If you are accustomed to the metric system, imperial units can be perplexing. There is logic in the fact that there are 1,000 meters in a kilometer or ten centimeters in a […]
Getting Fried by Hugo N. Frye
The Hugo N. Frye Sesquicentennial Committee of Cornell University planned an event to honor New York’s often-overlooked political activist and founder of the New York Republican Party. The event was scheduled for […]
Visit the Fabled Paradise of San Serriffe
In 1977, readers of Great Britain’s newspaper Guardian were treated to an in-depth look at the tropical paradise of the island nation of San Serriffe. The newspaper devoted a 7-page supplement in […]
The Volcano Eruption That Was an April Fools’ Day Joke
It had been 400 years since Alaska’s Mount Edgecumbe last erupted. The long-dormant volcano towers at the southern end of Kruzof Island. The 8,000-plus residents of Sitka delight in the mountain’s majestic […]
Charles Vance Millar: The Man Who Laughed From Beyond the Grave
To be a good practical joker, you need to have patience. Timing of a joke is everything. By that measure, Charles Vance Millar had all the makings of being one of the […]
The 1956 Olympic Torch Hoax
The Olympic torch is one of the most recognizable and time-honored symbols in the world. Whenever it appears in a city, it is a time of rejoicing as we honor the international […]
The Great Bonsai Kitten Hoax
Bonsai trees are tiny and cute. So are kittens. What could be more cute than bonsai kittens? That was the thought behind Bonsaikitten.com, a website launched in late 2000.
Andy Rooney’s Recipe for Baked Potato Ice Cream
Andy Rooney (1919-2011) was a well-known television and newspaper writer. He was best known for his weekly commentaries on 60 Minutes, in which he offered humorous and often-biting observations about everyday life.
There’s a Name for That
We’ve all done it, and we’ve all had it done to us. Tapping someone on the opposite shoulder from behind so as to trick that person to turn around and see no […]
The Time Virginia Woolf Scammed the British Navy
The pride and joy of the British Navy was the HMS Dreadnought, its most powerful battleship. That’s why, despite the last-minute notice, the ship’s commander was only too happy to accommodate a […]
This Place is a Zoo!
Terror swept the streets of New York on November 9, 1874. In the city that never sleeps, where just about anything can happen without causing a New Yorker to turn his head, […]
Dying is Easy. Comedy is Hard.
Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) was an entertainer known for elaborate pranks and hoaxes. He was so well known for this that when he died in 1984, rumors immediately started that he staged his […]
Revenge of the Nerds
MIT students derive great pleasure from tormenting their rivals at Harvard. Our favorite prank of theirs occurred during the 1982 Harvard-Yale football game when a weather balloon emblazoned with the letters “MIT” […]
The Great Spaghetti Tree Harvest of 1957
In 1957 the BBC pulled an April Fools prank, duping hundreds of thousands of individuals into thinking spaghetti was annually harvested from “spaghetti trees” in Switzerland. Watch the video here. Read about […]