I’ve looked on the Internet for April Fools Day pranks that over the years have fooled communities and some times whole nations :-)
I was pranked myself last year by my local paper.
In my little seaside town of Skegness we have a old clock tower that is a symbolic landmark of our town.
The clock tower has been apart of Skegness since 18th century and is in the hearts of the residence of Skegness as much as it’s visitors.
We opened our news papers to read the horror that our beloved clock tower was to be pulled down brick by brick and erected in the London Museum. The article said that after a small earth quake we had that year (2009) the clock tower had become unstable and was leaning a little and in it’s present condition would only stay standing a few years before it would become a danger to the public. The article claimed that the London Museum had offered the council who could not afford repairs to the tower, to take and erect the clock tower in London at the museum.
The town was a buzz with disgust at the thought of the clock tower in London, even I mentioned the article with a neighbour, only to find out a week later the news paper article was a April Fools Prank :-)
Here is a few April Fools Pranks that others have fallen for over the years, at least I’m not alone in being a gullible numpty :-).
The Left-Handed Whopper
1998: Burger King advertised a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the new “Left-Handed Whopper”. The whopper had been specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper had the same ingredients as the original Whopper, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King revealed that the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, but during the hoax thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
spaghetti harvest1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama did a program and announced that thanks to a very mild winter had caused the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil. Panorama reported that Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. Panorama showed footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in calling the BBC to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. The BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Instant Color TV
In 1962 there was only one TV channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. A news report was broadcast that announced that, viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their TV screen. Thousands of people were taken in.
Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers
1995: Discover Magazine reported that the highly respected wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo had found a new species in Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. These fascinating creatures had bony plates on their heads that, fed by numerous blood vessels, could become burning hot, allowing the animals to bore through ice at high speeds. They used this ability to hunt penguins, melting the ice beneath the penguins and causing them to sink downwards into the resulting slush where the hotheads consumed them. After much research, Dr. Pazzo theorized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. “To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin,” the article quoted her as saying. Discover received more mail in response to this article than they had received for any other article in their history
Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
1976: The British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.
UFO Lands in London
1989: On March 31, 1989 thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction. The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London’s Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.
2008: The BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet. Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rain forests of South America where they “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.” A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.
The Body of Nessie Found
1972: On March 31 1972, a team of zoologists from Yorkshire’s Flamingo Park Zoo, who were at Loch Ness searching for proof of Nessie’s existence, found a mysterious carcass floating in the Loch. Initial reports claimed it weighed a ton and a half and was 15 ½ feet long. The zoologists placed the body in a van and began to transport it back to the zoo. However, the police chased down their truck and stopped it under a 1933 act of Parliament prohibiting the removal of “unidentified creatures” from Loch Ness. The body was then taken to nearby Dunfermline for examination. The discovery of the carcass received worldwide media attention. The British press dubbed it “Son of Nessie.” But upon examination, Edinburgh scientists identified the creature as a bull elephant seal from the South Atlantic. The next day John Shields, Flamingo Park’s education officer, confessed he had been responsible for the body. The bull elephant seal had died the week before at Dudley Zoo. He had shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and kept it frozen for a week, before dumping it in the Loch and then phoning in a tip to make sure his colleagues found it. He had meant to play an April Fool’s prank on his colleagues, but admitted the joke got out of hand when the police chased down their van.
The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
1974: Residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano’s crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, “This time you’ve gone too far!”
The Case of the Interfering Brassieres
1982: The Daily Mail reported that a local manufacturer had sold 10,000 “rogue bras” that were causing a unique and unprecedented problem, not to the wearers but to the public at large. Apparently the support wire in these bras had been made out of a kind of copper originally designed for use in fire alarms. When this copper came into contact with nylon and body heat, it produced static electricity which, in turn, was interfering with local television and radio broadcasts. The chief engineer of British Telecom, upon reading the article, immediately ordered that all his female laboratory employees disclose what type of bra they were wearing.
The Sydney Iceberg
Sydney Iceberg1978: A barge appeared in Sydney Harbor towing a giant iceberg. Sydneysiders were expecting it. Dick Smith, a local adventurer and millionaire businessman (owner of Dick Smith’s Foods), had been loudly promoting his scheme to tow an iceberg from Antarctica for quite some time. Now he had apparently succeeded. He said that he was going to carve the berg into small ice cubes, which he would sell to the public for ten cents each. These well-traveled cubes, fresh from the pure waters of Antarctica, were promised to improve the flavor of any drink they cooled. Slowly the iceberg made its way into the harbor. Local radio stations provided excited blow-by-blow coverage of the scene. Only when the berg was well into the harbor was its secret revealed. It started to rain, and the firefighting foam and shaving cream that the berg was really made of washed away, uncovering the white plastic sheets beneath.