The Museum of Hoaxes
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'Solar Armor' freezes man in Nevada Desert, 1874
Prof. Wingard's Death Ray Hoax, 1876
Van Gogh's ear exhibited, 1935
Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper Hoax, 1998
Paul Krassner's Stereophonic Hoax, 1960
Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps?
The Berners Street Hoax, 1810
What do the lines on Solo cups mean?
Rare planetary alignment decreases gravity, 1976
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Gourmet Bingo -- April Fool's Day, 1985
The Guardian announced that under a new incentive plan, each of its readers would be eligible to receive a "Guardian Gourmet Card," allowing them to gain a 15% discount at participating restaurants. The card would also allow holders to be eligible for 850,000 pounds in prize money. Each card would display a ten digit number broken into a sequence of three-four-three. Each week top chefs would be asked to select their favorite three course dinner. A menu would be randomly selected from among these choices, and then the total calories in each course would be determined. These calorie amounts would become the prize-winning number, to be matched against the numbers on a card.

In a separate article, the Guardian admitted there was some similarity between their Gourmet bingo game and a bingo-style scheme launched by their competitor, the Standard, to earn reductions on restaurant meals (a scheme which the Guardian had derided as tawdry and commercial). But the Guardian's editor noted: "I cannot of course deny that there is pounds 850,000 at stake here... Nevertheless the whole tone and refined taste of the competition, redolent of wild strawberries rather than the sweaty armpits of the Stock Exchange, invites a totally different response from readers."

The next day the Guardian announced that it was forced to cancel its Gourmet Bingo game because of "an outbreak of salmonella poisoning at its plastic credit card subsidiary."

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