A dear friend was promoted to a managing position of a major software release. To put it mildly, he became full of himself, his ego swelled and he became almost unbearable to be around. That said, we all loved him. So I created this complicated prank - on as large a scale as his ego - to show him how silly he was being, yet worthy of the time and energy this prank entails. It wasn't until very late in the game that i divulged that I that I was behind it to his girlfriend, and enlisted her help in the coup de gras.
What you will need:
- Actual stationary from exotic hotels, locations, businesses and institutions. Including matching envelopes.
- Stamps that correspond with any exotic foreign locations.
- a cohort that is close to your target
Step 1: Collect Stationary.
Enlist friends - preferably no one who knows the target. Anyone traveling. People who work at recognizable companies.
I had been collecting stationary for months before I decided on this prank, but once I decided to pull it, I needed different stationary than I had and it only took a few days to have enough to start. And because of the length of time this prank takes to play out, I had plenty of time to acquire the rest.
Step 2: Collect Any Additional Materials to Support Your Letters.
Stamps, postmarks, bills, etc. are very useful in providing weight to your prank.
Step 3: Take a Small Step First.
Since my target was in software technology, I started with a corporate letterhead. I chose Adobe Systems, Inc.
The letter was from the desk of a product manager, thanking the target for creating such a stellar product release.
Nothing to raise suspicion...yet.
Step 4: Up the Ante.
I waited three weeks before sending the next letter.
Using a letterhead I created from an actor, say, Michael Keaton, I wrote a letter thanking my target for turning down the role of Batman. "Michael Keaton" went on to say that the role was a turning point in his career, and he owed it to the target. [I'm dating my original prank :) ]
I printed out a signed photo of the actor in the role of Batman. It was necessary to trace the actor's signature in silver ink. Practice first!
Step 5: Take a Bolder Step.
After three weeks, I sent the next letter.I obtained a letterhead from a Fuel Conference in a luxury resort.
Ostensibly coming from the director of the conference, I created a letter confirming the target's appearance at a forthcoming Fuel Conference. They were very much looking forward to his presentation on a breakthrough Hydrogen fusion solution to household electricity.
Now, the fact is that hydrogen fission has been tested with the aim of producing fusion power for the production of electricity, has been conducted for over 50 years. However, it has been accompanied by extreme scientific and technological difficulties, and although it has resulted in progress, controlled fusion has not been demonstrated.
I had the same friend who found me the letterhead send the letter from Hilton Head.
Step 6: Back Up the Letter With a Followup From a Different Source.
Immediately following the posting of the conference confirmation, I sent a letter on another corporate letterhead. General Electric - from their Nuclear Energy division.
It was slightly edgy, challenging the target to prove something the sender clearly did not expect to work.
Again, sending the letter from the same locale as the letterhead is crucial.
Step 7: Keep Going...
Using the available stationary, make up some more accomplishments your target will have supposedly been responsible for.
Send every couple of weeks, and without revealing yourself, keep tabs on how the target is dealing with the prank.
Step 8: The President of the United States ?
Sure! why not?
I was very fortunate to have obtained stationary from ... (drum roll) .. The White House ! One of my co-workers was a lead member of the Young Republicans, and upon a visit there, managed to nick a piece! The watermark and Presidential seal were incredible.
This time I waited 4 or 5 weeks before sending the letter.
This letter was from President Bush - again, I am dating my prank. The text was an appreciation for the target's Top Secret mission during the Gulf War. The target had apparently volunteered to be parachuted behind enemy lines in order to rescue some of the hostages. As this was a Top Secret mission, the President wrote in gratitude for the target's National service but admitted that nothing public could be done to recognize his bravery.
Step 9: Penultimate ... Target Tension Is at Its Maximum
My next to last letter was centered around another stationary score. A friend brought me letterhead from the Watergate Hotel.
I wrote a brief letter from Bob Woodward acknowledging the target as "Deep Throat." Woodward was staying at the Watergate and reminiscing about the groundbreaking story he and Carl Bernstein broke in The Washington Post with Deep Throat's help.
Deep Throat was a key source of information resulting in the resignation of President Richard Nixon as well as for the downfall of H. R. Haldeman, G. Gordon Liddy, Egil Krogh, White House CounselCharles Colson and John Dean, and presidential adviser John Ehrlichman. [They liked stationary too!]
Step 10: The Coup De Gras
Depending on the stationary you have collected, adding additional materials, like bills, stamps, etc. can make for a convincing letter.
My Coup de Gras was very similar to this one, but set in Bangkok, where I had, several letters previously, alluded to as a future destination for the target in regards to a visit with an organization called Youth In Asia. The final letter, from Bangkok, needed my compatriot, the target's girlfriend, to place the letter in the target's mailbox, as i had no contact to mail it from Bangkok. I did, however, adhere a canceled Thai stamp and traced the remainder of the postage mark on the envelope.
So, now you have to concoct your story. Something that will really set the target on his heals.
Step 11: Bali Story
You have stationary - both hotel letter and hotel envelope.
You have a bill - in Balinese.
You could write your letter from the head of Guest Relations, thanking the target for playing host to the dozen or so American teen-agers who were celebrating their final night in Bali.
The itemized bill could be, say, for hotel damages, charged to the target's credit card - bonus for getting his actual credit card number.
Step 12: And the Best Part ...
You can add props!
I took a blow up sheep, put it through the washing machine, and packaged it up with the letter.
The last paragraph of the Balinese letter and the bill can be said to refer to dry-cleaning and return of the sheep.
Now you have a truly complex and hysterical prank! Better hope your target has a sense of humor and is worth the effort.