Taking Fools Seriously - The Apartments at CityCenter
April Fool’s Day has been a tradition for centuries, with uncertain origins. Though Shakespeare wrote of many fools in plays, the holiday was never referenced – even though there were references to April Fool’s Day that predated him.
One explanation refers to the change from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendars in the late 1500s. The newer calendar changes the start of the year from April 1 to January 1. Those who didn’t make the change were subject to pranks. A tidy explanation, however the tradition of pranks on April First predates the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar.
However it came to be, there is a rich history of pranks played throughout the years. Some of the more impressive hoaxes even fooled investigative journalists over the years. Thanks to Washington DC’s Newseum, some of the more convincing – and amusing – ones are on display at their News Corporation News History Gallery. Including:
• In 1835, The Sun’s daily sales skyrocketed when it reported that a telescope had shown the moon to be inhabited by 4–foot–tall bat-like creatures “engaged in conversation;”
• In 1844, Edgar Allen Poe made up a tale for The Sun about a balloon crossing the Atlantic Ocean in three days;
• As a newspaper reporter, Mark Twain wrote many hoaxes, including a fake article in Nevada’s Territorial Enterprise in 1862 about a misguided coroner trying to determine the cause of death of a petrified man;
• The BBC even joined in, with its 1957 broadcast about an Italian “spaghetti tree” during harvest season. The footage showed farmers dutifully picking strands of pasta off trees, prompting hundreds of viewers to ask where they could buy such trees.