The Museum of Hoaxes
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Mencken's fake history of the bathtub, 1917
Use your left ear to detect lies
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
The Hitler Diary Hoax, 1983
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
The Great Wasp Swarm Hoax -- April Fool's Day, 1949
Phil Shone, a New Zealand deejay for radio station 1ZB, announced to his listeners that a mile-wide wasp swarm was headed towards Auckland. He urged his listeners to take a variety of steps to protect themselves and their homes from the winged menace. For instance, 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 memo was sent out each year before April Fool's Day reminding New Zealand radio stations of their obligation to report the truth, and nothing but the truth.

April Fool Categories: Animals, Radio, New Zealand, 1949, Fake Warnings.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.