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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: April Fools Day
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… Continue…
Posted: Thu Mar 20, 2014.   Comments (1)

Hairy Chest Sweater — On April 1, 2013, Internet commerce site Firebox.com released a new product — the 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. From the product description: What makes lumberjacks, 70s television stars and the giant Brown Bears of Alaska so irresistibly attractive to others? Simple. Their long, luxuriant chest hair. Sadly, the recent 'man-scaping' trend has led to an epidemic of people pedantically plucking their pecs. Oh, the humanity. Thankfully, we’ve found a solution (while you wait for your rug to regenerate). The 70s Hairy Chest Sweater. This 100% polyester sweater is almost guaranteed to… Continue…
Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014.   Comments (0)

April Fool UFO Hoax — One problem is that the planned hoax is too late in the day. According to the rules of April Fool's Day, pranks have to be done before noon! If you do it after noon, then you become the fool. (Does no one care about the rules any more???) So it would be better to do this early in the morning on the 1st, rather than in the evening. RC Group Plans UFO Hoax A Group of RC enthusiasts plan a April Fools Day UFO hoax. This group of RC enthusiasts seem to have a secret plan to create an…
Posted: Thu Feb 27, 2014.   Comments (2)

Did Chaucer Mention April Fool’s Day? — The Nun's Priest's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales tells the story of a vain rooster, Chauntecleer, whose vanity leads him to drop his guard while showing off how splendidly he crows. As a result, he almost gets eaten by a fox. But Chauntecleer outwits the fox that carries him away in its mouth by taking advantage of the fox's own vanity. He persuades the fox to stop and mock his pursuers. As soon as the fox opens its mouth to do so, Chauntecleer flies to safety up into a tree. The…
Posted: Mon Feb 17, 2014.   Comments (0)


Tail Lights for Horses—a case of satirical prophecy — On April 1, 1961, Milan's La Notte newspaper reported that city authorities had passed a new law making it mandatory for horses to be outfitted with signaling and brake lights while being ridden through the streets or neighboring countryside. Back then, quite a few people in the area still rode horses, so the law was going to have quite a broad impact. And, so the story goes, many people subsequently brought their horses into car mechanics to have them outfitted with the necessary…
Posted: Sat Dec 07, 2013.   Comments (0)

Starting Gate for Sprinters? — I'm not sure whether or not this was an April Fool's Day joke. I found it in the Mar 31, 1934 issue of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, which contained quite a few April Fool spoof articles, such as the "Loch Ness Monster Captured" article that I posted about recently. But this feature about a new starting gate for sprinters... I just don't know. I've never heard of such a thing before. But on the other hand, it sounds kinda plausible. In fact, some googling revealed that the…
Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013.   Comments (3)

A Brief History of Prescription Windshields — I've been spending a lot of time recently adding to the April Fool archive, and in doing so I've noticed that a lot of April 1st jokes get repeated again and again over the years. One joke in particular caught my eye. In the past 20 years, prescription windshields (or windscreens, as the British say) have been the theme of corporate April Fool campaigns at least 4 separate times — and possibly more, for all I know. This made me wonder: how old is the 'prescription windshield' joke?
Posted: Fri Nov 01, 2013.   Comments (2)

Trout-Pig — A trout-pig hybrid, discovered in the Tet river in southeastern France. As reported by L'Indépendant, April 1, 2013. I imagine that, when cooked, this would taste like trout wrapped in bacon.
Posted: Fri Sep 13, 2013.   Comments (2)

Paul Krassner’s Stereophonic Hoax, 1960 — Back in 1960, a story got around about a TV viewer in the South who thought he saw a black man kissing a white woman on a popular TV show. So he wrote to the sponsor of the show to complain. The sponsor acted quickly to calm the man and assure him that they would never sponsor a show on which such an act occurred. They flew an account executive down to see the man and held a private screening for him, to demonstrate to him that the actor in question was actually white. His local station…
Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013.   Comments (2)

Mirro Dress for Fatso Figures — The "Mirro Dress" for "fatso figures" was one of a number of unusual items that Kaufmann's Department Store included in an ad that it ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 1, 1949. Other items included a "Sun-Tan Umbrella" that browned you with ultraviolet rays as you walked in the rain, and "Grow Cup" ceramic paste that could regrow handles on broken coffee cups. The ad was an April Fool's Day spoof. Nowadays spoof ads are a dime a dozen on April 1st, but back in the 1940s they…
Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2013.   Comments (0)

