal to which they alluded. One was
from a male. He assumed that his girlfriend had placed a personal with his address
in the paper there; she had just enlisted help in letter- writing.
One good practical joke that I've seen done to somebody:
1) Take an old record album cover.
2) Fill the insides with shaving cream.
3) Place it halfway under a locked door to the victim's office, home, room,
etc. with the open end inside the room.
4) Jump on it.
Another, if you can get access to the victim's key chain is to switch all his
keys for keys that look exactly the same, but don't fit the locks he's trying
to open. If you can be around for this one, it's much more fun to watch the
person go crazy as he cannot open anything he owns.
This reminds me of something a friend of mine did
to get even with a landlord that evicted him. There was a hole in one of his
walls so he put a couple of dead fish in in the hole. He then plastered over
the hole and repainted the wall. Can you imagine the smell after a month of
summer heat? Nobody could tell where the odor would be coming from until the
bottom of the wall would start to rot. He did some other things to the house
but this was by far the most subtle and undetectable until some time later.
One of my favorite practical jokes is to get a somewhat
long spool of rope, and when walking down the street ( acting official..), get
someone to assist you in measuring a distance. Pick a spot near a corner , go
around, and find another person to hold the other end of the rope. Go across
the street and just wait...
Ask somebody what time it is when he/she is holding
a glass of fluid in the hand attached to the wrist where he/she wears a watch.
You'll be surprised how many people pour fluid onto themselves trying to be
helpful to you.
Buy a BIG pile of magazines of every conceivable sort,
and clip every coupon for a catalog, trial product, free brochure, etc. Specialty
magazines have the most, such as hobbies or sports (or computers). Your victim
should be deluged with junk mail (and since most such lists get sold to other
lists, the response will be a geometric function of the number of clips you
A friend of mine and I once almost started a junkmail war, but formed a truce
before, because we knew it would follow us around for years...
It should be noted by people wishing to play practical
jokes, that some people take them dead seriously. Such people tend to escalate
the level of jokes by a couple of magnitudes. My three favorite stories are
from different colleges.
One joker sprinkled finely ground powdered milk underneath his victim's sheets.
It acts like powdered sugar in the sense that, as you sweat in your sleep, it
dissolves and comes up through the sheets onto your body and into your pores.
But your sweat makes it sour, and when it gets into your pores, it stays there.
You smell very strongly of sour milk for about a week (4 days if you shower
and sauna every day). The next weekend, when the joker was walking back from
a party, three guys jumped him. They were dressed in ski masks and painter's
suits (those light paper/cloth jumpsuits that people wear to paint autobodies).
They stripped, tied, blindfolded and gagged the joker, and spraypainted him
blue. No one was ever caught.
In another case, a yuppy practical joker taped a guy's car closed with strapping
and duct tape (the thing apparently looked like a ball of tape when he got through).
For those of you that don't know, the adhesive on such tapes ruins a car's paint
job, and can, if you try to remove it en masse, even take off chips of paint
and door guards (especially in winter). Two days later, the yuppie's BMW was
found with all four of its racing radials slashed to ribbons. The yuppy of course,
called the police on the guy who's car he taped. The guy did not admit to slashing
the tires, as opposed to the yuppie, who told the police why he thought the
other guy was responsible (ie: he admitted to the police that he taped the other
car). Charges were never pressed about the BMW (lack of evidence), and charges
were pressed about the car taping. Did the guy actually slash the BMW wheels?
He always claimed that he didn't (of course the last time I knew, the statute
of limitations wasn't up yet).
Then of course there's the people who take the direct route to revenge. Some
guy thought he would make a very large, easy going, farm boy feel more at home.
So he got some fresh pig manure and dumped it in the farm boy's room. The very
large farm boy, apparently lacking a cultured sense of humor, beat the living
shit out of the joker. Then he told the joker that if it happened again, the
joker would eat the pigshit. Nobody doubted him.
So be very careful who you decide to pull a practical joke on, because they
may not think it's as funny as you do.
Call a mortuary and report the victim dead. Arrange
to have his body picked up at his house sometime when he is at home.
One of my favorites is to put a couple of ping pong
balls in someones gas tank. The car will start just fine and will run for a
couple of blocks. Then the balls will get sucked into the gas feed and cause
the car to die. The balls will now float back to the top of the tank and he
will be able to restart the car. This will be very frustrating to the car owner,
espiality if he works on his own car. First he will replace the fuel filter
then maybe the fuel pump. From there on out he will be pulling his hair out
to figure out what to do next.
Another door-related practical joke, good in dorm-life
1. Locate undesirable LP record w/ jacket. I recommend "Mystic Moods".
2. Fetch cardboard jacket-- should be in good condition, no split sides or the
such. (Save disc for frisbee-- they shatter in fine fashion when hurled in a
room. But I digress.) 3. Fetch can of shaving cream, e.g. Gillette Foamy or
the like. Fill album cover with shaving cream. 4. With accomplice, go to room
of victim. Their door should be closed. 5. Fit open edge of cream-filled album
cover under bottom of door. 6. Accomplice braces album cover. 7. Jump on album
cover, ejecting shaving cream into dorm room. 8. Run like hell.
Note that if the intended victim's door fits the frame very tightly, leaving
little or no room for the escape of the shaving cream, step number 7 will instead
result in a shaving cream explosion in the faces of the would-be jokers. This
suggests an obvious alternate "patsy" scenario...
This was funny when tried. Of course, most things are funny at 4 AM.
My favourite was one I heard that someone at Boston
University did to his roomate, who he hated. Late one night, while the roomate,
a very sound sleeper, was asleep, this chap superglued his...er...male organ...to
the inside of his leg.
The roomate must have been a sound sleeper.
I guess I am too restrained to perpetrade anything
that might get the victim shot by the cops, or committ credit card fraud in
the process. But... My favorite was always the Saran wrap on toilet bowl one.
Second prize goes to the chubby girl eons ago in high school. A single teacher
had made out of line remarks during class about her size. She got him a paid
subscription to a raunchy skin-mag delivered to the school. He got called on
the carpet but good, and the Superintendent would not believe his protests of
Okay!! Here's one I haven't seen: Get a list on the
free classified throwaways in town and print the following: RED 86 Vette: Won
on game show, must sell, leaving country. Steal!! First reasonable offer takes...
Call (Victims \#) after 1 am (I work nights) and let it ring. Desperate, please
This should bring the desired results for at least a week...
We once pulled the reverse trick. The victim's room
had a door whose latch was of the pattern: handle each side; latch mechanism
in middle; square rod passes through latch mechanism and seats in handles (invisible
from outside). We removed the outer handle, took away the rod, and replaced
the handle. In the morning, he couldn't get out of his room. Took the maintenance
person TWO HOURS to figure out what we had done; by which time the victim rather
badly wanted a trip down the corridor!
To be done in warmer climates: break apart oreo cookies
so that white, creamy filling sticks to 1/2 of cookie (the way most kids eat
them). Discard or eat other 1/2 of cookie without filling. Place cookies (filling
side down) on victim's car -- this should take several bags of cookies. When
the warm sun hits the victim's car, the cookies ooooooooozzzzzzzzzzzzzzeee down
the car, leaving opaque stripes. Really quite a sight! Really!
We did something like this, the night before a friend
got married. To keep him from waking up, we covered his face with a rag soaked
in ether or chloroform (I'm not sure). We proceeded to shave off half his mustache.
His intended was slightly disturbed when she heard the news the next morning,
so she decided to get us back. While we were in the ceremony, she had someone
sew up the pants legs to our clothes.
We got the last laugh though. As the newlyweds were getting into the car, we
pulled up in a truck, kidnapped the groom, and drove away. We took him a few
miles out of town, stripped him, and hand-cuffed him to a road sign. Taught
At one of the dorms here (Techwood) I remember when
lots of practical jokes were played on people. Of course there was the 'penny
in the door frame' to 'penny' them in (keep the door from opening). But i always
liked the more original versions. Cover the door with paper, just paper. Let
the mark open the door, find the paper, and break it all down... do this as
many times as you wish. The next time, paper the door and either place a wall
of bricks or cement blocks behind the door (by this time, he just walks thru
the paper) or even prop a trashcan full of water against the door...
These and other jokes became quite popular, but, alas, a new class of students
seems to have moved in (they actually $study$) and these jokes became out- lawed
by the RA's (hall monitors)... (RA's used to help... and were usually helpful
with their pass key)... But these jokes were called a fire hazard (i.e. would
block people in, in a fire...) "so it goes..."
In the afore-quoted book, such a trick is suggested
as a way of getting even with your bank. Rent a safety-deposit box and fill
it with fish. I don't know how you can prevent them tracing it to you, though...
The oft-quoted "Volkswagen-in-the-bedroom" schtick is good. A simpler
variant avoids the hard labor involved here by subtituting a self-propelled
obstacle for the VW. In this case, one or more sheep.
While the animals themselves are easily removed from the abode, they do leave
behind "the gift that keeps on giving" !
I remember a practical that failed -- or I guess you
could say that it succeeded too well. In Philadelphia, 10-15 years ago, a man
decided to play a practical joke on his best friend. He took out an add in the
"help wanted" section of the Bulletin, advertising job openings for
demolishing houses. Applicants were to meet in front of the site at 6:00 AM
Saturday morning. Naturally, the site was the friend's house. The perpetrator
imagined a couple of hundred men waking up his friend and asking to demolish
his house. Alas, the friend was not home. Another problem was that this was
during a recession, with high unemployment. About 2,000 men showed up. It was
apparent that only a small percentage would be hired, so a few decided that
if they could present the employer with an accomplished deed, they would be
the ones to get the jobs. Everybody joined in. A few minutes later, they sat
down to await the coming of the employer.
I can't remember what happened after that, if I ever knew. I imagine it got
pretty unpleasant. It made the evening news.
This is a very simple trick, but you'd be surprised
just how effective it is. When the victim is sleeping, make a shallow paper
tray and scotch tape it to his door AND to the door frame near the knob. Fill
it with unpopped popcorn. When he opens the door (from the inside, obviously)
he'll have popcorn flung all over the place. Not only does it pack quite a little
surprise, it also takes forever to find all of the popcorn afterwards.
It works! Someone tried this on me when I was in first-year of my undergrad
My favorite practical joke was performed back in high
school on the director of our Audio Visual Dept. Upon purchasing a brand new,
expensive video camera, he set it up in the AV lounge so he could watch us hoodlums
on a monitor in his office. While he wasn't looking we taped a clear piece of
plastic over the lens of the camera. Then the designated provacateur made sure
that he was watching while another went up to the lens with a squeeze bottle
of highly caustic liquid, and crusty, grime laden rag, to "clean the lens".
Fred jumped over his desk and knocked over a couple of onlookers before realizing
what was going on.
