The Museum of Hoaxes
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New Zealand April Fool's Day Hoaxes
The Great Wasp Swarm Hoax. (1949)
Phil Shone, a New Zealand deejay for radio station 1ZB, told his listeners that a mile-wide wasp swarm was headed towards Auckland and urged them to take a variety of steps to protect themselves and their homes from the winged menace. He suggested that they wear their socks over their trousers when they left for work, and that they leave honey-smeared traps outside their doors. Hundreds of people dutifully heeded his advice, until he finally admitted that it had all been a joke. The New Zealand Broadcasting Service was not amused by Shone's prank. Its director, Professor James Shelley, denounced the hoax on the grounds that it undermined the rules of proper broadcasting. From then on, a More…
Theater-goers Weighed. (2004)
New Zealand's Southland Times reported that all those attending the Invercargill Civic Theatre would be required to first weigh-in if they wanted to sit upstairs, due to concerns about the ability of the second level to support heavy weight: "'Luckily, Southlanders seem relatively slim and it could be an incentive for some people, including myself, to watch what we eat,' [Mayor Boniface] said. Anyone more than 75kg who wanted to sit upstairs would have to buy two seats, he said. 'However, if you're a man with a petite wife or girlfriend, you might be able to get away with it.' Telephone bookings would still be accepted but customers would have to declare their weight and would be weighed at the theatre." More…
The Sheep Albedo Hypothesis. (2007)
RealClimate.org detailed the work of Dr. Ewe Noh-Watt of the New Zealand Institute of Veterinary Climatology, who had discovered that global warming was caused not by a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but rather by the decline of New Zealand's sheep population. The reasoning was that sheep are white, and therefore large numbers of sheep increased the planet's albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected back into space). As the sheep population declined, the ground absorbed more solar radiation, thus warming the planet: "It can be seen that the recent warming can be explained entirely by the decline in the New Zealand sheep population, without any need to bring in any mysterious More…
Playboy Invests in Rotorua. (2009)
The tourism board of Rotorua, New Zealand (a town famous for having a rotten egg smell caused by sulphur released from hot springs) ran full-page ads in The New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post noting that scientists from Italy's University of Naples had recently discovered a positive link between the town's smell and male sexual arousal. This was true. But the ads went on to claim that, as a result, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner had decided to invest in Rotorua by converting the Rotorua Museum into his Holiday Mansion. Although some locals were unhappy, the long-term tourism benefits were expected to be huge. More…
Intercity Triple-Decker Bus. (2012)
New Zealand's Intercity Coachlines launched that country's first fleet of triple-decker buses. The company noted the "rising numbers of passengers" as well as "greater demands for entertainment and sleeping options" as providing the need for the new buses. To prepare for the triple-deckers, the company had mapped low-height obstacles around the highway network, identifying "several tree branches that would require remedial work." However, transport expert A. Fool was skeptical about whether the public would be able to accept triple-decker buses, saying, "They really have to be seen to be believed." More…
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