Marshmallow Farming — A video of a news segment about marshmallow farming in North Carolina recently appeared on youtube: It looks like it was inspired by the BBC's famous Swiss Spaghetti Harvest April fool's day segment. The reporter identifies himself as being from Channel 9 news in Iredell County. But there's no info about what year this first aired. So I sent the station an email to find out what they might know.
Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2013.   Comments (1)

Museum Mail: The Norwegian Wine Surplus — I received this message from a reader in Norway: Thank you for your list of good April Fool jokes. I think the best jokes are where you get people to do something stupid, but still rather harmless. My personal favourite is from my home country, where there is a state "Wine Monopoly" — the only place you can buy wine and liquor. You find a wine monopoly in most cities, several in the larger ones. One year in the late 1940ies, one of the major newspapers announced that the wine…
Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013.   Comments (2)

Bacon Mouthwash — Slightly in advance of April 1st, Scope is introducing Bacon Mouthwash. From their product info page: Scope Bacon is the newest addition to our line of products. It tastes like bacon, while still killing 99.9% of bad breath germs. And, it keeps your breath minty fresh 5 times longer than brushing alone. Does Scope Bacon make my breath smell like bacon? No. Scope Bacon just tastes like bacon while you swish, but leaves your breath smelling minty fresh 5 times longer than brushing…
Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2013.   Comments (2)

How to make cotton cakes — Back in the 19th century, food pranks were very popular on April Fool's Day. And one of the most popular forms of trick food was the "cotton cake." Instructions for how to make this delicacy were reported by Jane Eddington in the Chicago Daily Tribune on Apr 1, 1929: One of the older American cooking jokes of the days was the cotton cakes. I heard a woman tell how to do this in an up to date way, imitating what her great grandmother did who made cotton cakes and sent them around to…
Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013.   Comments (0)

Museum Mail: April Fool Prank — Thanks to Joy for sharing this: After college, I took a job as a legal secretary at a law firm in Atlanta, GA. At the time, we all used Selectric III typewriters (PCs weren't around, and WANGs had just come on the market). We had a very nice, intelligent associate who had started about a month or so before April 1st, and although he was extremely smart at law, he was also a little too trusting and pretty naive. I clued the attorney I worked for into my plan, gave him some lines, and…
Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2013.   Comments (1)

A Few More Of This Year’s April Fools — Unicorn Cookbook The British Library's Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts Blog announced the discovery of a long-lost medieval cookbook that included recipes for unicorns: "Taketh one unicorne," marinade it in cloves and garlic, and roast it on a griddle. Bacon-Scented Cat Litter Fresh Step announced the introduction of Organic Bacon-scented cat litter: "The power of activated carbon meets the scrumptious scent of freshly cooked bacon." Mars Attacks: The Musical Topps and IDW Publishing…
Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2012.   Comments (1)

PetaPixel’s April Fool’s Day Image Roundup — PetaPixel has a nice roundup of images from April Fool's Day 2012, including this one of an ad by Hipstamatic (an iPhone app) for contact lenses that will give everything you look at the warm glow of a vintage photo. (Thanks, Bob!) INTRODUCING: Hipstamatic Contact Lenses. See the world through the shadows of John S, the sexy glow of Lucifer, the dreamy haze of Loftus--and many, many more. Inspired by the beautiful effects of our HipstaPaks, these babies will rock your world. Pop them…
Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2012.   Comments (0)

The Annual Overland Whale Migration — I received an email from Peter Barss recounting a 1985 April Fool's Day hoax he was involved in. It's a great story, so I'll let him tell it in his own words: In 1985 the Bridgewater Bulletin had an April Fool's front page. Turn over the bogus page and there was the true front page with the day's news. One reporter created an image of a twelve foot starfish climbing out of the sea and up the side of a fisherman's building. Another wrote a story about an international airport that would…
Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2012.   Comments (3)

Happy April Fool’s Day, 2012! — Here's a few of this year's April Fool's jokes that I've come across so far: Gmail Tap: Google brings back morse code for mobile computing: youtube. Google Maps 8-Bit: A low-res version for NES. youtube Virgin Volcanic: Richard Branson announces plans to travel to the center of the earth. virginvolcanic.com Water Runways: South African airline Kulula announces the introduction of new water runways. travelwires.com Triple-Decker Buses: New Zealand's 3 News ran a story about a…
Posted: Sun Apr 01, 2012.   Comments (7)

Creepy April Fool Masks — I came across these creepy April Fool masks from 1930 on eBay. Or rather, it's an auction for an article from 1930 about April Fool masks. I've never heard of mask-wearing being part of April Fool's tradition in any country. But I'm sure it would freak people out if you showed up somewhere, such as work, wearing one of these things. Especially that pig mask.
Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2012.   Comments (1)

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