( All the standard things happened to this guy too! remove all the screws from
his chair, disconnect ( or reverse ) key components of his phone, placed packing
material in his fan. )
When I was living in the dorms on campus, frequently
someone with a car would offer to drive into town on a rainy day, to save a
wet bike ride. There were always takers. I have a car, so I took many friends
to the store, post office, or Bank. If someone banked at the same place as I
did and I knew they were going to make a deposit, sometimes I would get a few
bucks together and also make a deposit. BUT, as I was standing at the little
table (you know with the little chained pens) I would take a deposit slip and
write THIS IS A STICK-UP GIVE ME ALL THE MONEY IN YOUR DRAWER on the back. Then
I would casually slide it over to my friend and hand it to him, face up. After
making my deposit I would leave the bank. The friend would step up and hand
the teller the deposit slip. They always check both sides to see if any additional
checks are listed. Sitting across the street was a good place to see the cops
pull up. Usually things took about 20 minutes before he convinced them he was
not a bank robber. You have to pick a friend with integrity and a quick mind
though. If he panics and gives your name, you are history. I only tried it twice.
Practical Joke 1: After making sure that the victim
is out or sound asleep (if the victim is in make sure he can't get out), put
a line of baby powder along the bottom crack of the door (or on a piece of paper
and slide it under the door -- hold onto one end). Then use the blow-dryer to
spray the powder into a fine mist that will cover everything in the room.
Practical Joke 2: Make a small, off-center hole in a can of shaving cream and
then heave the can into the victims open door. As the pressure spews the cream
out, it will spin the can and create a real mess all over the place.
A simple yet effective joke for all seasons...
Fill the sugar bowl with salt...
Mmmmm...sure makes them wheaties/coffee/etc taste good !
Do it the Caltech way. Dump water on the victim's
bed until it's soaked, and pour liquid nitrogen on the bed until the water freezes.
You're right that it's heavy -- so heavy that the victim must wait for it to
melt before he can get rid of it.
PS - It destroys the mattress covering, so be prepared to replace the mattress.
Back in the OLD days while in college, a "friend"
of mine one day used the pointed end of his umbrella to knock on our dorm room
door. He poked so hard that the point went all the way through the door (cheap
door). A couple of days later, a janitor noticed the "bullet" hole
and called the police. My room mate and I decided just to play it dumb; "Gee
officer, we didn't notice a hole there", "We never heard a shot",
etc. The police never did find the bullet nor where it hit the wall on the other
For a more light-hearted collection of jokes, see
the section on Hugh Troy in Merry Gentlemen and One Lady, by J. Bryan, III.
Troy's jokes did not get people in trouble or stink up innocent people's apartments;
they did cause utter bewilderment worthy of talk.bizarre.
I think Bryan also tells of the time Robert Benchley and a fellow Harvard undergraduate,
dressed in work clothes, went to the door of a house on a veddy nice square
in Boston and said to the maid, "We're here for the sofa." "Which
one?" she said. This was a dangerous moment, but Benchley saw a sofa in
the corner of the living room and said, "That one." They then walked,
carrying the sofa, to another house on the same square, rang the bell, and told
a second maid, "We're here with the sofa." "Um, I guess you can
put it there," she said; and so they did.
Benchley heard, in a roundabout way, that the lady of the first house visited
the lady of the second one some six months later and recognized her old sofa.
Another good one that I've heard about is to put cherry
Kool-aid in the shower head.
I had this joke played on me and it was quite effective.
A small box was filled with the punch-holes from paper tapes. The bottom was
removed and it was placed on my bookshelf at work, with no trace of the punch-holes.
Seeing the box, the first thing I did was pick it up. Needless to say, the little
things were everywhere for several days!
I have never tried this, but a chemist friend of mine
told me of a practical joke. Get a hold of the victims coffee cup. Make sure
its empty. Put one drop of phenolthalien ( excuse the spelling, I'm refering
to the acid/base indicator) in the cup and fill it with water. Empty the cup
and let it dry. When the victim fills it, their is still residue of the phenolthalien
in the cup. The effect!, the victim will not be able to make it to the bathroom
A nifty, if difficult, practical joke: This only really
works with friends (preferably the trusting type). Get the victim to your house,
then talk (or do whatever you normally do together) for a while. Then mention
an interesting effect you read about recently and wanted to show him/her. Fill
a glass (preferably a short, squat glass) with water, and have a baseball bat
or a similar long, cylindrical object handy. Stand on a chair with the glass,
and press the mouth of the glass against the ceiling. Have your friend/victim
press the bat/whatever against the bottom of the glass hard enough so that the
pressure will hold the glass to the ceiling. The theory is that if you keep
the glass against the ceiling long enough, it will adhere to the ceiling without
the bat holding it up. Then put the chair back, and tell your friend that it'll
take about five minutes or so for the bond to form. Take turns holding the glass
up with the bat to avert suspicion. When the victim is "on duty" once
again, casually mention that you have a few things to do. Put your jacket on
and leave the house. (Of course, you're going to come back, aren't you? You
just wanted to see the look on his face, right?) If you can get this to work
(which you can, if you are convincing and the victim is gullible), it's a marvelous
joke. I pulled this on my roommate - but there was one small problem - when
I left our room, the door was locked and I had forgotten my keys. My other roommate
showed up in about ten minutes, but it was not a happy scene...
Yet another answer to that silly revenge problem:
Tape down the little white things that spring up when you lift the receiver.
(another alternative would be to open up the phone and remove two little spring
things so that the white things don't come up at all.) Of course all this should
be done in the victims absence. Now the fun begins... When he arrives, dial
his number from a nearby phone and don't hang up.
Good for aracniphobics (check the spelling on that
one.) Get approximately 20 pieces of 1 metre or yard long white string. Tie
a knot at one end and temporarily secure it to the centre of a closed door.
Begin to tape the ends to the door frame being careful not to close the door
itself. It should begin to resemble a large spider's web. Get the rest of the
string and start weaving spirarally just like Charlotte would. Complete the
masterpiece by purchasing plastic creepy crawlies and attaching them also to
the string (eye level,etc.). Unsecure the centre knot and instant spider web.
You might want to try it with fishing line and smaller creepies if you're really
Instead, get a cannister of the foam insulation that
is used in home construction (IT EXPANDS TO SEVERAL HUNDRED TIMES ITS VOLUME
IN THE CANNISTER). Make sure victim is not in his/her office, bedroom, etc...
Then fill room into solid block of foam.
Baby powder inside someone's hair dryer, causing the CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST
look is also a cute one.
A friend and I pulled a similar stunt on a co-worker
some time back. After a long series of joke-perpetrating back and forth, we
procured a rather large box and filled it with packing 'peanuts', then proceeded
to cut a large hole in the bottom and invert the box on the victim's desk. We
then took a short length of string and fed it into a tiny hole in the top of
the box, taping the other end to the side of the box. This 'red herring' was
easily mistaken for some type of trip-wire to be engaged if the box was opened.
When the victim saw the parcel, he immediately knew the source and, wary of
opening the box, followed his initial instincts and quickly grabbed it to move
it off his desk ... the rest is fairly obvious ...
I had a mischevious roommate in college. Fortunately,
I was the object of his machinations only once. It didn't take long to track
down my furniture from the ten places on campus where he had distributed it
over spring break.
His masterpiece, however, was a concerted effort that involved everyone on my
hallway. The victim: our "sponsor" (at Pomona College, an upper- classperson
in charge of a gaggle of fledgling freshpeople).
This one takes some preparation. Wrap very thin filament wire (high resistance,
low flash point) around the fuse of an M80 firecracker. Imbed this assembly
in a box of cornflakes, leading the wires out of the box.
Next, wire several old-fashioned camera flashbulbs in parallel, and put them
in a circuit with the firecracker wire and a 12 V lantern battery. Rig a solenoid
to close the circuit (we used an old clothespin).
Now you're ready. When the victim is out of his/her room, hang the cornflake
box in the middle of the room. Arrange the flashbulbs near the door. Place the
solenoid so that opening the door will close the circuit. Lounge nearby and
watch the fun.
When the victim opens the door, s/he thinks that the room just exploded. Bright
light, loud noise, and the burnt cornflakes feel like a bomb-blast concussion
as they hit your body.
Boy howdy, that woman could run. Caught up with her somewhere around North Campus.
Being dutiful sponsees, we helped clean up the cornflake mess later.
This sounds suspiciously like one of David Brenner's
"Best Practical Jokes In The World". He claimed to do this and put
the slip back, three or four slips down. The lucky recipient was a kindly-looking
little old lady who had a habit of smiling vacantly and nodding. When the bank
teller read the back of the slip, and saw this little old lady smiling and nodding,
he tripped the silent alarm, the doors slammed shut, the guards all pulled out
their guns, and the only two customers in the bank were the little old lady
and David Brenner in the corner laughing his ass off. Naturally he recommended
that against trying this little stunt.
The other practical joke of his that I remember involved getting a friend with
a car to help you. Pick up about a dozen cheap brooms, and get on a local (downtown)
bus. Of course, the brooms will be impossible to manage as the bus bounces and
sways, and will annoy passangers and driver alike. But, as you've paid your
fair, the driver figures you'll be off the bus soon enough and he'll be done
with you. Get off at the last stop, hop into your friend's waiting car, and
zip back to the stop you got on at, and get on THE SAME BUS. Much yucks.
Back in my graduate days, I used to bring my lunch
to school which consisted of a sandwich and usually a hard boiled egg. I kept
a small jar of salt in my desk for the eggs. One day I dipped my egg in the
salt only to discover it was sugar. It was easy to spot the prankster(s); everyone
in the room was snickering!
I used to bring my lunches in plastic lined paper bags with bend-over tabs on
the top. The bags were very good and kept my sandwiches fresh. I got them for
free from the pockets of airline seats. One day as I was opening my "lunch"
bag in the lab, the same bunch of pranksters from above gathered around my table
and opened their own barf bag lunches (they had just gotten back from an out-of-state
conference). However, the joke was turned around on one of them. He was spooning
yogurt out of his bag and eating it. After I told him what it looked like, he
lost his appetite.
You take the top off the standard sugar dispenser
found at restaraunts around the country. You place a single layer of paper napkin
over the opening in the glass part, then put salt on top of that. Put the top
back on and tear off all the paper showing around the edges. The first victim
gets salt in his coffee, which I suppose is funny to some people. But what is
even funnier is this same guy, or the next, trying to get sugar out of the thing.
They think the sugar may be caked and bang the dispenser on the table, shake
it, hold it up to the light and squint at it, etc. ...
Many years ago, before all the young studs started taking their dates to motels
for, er, recreation, there were always Lover's Lanes around. On a typical moonlit
night there might be a dozen cars at one of these places with the windows all
steamed up from the activities within, and occasional flashes of red as flailing
feet inadvertantly hit brake pedals. Some people I knew used to get their jollies
chaining the bumpers or axles of these cars to the nearest fence or tree ...
The most elaborate joke along these lines was played by three friends of mine,
whom we'll call Tom, Dick and Harry.
On a moonlit night as described above, Tom came running out of the woods onto
the Lover's Lane screaming, "No! NO! Oh, God, Please NO!"
