The First Recorded Evidence Of A Prank Phone Call: 1884 Phone Calls Summoning Undertakers

from the i'm-not-dead-yet dept

This is kind of awesome. Paul Collins, know as The Literary Detective, recently noted that he had unearthed what he believed might be the first recorded evidence of a prank phone call... made in 1884. Here's the newspaper report:
If you can't read it, the important part says:
A GRAVE JOKE ON UNDERTAKERS -- Some malicious wag at Providence R.I. has been playing a grave practical joke on the undertakers there, by summoning them over the telephone to bring freezers, candlesticks and coffin for persons alleged to be dead. In each case the denoument was highly farcical, and the reputed corpses are now hunting in a lively manner for that telephonist.
Ah, the kids those days...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:30am

    What does this have to do with Protect IP or SOPA?









    Mike Masnick's report/censor hammer in 3... 2... 1!!!

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:32am

    Re:

    lol, censorship here?

     

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  3.  
    icon
    Nigel (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:33am

    anonymous cowards

    Do not feed the trolls.

    that is all
    N.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:48am

    10 out of 10 pirates say sand tastes better when your head is buried in it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:57am

    Re: anonymous cowards

    Have a heart man(or woman).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 3:22am

    Mark Twain once (according to the man himself) sent a dozen of his friends a telegram saying simply "All is discovered, flee at once!". According to Twain, they all left town immediately.

    While a telegram isn't precisely a prank phone call, it was the equivalent at the time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 4:09am

    Re:

    -- .- .-. -.- / - .-- .- .. -. / .-- .- ... / .- -. / .. -.. .. --- - / .- .-.. .. . -. / ... .... --- . / ... .- .-.. . ... -- .- -.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 4:33am

    Trolls complain if articles are about PROTECT-IP. Trolls complain if articles aren't about PROTECT-IP.

    And they wonder why we don't take them seriously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Rick, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re:

    -.-- --- ..- - .- -.- . - .... .- - -... .- -.-. -.- .- -... --- ..- - - .-- .- .. -.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:07am

    I'm sure Masnick's wife and infant appreciate the time spent away from them while he scours the internet looking for random examples of copyright being the devil's handiwork.

    My condolences to them both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Re:

    Trolls complain if articles aren't about PROTECT-IP.

    Ciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittation, Freetardo!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Just one!!!

    *One* citation of anyone that complains "if articles aren't about PROTECT-IP."

    C'mon, little boy, u can manage that, right? LOL

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re:

    Umm, the first comment on this very post dum-dum.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    You are a class act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Re:

    Seriously? You're that short on something useful to criticise you feel the need to get personal? Perhaps, you could submit your name here? And then we can all discuss your family?
    A class act indeed...

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps, you could submit your name here? And then we can all discuss your family?

    I think I'm happier not knowing that he breeds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 6:38am

    Though pre-phone, one of the most famous pranks in history was similar - when Theodore Hook made a bet that he could turn a random, unremarkable house into the most famous address in London:

    On 27 November, at five o’clock in the morning, a sweep arrived to sweep the chimneys of Mrs Tottenham's house. The maid who answered the door informed him that no sweep had been requested, and that his services were not required. A few moments later another sweep presented himself, then another, and another, 12 in all. After the last of the sweeps had been sent away, a fleet of carts carrying large deliveries of coal began to arrive, followed by a series of cakemakers delivering large wedding cakes, then doctors, lawyers, vicars and priests summoned to minister to someone in the house they had been told was dying. Fishmongers, shoemakers, and over a dozen pianos were among the next to appear, along with "six stout men bearing an organ". Dignitaries, including the Governor of the Bank of England, the Duke of York, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor of the City of London also arrived. The narrow streets soon became severely congested with tradesmen and onlookers. Deliveries and visits continued until the early evening, bringing a large part of London to a standstill. Hook stationed himself in the house directly opposite 54 Berners Street, from where he and his friend spent the day watching the chaos unfold.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Granted, though, I could have worded it better. I should have said that "trolls complain if articles are about copyright, and trolls complain if articles aren't about copyright".

