The Tollund Man, a 2000-year-old corpse found in a Danish bog was so well preserved that those who found it mistook it for a murder victim and called the police.
Greek playwright Aeschylus was killed when an eagle mistook his bald head for a rock, and dropped a tortoise on him, thinking its shell would break.
13Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson was supposed to have an afro in Pulp Fiction. He was losing his hair so he needed a wig. A PA went to get an Afro-style wig. The PA didn’t know the different between Afro and Jheri curls and bought Jheri curls. Before they were able to return it, Jackson convinced Tarantino to keep it so he ended up wearing Jheri Curls.
Halle Berry attended a Star Trek screening and mistook an audience member for Trek's Klingon attorney Michael Dorn. When the man refused to say he was Dorn, Berry became angry, stood up during the movie, screamed and stomped out.
To promote his newest single, Paul McCartney painted "Hey Jude" on the window of a closed boutique store. A Jewish passerby mistook this as anti-Semitic graffiti ("Jude" meaning "Jew" in German) and smashed the window.
When Canada minted coins with poppies for Remembrance Day, visiting US contractors mistook them for suspicious nanotechnology and filed espionage reports about them.
17Helmut Christian Goebbels
When Adolf Hitler shot himself, Helmut Christian Goebbels (son of Joseph Goebbels, a German Nazi politician), mistook the sound of the shot for that of a mortar landing nearby, and screamed: "That was a bullseye!"
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Green Day joined the lineups of both the Lollapalooza festival and Woodstock '94, where the group started an infamous mud fight. During the concert, a security guard mistook bassist Mike Dirnt for a stage-invading fan and punched out some of his teeth.
While the Breaking Bad episode "Half Measures" was being shot, filming was interrupted when a man mistook the character Wendy for a real prostitute and attempted to pick her up.
In 1987, a British tourist named Kris Tait in Tibet nearly had her shirt ripped off by a Chinese policeman because the cop mistook her Phil Silvers 'Sergeant Bilko' t-shirt for an image of the Dalai Lama.