When Tom had everybody's attention, Dick stepped out of the woods with a shotgun,
yelled "Now I'll get you, you bastard!" and fired the gun over Tom's
Tom dropped to the ground and lay there writhing and screaming until Dick came
over and fired a blast into the ground near his head, then went limp and quiet.
Then Harry came rushing over, yelling "Jesus, Jack, why'd you DO it? He
was our FRIEND!! Oh, my God! ..." and the like. Then both Dick and Harry
grabbed Tom by the heels and dragged him back to the woods. When they were out
of sight Tom got up and all three enjoyed the activity back at the scene of
the "crime", which needless to say had changed considerably from a
few minutes before.
Something I have done before is wire someones bed
to give them a nice shock.
It was done as follows:
strip some stranded wire and use the wire to form a grid under the top sheet.
it works best to have this grid look like fingers that interlace but don't touch.
this was then connected to the 110 V side of a texas instruments calculator
transformer. to the calculator side of the transformer add a 12 or 24 Volt DC
supply (i can't remember which we used) connected through a normaly open switch.
then press the button rapidly to cause a transient in the transformer.
It is funny as heck to watch someone wake up as they are getting the shock.
if you stop while they are still partially asleep they really have trouble figuring
out whats going on.
i'm sure you could automate the process so the person has just enough time to
fall a sleep before the next shock.
When I was at Burroughs Corp., a couple of co-workers
got into a get-even contest with each others' toolboxes, including such niceties
--Filling toolbox with punched-card chad.
--Same as above, then pouring oil over everything!
--Wiring toolbox to 110 VAC. (I'm not endorsing these activities; simply including
them for sake of completeness!!)
--Supergluing handle to top of toolbox. (Thought that one up myself.)
--Removing tools; bolting toolbox to floor; replacing tools. (Good one!!)
Here is a simple, but fun, practical joke you can
You need a phone with a handset so that you can unscrew the mouth piece and
remove the pickup. It's real easy, they are just sitting in there and not wired
down. Replace the mouth piece and think up a good excuse to get someone to use
the phone. This joke was done to me when I was in college. My roommate told
me that this girl who I thought was cute had called, and that she wanted me
to call back. I felt pretty stupid yelling into the phone trying to talk to
her. And all I heard was her say 'Hello, hello, is anyone there, hello?' After
I realized what had happened, we went out and tryed it on some other friends,
with similar results. It's a good joke because it is totally harmless, and even
more fun after a few drinks.
For a quick laugh, try:
zork | valspeak
If you don't have valspeak, I would suggest getting a copy. It's a great way
to hand in weekly reports to your boss.
In the good ol' days of punched cards, every keypunch
machine had a container into which the square "chips" fell. A favorite
practical joke at a certain famous Eastern Technological Institute, paralyzed
around science, was to dump a bag of these collected chips on someone taking
a shower and shampoo in the dormitory. It could take weeks to get rid of all
those wet chips ....
Other types of phone fun...
While we were in the other room, listening through a modem (we were in NY State),
a friend of mine, using his impeccable british accent, would call a random number
in London England..... collect; stating that he was Sir so-and-so from the British
consulate or some other such agency. These people would almost all accept. (It
was about 2:00 AM for them, so I guess that might be part of the reason...).
He then proceeded to take an official telephone survey:
"1) Do you believe Margret Thatcher's handling of the Falklands crisis
was a) Excellent b) fair to good c) fair etc... .....
At least at the time, it was hillarious... especially his ability to sound and
act authentically enough for these people to accept the collect call in the
first place.. form the USA... and then stay on long enough to actually do the
Here is a classic which has been fading into a lost
art. It works extremely well someplace like a military academy or such, where
everything must always be in impeccable order, but can be used for good effect
in a dorm room, too:
It's the fine art of stringing up a room. The idea is to string the room (trough
makeshift pullies and levers, etc.) such that as the victim turns his door knob
and opens the door, his entire room is upset. One classic example involved stringing
the bunkbed so that it lifted itself up of the floor and turned upside down,
books would tumble off a shelf, in turn moving a dresser across the room, emtying
a wall locker, pulling the shoes up into the light fixtures and otherwise creating
serious havoc. What's nice is that the destruction itself is done by the victim;
all you did was run a little string.... This, however, can lead to serious counter-pranks.
Don't say I didn't warn you!
Now to add my \$.02... (This works best if you have
several people to work on it) One night when one person in my dorm was away
at a party, but for some unknown reason left his door unlocked (trusting sucker!),
several other people removed all his furniture and belongings. Most of the stuff
went to a garbage/storage room, but some of the stuff (the more valuable) went
to other rooms. When he got back (at 3:?? AM), good and tired, he was met with
a nice floor lamp in the middle of the room and a telephone in the trash basket.
Then for the next several weeks, anyone who left their door unlocked was asking
Reminds me of when I was in first year at UVIC. At
that time, punch-cards were used for programming still (They added terminals
the year after I left). The rectangular cardboard confetti had many uses :-)
That stuff was hard to get off of clothes, out of your hair, etc. One friend
of mine decided to collect the stuff, so every day he would go around and empty
the confetti from the punch machines. At a party he was going around tossing
the stuff at people and laughing as they tried to get it out of their clothes
(it sure itches if you get it in your clothes!). He had collected a whole paper
shopping bag full - one of the big ones. When he got around to me I reached
out and whacked the bag hard on the bottom as he was reaching in to get another
handfull. Well he was looking down into the bag and had his mouth open. The
confetti exploded upwards into his face and mouth. We were practically rolling
around on the floor watching him trying to clean the stuff out of his mouth
an off his tongue. A few days later he got me back by collecting more and dumping
it on my car, into the ventilation inlets. To this day years after he did this,
an occasional rectangular cardboard piece of confetti will float up out of the
ventilation system every time you turn on the fan/heater.
Here are two of my favorites (which I've never yet
performed: maybe I'm just not spiteful enough.)
Prickly pear cacti have two kinds of spines: large ones and tiny reddish hairs
that are incredibly irritating. Gather the tiny ones, and distribute them into
the clothing of someone you detest, perhaps the underwear. They will probably
be noticed too late. Caveat: this should make the clothes permanently unusable.
Collect an engorged tick from a dog, and keep it until it produces an egg mass.
Hide the egg mass at a spot where the victim sits. Several hundred tiny "seed
ticks" will patiently wait their opportunity to swarm over the first warm-blooded
creature available. They are too small to easily pick off, and just large enough
to see. (This happened [by accident] to me in Georgia this summer. I wasn't
disturbed much, but then I study ticks and mites for fun.)
Don't make an enemy of an imaginative biologist.
Speaking of practical jokes, my wife pulled one several
For my wife's birthday several years ago, some people at the law office where
she works hired a male belly dancer to entertain her. She swore sweet revenge.
Six months later, the instigator of the belly dancer incident had her birthday.
My wife arranged for the single brother of another secretary to meet the instigator
for lunch, etc. The instigator didn't know the brother before this, so it looked
like someone had hired an escort service for her to help celebrate her birthday.
The joke, however, backfired. The secretary and the single brother are now married.
At the wedding, held at a large and famous Chicago hotel, a gorilla handed out
bannanas to the guests, courtesy of my spouse.
This reminds me of something I saw at our residence
a couple of terms ago. Outside one of the houses was an entire bedroom suite!
(bed, desk, chair, the whole bit - even the bed was made!) I don't know exactly
from which dorm it came from or whodunnit but I imagine somebody was not too
Dump a whole bottle of detergent into the toilet tank. This produces great billowing
suds out of the bowl on first flush. Especially great if first flusher is sitting
at the time.
Use a clip lead to connect the brake light switch to the horn relay on the targets
car. Every time they step on the brake the horn blows. It's amazing how many
people can't associate the horn blowing with using the brake. They just report
that the horn blows at random times. This is especially useful joke to watch
in parking lots when work lets out.
Carefully pick up sleeping targets bed and set it on four coke bottles. When
target rolls over or makes any significant move bed will crash 6 inches to the
floor and there will be bottles rolling all over the place but not a soul in
Steal a banana from targets lunch. Use large sewing needle to pierce skin at
seam and move needle back and forth to "cut" banana in half. Continue
doing this along the seam and banana will be sliced when peeled by target.
Saran wrap on reading glasses that have been left on desk is good. Trimming
at edge of lens is hard but effect is great. Not usually noticed when first
picked up but optical quality of saran is spectacularly bad.
I know of a variation of the fake workmen digging the street that worked well.
In the original (very risky) you masquerade as real workmen and dig a hole in
the street and leave. When this was first done in NY in the fifties it was days
before anybody realized something was wrong and traffic was a disaster until
the street department patched the hole. In the variation, the jokers observed
real workmen digging the street and reported to the police that college students
were again digging up the street as a joke. The police thanked the tipster and
headed for the dig. In the meantime the jokers approached the workmen and toldthem
that the college had freshmen dressed up as cops as part of fraternity initiation
and that they would be around soon to give the workmen a hard time. The workmen
thought this was great and agreed to give the "cops" a hard time back.
It was a long time before this mess was sorted out. (this was my all time favorite
Another idea that I couldn't perfect might be of interest. I got one of the
air freshener gadgets that had a battery operated timer that causes a brief
push on a self-contained can of air freshener every 10 minutes. I guess you
leave this thing in the bathroom and get a brief pssssst of freshener every
ten minutes. Anyhow, I tried to change the can of air freshener (which is indeed
replacable) with a freon horn. Unfortunately the freon horns sold for emergency
use in boats etc. have a different cap on top that I could not adapt to the
freshener. If you could make this work you could plant this thing in somebodies
shrubs or cellar or warehouse... or office.
This supposedly happened a bunch of years ago, when
deposit slips imprinted with one's account number were becoming available, but
banks still had trays with generic deposit slips for their customers' convenience.
This gentleman opens an account, deposits a few thousand dollars. He then leaves
his own deposit slips in the counter slots in various branches. A few days before
next month's statements appear, he goes in, checks his balance, withdraws one
hundred eighty thousand dollars in cash, and disappears. Seems the system credited
his account with deposits that others made (seemingly to their accounts) using
And one that doesn't involve banks, but allegedly happened...
College student returns to his room to find a bucket of water amateurishly balanced
above the door, ready to fall on him when he opens the door. So he lifts down
the bucket and empties it into his sink.
Too bad the perpetrators also removed the drain pipe from the sink.
In the last few hours before the Corps of Cadets dorms
closed for Christmas break, someone led a horse into a departed friend's room
and shot it. When the dorms reopened a month later, the smell was so fierce
that the entire wing of the building was unusable.
These were told to me by a friend who once attended
Devry Inst. in Arizona (a tech. school for electronics types). Three favorite
practical jokes were:
(1) The access to the supply room (to obtain lab materials) was via a Dutch
door (two-piece job where either top or bottom could be opened independently),
where the top half was left open so students could lean over and request supplies.
