I mananged to avoid all April Fools jokes today. Didn't get a chance to check the papers to see what they'd put and I'm a bit too old to play jokes on my teachers like we used to (can of coke with pin hole in and coke swapped for water was the best - cept it leaked in her briefcase and ruined our homework!).
So, hears a list of some of the best hoaxes from years gone by:
- Swiss Spaghetti farms: in 1957 the BBC news showed the harvest of the spaghetti from tree in Switzerland. Film was shown of the farmers collecting basketfuls of pasta hanging from trees. Many people believed it and even made calls to find out how to grow their own, to which BBC phone operators replied "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best." Everyone knows spaghetti comes from the sea.
- Value of Pi changed: In 1998 this hoax was spread around the internet after the newsletter The New Mexicans for Science and Reason claimed Alabama state was changing the mathematical constant of pi to it's Biblical version of 3. The Alabama governing bodies received hundreds of calls of protest. Physicist Mark Boslough had written the article as a comment on the state's proposal to change the laws on teaching evolution as opposed to the creationist views in schools.
- Stockings turn black and white tv colour: in 1962 a Swedish technology expert displayed how by placing nylon stockings over your tv set would create instant colour pictures. Obviously the demonstration couldn't be verified by viewers until they tried it as they all had black and white televisions. Ironically colour television wasn't commercially available until 1970, on April 1st.
- The Left Handed Burger: When ads for a Burger King Left Handed Whopper appeared in USA Today in 1998 thousands of customers asked for them in the fast food joints. They said the ingredients would be roted 180 degrees to help America's 32 million left handers. There were also many calls requesting a specifically right handed version.
- Astrological event causes anti-gravity: In 1976 astrologer Patrick Moore declared on his BBC Sky at Night programme that a once in a lifetime alignment of the planets Jupiter and Pluto would effect they Earth's gravitational pull so much that if you jumped in the air at the right time you would experience and strange floating sensation. The BBC received hundreds of calls claiming that they had experienced the event despite the date.
- Eiffel Tower to be moved: in 1986 the Parisien newspaper reported that to make way for a new stadium for the 1990 Olympic Games the iconic symbol of France, the Eiffel Tower would be moving to a new home in the newly built EuroDisney.
- £14 billion Channel Tunnel cock-up: The News of the World reported that a massive blunder in the building of the new channel tunnel meant that the two sides being dug from both France and England would miss by 14 feet due to the fact that the French were reading the blueprints as metric rather than imperial measurements.
I had to update this post to add a few from this year:
- The amount of time and effort put into the BBC's effort this year is amazing. See the video here (which also doubles as an ad for the BBC iPlayer) sorry, there's an ad at the beginning of this video but keep watching after the advert, it's worth it
- Aparently the London free newspaper Metro ran a story on lamp postw with an electric current running through them to prevent dogs urinating on them - I'm sure I've heard that one before
- And a Lancashire newspaper claimed that Accrington Stanley football club were going to rename themselves Lancashire Stanley and apparently the club web site got loads of emails saying they liked the idea so are actually now considering it!