What's the cruelest practical joke you've heard of?

I was reminded of this story by this post: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=8936296&postcount=35

My Cousin married into a large family. Her husband has 8 siblings, so when there’s a family get together, it’s a big party. One time, everyone was over for a holiday (maybe Thanksgiving). Before the meal, Mom passed out lottery tickets to all the kids, and said they’d was the drawing after dinner. After dessert, they all gathered around the TV and watched the news. As the numbers were read, one of the sisters got more and more excited. When the last number was read she started screaming that she had won the big jackpot! She was running around and bouncing up and down and then she started to notice that everyone was laughing at her. she got upset, and asked why they were laughing at her, when she had won the big jackpot.

Turns out, her mother had taped the previous night’s drawing, and then bought her a ticket with those numbers on it. All the other kids were in on the joke.

Pretty cruel, no?

That was pretty bitchy. I don’t like practical jokes…they’re usually cruel, and usually done to humiliate someone so others can laugh.

I agree- when I hear about a practical joke, I usually feel too sorry for the victim to laugh at it. The victim has to be a really obnoxious person for me to appreciate a practical joke.

I have heard of people pretending to be from Publisher’s Clearinghouse (complete with the van, the cameras, the suit-wearing representatives and the giant pseudo-check) coming to someone’s home to let them think they’ve won ten million dollars. If someone did this to me I’m sure the members of the jury would understand my reaction. I think I even saw it on Youtube (though I can’t go there at work, so I can’t look for a link). To me this would be quite low.

Personally I think all practical jokes suck and I fail to see the humor in them unless the “joke” is a form of revenge and the recipient has done something to deserve it.

Thank goodness this one was only conceived, and never executed. A friend, going on a long trip, wanted me to call his mother and tell her that he’d been in an accident. Techically, he had–he’d tripped and fell into a puddle–but considering how much his poor parents were already worrying, to do something like that would have been downright evil.

I don’t mind them if they’re something silly, like the time somebody got into my anal-retentive boss’s desk and swapped around the caps on all his Sharpies.

But stuff like the OP is just mean.

I agree, the best practical jokes are done as revenge.

I once heard someone call in to a radio show that after he boyfriend/husband dumped her for another woman, before she moved out of the house, she bought some shrimp, and tucked the pieces into the “hems” on the bottom of the drapes all over the house. As the shrimp began to rott, her ex and his new honey were completely clueless as to why the house smelled so bad, and they expensively replaced a lot of stuff that didn’t solve the problem.

They can be great but only if the victim will appreciate the humor. I have been a part and on the receiving end of a few of those.

Anyway, back on topic, my girlfriend recently told me about one that her step-dad did to her when she was around 10. It was April Fool’s morning and he told her that her horse had escaped overnight and couldn’t be found. She burst into tears and went to go searching. He didn’t let her in on the truth for several minutes.

A friend of mine was at a dinner party of about twelve people. One of the other guests thought it would be funny to dose the wine glasses with LSD. While most of the attendees were experience trippers and might not have minded, there was at least one couple who had no drug experience at all. They left the party early, before the effects started, because they had other plans. My friend never heard what became of them.

I know it sounds like an urban legend but the guy who told me is a good friend and wouldn’t make that up. Also, I was acquainted with the guy who did the dosing and he was exactly the type of irresponsible dickhead who would do something like that.

I love cruel practical jokes but even I felt this one went way to far. Might be staged dunno, but it is european. Some NSFW banners and comments.

Summary. Girl gets cornered by naked stalker in her garage.

Not much experience with practical jokes. I enjoyed on that was described on Car Talk. Tom and Ray pulled it on one of their buddies who had gotten a new car. It was supposed to get good mileage and he was religious about calculating it out and a little annoying bragging about it.

So they started putting extra gas into his tank. They started with just a little and then added more and more, trying to see how unnaturally good the mileage could get before he would twig that something was up.

Then they started siphoning gas out. Just a little at first.

Apparently much fun was had by everyone who knew as the guy started pulling out his hair over the tanking mileage. I think starting with adding the gas showed a little class.

I didn’t know what your’s was about when I thought of this. Given a fake scratch ticket to somebody that is destitute. I’ve seen it, and it super cruel.

I’m another one who hates most practical jokes. In the right situation with the right people they can be amusing, but if there’s any risk of genuine hurt or humiliation, it’s ridiculously not funny.

I knew someone in university who had his roommate call his parents and tell them he’d died. And didn’t tell them it was a joke until they had driven two hours to the school hysterical with grief. Mind-boggling.

I remember someone posting on here a while back about purposely feeding a date something that caused her to spend the evening in the bathroom with explosive diarrhea. Hilarious.

