In 2003, during a soccer match between Iran and Denmark, an Iranian player mistook a whistle from the crowd as being the referee's half-time signal and picked the ball up with his hands in the penalty area. Danish player Morten Wieghorst missed the resultant penalty on purpose, and Denmark lost 1–0.
2Terrance Ervin Daniels
In 2013, a deaf 45-year-old man named Terrance Ervin Daniels in North Carolina was repeatedly stabbed to death when he was walking down the street, signing to his friend. A gang member mistook their signing conversation for gang signs.
3New Zealand father
In 2012, a father in New Zealand was arrested and taken away from his children for over 8 months after people at a park mistook him kissing his daughter as indecent assault.
In 2013, a medical receptionist mistook the line “shooting some b-ball outside of the school” for “shooting people outside of the school” on a teen patient's voicemail message, prompting county-wide school lockdowns.
A pediatrician named Yvette Cloete in Britain was once forced to flee her home after some local residents mistook her job title to mean she was a pedophile and vandalized her home.
During the Falklands war, the British Navy mistook whales for submarines and torpedoed them.
7Battle of the Chosin Reservoir
The battle of the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War was lost, due to Tootsie Rolls. A code reader mistook the code for mortar shells (“snacks”, they were called), and literally sent hundreds of crates of Tootsie Rolls to the marines who were out of mortar rounds.
Wrestling legend Davey Boy Smith, also known as ‘The British Bulldog’ was given his middle name, “Boy”, when his parents mistook ‘middle name’ for ‘gender’ on his birth certificate.
During the filming of Leon: The Professional, a robber mistook a scene for actual cops and "gave himself up" to a bunch of paid extras.
Bill Murray only agreed to do "Garfield" because he mistook the movie's writer--Joel Coen--to be that of the Coen Brothers.