The Museum of Hoaxes
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April Fool's Day, 1977
San Serriffe. (1977)
The Guardian published a seven-page "special report" about San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semi-colon-shaped islands. A series of articles described the geography and culture of this obscure nation. The report generated a huge response. The Guardian's phones rang all day as readers sought more information about the idyllic holiday spot. However, San Serriffe did not actually exist. The report was an elaborate joke — one with a typographical twist, since numerous details about the island (such as its name) alluded to printer's terminology.The success of the hoax is widely credited with inspiring the British media's enthusiasm for April More…
Wordsworth’s Cottage Sold. (1977)
Radio Carlisle reported that Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage had been sold to an American and was being shipped to Arizona brick by brick. More…
Temporary Millionaire. (1977)
When Linas Gylys noticed that the Continental Illinois Bank had accidentally credited his account with an extra $4,757,000, he waited until April 1st, then went into the bank and requested a certified check made out to one "John H. Perkins." Bank officials hurriedly escorted him into a back office, where they interrogated him for an hour. They only became friendlier when he revealed that the man accompanying him was a reporter, and that John H. Perkins, to whom the check would be made out, was the president of the bank. More…
Gasoline for Statue. (1977)
Radio Leeds reported that the city government had approved a plan to demolish the City Square and ship the Black Prince’s statue to an Arab buyer. In return, local citizens would receive a bargain price for gasoline—30 pence a gallon. More…
Naked Canoeists Missing. (1977)
The first edition of The Whistler Answer (of Whistler, British Columbia) was published, featuring a front-page story about three naked canoeists "Missing on Alta Lake." Alta Lake was frozen at the time. The Whistler Answer was a mostly hand-drawn, hand-lettered counterculture paper — "the expression of the ski bum population of Whistler in its early days as a ski resort. [Whistler Museum] More…
Bionic Horse. (1977)
Radio Merseyside in Britain reported about a ‘bionic’ horse. The broken leg of this horse had been replaced with a plastic leg that gave the horse more spring in its step. As a result, the horse was said to be favored to win the Grand National. More…

Hair-Restoring Well. (1977)
BBC TV's Nationwide news program ran a segment about a well located on the farm of James Coatsworth in Rothbury, Northumberland. This well supposedly had the power to make hair grow on bald men’s heads.

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