In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made his famous "first" phone call. ("Watson, come here. I need you.") And now Paul Collins (aka, the Literary Detective) has found evidence of the first prank phone call, from 1884:
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.