    However, I am quite chuffed to see that what a Freetardo could manage, a troll could not. Surely, a person's standards can't be particularly high if even a Freetardo can accomplish what he cannot.

     

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  18.  
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    Atkray (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re:

    to paraphrase the Cosby Kids....More like a teacher on summer vacation.

    No class.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The real dum-dum doesn't get sarcasm and does work at McDonalds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:27am

    I have a patent on prank calling. If I ever get prank called I will sue for infringement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There's nothing classier than ripping off artists, I've always heard.

    Gotta keep the playing field level around here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re:

    I'm personally offended by how much Masnick misrepresents, manipulates, and out-right lies here.

    I take that personally.

    So fuck you. And most certainly, fuck him.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, we are all aware that the complaint was sarcastic, but it was still a complaint. The point is that you trolls will find a way to bitch no matter what.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm personally offended by how much Masnick misrepresents, manipulates, and out-right lies here.

    I take that personally.


    That's... actually kind of sad. You sit at home reading this blog, and whenever you see something you don't like, you take it as a personal slight against you? You believe that Mike as you, specifically, in mind when he writes these posts? That is definitely a diagnosable psychological condition. I hope you find the help you need.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    we all know you make millions sitting in your cushy office threatening, harassing and extorting from your fellow citizens, but some people actually have to work for a living


    besides do you really think he needs to spend a whole lot of time finding examples of blatant asshattery coming from your entertainment industry?

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Gotta keep the playing field level around here.

    Funny, I don't remember Mike ever employing the barrel-bottom tactic of dragging someone's family into an unrelated debate.

    The fact that you don't see why that's low suggests to me that you are about 13 years old.

     

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  27.  
    icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re:

    Looks like something out_of_the_blue would type.

     

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  28.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm sure Masnick's wife and infant appreciate the time spent away from them while he scours the internet looking for random examples of copyright being the devil's handiwork.

    I've read a lot of stuff on the internet that has pissed me off, but never to the point where I thought I should drag the writer's family into it, much less try to use them as some sort of leverage (towards what end?) against the writer.

    And as many times as I've read something that has pissed me off, nothing has made we want to instantly reach through the screen and punch the writer in the mouth. Until now.

    This has all the malevolent ugliness of a mob enforcer commenting of someone's "nice family" while leaving the implicit violence hanging heavily in the air.

    This sort of comment exposes you for what you are: a hate-filled individual who can't be bothered to attack the writing or even the writer himself at this point and has decided to just vent whatever bile happens to be floating on the top of that brain stem operation you mistakenly call your "intellect."

    Worse, you've damaged the future comments of any other AC's who disagree with what's written here. Because of the lack of identifying info, ANY AC could be the one who decided Mike's family should be dragged into the "debate," and because there's no way to differentiate, many AC's arguments will be dismissed more quickly and with more vitriol.

    Maybe you're the same AC who insinuated that I spend all day at home doing useless writing while my wife makes all the money. Maybe not. Who can tell? That's a problem. And your fellow dissenting ACs can thank you for making their future comments that much easier to dismiss.You're also not doing any favors for your side of the argument in general. I'm sure they're not happy to have to count you as part of their team.

    I'm personally offended by how much Masnick misrepresents, manipulates, and out-right lies here.

    I take that personally.


    So be it. But keep it personal. Someone's family is not a natural extension of their website.

     

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  29.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re:

    besides do you really think he needs to spend a whole lot of time finding examples of blatant asshattery coming from your entertainment industry?

    The funniest part is that this particular post has nothing to do with copyright and doesn't even mention IP once.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    here's one for the trolls:

    where would we be now if Bell hadn't ripped off the invention of the telephone?

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Stuart, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re:

    No. He sold shoe LACES.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right. I hate you, I hate Masnick, and I hate anyone that rips off artists.

    Very happy to admit that. We are war with you slimeballs.

