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What are Some of the Best April Fool’s Pranks in History?

April Fool’s Day dates back to 1580s. Though there are are some discrepancies on the actual origin of the day and its festivities, people still enjoy pranks up until today. But what are the best pranks we’ve seen?

In 1980, the BBC reported that Big Ben was going digital. People were shocked by the announcement that the started phoning in the authorities to complain about it. The BBC apologized for the prank for weeks as people did not appreciate the joke.

What Other Memorable April Fools’ Day Pranks?

Although no one can really agree on the exact origin of April Fools’ Day we definitely enjoy this prank-filled day either way. Here are some of the best pranks in history!

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

Everyone loves a huge bowl of spaghetti. Imagine how viewers felt when they saw the Panorama stunt from 1957. Richard Dimbleby, a news anchor at the time, talked about the bountiful crop of spaghetti from Switzerland. In minutes, the viewers started contacting the station to ask on how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. It is said that they were told to stick uncooked spaghetti in a tin of chopped tomatoes and hope for the best.

The BBC's spaghetti hoax - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

Watch the prank here. (Source: The BBC)

Defying Gravity

What happens when non-scienctific people start taking pranks seriously? Patrick Moore announced that on 9:47 AM on April 1, 1976 we would feel the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect. He explained that this was when planets would align, and that the Earth’s gravity would be at its weakest. That if you jumped at the right moment, you would float. Of course, we know now that this is a hoax, but this never stopped people back then to try it out. (Source: The BBC)

The Island of San Serriffe

Typefaces can be funny too. The Guardian published a travel guide to the mysterious island group of San Serriffe in April 1, 1977 – the two islands were called Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. The islands were formed in the shape of a semicolon.

The semicolonial island of San Seriffe | History Tech
The Semicolonial Island of San Seriffe; Upper Caisse & Lower Caisse

If that didn’t trigger suspicion the details read; In addition to the mainstream subjects a San Serriffe teenager may well be offered pearl-diving as an A level choice. (Source: The BBC)

Pi in the Sky

There are only a handful of people who can remember large values of pi. In 1998, news spread that Alabama was to pass a law that would redefine the value of pi to 3. This made people furious. People started to write to the Alabama state department to complain. Later on, it was revealed that Mark Boslough, a physicist started the joke as a prank for April Fool’s Day. (Source: The BBC)

Digital Big Ben

In 1980, the BBC thought it would have been funny to say that the Big Ben was going digital. Because of the renovations, it has been quite a while since people heard the bongs of the world-renowned clock tower. When the network announced the change to digital, and that the first people to call would win the hands of the iconic clock, they were surprised at the response. People were not too happy with the prank. The network apologized profusely to everyone. (Source: The BBC)

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