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Pranksters on April Fool’s Day

April Fool's Day

The first of April is April Fool’s Day, that special 24 hours for those individuals who love to trick or get the best of someone with a special hoax or ruse. You may have already discovered an ancestor; usually it seems to be a great uncle, who loved practical jokes or fooling people. By all means do include stories of some of their mischievous pranks in the family history. That was part of their character.

What is interesting also is to check out those April Fool’s Day hoaxes pulled on large numbers of people either by one person or a group. None seem to be better at this than the English.  The United Kingdom’s BBC – their broadcasting network, and The Daily Mail newspaper both have some very strange and interesting pranks.

It was April 1, 1980 when the BBC announced that London’s Big Ben clock was going to be given a digital readout. The English public went crazy in protest of such an announcement.  Then it was stated it was just a practical joke.

In 1973, the BBC was reporting about the spread of Dutch Elm Disease, the disease that had been infecting many of England’s trees.  A doctor who was studying the problem gave his results stating that exposure to Dutch Elm Disease immunized people to the common cold. However, there was a side effect, being exposure to the disease could cause a person’s red hair to turn yellow.  Again, they were making it up.

In 1957 the BBC gave the report of spaghetti being grown on trees quite successfully in Switzerland. People hearing the report on the radio called in to learn how they could grown the paste on a tree. They were told they should “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

Additional British hoaxes were done by The Daily Mail newspaper in 2009 when it was revealed that Walkers Crisps (an English brand of potato chips) had designed noise-free crisps, to be marketed as “Ready Silent Cri-sshhp.” People could now eat chips in the movie theater without bothering anyone. How could this be done, well the chip was already crushed into tiny bits.

To break all tradition in England, in 2006  The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the front door of 10 Downing Street, home of the England’s prime ministers for decades, would now be painted red instead of classic black.  With such uproar from the public, it proves there are some traditions you just don’t suggest changing, even if you are pulling a prank.

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