Can’t remember where I read this, but it was online… maybe an old Salon article? Anyway, a couple went on their honeymoon to Ireland. One night they were in a crowded pub and people were singing pub songs. The wife told the husband that one of the songs was the Irish national anthem, and that it was customary to stand and put your hand on your heart when it was sung. When the song started, he did so, and everyone else in the bar laughed at him. He was completely mortified, to the point that it put a permanent strain on their marriage. I could see how in other circumstances, that would just be a silly joke, but on your honeymoon, when you’re at one of the happiest points in your life, starting a whole new life with this person, who will be your partner and always have your back… it must have felt like an unbelievable violation of trust.

I don’t see how this could be anything other than a silly memory. I’m guessing their marriage had a lot of other trust issues besides this incident.

A certain person I used to know gleefully tells about the time he staged his own hanging so that his best friend walked in and thought he was dead. ‘‘Man,’’ he recounts in awe, ‘‘You should have seen the look on his face!’’

But honestly the most horrible practical jokes I have ever seen are performed on this Mexican TV show called ‘‘Infarto’’ (’‘Stroke’’) It’s like ‘‘Scare Tactics’’ on LSD.

Jokes included:
–making a woman believe she was trapped in a falling elevator
–making a woman believe she had failed to talk a friend out of a suicide attempt, after she watched him pitch off the top of a building roof
–making a cashier believe he had caused the death of a customer’s mother
–making a friend believe his friend had just murdered his own brother–and was going to murder HIM

But probably the most horrible ‘‘joke’’ I saw was when a bunch of masked men grabbed a guy and shoved him into a little cage, then made him watch while they poured what he thought was acid into a screaming woman’s eyes.

The whole time I watched this, it was really to figure out if this was really real people they were pulling jokes on. I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t completely invented, yet some of the dialog and awkward pauses and everything seemed too freaking real to be acting.

But at the end of the show, they showed the ‘‘reveal’’ – and the people’s reactions when they reveal the ‘‘joke.’’ Most–like the woman in the falling elevator–start laughing hysterically out of sheer relief.

The guy in the cage was screaming in terror for a full 30 seconds after they pulled him out. When the woman got up to explain it was all a joke, he attacked them.

If someone had done this to me, I would have been (mildly) angry, not amused. Not a huge deal necessarily, but I guess I just don’t take too kindly to this kind of joke.

If it had been my wife, the one person I trust completely, and had happened on my honeymoon when we were supposed to be celebrating our new partnership, I think I too would have felt pretty deeply betrayed. It’s not the joke itself so much as the time, place, and person. What kind of person thinks that their honeymoon is a good time to humilate their new spouse?

On Dave Chappelle’s show they did one (fake obviously) where Dave comes out dressed as a doctor, covered in blood, and tells two young children their parents have died in a car accident. As the kids begin sobbing, you see the parents watching them on a TV monitor from a nearby room, laughing. Because it’s not real, I’ve always thought that was the funniest skit, but it also unnerves me because of how similar to real TV shows it really is.

Hmmm maybe I’m not understanding the situation correctly.

Early in our relationship, my husband was teaching me how to play the video-game ‘‘MonkeyBall’’ in a room full of his friends. Part of the game was guiding your hang-gliding monkey onto a target.

At the crucial time, he screamed at me, ‘‘Release! Release!’’

I instantly hit the button to drop my monkey onto the target, completely and utterly trusting him.

But he was tricking me, you see, taking advantage of my trust–I plummeted into the water and died, and all of his friends, including him, laughed hysterically at me.

I don’t really see that as much different from the ‘‘Irish Pub’’ incident. We still recall that memory rather fondly.

ETA: I guess it depends on the kind of person you are. If he was the sort who wouldn’t appreciate a joke like that, it was bad judgment on her part to do it.

I vaguely remember the Irish national anthem one, too. The husband did seem to take it too hard. What’s so bad about putting your hand on your heart, anyway–if she’d tricked him into a “Heil, Hitler” moment in Germany, bad, but putting your hand on your heart in Ireland? eh…

My friend’s dad, a firefighter (a great profession if you like to pull pranks), has been involved in a few that I’ve heard about, including:

after watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which shook up one of the other guys, taking the chain off a chainsaw, starting it up over the sleeping, freaked out guy while wearing a mask, and pressing the bar of the running (but de-bladed) saw onto his chest.

muting the TV when a hard of hearing neighbor came into the house, and mouthing conversation, so that the guy cranked up his hearing aid.

doing the motorboat thing with your lips (acting crazy) when a colleague returned from a mental health leave.

I once heard the recording of a radio prank. The djs called his man’s wife (who was in on the joke too) and told her that her husband had been caught cheating on her.

This goes on for a bit and at the end she says, “Well, I don’t feel so bad about fucking his brother.”

My favorite prank is the one where this group of friends covered this guy’s house with aluminum foil. You can’t get mad at that.