Pranks and practical jokes are something the vast majority of us have initiated or even been the victim of. In most cases, the joke or prank is good natured and meant to get a laugh out of everyone at a little expense to the victim. These can range from a simple well-placed whoopee cushion to a prank phone call to jumping out from a hiding spot to scare a friend. Ultimately, such practices are not meant to harm anyone and have the sole purpose of creating a laugh or two. Yes, in some cases a prank can go a little too far but, usually, it’s all done with good intentions, albeit often little maturity.
Then there are hoaxes. What’s the difference, you may ask? A hoax can be considered similar to a prank but where the hoax differs significantly is in its purpose. A hoax is meant to straight up deceive or con people into believing something that isn’t true. Hoaxes can be more elaborate than a practical joke or prank and they usually aren’t made with the best intentions – especially for their intended victim. This doesn’t mean that hoaxes are meant to cause harm to their intended victim, but unlike a practical joke, a hoax definitely has more potential to cause some sort of negative side effect, whether it be physical or mental. In the examples ahead, the hoaxes had a negative result for everyone. The victims usually got some sort of nasty shock and the perpetrator ended up behind bars.