The Museum of Hoaxes
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Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
Cursed by Allah
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Baby Yoga, aka Swinging Your Kid Around Your Head
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
The Instant Color TV Hoax, 1962
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
Around the World for 210 Guineas -- April Fool's Day, 1972
1972 was the 100-year anniversary of Thomas Cook’s first round the world travel tour. To commemmorate the occasion, the London Times ran a full article (top) about Cook’s 1872 tour, in which it noted that the vacation had cost the participants only 210 guineas each, or approximately $575. Of course, inflation had made a similar vacation quite a bit more expensive by 1972. A few pages later, the Times included a small article (bottom) noting that in honor of the 100-year anniversary, the travel agent Thomas Cook was offering 1000 lucky people the chance to buy a similar package deal at 1872 prices. The offer would be given to the first 1000 people to apply. The article noted that applications should be addressed to “Miss Avril Foley.“ The public response to this bargain-basement offer was swift and enthusiastic. Huge lines of people formed outside the Thomas Cook offices, and the travel agent was swamped with calls. Belatedly the Times identified the offer as an April Fool’s joke and apologized for the inconvenience it had caused. The people who had waited in line for hours were, to put it mildly, not amused. The reporter who wrote the article, John Carter, was fired (though he was later reinstated).

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.