Throughout the years, individuals and prominent organisations have come up with April Fools’ stories. From incredible ones to absolutely implausible ones, some people have still fallen prey to them by believing in them. The following is a compilation of some of the stories that have been transmitted.
End of the world; March 31, 1940
We have been hearing a lot of stories forecasting the end of the world. In 1940, they took it to another level. Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute issued a press release informing the population that the world would end the next day. The ‘news’ was then relayed by radio station KYW in an announcement: “Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of the Franklin Institute…. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke.”
The public was caught into this joke: so many of them started making calls to their loved ones believing the news.
Fortunately, later, the Franklin Institute assured everyone that it was but a joke. Sick joke, much?!
The one who thought of the prank was William Castellini who wanted to use the fake press release as a way to publicise an April 1st lecture at the institute entitled “How Will the World End?”. Castellini was soon dismissed by the Institute after that.
Pine trees producing oranges; April 1, 1950
Back in April 1950, people travelling along the Rim of the World highway near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California noticed an out-of-this-world occurrence: oranges growing on pine and cedar trees. They would have thought that the oranges grew on the trees on the night before. It was finally revealed that it was just a prank led by cartoonist Frank Adams. The residents of the town of Skyforest had strung 50 000 oranges in the trees the night before.
Man-Eating Piranhas; April 1, 1974
Man-eating piranhas budded off the mind of a sports writer, Bob Peel, reporting for the Syracuse Post-Standard. In an article, he warned people to keep a distance of at least 3 feet away from the banks of streams because of the presence of such piranhas. It was said that a mix-up at the hatchery led to their release. The fish could even “completely devour an ox in less than five minutes”.
At the end of the article, though, the hoax was described for what it was. The last line read “This is baloney. ALL PURE BALONEY”.
Flying Penguins; April 1, 2008
This one was released by the BBC. It announced that Adélie penguins were seen flying near the Antarctic. Camera crews that were filming its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had allegedly captured the phenomenon on camera.
A video clip was even shared on the Internet.
Thereafter, a follow-up video was released to explain that the flying penguins were only the result of special effects.
Unicorn recipe; April 1, 2012
A long-lost medieval cookbook was supposedly found by the British Library, as said on its Medieval Manuscripts Blog that included a recipe of how to cook a unicorn. The instructions began with “Taketh one unicorne” to be cooked in cloves and garlic.
Additionally, illustrations were found of a woman cooking a unicorn.
The one to have compiled the cookbook was said to be a certain “Geoffrey Fule”, allegedly having worked in the kitchens of Philippa of Hainault, Queen of England from 1328-1369.
Google nose; April 1, 2013
Using the sense of smell on Google was declared to be a new possibility. The product was called “Google Nose Beta“, with a feature that would allow users to detect smells over the Internet. They ‘explained’ that they made use of “photons with infrasound waves” whereby molecules were temporarily aligned “to emulate a particular scent.”