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While April 1st, better known as April Fool's Day, is technically not a holiday, it is a favorite especially for people who like to pull pranks. While the origin of this tradition is a little sketchy, some believe that the light-hearted fun began in 1582, when the Julian calendar (which began the New Year in April), was replaced with today's Gregorian calendar. Others think it was to mark the change of seasons. No matter what its origins, the day can be a lot of fun!
Though it began with individuals fooling each other with small pranks, over the years, even large corporations have gotten into the spirit. Here are examples of some of the best pranks that have had people fooled for days, if not months.
The fact that Thomas Edison was a genius was confirmed in 1877 when he invented the phonograph. Therefore, it came as no surprise to the world when the New York Graphic announced that he had figured out a way to feed everybody by inventing a machine that could magically transform soil into cereal and water into wine. The one catch? The article was published on April 1st, 1878!
In 1915, a French pilot flew over a German camp, dropping what looked like a bomb. Panicked, German soldiers dove for cover. When there was no explosion, they gingerly picked up the 'bomb', a football with a note that read, 'April Fool!'
In 1962, Swedenonly had one television station that broadcast in black and white. So you can only imagine how excited everybody was, when on April 1st, the station's technical expert Kjell Stensson announced that they could all convert their existing sets to get the programming in color, by simply pulling a nylon stocking over their television screens - Believe it or not, thousands of people actually tried that!
Since we recently celebrated Pi day, this one will resonate with most of you. In the April 1998 edition of the usually somber New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter, there was an article that stated that the Alabama State legislature was thinking about passing a law to round the value of Pi to 3.0. Thanks to the Internet, the article went viral and thousands of people wrote in to protest - not realizing, that it was an April Fool's joke.
Some of the best pranks come from the normally staid British Broadcasting Company (BBC). In 1957, the BBC show Panorama, reported that Swiss farmers were having a great spaghetti harvest that year, since their biggest pest, the spaghetti weevil, had been eliminated. They showed a woman actually picking limp spaghetti from trees! (see video below). When viewers called in to figure out how to do it, their answer was - stick a dry piece in a can of tomato sauce and keep your fingers crossed!
In 2008, the company pulled one of their greatest pranks ever, when they filmed what appeared to be a genuine documentary about a new breed of 'flying penguins' - This one even had newspapers fooled for a few days.
Among the best pranks this year, is the one pulled by Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group. This morning, he announced that while 500 people had been to Space, three people to the bottom of the ocean, no one had ever been to the core of an active volcano. This, he claimed, was about to change with his revolutionary new vehicle, VVS1, that had the capability of plunging three passengers into the molten lava core of an active volcano. He of course would be one of the three, along with Hollywood actor Tom Hanks. As for the third passenger? The person who actually believes this to be true!
Happy Fools Day! Be sure to let us know if you fooled somebody or were made a fool of, on this fun day!
Resources: metro.co.uk, wikipedia.org, dailymail.co.uk