The lab grunts wired a thin filament wire to a power supply and strung it across
the top of the bottom portion of the door. Normal instincts of students led
them to lean or place hands there while waiting for materials, and were met
with a small yet satisfying jolt.
(2) This one I've heard of from various sources. Charge up a bell-type capacitor
and tape the leads in such a way that they are almost but not quite touching.
Call to the victim with a rousing "Here, catch!" and lob the cap to
them. When they catch, the slight squeezing pressure will connect the leads
and the capacitor will pop. (VARIATION: Leave 'loaded' cap on chair for them
to sit on)
(3) The most common labs involved circuit design and troubleshooting, and students
were forever wary as they applied power to a new circuit for the first time.
My friend's prank involved running some thin hollow plastic flex tubing from
his lab station to a point below and behind the victim's station. He would then
light up a cigarette and wait. As soon as the victim applied power to his circuit,
he would blow ciggie smoke into his end of the tube. Within a few seconds, victim
would see smoke rising from his board and cut power. He would examine board,
find no trouble, and fire it up again. Soon smoke would appear ... this can
be stretched out for a good long time, or until he sees the tubing.
Try this one out sometime. While the victim is asleep
carefully put Vaseline between his/her toes. What you will obeserve is the person's
toes starting to wiggle. The apparent mechanism is that when your toes start
slipping against each other, your mind insists on making them slip and slide
more and more. The upshot of this is that the part of the mind that's supposed
to be getting rest is busy moving toes. The victim wakes up having had no sleep
How 'bout this: if the victim uses Head 'n Shoulders or Selsun Blue shampoo,
and a few drops of methylene blue (available in pet stores) to a FULL bottle.
Over time (if the victim is fair-haired), you will notice their hair turning
blue, as methylene blue stains all organic material.
Also writing things on someone's back with indellible ink is pretty good. Use
your imagination. "Laugh, but don't tell me about it." is a pretty
Get a group of people to chip in 1 or 2 bucks, and bet the victim the collected
sum that he or she can't put a cue ball in his/her mouth. Hint: cue balls go
in, but they don't come out. In fact, medical science has developped a tool
to aid in the removal of cue balls.
Take doors. Just take them off the hinges and put them somewhere else.
Another paper punch-hole trick that is even better
is to take a plastic 35mm film canister, paper punch-holes and a can of freeze
spray (at fine electronics stores everywhere). Fill the film canister with about
1/4" of freeze spray then add punch-holes until the film canister is at
least half full, replace the lid on the canister, set the canister on a desk
or shelf and then wait for the fun. The neat thing is that when the canister
pops it shoots paper all over the area (sort of like a party 8-)). Before you
try this with the con- fetti, experiment with just the freeze spray and canister,
different amounts of liquid causes it to pop at different times. I know one
person who filled one of those blue solder extractor bulbs half full of freeze
spray, sealed the end and put it under his bench at work, he thought it might
make a pretty good pop and after 30 minutes had completely forgotten about it.
It went off about ten minutes later and could be heard all over the building
(he later told everyone that a power supply had blown). Bubble pack behind the
wheels of an occupied chair also causes some fun when the unsuspecting person
Actually I'd rather hear mind game type jokes which are a lot more fun. ex:
Bet some one they can't eat a slice of bread in less than a minute. Conditions
are, nothing on the bread and nothing with the bread (like water). There are
people who can win the bet, but watching them suffer is worth loosing, and I
have won more money than I have lost.
Back when I was in high school a friend of mine, Robert,
hurt his back while rolling his car and had to wear a plaster cast around his
torso, from just under his armpits to a few inches below the navel. When he
wore a jacket it was impossible to tell he had on a body cast. Now, for maximum
effect you have to picture Robert. He was a tall beanpole with hair down to
his butt (this was around 1975), a scraggly beard, John Lennon type glasses
with blue tinted lenses, and old clothes. One day we decide to go on a picnic
at a local park. So here we have 4 hippies in a park surrounded by families,
when Robert grabs a large butcher knife, jumps up, yells 'GODDAMN IT I CAN'T
STAND IT ANYMORE', and plunges the knife into his chest. This was followed by
some very dramatic histronics as he fell to the ground, ending up on his back
with the knife sticking up in the air. Well, the three of us knew the knife
was really in the cast, not his chest, so we double up laughing as these families
are looking on in shock. I'll never forget some of the looks on those people's
Good ol Ray decides to do Robert one better. He grabs the picnic basket, yells
'lets go!', and runs off to the van. Naturally we followed, leaving Robert laying
on the ground with the knife sticking up. Boy, this really got them families
into shock! Robert realizes he's suddenly all alone and tries to get up and
run after us. If you want to see something funny sometime watch someone with
50 pounds of plaster wrapped around their chest, who can't bend at the waist,
try to get up unassisted off their backs. Then picture this person trying to
run after a van, in which his 3 buddies are driving off. Remember, Robert still
has this knife sticking out of his chest. Boy, them families didn't know what
the hell was going on.
Anyway, we went down the road 100 yards or so, just enough to scare the crap
out of Robert, and stopped to let him get in the van. I still wonder what some
of those families thought of that episode.
I became a somewhat involved spectator in a similar
incident... The biology teacher at my high school, Mr. Evans, was an incurable
wit. He was the one teacher everybody liked. He was the one who made sure that
we dissected Ascaris worms (long white stomach worms) the same day the lunch
room served spaghetti. One day, he fished out a four-foot preserved boa constrictor
and laid it on the floor just inside the biology lab door. Then he put a preserved
frog in its mouth. Then he stood by the door waiting for class to start, watching
students' reactions as they opened the door. I had the misfortune to arrive
right behind one of the more excitable girls. (click.) (door opens) AAAAAAAAAAAAK!
She ran right over me!
Mr. Evans related tales of his college days. He said one of his professors was
a real joker (by HIS standards!) who let his pet tarantula roam loose in the
room during class. You could track its progress by watching people pick up their
feet. He made some ammonium tri-iodide and painted it on the floor before class.
People walk in. BANG! POP! POW! When you pick up one foot, you have to put the
other one down. BAM!
I always wanted to put some inside the school bell. Ding-BOOM!
Switch the "MEN" and "WOMEN" signs
on a pair of public bathrooms while they're occupied. Great at airports, hotels,
You can do this to a business associate whom you think
is a jerk:
Get a few copies of his business card. Hopefully, it has his home phone number
on it. Go to your local red-light district and pass them out to the girls (or
guys) saying "Call me some time."
This is most effective if he has a family. If he is single, he may want to thank
My father loves to tell of the builder he knows who
had to evict some guy from one of his rental houses. It seems the renter left
his pet in the master bedroom. A duck with lots of food and water... The builder
didn't get around to checking out the house for about a week. Yech. Needless
to say, the not only the carpet needed replacement, but the sub-floor also.
Apparently there is a well-known story in the television
industry about the early days, when parts were scarce and 'friendly competition'
was just be- ginning between the networks. There was going to be an important
speech by someone important, probably President Eisenhower or someone of that
stature. Naturally, all (both?) of the networks wanted to cover this speech.
But on the day of the speech, the tube in NBC's camera went dead. There was
no hope to order a replacement in time, so the NBC brass called the CBS brass
to ask if they could borrow a tube until they could get a replacement (maybe
they borrowed a whole camera, I don't know). At any rate, the good-natured guys
at CBS said sure, they would deliver a tube to them in plenty of time for the
Well they DID loan NBC a tube, but not before setting it up in a camera and
focusing it on the brightly lit door to the men's room. To understand what happened,
you must realize that these early "image-orthicon" tubes were ex-
tremely sensitive. So sensitive in fact, that a bright unchanging image would
"burn-in" to the face of the tube and remain for hours, or even permanently
if the damage was severe enough. So to make a long story even longer, when NBC
brodcasted the speech, the president appeared with "MEN" emblazoned
across his forehead. Of course they discovered it much too late to do anything
about it (this was live TV, folks).
(This was a story I heard from someone who worked at a CBS affiliate TV station
and may or may not be true, or the networks involved may be wrong.)
A little gentler trick that a co-worker pulled up
here a few years ago depended on the sound module from one of those dolls that
cries unless you rock it back and forth. He fastened it to the bottom of someone's
chair. The someone comes and sits down, and starts working on his terminal.
As he gets into it, this vague "wa-wa" noise starts up from some unidentifiable
direction. The victim looks around (moving the chair) and the crying stops.
Oh, well, who cares. Back to work. A little later, the crying starts up again.
This one was good for several minutes.
Oh yes, someone mentioned freon bombs. Things can get hairy with those around
a power supply design group. And the following is a good way to make a switcher
designer an enemy for life - or a few days, at least:
Now for a $harmless$ practical joke. My favorite telephone
gag is to call someone at random, and with an official tone rattle off this
warning before they can interrupt:
"This is the telephone company calling. There is some trouble with your
line. Please do not answer any calls for the next five minutes or the person
on the other end may be electrocuted. Thank you."
Hang up, and wait about two minutes. Call them back. When they answer, just
scream "AAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!" and hang up.
My freshman year we had a trick that went around my
old dorm. Someone would put shaving cream on a phone receiver and a confederate
would call. The victim would then answer the phone and sploosh the shaving cream
into his ear. Worked 90\% of the time.
One kid in particular got hit hard. Once a day for two weeks. Even when no one
suspicious was around. It became a challenge to see how many times he could
be had. One day he was in another part of the dorm, where the craze to get your
roommate with the trick had just begun. The kid came into the room of a mutual
friend totally depressed about having been had $so$ many times. He proceeded
to demonstrate to everyone in the room what would happen: "The phone would
ring and I would pick it up like this"-- he picks up the phone and -- sploosh:
gets it again! The phone had been set up for my friend's roommate seconds before
the kid had entered.
I start to laugh when ever I think about this one...
A friend who works at a company I will all inhel for lack of a better name,
loves to tell this story about "Ralph" (names changed to protect the
Being in the electronics industry, TAK-PAK is very common (for you S/W types,
tak-pak is thick super glue that comes with a bottle of 'accelerator' that makes
it stick VERY fast). It was decided to wait until Ralph was far enough away
that it would be a long run to phone, but he would make it if he was quick.
The 'handle' was then tak-pak'ed to the little white buttons on top of the phone.
The call was placed. Ralph goes running down the hall full steam ahead, leaps
for the phone, and snatched it off the desk! The hole thing. Now, he hased to
try to answer the thing only he can't. And if he sets it down it hangs up!
Practical Joke at a party.
Take a sheet of cardboard or a throw away magazine, form a cone with it. Take
the cone, a coin, and a liquid refreshment (water causes least damage) in a
bottle or a cup, of course you will be pretending its your drink. Challenge
the victim (bet a sum), that they can not drop the coin, placed on their forehead,
with their eyes closed, into the top of the cone shoved into their pants at
the waist within so many tries. To prove that it is possible, demonstrate the
procedure a few times, you'll be supprised that it is possible. (practice before
hand) When the victim tries it, as soon as the eyes close, pour the liquid down
I was party once to an attempt at humorous cow placement.
