The Top April Fools’ Day Hoaxes
Written by: Dave Andrews
March 30, 2010
Filed Under Holidays
The Museum of Hoaxes is a website that gathers and presents a massive amount of data about a variety of hoaxes, both good and bad. One of the key features on the site is a list, in their opinion, of the top 100 April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all time.
If you want to read the entire list of 100, as well as tons of other hoaxes, a list of the ten worst April Fools Day hoaxes of all time, and the history of April Fools Day, you’ll have to visit their site, but we’ll list the top ten here.
10: Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
Starting off the list of the top april fools day hoaxes is the gravity hoax. In 1976 British Astronomer Patrick Moore announced on a BBC radio station that at precisely 9:47am April 1st, an amazing once-in-a-lifetime event would occur when Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, causing a temporary reduction of gravity on Earth and that if listeners jumped at precisely that time, they would feel lighter and be able to jump higher.
The station received hundreds of calls from listeners who claimed to have experienced the sensation after jumping at the correct time. One listener apparently even claimed that she and her friends actually floated around the room, but it’s not known what substance was ingested to get this result. One thing is certain; it wasn’t the phenomenon.
9: Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers
In the April 1995 issue, Discover magazine ran an article announcing that wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo was doing research in Antarctica when she discovered a fascinating new species she dubbed “the hotheaded naked ice borers.” This odd little creature had a bony plate on top of its head that would become extremely hot and allow these little buggers to plow through the ice making tunnels at very high rates of speed.
Problem is, not only does the creature not exist, but Dr. Aprile Pazzo herself was a concoction from the creative minds at Discover. Her name is actually Italian for April Fools.
8: The Left-Handed Whopper
In 1998 Burger King took out a full page ad in the April 1st issue of national newspaper USA Today to advertise their new Left Handed Whopper. In the ad, the sandwich was described as having all of the same ingredients of an original Whopper, but would now have all of the ingredients turned 180 degrees to better suit the left-handed customer. Although this was clearly a joke, the restaurant reported many requests for both the new Left Handed Whopper and for the original, non-left-handed version.
7: Alabama Changes the Value of Pi
In the April 1998 issue of New Mexicans for Science and Reason ran an article that claimed that the Alabama state legislature had approved a measure to change the value of Pi from 3.1415… to the Biblical value of 3.0. The article spread across the internet and before long the Alabama legislature was inundated with calls to abandon this new legislation.
6: Nixon for President
NPR’s Talk of the Nation program announced on April 1, 1992 that Nixon had announced that he was going to run for president again, claiming “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again!” Comedian Rich Little provided the voice of Nixon and was convincing enough that the station was flooded with calls about the announcement.
5: San Seriffe
British paper The Guardian ran a piece in the April 1, 1977 issue about the tiny Indian Ocean republic San Seriffe, an island chain containing several semi-colon shaped islands. This was no ordinary article, but a full, elaborate seven-page spread. The two main islands of this tiny little nation were called Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. The capital was the city of Bodoni (a font name) and the leader was General Pica.
People began calling in, asking about the island nation and how to vacation there. According to the Museum of Hoaxes, this particular hoax was so successful that is spawned a decades-long habit of Brit tabloids running April Fool’s Day hoaxes.
4: The Taco Liberty Bell
As an April Fool’s Day joke in 1996 The Taco Bell Corp. announced that it had purchased the Liberty Bell from the United States government and had re-named it the Taco Liberty Bell. Proving that many in the U.S. don’t have a sense of humor and are gullible to the point of being ridiculous, hundreds of outraged Americans began calling government offices to complain that they had sold a restaurant one of our most prized national symbols.
3: Instant Color TV
Back in 1962 there was only one single TV channel in Sweden, and it was only available in black and white. On April 1st the station announced that a new technology would allow everyone to see the station in color. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their set. Thousands were duped, but eventually reality sunk in and they had to wait six more years before seeing the station in color.
2: Sidd Finch
The April 1995 edition of Sports Illustrated ran an article announcing that the New York Mets had found a new pitcher by the name of Sidd Finch. Finch, it claimed, had an amazing 168 mph fastball, which is more than 50 percent faster than the record pitch.
It went on to explain that Finch had not learned to throw like this in ball camp, but had undergone very special training in a Tibetan monastery. Mets fans got very excited about striking gold with this amazing new pitcher, but alas, it was not to be. It was just the second greatest April Fools Day hoax of all time.
1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
The top spot among the top April Fools day hoaxes goes to the BBC program Panorama, which in 1957 told viewers that due to a mild winter and the near-elimination of the dreaded Spaghetti Weevil, Swiss farmers had experienced a bumper crop of spaghetti this year. The hoax was topped off with footage of Swiss peasants harvesting spaghetti from the overloaded spaghetti trees. The station was busy for a few days with viewers calling in to find out where they could obtain their own spaghetti trees to plant in their yards.
For more about these hoaxes, and many, many more, as well as the history of April Fool’s Day, visit The Museum of Hoaxes website at http://www.museumofhoaxes.com.