Man Posts Fake Ads on Craigslist to See What People Are Willing to Do

Craigslist Casual Encounters by Henry Russell

Ever wonder what it would take to convince a complete stranger to bring you food in the middle of the night or act as your human punching bag after a bad day?

As it turns out, all it takes is an attention-grabbing personal ad, according to a Los Angeles lawyer and self-proclaimed prankster who goes by the alias Henry Russell.

Russell spent a year posting fake advertisements on the online community website Craigslist in an experiment to see what people were willing to do, and he has turned 29 of his best findings into a new self-published book, "Craigslist Casual Encounters: The Hilarious and Disturbing World of Seeking Sex Online."

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"Part of me just did it for the entertainment," Russell, 37, told ABCNews.com. "But the point was to find out what kind of people are on Craigslist; I was trying to find the crazy people who might make the news and just to interact with them and see what they're all about."

The year-long project produced an estimated 150 unique ads that he published in all 50 states. His ads, always posted in the casual encounters section of the site, which is known for being the destination for users looking for casual sexual relationships, garnered more than 10,000 responses, he said.

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Russell requested anonymity for this story out of fear that some people may attempt to retaliate against him, physically or otherwise.

"I know it would be karma for people to prank me," he said. "But I'd rather avoid if at all possible."

One of the earliest postings -– and one Russell said is on his list of favorites -– was written from the perspective of a woman who had just been dumped and was looking for a guy who was willing to take the brunt of her anger.

"I just want to let out some of this aggression," read the post, later soliciting for a man who would let her punch him.

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"I was astounded by the number of responses I got of guys willing to let her punch him out," said Russell, who estimated that the ad got nearly 300 responses.

Henry Russell Posted 150 Fake Craigslist Ads

And while Russell did post some sexual ads, such as a request to have sex while dressed up in bear costumes, he said, the ads that were not intended to illicit sex generated the most interesting responses. Many responses respected the "no sex" requests, while others tried to turn anything they could into a sexual innuendo.

For example, in an ad titled, "It's Late and I'm Hungry," Russell, who has a girlfriend, posed as a woman requesting Taco Bell.

"I know the odds someone will actually help me out are slim, but I'm home from the bars, without a car and dying for some Taco Bell," read the ad, "This isn't for sex, and there is a 0% chance of that happening, but maybe someone out there is feeling like a good Samaritan."

The 109 responses Russell received varied, some impressed with the advertiser's audacity, writing, "Pretty odd but bold request."

Others couldn't help but try to barter for sex.

"So, no sex at all?" wrote one poster, and another wrote that he'd come and deliver the food, but only in exchange for oral sex.

Russell said he used an alias to protect himself, and never let a back-and-forth exchange progress to the point where he says he "really thought" the person would do what he was asking.

One ad attracted particularly disturbing responses, said Russell, who posted as a man looking for L.A. Lakers basketball tickets in exchange for a night with his wife.

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