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Life discovered on the moon, 1835
Did Poe say 'The best things in life make you sweaty'?
The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
Cursed by Allah
The Great Wall of China Hoax, 1899
The Gallery of Fake Viral Images
Prankster causes volcano to erupt, 1974
Monkeys pick cotton, a 19th-century urban legend
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
Abduction from the Grand Guignol -- April Fool's Day, 1950
On Wednesday March 29, 1950, between the second and third acts of No Orchids for Miss Blandish at Paris's Grand Guignol theater, actress Nicole Riche suddenly disappeared. Stage hands said she had been handed a note, went pale as she read it, walked outside, and then vanished. Unable to continue the play, the theater gave everyone in the audience their money back. The police, who suspected kidnapping, launched a massive manhunt. Her disappearance made headlines around the world. Some papers noted it was an odd coincidence that she had apparently been kidnapped while starring in a play about a woman who is kidnapped. Two days later, early on the morning of April 1st Riche, walked into a police station dressed in the same flimsy white negligee and furcoat she had been wearing during the play, plus a sweater she said some friendly gypsies had given her. She claimed she had been imprisoned for the past two days by "Puritans" who lectured her endlessly about her immoral lifestyle before finally abandoning her in a forest. The police were skeptical about her story since there's wasn't a speck of dirt or dust on her. Eventually Riche broke down and admitted she hadn't been abducted by Puritans. Her disappearance had been an April Fool's Day publicity stunt engineered by the Grand Guignol's manager, Alexandre Dundas. (For more details, see The Kidnapping of Nicole Riche.) [Los Angeles Times, Apr 2, 1950.]

April Fool Categories: Crime, France, 1950.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.