Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Well-Executed April Fools' Day Hoaxes

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Some Well-Executed April Fools' Day Hoaxes

Article excerpt

Some April Fools' Day hoaxes


TORONTO - Warning, do not trust everything you read or hear today.

It's April 1, which means every headline and story should be eyed with a different level of scrutiny. Especially anything particularly quirky or jaw-dropping.

Today we have Google for fast fact checking, so even the most elaborate hoaxes can be quickly debunked. But in the days before everyone was wired -- and perhaps a little less savvy about preparing for the annual onslaught of April Fools' Day pranks -- some of the fake stories were a little tougher to immediately discredit, which let some real doozies spread.

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

The BBC TV news show "Panorama" fooled viewers in 1957 with a story about rare spaghetti trees in Switzerland. Apparently, the pasta wasn't commonly eaten in the United Kingdom at that time, and after the segment aired, the BBC was flooded with calls asking for gardening tips.


Celebrating San Serriffe

British newspaper the Guardian calls it the best April 1st hoax it ever pulled off.

In 1977, the paper printed a seven-page travel piece celebrating ten years of independence for beautiful San Serriffe, which it described as "a small archipelago, its main islands grouped roughly in the shape of a semicolon, in the Indian Ocean." Font and design aficionados no doubt loved the phoney story, rife with sly nods to typography (capital city Bodoni, two islands named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, run by General M J Pica). Today, a remarkably detailed Wikitravel entry takes the joke even further than the Guardian did.


The legend of fireballer Sidd Finch

In 1985, Sports Illustrated profiled the New York Mets' up-and-coming baseball talent Hayden (Sidd) Finch, a 28-year-old pitcher with a startling 168 m.p.h. fastball. Beyond his hard-to-believe heater, Finch's bio was bizarre. …

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