Top 10 Mass Panics Caused By Seemingly Harmless Pranks

The world has witnessed panics caused by seemingly harmless pranks, like the one Orson Welles pulled, that “Martians” were invading the earth. Below is a list of 10:-

  1. The Central Park Zoo Escape Hoax
  2. The Jordanian UFO Prank
  3. The Martian Mooninite Scare
  4. The BBC Radio Panic of 1926
  5. Alternative 3
  6. The Volcano Hoax
  7. Southern Television Broadcast Interruption
  8. The Fake Russian Invasion of Georgia
  9. The Morristown UFO Hoax
  10. Ghostwatch

1.  The Central Park Zoo Escape Hoax


The Central Park Zoo Escape Hoax


It occurred in the early hours of 9th November, 1874 when New York natives got an alarming headline – “Awful Calamity: The Wild Animals Broken Loose From Central Park.” It was revealed in the write up that the road was filled with vicious animals and 49 people were confirmed dead with over 200 in pains. At the base of the write up was a disclaimer that it was a spoof but lot of people didn’t care reading till the end so they began panicking.

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2.  The Jordanian UFO Prank




In 2010, the Jordanian newspaper pulled an unpleasant prank by publishing an article about alien intruders landing in a desert. It was stated that EMP pulse from an UFO has interrupted communication in the area. Everyone one was panicking, even the Mayor fell for the prank. The hoax was uncovered due to the date it was published which was April 1st. The residents of the small town “Jafr” were displeased when they heard it was a prank.

3.  The Martian Mooninite Scare




An unfamiliar LED panel displaying a tiny man raising his middle finger was noticed in Boston in November 2006 by someone and the person informed the police (Homeland Security) and they investigated the suspect device. After investigation, it was discovered to be an IED (an improvised explosive device) and was destroyed. It was later they found out it was a prank to advertise a show “Aqua Teen Hunger.” $2 million was later paid for damages to compensate the Boston Police and Homeland Security.

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4.  The BBC Radio Panic of 1926




A spoof radio play by a priest about an “anarchist revolution” taking place in London was broadcasted by BBC in 1926. It was just over a decade the Russians had risen up against their leaders. People didn’t really get it because it interrupted a genuine discussion about 19th century literature but when they heard about anarchist mob seizing London, they had no choice but to believe. When the people heard about Big Ben been blown up, and government ministers been lynched in the streets they were very scared.

5.  Alternative 3




It was said to be a TV program to be shown in the United Kingdom on April fool’s day. It seemed like a documentary made to look original and it’s about climate change that will actually reveal the bizarre catastrophe that would make the earth uninhabitable. The government came up with three ideas to solve the crisis:

  1. Reducing Earth’s populace
  2. Moving quite a few people under-ground
  3. Moving a number of individuals to Mars

The fact that the program was not aired on April fool’s day made so many individuals believe and they were all calling television stations to know when the world is likely to come to an end.

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6.  The Volcano Hoax




It happened in Sitka, Alaska. The town is well known for snow. But one morning, the dormant volcano, Mount Edgecombe began to pour smoke. The streets were filled with residents trying to have a look of what was happening. The coastguard hurried to the peak to investigate and they found heap of tires in a crate burning and the words “APRIL FOOLS” written in 50ft letters. A local prankster known as Porky Bickar was behind this, he went extra miles hiring a helicopter to carry the tires.

7.  Southern Television Broadcast Interruption


Southern Television Broadcast Interruption



It happened in 1976 at exactly 5:10pm GMT at UK, when the news was disturbed by a supposed Vrillion of the Ashtar Galactic Command who said he was the representative of an alien race in a mission to wipe out humanity. The message was reported on TV on a Saturday night which made the viewer’s furious. A particular woman was very scared because she had believed the world was coming to an end, it was after the police came to her house to make her know that it was a prank that she was relieved. Till now no one know who the prankster was.

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8.  The Fake Russian Invasion of Georgia




The Georgians putting on their TV in 2010 after the assassination of their leader and seeing Russian tanks entering Georgia. Because of what happened during the war between Georgia and Russia in 2008, they all rushed into the street calling out for their loved ones which leads to all sort of catastrophe. When they found out that it wasn’t real they were all displeased.

9.  The Morristown UFO Hoax




It happened in 2009 when two set of people namely: Chris Russo and Joe Rudy wanted to prove UFO sighting are false, so they went to a small field and created fake UFO sighting by releasing flared helium bubbles with fishing line into the air in New Jersey. They made sure they documented every step. The following day, The Morristown UFO sighting made the headline for local and national news. People didn’t want to believe it was a prank including the UFO Hunters TV show.

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10.  Ghostwatch




It was about a documentary crew carrying out a live investigation on a particular house which was haunted by a ghost named “Mr Pipes” and it was aired on UK TV on Halloween in 1992. The residents of the house had reported paranormal activities. During the investigation the crew realised that the house was truly haunted by Mr. Pipe who was ferocious. The show ended after so much casualties and they forgot to mention from the onset that it was fiction. BBC were receiving so many calls of concerned at first but later turned to anger, the outcry so much that BBC had to apologise on air.