• Culture

14 Practical Jokes Gone Horribly Wrong

All pranks are hilarious – until something goes wrong. This list of practical jokes gone wrong cites elaborate jokes that ended with illness, arrest, and even death. While most of them share a common element of teenage boys, another running theme is reckless stupidity. . . or, more likely, both of these things combined. Don't try these pranks at home.

What are some great pranks gone wrong? What are the worst cases of practical jokes gone horribly wrong? You may think it's funny to egg a car and scare people (those go together, right?) but there happen to be some times that a funny joke went horribly wrong. These are the best of the worst prank results ever.

  • High School Senior Charged with Felony for Playing with Dolls

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    On his last day of high school in June 2011, 18-year-old Tyell Morton zipped up his hoodie, pulled on some latex gloves, and snuck into the girls' bathroom with a mysterious package. Believing that he was trying to bomb the school via the ladies' locker room, officials evacuated the building and called in the Indiana State Police bomb squad and K9 force to dispose of the package. The cautious response cost the school over $8,000, but turned out to be a major overreaction – after all, all the box contained was a sex doll.

    Still, the state wanted to make an example of Morton to deter any other fun-loving teens who might try to enjoy themselves or rouse rabble in the future. Morton was arrested and charged with institutional criminal mischief, a felony that that carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison.

  • Students Poison Teachers with Laxatives

    If you work in an office, school, or other mind-numbing place that you have to go to every day for most of the day while the rest of the world goes on outside your beige walls having fun without you, you know how exciting it can be when someone brings in free food. In 2008, three jerk high school seniors in Brooklyn made delicious-looking homemade chocolate-iced Bundt cake dotted with some sort of red candy and dropped it off in their school office.

    Educators and staff happily dug in, but almost immediately, five of them began to experience mouth numbness, chest tightness, and major tummy rumbles. The truth came out: Those little red chunks of candy were actually Dulcolax. Two victims went to the hospital, where doctors said their symptoms were consistent with those of insecticide poisoning.

    "Nobody's died from a laxative," said a friend of one of the perpetrators. "He thought it was funny. I thought it was funny, too."
  • Icelandic Teenager Calls George Bush's Private Number

    Photo: flickr / CC0

    16-year-old Vífill Atlason doesn't remember where he got the private phone number for the leader of the free world, but he had it for a few years before he made the call in 2007 to ask for a private meeting. A White House spokesperson insisted that he actually dialed the main switchboard for the West Wing, but – hold on to your hats – that turned out to be a big fat lie. Claiming to be real Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Vífill was passed through several levels of security, each quizzing him about his identity (questions he easily answered by consulting Wikipedia).

    In the end, Bush's secretary told Vífill to expect a call from the President soon. Instead, the police showed up at his home, hauled him back to the station, and interrogated him for several hours under orders to find the source of "the leak." In a country none too enamored by George W., Vífill Atlason became a local hero.

    So what did the teenager plan to say if he ever got Bush on the phone? "I just wanted to talk to him, have a chat, invite him to Iceland and see what he'd say," he said. Sounds like a pretty good strategy.
  • Teens Cover Stop Sign, Kill Two Old Ladies

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY

    The teenaged male human isn't known for being at the height of his mental acuity, so it's hardly shocking when one does something really, really, really stupid. In August 2011, two comedic geniuses (18 and 19, both dudes) in a town near Columbus, OH, had the hot idea to wrap a stop sign with several layers of plastic wrap and petroleum jelly, effectively obscuring it from drivers.

    The brilliant masterminds were so proud of their accomplishment that they bragged about it on Facebook. Many motorists made it past the hidden stop sign with no problems – after all, they drove through that intersection every day – but the uproarious laughter didn't last long. Around 4:00 in the afternoon, Jeanne Shea, 80, drove past the covered sign and into the intersection An oncoming vehicle hit Shea's car and killed her passenger – her sister Mary Spangler, 85. Shea was in critical condition for three weeks, her leg amputated above the knee, before she died in September. Nice job, fellas. The boys pleaded guilty to charges of reckless homicide.