I attended a boarding school that actually had a dairy farm ( George School,
Pa. - The farm is since defunct ) We thought it would be a simple matter to
coax a cow over to the main building.
Cows, however, live a life of routine, to which they adhere tenaciously. I'll
never forget the sight of that cow placidly loping back to the barn with two
or three upperclassmen dangling from it.
Another idea for a practical joke is to put goldfish
in all the toilets. I haven't tried this, but it should be interesting to see
what people do.
An acquaintance of mine and his friend were once asked
to leave a rather posh country club for what they considered innocent fun-loving
behavior. To get revenge for their inconvenience and show what truly obnoxious
behavior is like, on their way out the door they went into the coat room, and
exchanged all the keyrings they could find in people's jacket pockets for similarly
shaped keyrings from other pockets.
Then they sat in their car in the parking lot and enjoyed their revenge! It
was evidently quite a show.
In view of the large number of recent postings of
college practical jokes, I'll 'fess up that some friends and I were the instigators
of many a prank while undergraduates in college. The following are some of the
1. I lived in a three-story dorm during my freshman year. Most everyone listened
to the same radio station, which played the National Anthem at the stroke of
midnight every night. It occured to my roommate and I that there should be some
kind of stunt that could be arranged which could use the playing of the National
Anthem as a coordinating cue. Finally, we hit upon the answer: at the stroke
of midnight everyone in the dorm would flush their toilet! Fortunately (or unfortunately,
depending upon your point of view), all of their toilets were of the tank variety
so that a simultaneous "flush" would guarantee a copious discharge
of water into the sewer. We really didn't know what would happen when The Time
arrived; bets ranged from "no event" to blowing the basement rec room
toilets off the floor. The Time was a Monday evening, and I figure we had about
a 90\% participation rate. The results were not disappointing: a cleanout plug
(which upon retrospection must not have been properly secured) blew out of the
floor in a basement utility room, resulting in about 1/2 inch of water over
the basement floor. The campus maintenance people went apeshit the next day
trying to figure out what happened; as far as I know, no one ever told them
2. It somehow came to our attention that most of the campus street and walkway
lighting came on simultaneously each night, the actual time being based upon
the actual level of ambient light. It was obvious that there was a central control
point with a photoelectric sensor somewhere. After a few exploratory tours of
the campus, we came upon a likely location: two photoelectric controls mounted
on the roof of a service building directly across from the campus electrical
substation. After "borrowing" an extension ladder from a telephone
company truck (which was always left parked near a service building), one Friday
night about 10:00 PM (peak campus traffic time) we climbed on the roof of the
service building and taped flashlights to each of the two photoelectric sensors.
Instant blackness! Actually, the most amazing part was that it took OVER ONE
HOUR for the campus maintenance people to restore the lights! I would have thought
there to be some kind of manual override for the photoelectric cells, but perhaps
the maintenance people thought there was some kind of underground cable fault
so they didn't rashly restore power.
3. My father managed a soap manufacturing company ever since I was a little
kid, so I grew up with some knowledge of soap formulation chemistry. There was
a civic building near the campus with a large outdoor fountain, and it occurred
to be that the water in this fountain needed "treatment" when the
fountain was turned on in the spring. While home for spring break, I swiped
from my father's plant two gallons of a surfactant called Triton X-100 (a tradename
of Rohm \& Haas). This surfactant really foams; like a few drops will fill
a bathtub with suds. So one night, some friends and I carefully filled some
thin plastic bags with the surfactant, and then casually threw the bags into
the fountain (the bags broke upon impact). The next morning, the fountain was
a mass of soapsuds. The next evening, the picture of the fountain made the front
page of the local newspaper. The caption beneath the picture attributed the
soapsuds to college "spring fever". Since we weren't caught, I wonder
how they knew that???
4. The father of my dorm roommate worked as a repairman for the Otis Elevator
Company. One weekend, I stayed with my roommate at his parent's home. While
talking with his father, we learned an amazing fact: almost all escalators are
reversible for use in breakdowns or emergencies; there is usually a key-operated
reversing switch located under the handrail at each end of the escalator. We
also learned a second amazing fact: most all Otis elevators and escalators use
the same key. While my roommate's father went out for the evening, we swiped
his work keys, and were able to get many of them duplicated. As soon as we returned
to campus on Sunday evening, we went in search of an Otis Elevator (we didn't
have to go far - our dorm had one). Sure enough, we had The Key. Over the next
few days, we found that The Key worked on every Otis Elevator that we tried
on campus. We were now ready for en escalator (there were none on campus), and
we readily found one in a five-floor department store in the heart of the downtown
shopping district. It was an Otis, and sure 'nuff it had a reversing switch
at each end beneath the handrail. We came back on Wednesday night, which was
the peak shopping night of the week. There were two pairs of escalators - one
at each end of the store. After nervously waiting for the right moment when
no one was on the UP escalator, and no one was looking, my roommate inserted
The Key, and turned it. Grrr-klunk-grrr. The UP escalator came to a halt, and
reversed direction - it was now going DOWN! We quickly went to the other escalator
pair, and I got the honor of inserting the key. We now had an increasingly crowded
department store with four escalators on the main floor, all going down! We
tried to act inconspicuous as possible (not easy with half dozen 18-19 year-olds
sporadically going into fits of hysterical laughter!) and watch the action.
People would step on the UP escalator without looking at direction, and then
step back in shock. Then shock would change to disbelief: an UP escalator going
DOWN - impossible! People in the store were forming an oval as they traveled
from the front escalators to the rear and back, trying to figure out how to
get to the second floor. After about ten minutes of this, with the main floor
crowd growing larger, a very agitated person wearing a suit (must have been
the manager) came by with a big ring of keys, frantically trying each key in
the escalator until he found the right one to operate the key switch. Since
the manager was eying us suspiciously, we didn't stick around to find out any
more about the situation.
The apocryphal friend-of-a-friend brought a can of
chunky beef stew on board an airliner. At some point he emptied the contents
into the barf bag. Later during some minor turbulence he pantomined using the
bag in the conventional way. When the flight attendant asked if she could dispose
of the bag for him, he replied, "Not yet, there are some choice bits that
I haven't finished with yet," and proceded to pick out chunks from the
bag and eat them. According to my informant, everyone nearby immediately tossed
Here's another way to have Fun with Sound:
Several years ago, a friend who manages a large retail store gave me an electronic
bird call used to add "realism" to store displays. This device was
about 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches high, with a speaker on the top. It
was powered by a 9-volt battery, and had two controls: a 5-position "voice"
selector, and a time delay control to set the interval between calls (up to
60 seconds). For a device which used just discrete transistor circuitry, the
bird calls were amazingly realistic - especially if the time interval was long
between calls. I have had much fun with this gadget, especially planting it
in people's houses (basement and garages are good places). The unsuspecting
victims really believe that there is a bird trapped in their house - and go
ape trying to find it. If anyone wants one of these devices, they can be purchased
from any company which sells retail store display fixtures; I don't believe
they cost much money.
Another good practical joke taken from the "Tippy
Turtle" series on Saturday Night Live is as follows:
Take one of those musical grreting cards (the type that play a song when opened)
and carefully rip out the part that actually plays the music. This is only about
the size of a quarter. When the victim isn't watching, plant this somwhere near
him/her. Since it is so small, it is relatively easy to hide in a pocket, purse,
etc. Afterwards, watch the victim become maddened by the recurrence of Jingle
Bells, Happy Birthday, etc. in the background.
I was a victim of this one, and at first I thought I was hearing the muzak at
the restaurant I was eating at. After I was done, I returned to my car and the
music followed me. I thought I was going insane.
My sister was the butt on this one.... She had a box
turtle who lived in a terrarium in her room. I haunted pet shops and bought
a series of turtles, as identical as possible, but getting smaller and smaller.
She was quite concerned....
After a while, I got tired of the game, so I reversed the process till she had
the original (who was bigger by now) back, and took the rest down to the woods
and let them loose.
Love is the law, love under will!
Gather a bunch of freshmen together at a party, telling
them the punch is spiked. Observe for about half an hour while some of them
get high on the sugar. Then bring out a couple of bottles of Everclear and dump
them in. People will sober suddenly, then dip in and rapidly get silly. Let
simmer for about an hour, preferably taking pictures. Then announce that there
is still no alcohol in the punch. Make sure that film is safe first. Everyone
goes home safe and sober.
Not very funny you say? Well, then use real alcohol instead of sugar water and
laugh hysterically while people get sick, slip on the stairs, wreck their cars,
etc. Great fun.
Way back when, like before electric lights were invented,
I worked in an engineering department where the general-use computer was an
IBM 1130. This was a standalone computer of roughly PDP-11/34 power with a disk,
console typewriter, slow line printer. Its primary I/O was a combination card
reader/punch. Some things you ought to know before proceeding futher:
1. The card reader/punch had one input hopper and two output hoppers. Cards
came from the input hopper through the read station, through the punch station,
to whichever output hopper was selected. Cards could be read, punched, or both
as the program saw fit.
2. The CPU had a "bootstrap" mode in which it read one card as the
binary image of a program and executed that program. The standard "coldstart"
card had enough program on it to read in the operating system's startup block
which then got the whole software system going.
3. The user community used the machine mostly for applications written in FORTRAN
and was largely ignorant of the details of computers and how they work.
Still with me? Good. Naturally, any card without characters printed on it and
with lots of holes all through it looked, to the uninitiated, like the "coldstart"
card that people placed at the start of their decks. So it was a small matter
to leave a few spurious cards around the computer room and wait for the results.
My favorite was the card that just ran the deck through the reader/punch, placing
alternate cards in the other output hopper. What a delight with long decks!
One fellow was so sure he'd done something wrong that he took his cards, reassembled
them into the right order, and ran them through again with the same bogus coldstart
I never did work up the nerve to write the one that punched all the holes in
all the cards following.
All this talk about practical jokes reminds me of
one I heard about in high school. It seems that a psychology class decided to
give their new found knowledge of the "power of suggestion" a little
test. Some of the students had another class together and decided to play a
little trick on their teacher. Whenever the teacher was on the left side of
the room, they would act really interested and when he was on the right side
of the room, they would act really bored. Well, it seems that this behavior
did its job on the teachers sub- conscious and he was practically crawling on
the left wall by the end of class.
At my high school (many years ago) over a dozen Polymorphic
88 S-100 computers were used to teach computer lit in the math department. Now
I was the curious type and I took to reading the supplementary documentation
to the operating system and I implemented a number of nasty suprises for the
NOTE: These changes were never to the boot tape just to the currently running
copy, so the changes dissapeared when the system was rebooted.
1. Change the prompt to some strange greek character that no-one knew existed
in the machine before.
2. Change the opening logo to something humerious and strange like Muppet Labs
Operating System V.0.1
3. Change the (Go to Monitor) command to return. To leave monitor a command
must be entered which is terminated by return, which is no longer available
from the keyboard and results with the screen clearing and the monitor all fresh
and ready to accept a command! Very nasty!
