An image from BBC's 2008 April Fool's Day joke, where they aired this video of a newly discovered flying penguin species. (Contributed Photo)

Nobody knows exactly how April Fool’s Day originated, but it’s believed that it started somewhere in the 1500s. Since then, April Fool’s has been associated with all kinds of practical jokes, some of which have generated so much controversy that they’ve gone down in history as some of the best pranks of all time. With April Fool’s Day just a few days away, it only makes sense to chronicle some of the most famous April Fool’s Day jokes in somewhat recent memory, pulled from the Museum of Hoaxes.

1. In 1957 BBC broadcasted a story that fooled the nation with a spoof about spaghetti crops in Switzerland. They showed women plucking spaghetti from trees, prompting calls from viewers to ask where they could purchase their very own spaghetti trees.

2. The BBC caused another April Fool’s Day stir in 2008 when they reported on their series “Miracles of Discovery” that they had spotted a new species of flying penguins. They claimed that these penguins flew to South America for the winter, and even went so far as to include a made-up video of flying penguins to accompany the story.

3. Sports Illustrated published an article in its 1985 issue, chronicling the story of a pitcher named Sidd Finch, who  could throw a 168-mph fastball. A record-breaking pitch, Finch was also reported to have never played a game of baseball but learned the art of pitching from a Tibetan monk. The magazine received thousands of letters from excited baseball fans, only to find out days later that the entire thing was made up by writer George Plimpton.

4. The British newspaper The Guardian published an article detailing a new vacation hot-spot called San Serriffe, a group of islands supposedly discovered off the coast of the Indian Ocean. It was a seven-page special report, and somehow people missed the fact that the islands were not only in the shape of semi-colons, but the names of the cities and towns were named after fonts and typefaces. The Guardian received calls all day from people wanting to know more information about this vacation spot.

5. In 1995, Discover magazine ran a story about a new species found in Antarctica, curiously named the “hotheaded naked ice borers.” They were described as similar in appearance to a mole, but with a plate on top of their heads that became so hot, it allowed them to bore through the ice to apparently hunt for penguins. The article generated more letters than Discover had ever received about any article up to that point, according to their Web site.

If there is a moral from these examples, it should be this: if something is published on April Fool’s Day and it sounds unbelievable, it probably is. But as people continue to be fooled year after year by fake press, this is our encouragement to you to pull a prank on whoever you can. Because they will probably fall for it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.