The Biggest April Fools Hoaxes of History

April Fools’ day dates back to at least the 16th century. While the origin of this bizarre celebration is unclear, the day is accepted as one of the pranks and good-natured banter the whole world over. Throughout history, there are many incidents of elaborate hoaxes played out on this day, by individuals and organizations. Here is our top 10 list of biggest April fool hoaxes ever:

#10 Left Handed Whopper

On 1st April, 1998, Burger King published a full-page advertisement on USA Today, announcing the launch of the Left Handed Whopper. The company claimed that the burger had been designed for the 32 million left handed Americans, with the same ingredients as the original, only ingredients rotated 180 degrees for optimal weight distribution for the left handed. 

While the company came out with a follow-up press release the next day clarifying the hoax, thousands of customers had gone to the restaurants asking for the culinary discovery of the decade. Unfortunately, the Whopper continues to favor the right handed to this day!

#9 The Great Comic Switcheroo

The ’90s were definitely the Golden Era of the April Fools’ pranks. 1997 was the year of the Great Comic Strip Switcheroo. The prank was masterminded by the creators of Baby Blues, Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott. They convinced 46 different syndicated comic artists to trade their strips, without intimating their editors. 

Till date, the switcheroo remains the most elaborate comic guest appearance event ever. It is best remembered by the switches between Blondie and Garfield, Dilbert and Family Circus, Dennis the Menace and Barney, Google and Snuffy Smith. It helped the cause of the artists while playing out a neat prank on the newspapers, audience and the syndicates.

#8 The Lion Washing Ceremony

In late March 1860, many Londoners received a formal invite to the Grand Annual Ceremony of Washing the Lions at the Tower of London. By noon, on D-day, a huge crowd had gathered at the designated White Gate to be part of one of the history’s biggest pranks. 

Of course, there were no lions anymore, and it took some time for the crowd to realize they were fooled. 

#7 Edison’s Food Machine

Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877 had made him quite popular. In pop media, he had come to be known as the man who would deliver mankind to the future. So, when, in 1878, the New York Graphic announced that Edison had invented the machine that could transform soil to cereal and water to wine, the unsuspecting population took it up pretty seriously. 

Media houses all over America started singing eloquent praises for Edison – giving him the epithet of a messiah and congratulating him for ending world hunger with his genius. The New York Graphic was smug in its follow-up article the next morning, explaining the hoax, titled ‘They Bite.’

About Anumita Ghosh

Anumita believes her calling has to do with the written words. She loves to write and read, and has recently given up a(n) (almost) rocking career in the Corporate to pursue her passion. Yes, she is slightly off her rocker, but then the society has been largely accepting of her madness. She is the co-founder of Blank Slate Chronicles and a struggling domestic apprentice, not to mention a loving (yet inadequately skilled) mother to a toddler.

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Anumita Ghosh

Anumita believes her calling has to do with the written words. She loves to write and read, and has recently given up a(n) (almost) rocking career in the Corporate to pursue her passion. Yes, she is slightly off her rocker, but then the society has been largely accepting of her madness. She is the co-founder of Blank Slate Chronicles and a struggling domestic apprentice, not to mention a loving (yet inadequately skilled) mother to a toddler.

One thought on “The Biggest April Fools Hoaxes of History

  • April 1, 2017 at 11:05 am
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    Well written Anumita. Especially the last bit.

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