April 1 is known popularly as Fool’s Day, of course. But do you know why? We’ll tell you. In the year 1983, the mystery of Fool’s Day was finally solved. A Boston University Professor Joseph Boskin discovered that the tradition started in the fourth century when Emperor Constantine appointed a court jester Kugel king for a day. The jester immediately ruled that only the absurd would be allowed in the kingdom, and hence started the tradition that has been followed for many centuries.
Believed it? Well, you’ve been had even before April 1. The truth is this was a hoax the professor fooled Associated Press with in 1983. There have been many more such hoaxes. Here are some interesting ones.
The Taco Buys the Liberty Bell
In 1966, Taco Bell put out full-page ads in six newspapers claiming to have bought the Liberty Bell. They even planned to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. After thousands of people complained and expressed their anger, Taco Bell confessed to the hoax.
Easter Island Statue Washes Ashore
In 1962, a man from a small Dutch town discovered a weathered and small version of a statue that resembled the Easter Island statue. The experts from Norway confirmed that it was in fact an authentic Easter Island artifact that had washed up ashore to The Netherlands from South Pacific. The site drew hordes of people. Later on Fool’s Day, the man confessed that he was an artist who had created a replica for the elaborate prank.
Body of the Loch Ness Monster Found
In 1972, newspapers went buzzing with the news that Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster’s body was found. A team of zoologists tried to take away the body for examination but were refrained from doing so since it wasn’t legal to remove the creature from the lake. Later, someone claimed responsibility. It was actually a dead seal who have been made to look like a monster.
Google’s pranks have become very famous. In 2011, the company announced that theirs was a new technology that would let people write emails using only hand gestures. Gmail Motion would use a webcam to track the hand motion and translate those into words! The prank may have fooled a few, but what’s even more interesting is the fact that Googlers actually proved this was possible, but not practical.
The guys at Google seem to be quite the pranksters. Two years after Google Motion came Google Nose, another elaborate prank. Look it up.
15th Annual NYC April Fool Parade
In 2000, Joey Skaggs a long-time prankster fooled CNN and Fox affiliate WNYW by informing the media of the 15th Annual NYC April Fool Parade. It was informed that the parade would start at noon on 59th Street and proceed to Fifth Avenue with floats created by the New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle Police Departments.
YouTube and Rickroll
In 2008, YouTube rickrolled the internet by diverting every video to Rick Astley‘s 1987-hit single "Never Gonna Give You Up". The prank became huge.
Big Ben Goes Digital
BBC’s overseas team fooled plenty of people when they reported that Big Ben was all set to go digital in 1980. The hoax backfired when BBC started receiving millions of calls from upset people all over the world.
Maradona Joins Soviet Soccer Team
In 1988, a Soviet newspaper Izvestia reported that the legendary soccer player Diego Maradona was going to join a Russian football club – Spartak Moscow for USD 6 million. The story was quickly picked up and distributed by Associated Press. Later they realized how they’ve been had and published a retraction.
The Daily Mirror hatched this politically stirring love tale in 1987. Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev were said to be romantically involved, and as proof were produced arm-in-arm photos. In reality, the photos were clicked with lookalikes, but managed to fool a few too many people.
What did we tell you about Google? In 2006, Google claimed that they are going to play cupid with their Soulmate Search algorithm. It was claimed that Google would find your partner in just .02 nanoseconds, and will even send you on a date! It was a parody of online dating and eventually led to a Fool’s day note.
Hope you’ve got your Fool’s day prank ready! 😛