The Museum of Hoaxes
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April Fool's Day, 1938
Spring Recess Cancelled. (1938)
The student body of Cornell University was thrown into turmoil when the Cornell Daily Sun announced on its front page that school officials had decided to cancel spring recess. The reason given was that "a sub-committee appointed at the last meeting of the faculty to investigate student marks at the end of the first six weeks discovered that marks were so far below the required standard that they felt some immediate drastic action was necessary." The local railroad reported receiving frantic calls from students trying to get refunds on tickets they had already purchased to travel home. More…
Crossing the Equator. (1938)
"The equator was recently photographed for the first time in history. It turned out to be a broad white line which this schooner had difficulty in hurdling." [Life - Apr 4, 1938] More…
Professor Touffu’s Baldness Cure. (1938)
The Dutch magazine Het Leven reported that a Professor Touffu had made a miraculous discovery which allowed him to transplant animal fur onto a bald man's head and induce to grow. Photographs documented a patient undergoing the treatment. More…
Stranded Steamer. (1938)
North Carolina's Twin City Sentinel ran a story on its front page claiming that "a long sleek transatlantic steamer," the S.S. Santa Pinta, had "plowed through the muddy waters of Yadkin River and anchored ten miles west of Winston-Salem." An accompanying photo showed the stranded steamer. Hundreds of people (who hadn't read to the end of the article to see the phrase "An April Fool's Dream!") drove out to see the steamer, resulting in a traffic jam on the highway. More…
Ten-Stack Superliner. (1938)
Life magazine published a selection "strange photographs" which they identified as being typical of the kind that appeared in German newspapers and magazines on April 1. "Every April Fool's Day, the German press goes on a spree of printing photographic hoaxes, sprinkling fake pictures in with real ones, leaving readers to guess which is which." Included among the "strange photographs" was the "ten-stack super liner" shown above: "Its launching was announced for April 1. The photographer christened the ship President Roosevelt, declared that among its many superlative features was an auto track on which car-crazy Americans could race just to keep their hands in." [Life - Apr 4, 1938] More…
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