    And I'd love for you to take a swing at me. Laying you out on the ground, knocked out cold would be a real treat.

     

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  33.  
    icon
    Dementia (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Are you sure you could reach that high?

     

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  34.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We are war with you slimeballs.

    Funny - I can only see one person in this whole thread who has been saying incredibly slimy things...

     

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  35.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 2nd, 2011 @ 4:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right. I hate you, I hate Masnick, and I hate anyone that rips off artists.

    I've never "ripped" off an artist. So why do you "hate" me?

    I'm really curious about this. I spend an awful lot of time here trying to help artists, showing them what's working, what's not working, etc. Why should that lead you to hate me?

    Did you hate all of your teachers in school, too?

    Very happy to admit that. We are war with you slimeballs.


    Hmm. What makes me a slimeball? Trying to figure out ways to help you make more money makes me a slimeball? How so?

    You won't believe me, but I really would like to work with you and see if I can help you, because clearly you're pretty damn upset about how the internet has changed your business. I'm pretty sure I can help. But it's gotta start with you not "hating" me, and maybe listening to what I'm saying.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Jesus, you're psychotic. Mike, call the lice on this person, seriously.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wtf is wrong with you, why are you nice to this psycho. He just threatened your family for crying out load. If there was ever a time to overreact its now. Fucking backtrace the punk and call the police.

     

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  38.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 3rd, 2011 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wtf is wrong with you, why are you nice to this psycho. He just threatened your family for crying out load. If there was ever a time to overreact its now. Fucking backtrace the punk and call the police.

    He didn't threaten my family. Just made a silly, uninformed comment about them.

    As for why I'd be nice to him... well, he seems unfortunately misinformed. I'm of the belief that the best way to respond to the misinformed is to educate them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I would still be cautious if I was you.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > and I hate anyone that rips off artists.

    That must mean you hate the RIAA also.

     

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  41.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Mike, call the lice on this person, seriously.

    I assume you meant 'police' and not 'lice'. Other than making the guy itch, lice seems a pretty useless course of action.

    As for the police, nothing that guy said was a crime. Shitty and classless, maybe, but not illegal.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 9:06pm

    Re:

    Michael "Mike" Masnick (born December 8,[1] 1974) is the CEO and founder of Techdirt, a weblog that focuses on technology news and tech-related issues. Masnick is also the founder and CEO of the company Floor64[2] and a contributor at BusinessWeek's Business Exchange.[3]

    Before founding Floor64, Masnick worked in business development and marketing at Release Software, an e-commerce startup, and in marketing at Intel. He has a bachelor's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and an MBA, both from Cornell University.

    Read that again fuckwad:
    He has a bachelor's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and an MBA, both from Cornell University.

    Im sure his wife, and as soon as his child get old enough to realize, will be pleanty proud of him.

    No mutherfucker, I dont want fries with that, now get me my fucking burger.

     

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  43.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe it's morse code. But whatever it is, I can't make any sense out of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    Trolls always have to complain about something, or they wouldn't be trolls, you see. Now we have one complaining about his own kind.

    Maybe we should have a trolling contest to see who can out-troll who. Go to it, guys!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My grand mum always used to tell me, If the shoe fits, wear it. In other words if this is you and you did it, own up to it.

    If it doesn't fit just throw it in the byte bucket and forget it. It it offends you I'd say you got hit right in the bullseye.

     

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  46.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, buddy, better be careful. You reap what you sow.

    Better be careful who you pick a fight with, *you* might be the one who gets laid out flat on the ground, knocked out cold!

     

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  47.  
    icon
    wvhillbilly (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    And I have a patent on suing for infringement. Go away.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    oops, the po didn't format it seems.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    known coward, Nov 7th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    oops, the po didn't format it seems.


    = = ==


    po usually does not format very well indeed.

    as to the fellow who has to bring Mr. Masnick's family into this, please stop giving us cowards a bad name, and get the psychological help you obviously need. The world will be a better place if you do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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