Top 5 Greatest April Fools Pranks
1st April traditionally sees people across the globe celebrate ‘April Fool’s Day’ by practicing jokes, hoaxes and tricking family members, colleagues and friends. It’s not just the public who get in the act- the media does too, and it’s not uncommon to find a broadsheet report a ridiculous (and falsified) story. So what are the greatest April Fool’s Day pranks of all time? Read on to find out more!
Prank of Piltdown
When amateur palaeontologist Charles Dawson discovered some skull fragments in a gravel pit near the Sussex village of Piltdown in 1912, they were heralded as the missing link between man and the apes. Despite much skepticism from foreign scientists, the bones went on display at the Natural History Museum. It wasn’t till 1953 that The Times exposed the forgery!
In July 1947, a weather balloon crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, sparking claims by conspiracy theorists it was a flying saucer. It was a story that was followed by a 1995 film of an autopsy allegedly carried out on an alien corpse pulled from the Roswell wreckage. The film maker allowed the public to believe it was true until just a few years ago- when he admitted it was a fake, filmed with dummies and offcuts from the butchers.
The WHO Blonde Report sparked panic in the eyes of many men, when the organisation claimed that natural blondes would most likely be extinct within 200 years due to too few people carrying the blonde gene. According to the study, the last natural blonde would most likely be born in Finland in 2202. The claims were revealed to be a hoax, with WHO denying having ever sponsored such a study.
Money might not grow on trees, but spaghetti certainly does, according to a BBC programme in 1957. Panorama showed Italians harvesting spaghetti from trees, thanks to the spaghetti weevil being eradicated. The pasta prank led to many people falling for the stunt and enquiring as to how they could cultivate their own spaghetti trees. Bolognaise anyone? Other BBC spoofs include ‘smellovision’- fooling viewers into thinking they would soon be able to transmit smells down the TV.
National Public Radio’s All Things Considered announced that the post office had begun a new ‘portable zip codes’ program. This program, inspired by an FCC ruling that allowed phone users to take their phone number with them when they moved, would allow people to also take their zip code with them when they moved, no matter where they moved to. It was hoped that with this new program zip codes would come to symbolize “a citizen’s place in the demographic, rather than geographic, landscape.” Assistant Postmaster General Lester Crandall was quoted as saying, “Every year millions of Americans are on the go: People who must relocate for work or other reasons. Those people may have been quite attached to their original homes or an adopted town or city of residence. For them this innovative measure will serve as an umbilical cord to the place they love best.” Great if you play the Peoples’ Postcode Lottery, not so great for the postal system!