Pranks are funny and they make you laugh (unless you are the one being pranked), and we all deserve a good laugh once in a while. We can say that there are two categories of people, the ones that love to pull pranks on others and those who are being pranked by others.

For sure that we have all heard about the caramel onions prank or the chair prank, but there were times when some memorable large-scale pranks made rumors all over the world.

Let’s laugh together at some of the most famous pranks in history, and if you were thinking to pull a prank on someone, this article will make you come out of your comfort zone and think big.


Wisconsin students move Statue of Liberty to Lake Mendota

In the spring of 1978, students Leon Varjian and Jim Mallon ran for student government and in order to secure their success, they made a promise that was almost impossible to accomplish: to move Lady Liberty to Wisconsin’s Lake Mendota.

They got elected and people expected them to keep their promise, and so they did… in their own way, of course. It took Leon and Jim three days and $4000 to build a replica of Lady Liberty out of plywood, wire, and papier-mâché, which they then hauled into the frozen lake. Their story was that they had brought the statue by helicopter, but the wire broke and it fell into the frozen waters of Lake Mendota.


An exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop

In 1957 the BBC news show “Panorama” pranked viewers around England in a three-minute segment in which they were reporting a “heavy spaghetti crop” in Southern Switzerland. To make the prank even more believable, BBC had included some footage of Swiss people harvesting their spaghetti off tree branches.

There were lots of Britons who were fooled by this extremely good news, and they called BBC right away to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. The BBC simply replied: “Place a string of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”


Big Ben is going digital

In 1980, a BBC World Service News reported that Big Ben will suffer some improvements because it looked too old-fashioned and they had to make it a bit more modern-looking. The solution they came up with, was to replace the traditional hands with a digital readout which would give Big Ben a more contemporary look.

They also announced that the clock’s hands will be given away to the first four people who got in touch with them. Most people were taken by surprise and did not agree to this change, but there was this particular Japanese sailor who, without hesitation, called in to claim his prize.


Nixon declares his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination

In 1992, National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” announced that Richard  Nixon is running for re-election. They went even further and they played a clip of Nixon in which we can see him declaring his intention to run, and he uses the memorable slogan “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”

There were many frustrated people who called in to share their opinion, most considering this a very bad idea. In the second half of the program, John Hockenberry, the host, finally told listeners that it was only a prank on April Fools’ Day.


Stockings can turn the black-and-white TVs to color

In 1962, Sweden only had one television network and it decided to pull a prank on their viewers by making them believe that they can turn they BW TVs to color with a pair of stockings.

They had a “technical expert” named Kjell Stensson who explained the whole process, how you can make the light coming from your TV to appear in color with a cut open pair of women’s stockings. There were, of course, some people who actually fell in the trap.


The iceberg from Sydney Harbour

In 1978, people from Sydney, Australia were surprised to see a gigantic iceberg floating in Sydney Harbour, which “was towed” by the electronics entrepreneur Dick Smith from Antarctica. He announced that he is bringing the iceberg to Sydney, but he did not mention exactly when. And he did keep his word (somehow)!

But to his disappointment and that of the residents of Sydney, a rainstorm revealed that the iceberg was fake.


The Easter Island Statue from the Netherlands

On March 29, 1962, a man discovered on a beach near Zandvoort a sculpture, which he believed to be an Easter Island Statue. An expert flew over there to examine the artifact and he could only confirm the man’s beliefs, that it was indeed authentic. It was decided that it should be seen and admired by anyone and it should be put on display in the town’s center.

To everyone’s disappointment, the statue had been planted on the beach by its creator, the artist Edo von Tetterode.


The left-handed whopper

In 1998 Burger King posted an ad in “USA Today” announcing their new Left-Handed-Whopper. It was meant specifically for left-handed people, and even if it looked and tasted exactly like the regular burger, it was different.

The difference was that the condiments were rotated 180 degrees, and some people actually fell for the prank and started ordering this new burger.


The value of pi redefined in Alabama

It was a big shock for all science and math advocates to find out from the “New Mexicans for Science and Reason” newsletter that the Alabama state legislature changed the value of pi to 3.0.

They claimed that 3.0 had a “biblical value” and that the Alabama government had been forced by conservative religious groups to change it to this new value.


The Burlington coat factory hoax

Some pranks ended up with some arrests, like this one that involves Linda Brown who pulled a prank on some people at a coat factory. In 2009, Brown went with her rented Hummer limo to the factory and promised to pay for everyone’s purchases because she has won the lottery.

Obviously, she didn’t win anything and didn’t have money to pay for those purchases, nor for the limo, ending with her arrest after her limo driver turned her in.