Happy April Fools!
April Fools' Day has gotta be one of the best holidays. You get to play nasty pranks and practical jokes on people - and get away with it! It's one of my favorite holidays, but I bet you already knew that.
So let's commence the celebration and have a look at some great April Fool's Day hoaxes in history.
Man Flies By Own Lung Power
In 1934 many American newspapers, including The New York Times, printed a photograph of a man flying through the air by means of a device powered only by the breath from his lungs. Accompanying articles excitedly described this miraculous new invention. The man, identified as German pilot Erich Kocher, blew into a box on his chest. This activated rotors that created a powerful suction effect, lifting him aloft. Skis on his feet served as landing gear, and a tail fin allowed him to steer. What the American papers didn't realize was that the "lung-power motor" was a joke. The photo had first appeared in the April Fool's Day edition of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. It made its way to America thanks to Hearst's International News Photo agency which not only fell for the hoax but also distributed it to all its U.S. subscribers. In the original Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung article, the pilot's name was spelled "Erich Koycher," which was a pun on the German word "keuchen," meaning to puff or wheeze.
Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
In 1976 the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.
The Taco Liberty Bell
In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
UFO Lands in London
Branson's UFO Balloon On March 31, 1989 thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction. The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London's Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.
The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, "This time you've gone too far!"
These are mere examples of April's Fools Day public nuisances. There's plenty more to read about in the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time.
I'd also like to point out that today I have updated the Krapsody Disclaimer to include information for those netizens who may have read it before, but may need a refresher and for you, yes you, who probably haven't read it yet.
This is not a hoax or a practical joke. It appears a few monstrously lascivious malefactors and malingering, small-minded curses on society have actually carried out my advice to cover themselves in honey and headbutt a beehive and then attempt to molest peg-legged sailors. There is nothing I'd like more than for them to continue that actually. But at the advice of their lawyers (since I cannot afford my own, one of them showed up on my doorstep the other day, an indescribably uncivilized dreck and a demented, disease-ridden gruesome vista to all eyes assaulted by the sight of him, just as most lawyers are) I now have to make sure that I post a Disclaimer available in plain sight so all the sue happy gits don't get their latex shorts all up in a twist and wind up putting me in the poor house for their poor judgement. I mean the poorer poor house, since I'm already poor. Would that be the dog house?
Anyway, you can find the Disclaimer link at the bottom of the page... what am I saying? I know you're all too lazy for that. Clinkity click on the Disclaimer seal below and have a thorough read or I will have all of New York city's foul taxi-drivers squat in your beds. As I said this is not a hoax or a practical joke, no it's not, please don't make me repeat myself. Thank you. Until next time, go, begone! Be a crash test dummy with no helmet, go where no-one has ever been before - and stay there. I mean here!