The April Fool Archive

Zon Zhoum    (April Fool's Day - 1910)

At the 1910 National Convention of Bahaists of America, held in late April in Chicago, Henry Clayton Thompson dramatically declared that he had been chosen to be the leader of the religious organization. He explained to the crowd that he had been informed of this by a series of written messages he had received from "Zon Zhoum," a high priest in Ancient Egypt who had designated Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed before him as spiritual leaders. These messages, he said, had been delivered to him by "Estelle, one of the Supreme Concourse" — who, more specifically, was Mrs. Estelle Hamsley, his neighbor on Fulton Street.

Mrs. Hamsley subsequently revealed that she had intended the messages as a joke, and pointed out that the final one had been given to Thompson (and was dated) April 1st, April Fool's Day. She had come up with the name Zon Zhoum after seeing a box of "Zu Zu" ginger snap crackers. She told the Chicago Tribune that she perpetrated the prank in order to "show Thompson how easy it is for a believer in occultism to be deluded."

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