The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
The Great Electric Sugar Swindle, 1884
Script of Casablanca rejected, 1982
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
The disumbrationist art hoax, 1924
Cursed by Allah
Giant Penguin in Berlin -- April Fool's Day, 1931


A German newspaper ran a "news photo" of a giant five-foot-high penguin affectionately kissing a man with its long beak. The accompanying story explained that the Gargantuan penguin had recently been brought to Berlin and was being kept in a private zoo. Eventually, the plan was to take it on a tour of the world as part of an attraction in a circus.

The story created a minor sensation in Berlin. Pet store owners, animal trainers, and naturalists all received numerous calls from people wishing to see the giant penguin.

Several days later the newspaper admitted that not only the picture a composite, but that the bird shown was a stuffed member of its species. [Milwaukee Sentinel - May 17, 1931]

April Fool Categories: Birds, Germany, 1931, Photo Hoaxes.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.