Hoax Museum Blog: April Fools Day

USS Los Angeles lifts navy ship into the air

A 1931 photo in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung showing the US Navy airship "Los Angeles," blown by a gust of wind, lifting a ship into the air, was just an April Fool's Day hoax. But it was inspired by a very similar real incident. more…

Posted: Sat May 09, 2015.   Comments (0)

The Naked Office

Did a San Francisco company really boost morale by having its employees work in their birthday suits for a month? more…

Posted: Mon May 04, 2015.   Comments (1)

Killer Whale Attacks Bear

Does this photo show a killer whale attacking a bear? No, it's just an April Fool photo hoax that's apparently still fooling some people.

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015.   Comments (0)

Kenya’s Best April Fools

Standard Digital News offers a round-up of April Fool's Day hoaxes that's a bit different. The 10 best ever from Kenya. I hadn't heard of any of them before. more…

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2015.   Comments (0)


The Left-Handed Whopper

For many years, I've had Burger King's left-handed whopper hoax from 1998 listed as one of the most popular April Fool hoaxes of all time. But in all that time, I had never seen a copy of the actual ad that Burger King ran in USA Today. I tried contacting Burger King repeatedly asking for a copy, and they ignored me. And no libraries had back issues of USA Today that included the ads. But finally, I managed to track down a copy at the Library of Congress. So here it is. The original left-handed whopper ad.

Posted: Tue Mar 31, 2015.   Comments (2)

Brides for Liechtenstein

In 1928, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung published an article about a Bride Import company that was supplying wives to the men of Liechtenstein. Women were being shipped into the country in freight cars, the magazine claimed, and were sold at marriage markets. The article provoked outrage in Liechtenstein, particularly because all the brides shown being imported seemed to be extremely overweight. more…

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015.   Comments (4)

Lard From Live Pigs

Back in 1921, a widely reprinted story claimed that German farmers had developed a method of obtaining lard from live pigs by operating on the pigs to remove the rashers, then bandaging the pigs up and letting them heal. Supposedly the operation could be repeated three times a year. The story was actually a German April Fool's Day spoof that was mistaken by the American and British press for real news. more…

Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015.   Comments (1)

Microsoft skips Windows 9

On September 30, Microsoft announced the upcoming release of the latest version of its operating system, Windows 10. The strange thing is that there was no Windows 9. They went straight from version 8 to 10. It's been noted that this makes real an April Fool's Day hoax published by InfoWorld in 2013, which claimed that "Microsoft skips 'too good' Windows 9, jumps to Windows 10." Microsoft hasn't explained why they really did decide to skip version 9.

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014.   Comments (1)

Hamburger Helper Restaurant

Back on April 1st, Hamburger Helper (which now prefers to be known simply as 'Helper') ran an April Fool joke about the opening of a Hamburger Helper restaurant, Helper Hut, serving only Hamburger Helper food. On Sep 12 in Minneapolis that vision briefly became a reality when a "pop-up restaurant" opened for one night, serving only Hamburger Helper. Apparently the company had received such positive feedback about the April Fool joke that they decided to do it for real. However, there are no plans yet for a permanent Hamburger Helper restaurant. [youtube]

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014.   Comments (0)

Das Can-in-Stein

April Fool becomes reality. ThinkGeek first introduced "Das Can-in-Stein" on April 1st, as an April Fool's Day joke. The idea was to insert your beer can into the device so that you could pretend you were drinking from a pewter beer stein. ThinkGeek has now decided to sell this product for real. You can purchase one for $10.

Posted: Thu Aug 28, 2014.   Comments (0)

Mummified Fairy Kit — Seven years ago Dan Baines created a mummified fairy as an April Fool's Day hoax. Now he's taken to Kickstarter to raise money so that he can produce a "Mummified Fairy Kit" that will contain everything a person needs to create their own mummified fairy. He hoped to raise £5,000, and he's already raised more than that: £8,106 as I write this, with six days left before the funding period closes. So it seems like he's discovered a strong market demand for mummified fairies!
Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014.   Comments (0)

