Thursday, December 29, 2005


I’ve never participated in a really good prank, sadly.  At Chicago we’ve done a lot of goofy things—building a trebuchet just for the fun of it one finals week a few years ago was amusing, and Scav Hunt is always great fun (the lists were always ingeniously written, check out the preceding link for examples).

However none of that compares to some of the pranks in this article from The Economist in terms of ingenuity or hilarity.  I just have to post two that I liked the best:
For the most impressively elaborate pranks, however, go to a university campus. Take thousands of bright young things with too much time on their hands, itching to achieve, amuse and misbehave, and splendid acts of delinquency will follow.
The best colleges strive to out-prank one another. Students at Yale scored a big victory during last year's football match against Harvard when they passed out pieces of paper to thousands of fans on the Harvard side of the stadium. The fans were told that, when held up, the bits would spell “Go Harvard”. In fact they spelled something else (see photo that opened this article).
What the gullible Harvard students spelled out in giant Crimson letters was “We Suck”.  Ahhh, genius.  There’s a picture of this spectacle at the Economist article.  Now, another:
But the scene of what many consider the best-ever engineering prank was that other academic Cambridge, in England, where, one morning in 1958, the town awoke to see an Austin Seven van on top of the Senate House building. After weeks of preparation, a group of mechanical-sciences undergraduates had pushed the van, wheelbarrow-like, minus its doors and back wheels, into place, then hoisted it using a derrick of five 24-foot scaffolding poles, 250 feet of steel wire, 200 feet of hemp rope, pulley blocks and hooks, planks, and even sacking to protect the building. Once the vehicle had been dragged to the top of the sloping roof, the doors and wheels were re-fitted.
The world's media rightly applauded the prank. It was breathtakingly ambitious, requiring both brains and brawn in prodigious quantities; the planning was meticulous (the dozen or so students involved were split into sub-teams, including one comprising two pretty females to distract curious passers-by); and it created a spectacularly surreal sight that could be seen across town. The perpetrators were particularly pleased that what took them under three hours to do took the Civil Defence Force four days to undo. The dean of the college from which the prank was launched sent the ringleader a case of champagne.
Ingenius, and absolutely hilarious.  There are several other really good ones listed in the article that are good for several good laughs, so be sure to read the rest of the article.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?