The Museum of Hoaxes
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Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
The Olympic Underwear Relay, 1956
Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
Boy floats away in balloon, 2009
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
The damp spot that hoaxed a city, 1912
Iceberg floats into Sydney Harbor, 1978
Athens Pollution Alert -- April Fool's Day, 1982
Greece's state-controlled National Radio Network issued a warning that pollution had reached emergency levels in downtown Athens, and that the city would have to be immediately evacuated. All schools were called upon to close immediately, and the children to be sent home. Furthermore, anyone driving a car was asked to abandon it and flee to open ground.

Many people took the broadcast seriously and attempted to leave the city, since pollution was (and is) a serious problem in Athens. Within three hours the Radio Network had retracted the broadcast, revealing it to be a joke, but by then the damage had been done. One man sued the network for $820,000, claiming the prank had caused him mental distress. The director of the network submitted his resignation over the incident, and the originator of the hoax was fired.

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