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Malicious Mayhem

It's in our nature to play mean-spirited pranks — their secret appeal is that they make us feel powerful. Whether we're throwing a scare into someone we know is bound to panic, or merely engaging in mindless vandalism, we're in charge. We get to say how much gets destroyed or how far the prank goes. There's something deeply satisfying in leaving a big mess, then snickering behind our hands as others try to figure out who the perpetrators were.

But what happens when the pranks get out of hand, when real harm is done? Sometimes the jokes turn ugly.

Ratings Key

        Green bullet = true
        Red bullet = false
        Multiple status bullet = multiple truth values
        Yellow bullet = undetermined
        White bullet = unclassifiable veracity

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Green bullet Pins, needles, and razor blades have been found in Halloween treats.

White bullet Coed's cries for help while being raped go unnoticed during campus scream session.

Red bullet Drug addicts are leaving HIV-laden needles in pay phone coin slots.

Red bullet Gang members are depositing a deadly mixture of LSD and strychnine on pay phone buttons.

Red bullet Fun-loving teens are lobbing lit gasoline-soaked rags into cars halted at red lights in a deadly game called spunkball.

White bullet Woman who failed to use e-mail bcc is stalked by on-line acquaintance.

Red bullet HIV-loaded needles have been found attached to the handles of gas pumps.

Red bullet Zero Population Growth terrorists have taken to boobytrapping toilets in men's restrooms.

White bullet Black cats are routinely sacrificed by "satanic cults" at Halloween.

Multi-colored bulletRazor blades have been found amidst merchandise sold at a Wal-Mart store in Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

Red bullet Acid found in hand soap dispensers in mens restrooms in Alabama and Florida.

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