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On this Day: Famous (and Notorious) April Fools' Day Hoaxes throughout History

By Faun Gray




April Fools' Day revolves around tricking someone into falling for a prank or a fabricated tale. However, some individuals have taken it to the next level:

Back on April 1, 1905, the Berliner Tageblatt, a German newspaper, issued a report claiming that thieves had dug an underground tunnel beneath the U.S. treasury and successfully made off with $268 million worth of silver and gold.


In 1957, the BBC shocked viewers by broadcasting a story about Swiss farmers experiencing an extraordinary harvest of spaghetti. They even went as far as showing a video depicting people plucking noodles from trees.


In 1962, SVT (Sveriges Television), the sole black and white television station in Sweden, announced that viewers could convert their existing sets into color televisions by simply stretching a nylon stocking over the screen.


In 1983, Joseph Boskin, a professor at Boston University, concocted a tale while speaking to an AP reporter about the origins of April Fools' Day. According to Boskin, the day originated from an incident where Roman Emperor Constantine allowed his jester, "Kugel," to rule as king for a day. Unbeknownst to many, Boskin had completely fabricated the entire story.


Then in 1985, Sports Illustrated published a fictitious article written by George Plimpton about an unknown pitching prodigy named Sidd Finch. This never-before-heard-of player was said to possess incredible skills and threw pitches at an astonishing speed. The story captivated readers until it was revealed that Sidd Finch was merely a fictional character.


Throughout history, April Fools' Day has provided ample opportunities for creativity and mischief. These pranks and hoaxes serve as reminders of the human desire for humor and the joy of playing lighthearted tricks on others.



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