The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Great New York Zoo Escape Hoax, 1874
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Princess Caraboo, servant girl who became a princess, 1817
Female thieves hide money in their bras, 1950
The Nobody For President Campaign, 1940 to Present
September Morn, the painting that shocked the censor, 1913
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
The Diaphote, a television hoax, 1880
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
Barnes Wallis Moth Machine -- April Fool's Day, 1993
London's Daily Telegraph ran an article about a curious new device called the "Barnes Wallis Moth Machine," which was a microlight airplane that could skim over the Indonesian rainforest canopy at speeds up to 50 mph, scooping up moths as it went. It attracted the moths by means of powerful ultraviolet lights mounted on its front. The machine was said to have been given its name because it used the same technology as the 617 Squadron which released Barnes Wallis's bouncing bombs during the Dambuster raids of 1943. There were plans to use the machine on a scientific expedition to the Bengkulu region of the island of Sumatra — the first such expedition since Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles's expedition there in 1820.

The Guardian subsequently identified this story as an April Fool's Day joke. However, the joke was on the Guardian, because the Barnes Wallis Moth Machine was quite real. As the Daily Telegraph later gloated, "our science editor's lepidopterous scoop was genuine."

April Fool Categories: Mistaken for April Fools, 1993.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.