Paradise Closed

This sign appeared on a road in the town of Cambridge, UK on April 1st. There was some speculation that it might have been a joke, but the Cambridge News confirms that it actually was a genuine sign for a temporary road closure. Just a case of strange British road names. And pure coincidence that the sign went up on April 1. [Cambridge News]

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014.   Comments (0)

Speakerphone Pregnancy Call Terrifies Teacher — The video of this April Fool's Day prank, played by students at Aquinas College on their Macroeconomics professor, now has over 25 millions views on YouTube, which has to make it one of the most popular April Fool pranks this year (if not the most popular). It's nice to see that a low-budget prank by amateurs still can overshadow all the April Fool marketing efforts of the advertising professionals. The premise of the prank is that a female student receives a call on her cell phone…
Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014.   Comments (1)

No, Beyonce is not offering to pay her interns with selfies

HerCampus, a news site for women in college, recently posted that Beyoncé was looking for interns to help organize the "official Beyoncé archive." She wasn't offering any financial compensation, but she did promise "the opportunity to take three selfies with Beyoncé over the course of the internship." Quite a few media outlets picked up on the story and reported it as news. It's also circulated widely on social media. But prospective applicants should note that HerCampus posted the announcement on April Fool's Day. In other words, it was a hoax. It's definitely one of the more…

Posted: Thu Apr 10, 2014.   Comments (0)

Has April Fool’s Day Marketing Jumped The Shark?

This e-junkie author complains that April Fool's Day marketing has gotten out of hand. There definitely was a huge amount of it this year. But I don't see the trend going away anytime soon, since marketers aren't exactly known for restraint. And to be honest, I'm not really bothered by it like this author is. Perhaps I'm just easily amused, but I kind of enjoy looking through all the weird stuff advertisers come up with every April 1. Though it is true that the advertisers don't make much of an effort to actually fool anyone. They're primarily aiming for being funny/cute/quirky.

Posted: Sat Apr 05, 2014.   Comments (1)

Why doesn’t America read anymore?

NPR succeeded in pulling off one of the most successful April 1 pranks this year, in terms of number of people fooled. It posted the article below to Facebook that asked in the headline, "Why Doesn't America Read Anymore?" The provocative question quickly generated hundreds of responses. Some people bemoaned falling standards of education. Others disagreed with the premise, insisting that people do read nowadays. But what all the responses shared in common was that the people who posted them apparently hadn't bothered to click through and READ THE ARTICLE ITSELF! If they had,

Posted: Fri Apr 04, 2014.   Comments (2)

Siamese twins joined by their beard, 1937

April 1, 1937 — The Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung ran a story about Siamese twins joined by their beard. The story noted: "The brothers have solved all the problems of life joined together by means of their exemplary camaraderie. It is interesting that the phenomenon only manifested itself when the twins reached the age of 14."

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2014.   Comments (0)

Happy April Fool’s Day! — It seems like the site's server isn't crashing, as it usually does on April 1! So that's good news. I've been posting a bunch of today's April Fools over at the Hoax Museum Facebook page, since it's easier to post stuff quickly over there. I'll add the best to the April Fool Archive later.
Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2014.   Comments (0)

Salton Sea Freezes, 1906—the NYT’s only April Fool’s Day Hoax

The New York Times does not participate in the custom of April Fool's Day. It's the paper that only publishes "news that's fit to print," and April fool absurdities don't make the cut. Except for one time that maybe it did publish an April fool story. It was way back on April 1, 1906 when the following story appeared on the front page of the Times. It's an odd story. It's not really laugh-out-loud funny. But anyone familiar with the climate around the Salton Sea would immediately realize that the idea that it had frozen solid was absurd. And ice skating on the Salton Sea? Never…

Posted: Mon Mar 31, 2014.   Comments (0)

What’s the earliest German reference to April Fool’s Day?

With April Fool's Day fast approaching, I've been working on the April Fool Archive, trying to add supplementary material, etc. In the course of which, I realized that I didn't have much information about the early history of April Fool's Day in Germany. Specifically, what is the earliest German reference to April Fool's Day? Knowing this would give us an idea of how long the Germans have been celebrating April first. That question was harder to answer than I had anticipated. The Diet of Augsburg, 1530There's a German origin story about April Fool's Day that alleges the celebration…

Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014.   Comments (1)

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