[Englishmania - It's not English, but an INCREDIBLE simulation!]
One that's good for a few chuckles with a new user
is, while they're away from the terminal put a few cute aliases in their .profile,
.login, whatever, for example:
alias ls echo 'ls: command not found.' or alias vi rm
(The second one is admittedly a bit nastier).
A simpler variation was played on me when I was but
a mere first-year at U of Toronto. One day, I was logged in at a terminal and
I left for a few minutes to go collect output from the printer. A friend of
mine leapt into action and changed my prompt from \$ to 'Login incorrect. Login:'.
Then he logged me off. He told me that the daemon had logged me off because
I'd been on to long. Needless to say, when I tried (and unbeknownst to me, succeeded)
to log on, I was told that I hadn't logged in correctly. Well as I said, I was
a first- year and thoroughly unfamiliar with UNIX so I became very confused.
My friend did tell me what happened, however, since we were limited to 5 hours
Incidently, he's no longer my friend (oohhh hint hint hint).
Many years ago, when some neighbors moved away and
their house was vacant for a few weeks, my brother installed an extra doorbell
in the basement, and ran the wires out along the rear sidewalk, terminating
them under a flagstone tile by the alley. After the new neighbors moved in,
if he was coming home late at night (1 A.M. or later) he'd stop by with a lantern
battery and connect it up to the wires. After about 20 seconds you'd see the
upstairs bedroom light come on. Another ten seconds later the hall light would
come on, then a few lights on the first floor. At this point he'd disconnect
the battery and go home, and not repeat it for a couple of weeks. He continued
this for a couple of years.
He had also installed a loudspeaker in the attic, running the wires outside,
but either they found that one, or the wires broke, so he never got to use it.
This is one that a friend of a friend of mine did
to his mom.
This kid was going somewhere with his mom in the car. The kid was in the back
seat, and the mom was driving. It was summer time, so the kid had the window
Anyway, the kid see's this jogger comming up the side of the road, so he starts
motioning to the jogger. The jogger didn't really know what was going on, but
just as the car passed the jogger, the kid reached out of the window, and whaked
the side of the car rather loudly with his hand. The jogger, getting the idea,
dove in the ditch and acted like he was in great pain (similar to the pain he
would feel, say if he just got hit by a car).
The mother obviously notices the loud noise and see's the dieing jogger in the
ditch, slams on the breaks to see if this poor guy is dead or not. Naturally
she is worried sick.
Put a couple of cc's of methylene blue in a coke/coffee/dark
The next time the person has to use the restroom, surprise!!! blue urine.
A friend of mine, "BUX", recounts a tale
of mirth caused to by two bored hackers on a PDP/11 running RSTS/E. They wrote
a program which wandered around the system looking for people in the editor.
Once found they siezed control of the terminal. On the bottom of the screen
the program wrote
"I think there's a bug in your program!"
Then a cute little character'ature of a bug ran across the screen. Then the
screen was repainted and they relinquished control of the terminal. Leaving
the poor victim cleaning his glasses, checking his coke can, and rubbing his
eyes. This worked best late at night.
Ok, this forces me to tell one more of my favourites.
I worked once in an academic setting where folks tended to complain that UNIX
operating system was user-unfriendly. I had a program that generated the message
(to random users)
Hello. This is the new user-friendly interface of the UNIX operating system
wishing you a pleasant day and happy computing. UNIX is the registered trade
mark of Bell Laboratories. \%
Here is a practical joke I played on a substitute
teacher in junior high. Numerous variations on the theme are possibile (jury-rigged
showers in chem. labs, fire sprinklers, etc.)
The classroom (Earth Science class)had the normal lab sinks with spouts shaped
like inverted J's. Over the years (old school) some of the J-shaped pieces of
pipe had broken off. This was during the energy crises years, and the schools
shut the classroom's heat off after school. In order to prevent the pipes from
freezing, they were drained nightly. The janitor would often forget to turn
the water on until 4th period, much to the consternation of us 1st period students
when we had to use the sinks.
I waited until a day when a substitute teacher showed a film. After everyone
else filed out of the room, I simply opened a faucet or two that led to a broken
sink. As luck would have it, the water was turned on during 4th period in the
middle of the film. To make matters worse, the broken pipes had been used to
dispose of used gum at various times. All this old hard gum acted much like
a finger on the end of a garden hose. Naturally, the first thing the sub did
when utter chaos broke out in the middle of the film was to turn on the lights.
Unfortunately, one of the lights was right over one of the `geysers,' and the
lights stayed on for about two seconds before going off again. It was several
minutes before everyone figured out what had happened, the faucet was turned
off, and the janitor had turned the circuit breaker to the room on again.
No matter how hard the sub tried, she could never get anyone to confess to doing
it. She even kept the class after school without success.
When a friend in 4th period told me what had happened, I almost died laughing.
Odd that no-one mentioned the fun to be had with all
the new and wonderful phone features available now. None of the below are truly
destructive. Adjust gender as appropriate (women's lib be damned, I'm not going
to type his/her, s/he every time). Switching these on/off from time to time
can drive people nuts trying to figure out what is going on.
1) If call forwarding is available at your company, forward the victims calls
to an "appropriate" number (Highly moral people get dial-a-sex, bosses
get dial-a-joke, boring people get time/weather, flamboyant ones get dial-a-prayer,
etc). Victim may go days without figuring it out. Spouse may get interested
in what's going o at office as well. Forwarding to a VP makes for interesting
reactions as well.
2) Variation on above is to get an answering machine, record an imitation of
victim's with outragous comments (busy right now with X-rated move sound track
going in background, inviting all callers out on dates, denouncing whatever
private beliefs they have, etc). Forward calls OR splice into phone line so
only happens on occasion.
3) If someone is silly enough to put call waiting onto a line used for modems,
call it EVERY time they use it. Vicitm will complain to phone compnay about
4) Reprogram all their speed calling to dial-a-sex, etc numbers (as appropriate
for victim). Love to watch the face of someone who thinks he is calling his
wife and a sexy girl comes on the line demanding a credit card so she can "talk
dirty" to him...
5) If victim is out of office for an extend period (week+), answer his phone
and say "Oh, Mark doesn't work here anymore. I think that the company caught
him stealing equipment/supplies/money; using drugs; sleeping on the job; sexually
harrassing the boss; etc."
6) If the phone system depends on star or \# pound keys, reverse them. Most
confusing. Even better, rewire 0-9 as well! Interchange only 2 keys for continuing
7) Replace answering tape messages with something "more exiting".
Effects records make good backgrounds. Barmaids and dancers will often help
you out on this one as well.
8) Call victim's answering machine. Leave what sounds to be an important message
and, 3 digits into the phone number, end the message.
9) If the company tracks every phone call, have everyone in the office make
long distance calls from the victims phone whenever victim leaves the room.
You need a spotter to keep from getting caught at this one. 900 numbers that
charge 0.50 per call are good for this.
10) One of my favorites works best in large office buildings: Stay late one
night. Go through the building and forward EVERY phone to victim's line. Be
sure to do yours also to avoid being suspected.
11) If victim keeps phone numbers online and you have write access to database,
scramble the numbers (Be sure not to mess with medical or other emergency numbers.
You can't play as many pranks on dead/maimed victims).
12) Turn off bell on victims phone. On AT\&T phones this requires a bit
of disassembly to implement but may be corrected by just adjusting the volume
(there is a stop to keep bell from going off but lifting a lever permits the
dial to rotate past the stop. Rotate back and no-one can tell that it was done.
This is a design feature of the phones).
This is a good one for school or business. It's probably
been used in movies and TV. It was used at this site, to the embarassment of
one of our department heads.
While he was chairing a rather boring department meeting, the Manager (referred
heretofore as Mr. Pid) Wanted to emphasize a point using the conference room
Several meetings had been recently held in the same room, and the last had used
the pull-down projector screen, which was now covering much of the blackboard.
With chalk in hand, Mr. Pid gave the screen a little tug, and released it, sending
it straight up and out of reach.
The entire department almost immediately broke into uncontrollable laughter.
Mr. Pid was at first surprised, thinking the group to be amused by the action
of the screen.
When he turned around to start writing, we were told he turned the most lovely
shade of beet red, as taped to the blackboard was a luscious and smiling Playboy
To this day, the identity of the perpetrator is unknown.
Several years ago at our site I had an argument with
a co-worker about the use of menu screens. I argued that they are fine for a
while, but that soon become tedious and that direct verb commands were preferable.
His argument was that menus were the ultimate in user- friendliness, and that
he would always prefer them.
A few days later I heard him holler from his office. Seems he started up the
local editor, which gave him a menu selection to a)insert b)modify c)delete
It was talked about for some time.
One of my favorites is to go into somebody's room
and turn EVERYTHING upside down. This was done to the cook at a summer camp
I worked at (she was a lousy cook; this was revenge for hamburger in white sauce
for breakfast). We invertedeverything in the kitchen; the stove, the refrigerator
(both previously disconnected) and everything in the refrigerator; everything
on the shelves and which (i.e., top, bottom, middle) shelf it was on. Best of
all, there was a table in the middle of the room with large JARS of ketchup,
mustard, etc.; the tops of all of these were hidden and they were inverted (place
waxed paper over mouth of jar, invert, remove paper) and the table rested on
top. We also inverted several posters on the walls. Of course, the cook wasn't
very happy about this; after she'd gotten it cleaned up she demanded that whever
did it apologize and wash dishes for a week. If nobody claimed responsibility,
she said, she would quit. We cheered.
On the other hand: one day some friends of mine and
I were going to 7-11. There were several parking spaces open along the wall
of the store. We were in two cars: a 14 year old chevy wagon and an 10 year
old dodge dart. As the first car was about to pull in to the lot, a brand new
cadillac pulled in from another entrance and PARALELL parked accross 3 perpendicular
spaces. Needless to say we were not amused, and quickly retaliated. Before the
driver (a man in his 60's) could open the door, my friend and I (in the wagon)
drove up and paralell parked alongside him 6 inches from his door. The other
car pulled up so that he couldn't pull up past us. This left him hemmed in by
brick walls on two sides and cars on two sides. Of course, he could have slammed
his way out, but since his car had just cost 10 times the combined values of
our cars, he didn't try it. We left both cars parked there (with doors locked,
brakes set, etc.) while we picked up some party supplies and left him there
Forget about phenothaline, coat the inside of the
cup with Nitrogen tri- iodide, when it dries, don't move the cup! When the owner
attempts to do anyhting with the cup, even breathe on it, it will probably exsplode!
Don't use to much or the mug will shatter very viontley!
There was a computer operator at a certain college
(I don't know where), who had been fired for something (I don't know what).
