Pranks are good fun. We love them so much that they’re a legitimate industry, spawning shows like Jackass, Impractical Jokers, and Punk’d, along with YouTube channels like PrankVsPrank that has amost 10,000,000 followers (that’s 2/3 as many as Jenna Marbles, arguably one of YouTube’s most successful acts.)
Typically, a prank goes off and the intended result is produced: the person gets a good fright, laughs when they find out it’s staged, and pats their friend on the back, happy to be out of perceived danger. In short, they poop on the invisible film of saran wrap over the toilet water and all that’s left afterwards is a bit of a smelly mess.
But sometimes, variables are neglected in calculating the potential outcome of a practical joke. The fight-or-flight instinct takes over, and it doesn’t always tilt towards the graceful spreading of wings… If we’ve intrigued you, keep reading. Below are ten examples of pranks where the prankster produced an unintended effect, getting either himself or his unknowing victim in much hotter water than he thought.
10. YouTuber Almost Drowns
Jack Tenney is a YouTube star who owes his views to his pranking videos. But his recent stunt on himself took a frightening turn for the worse. In August, he decided to turn himself into a human water balloon. Sitting at the end of a boat floating in a backyard pool, Tenney began to fill a balloon. When it was plump, he climbed in, and continued to pump it with water. The balloon expanded and got heavier, pushing the bottom of the boat below the surface. Not long after, Tenney rolled off into the water and began to sink. To save him, a crewmember plunged into the water and freed him from his rubber prison with a screwdriver.
9. Teen Shot out of Fear
In 2013, 18-year-old Premila Lal thought she’d play a joke on her 21-year-old friend, Nerrek Galley. She hid in a closet in his Longmont, Colorado home and waited for him to walk past. When he did, she jumped out, scaring the daylights out of him. But she also apparently scared the sense out of him, because instead of immediately recognizing the trusted friend, he reached for his shotgun and fired. It was only afterwards that he recognized Premila and understood that he had been pranked. He and two men, believed to be her relatives, rushed her to the hospital, but unfortunately she had been too badly injured and died.
8. Paris Hilton Suing Plane Crash Pranksters
Paris Hilton is famously afraid of flying. This is ironic, since she’s a mega-rich socialite who has international obligations on the near-daily. Recently, she was the victim of a prank in which an Egyptian TV show host designed a prank to make Hilton believe that her plane was undergoing a fatal nosedive. Hilton reports that it was terrifying, with the plane almost hitting the water before ascending so sharply it was almost a loop. Paris Hilton has told associates now that she plans to sue the people responsible for this emotional distress. She has already consulted her lawyers.
7. Couple Lights Man on Fire
Packed with their three young children in their “distinct-looking purple SUV with large rims,” Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez thought it would be funny to throw lit fireworks at a sleeping homeless man in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Benavidez has said of the incident: “It was just a prank. It was just trying to scare him, that was it.” But that’s not all it turned out to be. After the fireworks hit the homeless Native American, his pants began to smolder. He lit on fire partially and sustained severe burns. The two repainted their car to throw off the scent, but after a report from the family babysitter, they turned themselves in from undeniable guilt.
6. Flight, flight, FIGHT
Two pranksters dressed up as a ghosts decided to scare motorists by appearing from the bushes. In this particular case, one ghost stepped out in front of an oncoming car, scaring the driver into stopping. He reversed, out of fear, away from the apparition, but then the other prankster emerged behind him and he was forced to stop reversing. Sick and tired of the games, the driver stepped on the gas and plowed into the first ghost. He was knocked to his side and “almost killed,” but survived and left only with a badly injured knee.
5. Teen Accidentally Hangs Himself
Jordan Morlan loved Halloween. In 2013, the 16-year-old from Kentucky died playing a spooky Halloween prank on his sister, or so it is believed. Jordan’s mother thinks that he slipped his head in a noose to scare her, but then quickly became disoriented and passed out. He was found with drool hanging from his mouth. He spent twelve hours on life support, but his organs eventually failed. Jordan’s mother says that she at first didn’t believe that her son was actually hurt because he had been playing jokes on his family all day as they put up Halloween decorations.
4. Senior Prank Ruins School
Senior prank is supposed to be a day of camaraderie and harmless jokes. But this particular day in Tennessee led to one hundred students being banned from graduation ceremonies, a principal suspended without pay, a sheriff deputy being out of a job, and three teachers filing workers compensation claims against the school. So what happened? Pranks turned into overt vandalism as the students spread garbage and urine, dead animals (a mutilated possum), and living creatures (chickens and crickets) around the campus. The school principal was suspended without pay for allowing this to happen, and the Sheriff Deputy was fired for allowing them in.
3. Boy Lights Friend’s House on Fire
Eric Morelli was just trying to be funny when he threw a sparkler through his friend’s older sister’s window. A friend of the two said: “He was just trying to chill with [Kristen Milano’s] younger brother and he thought it was a good idea to throw a firework up there…” Unfortunately, the room caught fire almost immediately, and the fire quickly grew to a blaze. When the firefighters arrived, they were met with wildly high heats and punishing conditions. They found Kristen Milano within who died of smoke inhalation. Her death was ruled a homicide, and Morelli was charged with first-degree manslaughter and three counts of reckless endangerment.
2. Woman Chokes on Joke
Jack Baker just wanted to play an April Fool’s Day joke on his wife Linda. He offered her chocolates that had dead crickets cooked into them. Jubilant, Linda chomped down on a piece of chocolate, but it was not as thoroughly smooth as she expected. When Jack laughingly revealed what was in it, Linda began to panic and inhaled the chocolate, along with the bony cricket, into her windpipe. She suffocated and also had a heart attack. Jack was not arrested, since this was an accident, but after the investigators left his home, he took his life from the guilt.
1. Teen Killed By Gang Prank
16-year-old Ryan Wilson, of Naperville, Illinois, died playing a prank on some Chicago gang members. He and a friend went to Southside to play jokes on unsuspecting strangers. According to the friend, Wilson approached a Vice Lord gang member (not knowing, of course, his status) and asked him if he was “ready to dye.” Wilson didn’t have time to pull out the bottle of Clairol hair dye before the gang member pulled out his gun and put several bullets through the young man’s head. The altercation was filmed and submitted to the local police department in hopes that justice would be served.