He acquired one of the ten platter disk packs that the university was using
on its mainframe computer system, and took it home. He disassembled the pack
and replaced the disk platters with phonograph records. He then sneaked back
into the computer center one night, placed his new pack on the shelves, and
wrote a script that would prompt the operator to mount the pack. Later, when
the new operator came in to do his job, he saw the message to mount the pack,
so he did so. Being new, he didn't know how heavy the disk packs actually were
so he didn't suspect anything, until he powered up the drive. The phono records
literally exploded inside the drive and sent the spindle straight through the
One time a group of friends were working on an assignment
for their artificial intelligence class. It was the first machine problem, it
was due that day, and they hadn't started it yet. Their task was to implement
an expression analyzer - nothing fancy, just a conversational calculator.
Their teacher had said many times in class that a program exhibits "artificial
intelligence" if you cannot distinguish it's reponses from those of a human
being. They were asking me to help them do it the other way around. They would
type in the expressions and I would use a calculator to simulate their homework
problem and type back the answers.
The first few problems were easy ones. Their teacher remarked that their program
seemed to be one of the slowest ones (I am not notorious for my speed with a
calculator). The last expression was some really long thing involving lots of
parentheses and somewhere along the way I made a mistake and so their "program"
got the wrong answer.
You would think the gig would be up, but, being fast on his feet, one of my
friends typed in TRY AGAIN. So, I did, and this time typed the correct number.
Not to be outdone, my other friend said "We still have a few bugs yet.
We haven't taught it about long division."
(Of course their teacher didn't buy any of this, but he was so amused he gave
them an extra week to work on the problem.)
Everyone's heard about filling the victim's room with
balloons, right? (balloons are great, especially if the victim is your SO and
you come by later, acting innocently, and suggest...well, you get the idea.)
Unfortunately, inflated balloons are bulky to carry, and it can take a dangerously
long time to inflate them in the victims room. There is a solution. (I've actually
done this, it really $does$ work, even if it sounds ridiculous) Go out and get
2 or 3 styrofoam beer coolers. Inflate the balloons in the privacy of your own
room. Fill the beer coolers with liquid nitrogen. (at 77 K it can liquify air)
Stuff all 2 thousand or so inflated balloons into the beer coolers. (don't worry,
they will fit, liquified air occupies $very$ little space) You may need a refill
or 3 of liquid nitrogen. Get a friend or 3 to help carry the coolers to the
victims room. Make sure there isn't any paper or other water-damagable stuff
on the floor. Strain out the majority of the LN2 and dump the inflated balloons
onto the floor. Close the door. (if there is a window or transom, it's great
fun to watch the balloons reinflate to fill the room)
During my freshman year at OSU, Some of the guys in
my floor "discovered" this (on about the second day 8-). The doors
in the "Tower" dorms have a lever shaped door handle, but the pennies
still work if the person has locked their door (for instance, to sleep). I discovered
that if you flip the flashplate for the door over, and re-install it, then the
pennies only place pressure on the door handle latch, not the deadbolt. You
should have seen the look on Chucks face when I opened the door in the morning
after he pennied it in...
As a parting gift to the dorm staff, we turned our bathroom into a pool/sauna,
but that's another story...
I had a UNIX practical joke pulled on me that was
absolutely insidious: the perpetrator simply changed my .profile to include
a stty call to change my wake-up character from a newline to a space. The effect
was that if I typed a command in correctly everything worked, but if I 'kill'ed
the line or tried to delete characters, only the last parameter would be deleted.
He had me going for WEEKS trying to figure out what was wrong with the system...
the dept administrator is somewhat of an msdos jock,
and one day, he changed my adviser's rainbow prompt to be something like:
fatal disk error
so everytime the return was pressed, this was displayed... now seeing that we
have been having various hardware and software problems, one after the other
with the little trash machine rainbow, my adviser was very upset... when he
realized that it was a joke, he thought that maybe i had done it... (i don't
know why, because i don't normally do this type of thing).
once we had sorted out what had happened, we set up the administrator's account
of the vax to behave in a similar, but more frustrating way... i am a bit worried
about this, though, because he rarely uses the vax... it has been about two
months, and still no screaming... (just redefine some symbols in his login.com...
important ones, like:
\$ directory :== type \$ type :== directory \$ show :== logout
An OSU Architecture prof (I'll call him Dr. Jones)
had a habit of telling his students to "Go take a flying leap" when
they gave dumb answers. One student decided to take the prof to task; the class
was taught in a second floor room so the student practiced jumping out the window
(with the help of an assistant who would catch his arms as he jumped). The two
got this down to an art, and one day provoked the "flying leap" comment
from Dr. Jones. The student said, "Okay, if you say so," turned around,
and leapt out the window. His partner (who was supposed to grab him but say,
"oh God, I missed him !") $did$ miss, and the jumper fell and broke
No, this is not a cut on stupid practical jokes. The humor follows:
As a result of this episode, the department chairman had to file an accident
report. One line of the form requires the DC to outline "What actions will
be taken to prevent future recurrences of this accident ?"
The Department Chief answered, "In the future, all of Dr. Jones's courses
will be taught in the basement."
Last year I had a job teaching an officeful of secretaries
to use their IBM XT. Well, for April Fools Day, I inserted a Pascal program
at the beginning of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file (runs on startup). The program essentially
said "Hello, Department of Defense Missile Network..." and gave instructions
which led to "Missiles Launched", and "congratulations, you have
just launched World War III. Say goodbye to everything you love." I slowed
down the printing to match 300 baud, so it looked quite threatening. After the
"say good-bye message", I had it tell the user to hit RETURN, after
which the program said APRIL FOOL and went on to the normal programs.
The results were interesting. The people who were comfortable with the computer
loved it. The real computerphobe registered only that this wasn't her database
program, and (as usual) demanded key-by-key instruction, ignoring the prefectly
good instructions on the screen. No-one really was startled, they didn't have
Get a thin sheet of lead, cut out the outline of a
reclining nude (trace from a magazine if you wish), tape it onto an inside wall
of your suitcase. If you're really artsy, glue or sew on a cover sheet, such
that the deception is non-obvious when the people check it. Other shapes, or
messages (taped onto cardboard) work too. Don't do something that suggests a
A few months ago I was flying down to L.A. from San
Francisco with a friend. He had stayed up too late the night before and promptly
fell fast asleep as soon as we were airborne. The airline magazines soon paled,
so I looked around for some way to entertain myself until we reached L.A. I
went up the steward and asked if I could borrow one of the oxygen masks that
they use in their little speech just before take-off. He looked puzzled and
said that they didn't work and were just for demonstration. I said I didn't
care, and much to my surprise, he gave it to me. I took it back to my seat,
put it on, and strung the hose to the up just above my head. Then I reached
down and shook my friend furiously. As he groggily woke up, I yelled, "Quick,
put on your mask, we're falling fast!"
The look on his face was pretty classic! Interestingly enough, he didn't fall
back asleep on the plane.
This is a simple, harmless, and hilarious practical
joke, that has claimed me as a victim. The setting is a pool hall, bar, or anyplace
else with a pool (billiards) table. Place any ball at one end of the table and
give your victim the cue ball. Challenge the victim to focus on the cue ball
while walking around the pool table three times. At the end of the third time,
the victim is to place the cue ball on the table, take a cue stick and hit the
cue ball so that it stikes the ball at the other end of the table. This is very
difficult to do; not because of a loss of coordination from walking and staring
at the ball, but because while the victim is concentrating on the ball, you
lick your finger and wipe chalk off the end of the cue stick. The victim will
miscue almost every time. It gets funnier, because if the victim is like me,
he/she will be determined and try it again.
Speaking of fun practical jokes with a car, I have
a couple of interesting ones.
1) Give the victims car an oil change, to 70 wieght oil. This should work very
well in places where it gets cold because when it is cold enough, the oil should
more resemble a brick the oil, and the car should be unable to crank. I wonder
how long it would take even a good mechanic to figure out what has been done.
2) A Classic. Stones in the hubcaps. If done correctly, the driver will hear
something rattling in the hupcaps and check to see if it is the wheel nuts,
finding nothing, they will continue , only to hear the sound again.
3) When expressway driving becomes boring. This trick is been done with a radar
detector and a very fast (looking) car. While driving on the expressway, look
for a fast car that looks like it may not have a radar detector. Accelerate
hard to about 70 and see if the other car follows. If it does, bring your car
up as fast as you feel safe and pretend to be racing him. This should get the
other car's driver to start going very fast. Continue this "race"
until you come on a turn or hill. After going through the turn, hit your brakes
hard and bring the car to exactly 55.00 mph. The effect is to make every one
on the road start doing 55.00 because they assume that if you are going that
fast, youmust have a radar detector, and it must have just gone off. (I hope
I don't need to mention the illigalities with this joke, and the need for a
When my girlfriend and I were in our early teens (the
age is important) we used to go to the local department store clock department.
We would set all the clocks that had alarms to go off within minutes of each
other a few minutes later. From a vantage point behind a rack of clothing we
always got a chuckle when the alarms started going off and the poor sales clerk
was trying to find out which ones were going off! (now, having been a sales
clerk for a brief period during my college days, I don't think that would have
been particularly funny!)
While in grad school, I was an "assistant"
in a lab which contained two pdp-11/23's running UNIX System 3. Much of my education
came from jokes played on me by my more knowledgeable friends. I'm sure I deserved
them; I was into writing multi-player games, and I got a kick out of writing
special caveats that only I knew about; these caveats could give other players
invisible handicaps. (Don't ask me for the games; they're very terminal dependent
and I don't even know where they are anymore.) We once wrote a multi-player
version of Walter Bright's empire from scratch. I added H-bombs (like fighters,
but when they hit a city it goes neutral, and when they hit a neutral city it
goes away, etc) Only, the program was rigged so that when a certain friend completed
an H-bomb, he got this dialogue that ended with the H-bomb developers testing
the bomb in his own city! It was VERY funny.
 The lab contained two kinds of terminals; Zenith-something-or-other for
one pdp and TVI-something-or-other for the other. The console for each pdp was
some other type (e.g., vt100 or somesuch). I normally logged in on a Zenith
in a particular spot. One day my first attempt to login failed and my second
succeeded. I thought nothing of it, and continued. Later, I happened to be on
the console when I did a ps and noticed a program running in the background
belonging to one of my friends, B. Although it was not uncommon for real work
to be done this way (and the program had an innocent sounding name), I poked
around in B's directory to see if I could figure out what it was doing (I was
root; what a feeling of power!). An ls revealed a very strange directory name;
under that directory lived some interesting looking programs and files.
It turned out that B had written one of those password-catching programs, and
had run it on my favorite terminal, apparently hoping that I'd login as root
there. The directory name was an escape sequence that caused an "up-cursor,
carriage-return", so an ls on a Zenith would overwrite the funny directory
name with the next file/directory. I had done the ls on the console (different
escape sequences) by pure luck.
I figured out the file in which B was writing the login name and password, and
replaced my login and password (yes, his program worked!) with: "B is a
bad boy". Eventually he came in. I casually asked him about the background
process, and he had a simple explanation ready. I then left him to the "Zenith"
room, and went to the adjoining "console" room and waited. His reaction
was quite rewarding.
 B waited almost a year to try again, and this time he was nasty. I was working
on a huge program, a dbms, for my Master's thesis. I was having some trouble
debugging, and looking at the prospect of spending yet another semester finishing
it. During a particularly frustrating session, another friend stopped in to
mention that B had done something to my ..profile; I thanked him and checked
It was a very subtle change; I don't remember how I happened to notice it. My
PATH was set with /usr/bin in front of /bin (default on our system was /bin
in front of /usr/bin). I looked at /usr/bin, and found an executable cc, owned
by B. Further exploration revealed that B had written new read() and write()
primitives; his cc arranged that the resulting a.out would get the bogus primitives.
These primitives read or wrote garbage about 1/6 of the time. Can you imagine
debugging a dbms with this handicap?
So, how to get back at him? I figured the first step was to pretend I hadn't
discovered his little trick, so I modified my makefile to run /bin/cc directly.
After a day or so, B stopped in to ask how I was doing, and I told him everything
was going well. He happened to notice my /bin/cc lines, and asked why I did
that. I told him I had some simple shell scripts named "cc" scattered
about, and didn't want to accidentally pick one up (this was before aliases).
He swallowed it.
The next day, /usr/bin had an executable make to go with the cc. B's make made
a backup copy of the makefile, changed all the /bin/cc's to /usr/bin/cc's, and
ran the real make; when the make finished, it moved the original makefile back.
I was amazed at the trouble he had gone to -- and got a good lesson in shell
programming as well!
It all started with a girlfriend's birthday party. Her boyfriend, who I had
known since elementary school, wanted to give her a suprize party. So he asked
me what should we do. I came up with a plan to kidnap her during dinner. But
this wasn't any kidnapping. What we did was to get three people that she didn't
know to arrive while we where having dinner. Of course all of these people were
speaking a foreign language that she didn't understand. She was bound, gagged
and blindfolded. Then while everyone drove to the resturant, she was driven
around in a car with three people speaking a foreign language. BTW-she new something
was up and wasn't scared, because she knew something was up. Anyway, they bring
her into this very nice resturant. We're all waiting at the table, about 15
of us, and we proceed to start dinner. Her food was in front of her, but she
was still bound gagged, and blindfolded. After a few moments we untied her,
she was really embarrassed, because everyone in the place was staring at our
table, which was in the middle of the room. She vowed revenge.
Joke 2 She wanted revenge. So I came up with the idea of getting a baby picture
of my friend, her boyfriend, from his mother, and printing up posters of it
and putting it up all over campus. Out side of his classes, labs, and work.
His mother gave me the most adorable picture of him when he was a baby with
his teddy bear. His features hadn't changed that much and the way the picture
was set up he looked as though he was in a police line up. So we made it into
a "Most Wanted" poster, with a concise discription, and his name across
the top in 40 point type. I printed up about 150 posters which we put up all
over campus. The next day every where he looked and turned there was a poster,
even in some of the men's rooms around campus. It took him weeks to find all
of the posters.
If you are wondering what all of this is building up to. Here is the ultimate
joke that was pulled. After several more $practical$ jokes which I was the ring
leader on. My friends realized that at the hub of each of the jokes I was the
organizer and brains behind the opperation. So it was my turn.
I really liked this one upper division Economics class that I was taking that
quarter. I was the VP of one of the Econ clubs on campus and everyone knew who
I was including the professor. Well, one Friday afternoon while this class was
meeting. One of those warm afternoons where everyone in the class is dozing,
including the professor. All of a sudden three people enter the class in surgical
grab, masks, protective gloves, boots, green suits, the works and a wheelchair.(I
learned later that they had $borrowed$ all of these items from the medical school.)
Anyway, the looked like the real thing. They went up to the professor and told
him that they were looking for me because I had contracted a infectious disease,
and needed to be removed from class immediately. They handed him a very official
looking document and started for me with the wheel chair. You could have seen
the people around me move, them my $friends$ wheeled me across the length of
the campus screaming "out of the way infectious person."
When I went back to class the next week, the professor looked at me oddly and
asked if I was OK to be out. He really believed the whole thing.
Needed - Small wad of brillo pad.
When friend is out sneek into his room. Take his lightbulb out (power off!).
Stick brillo into socket. Leave. When friend switches on light the brillo acts
like a fuse and blows up(small flash and quite loud noise). Be careful with
this one, it has been known to knacker the odd light switch.
Needed - Cayenne Pepper. Electric Cooker.
This is a very good one. Sprinkle a good dose of the pepper on the ring element.
Turn the ring on and leave the room, shuting the door behind you with your friends
in the kitchen not looking at the cooker (this is easy if you have a joint kitchen
living room, wait till they are watching TV). This will result in the pepper
burning into the air and your frends eyes streaming and throats burning.
In our student hall we had those cheapo carpet tiles.
When a friend went away for a long weekend, his `drinking pals' broke in, flooded
his carpet and spread about a sack full of cress seeds. One hour before he returned
they `borrowed' a sheep (fromm agric. or vet. -- I can't remember) and put it
in his room to grazed. The they then set up0 a camera to take a picture of the
surrounding scene 3 seconds after the door was opened. You've never seen such
a funny expression.
[This is childish, but harmless] Leave a fake phone
message pink slip to call a number. Give them the zoo's number, and ask for
"Elli Fant" or "G. Raffe" etc... make sure it is a department
in the zoo who won't answer "DC National Zoo" or something. BTW, the
zoo gets tons of these calls every April 1st.
My cousin told me about a practical joke some of his
friends played where they had a white horse on the hill within view of their
halls of residence (this is one of those large white horses done in chalk on
hillsides - there are several in England) - they "painted" it with
black stripes one night so the next day it was a Zebra. ( I think they actually
used black plastic bags)
Years ago when I still lived (and went on my bike
to work) in Bucharest, Romania, I was often sprayed with mud by car and bus
drivers who felt a sadic pleasure by doing this. I used to note the license
plates of the culprits and in four instances I spotted those cars parked on
streets not too far from my home. I provided to their owners several mornings
of hard work to remove newspapers stuck on their windshields with a very good
glue. In one instance I filled the exhaust pipe with wet cement... In all cases
I left a note with "thanks for the shower".
The best practical joke that we pulled was pulled
on my friend's floor's busybody. I showed up at his dorm, went into his room,
and proceeded to yell at him (my friend). He yessled back, and we got into a
heated arguement. Eventually, I fired a few blanks, which this busybody was
sure to hear. I then ran from the room, and when the busybody went to look,
he saw my friend lying in a pool of blood (we used fake stuff). When he went
to call security, my friend quickly changed his clothes and put a rug over the
"blood" on the floor. When the cops and the campus rent-a-cops arrived,
my friend was sitting quietly, studying. It was suggested to the busybody that
he take a nice long break from college to let his nerves recover.
We were very proud of the following practical joke.
When we were juniors at Williams, I lived in Agard House with three friends
of mine. Several large and loud boors who lived there as well were always taking
over the TV when we were watching it (to the point of them physically throwing
one of us out of the TV room when he was in there watching something they didn't
want to watch ... that is, something that wasn't a sporting event). They would
sometimes call important house meetings without telling us, and so on. Suffice
it to say, we didn't get along with them. Anyway, we got them back in the following
way. The remote control in the TV room was usually ignored, because it was always
getting lost. So a couple of weeks before the Super Bowl, we purloined it. We
bought some supplies and set it up so that an infrared (?) emitting diode was
behind a curtain in the back of the room, connected via wiring outside the house
(which we strung) to the lounge next door, where we sat with the remote control.
We listened to the game on a radio, and every time something dramatic would
happen... "He's at the twenty! The fifteen! The ten! The ..." ZAP!
Masterpiece Theater! They would all immediately charge down to the cable hookup
in the basement, but no-one was there. They'd look in the lounge and there we
were, studying quietly. Ah, it was great. (The remote control was discreetly
hidden by a window-drape.) When they told us about this mysterious phenomenon,
we said, "You know, the same thing was happening to us the other day. Hmm,
I wonder what could be wrong." They were sure we had done it, but couldn't
prove it. They kept trying to goad us into revealing it, for example: "No,
they couldn't've done it; they're not smart enough". We kept our mouths
shut and just grinned.
My undergraduate advisor told me that when he was
an undergrad at MIT, he and his floormates performed this trick on a particularly
obnoxious guy who lived there. The guy would regularly go down to the power
box and kill everyone's power, just for jollies. Well, they papered his room
one day, and when he opened the door, he calmly lit a match, threw it in, and
left. The building did not burn down but the student was ejected. He had been
failing out anyway.
This reminds me of another newspaper prank, which
I heard of from an old friend who attended the U. of Rochester in NY. A guy
who lived on their floor had the Wall Street Journal delivered to his door every
day, and the others on the floor decided to poke fun at this upscale practice
by sealing off his door (from the outside) with sheets of the Journal. Every
morning, the guy would open his door, see the doorway blocked by the sheets,
and leap through. This became a morning ritual. One day, somebody got the bright
idea to put a Coke machine on the other side of the papers, and the guy got
a concussion when he tried to go through.
Something similar happened to me. The phone rings
at 3:30am the night before my calculus exam, the following conversation takes
Let me speak to Cindy
I said put Cindy on the phone
Sorry but you have the wrong number
Look asshole, put Cindy on the phone NOW
There is no Cindy here, what number are you trying to reach?
You fucking bustard, I know where you live, now let me talk to her.
Ok, Ok (long pause) can she call you back, she's in the shower with my roomate.
This can be taken to the extreme. Once at Carleton
U. an entire floor received a "leaner" as we call it. There are three
elevators, and late at night another held all three elevators, placed trash
cans filled with water and leaning outward in each. Then they pressed 4 and
slipped out. The result: a big mess on the 4th floor. Unfortunately the water
also went pouring down the elevators and caused some damage. Housing was not
1) Take your Video camera (take someone elses if you
don't have one) 2) Enter your toilet room 3) From the other side of the room
to the toilet, stand on a chair and video a shot from near the ceiling of your
toilet seat (about 5 mins should do) 4) Have a party !! 5) When someone leaves
the room to visit the lav. put the cassette in your vid player. 6) Just before
the person re-enters the room start playing the tape - with everyone in the
room laughing at the TV screen. 7) WATCH THE FACE OF THE PERSON RE-ENTERING
THE ROOM !! :-)
A practical joke I was witness to at Lancaster
involved moving the entire contents of some-ones room. The person concerned
was taken out for the night by his 'mates', who duly got him very drunk.
A few of his other mates moved the entire contents of his room from the
top floor of the residential block to an identical room on the ground
floor. At the end of the night, all the merry souls came back from the
bar, carrying their, now ,very drunk friend. An arguement broke out, and
the friends grabbed hold of the drunkard, opened the window and threw
him out of the window. Imagine his alarm, he thought he was three floors