The Museum of Hoaxes
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Fake Fish Photos
Stotham, Massachusetts: the town that didn't exist, 1920
The Sandpaper Test, 1960
The Cradle of the Deep, a literary hoax, 1929
Swiss peasants harvest spaghetti from trees, 1957
Taco Bells buys the Liberty Bell, 1996
Loch Ness Monster Hoaxes
Use your left ear to detect lies
The Case of the Vanishing Belly Button, 1964
Mule elected G.O.P. committeeman, 1938
Tingle—The Video -- April Fool's Day, 1984
On Cable magazine reported that a huge publicity blitz was being planned around an upcoming Michael Jackson song, "Tingle." The song was said to be three minutes and twelve seconds long, and a video of it would feature Jackson walking out of a boutique and catching fire. Jackson's record company had reportedly also developed a 37-minute promo clip to hype the video, and this promo was, in turn, being developed into a 3-hour film by Paramount. Three video versions of the song would be sold: "Michael Jackson's 'Tingle'" for $39.95; "Making the 'Tingle' Video" for $79.95; and "The Making of 'The Making of the "Tingle" Video'" for $99.95. MTV was going to show the 37-minute promo clip hourly. Parker Brothers would release a board game designed around it. Pepsi would be the official soft drink of the video, and Allstate would sell "exclusive fire insurance" along with the video.

At the bottom of the article a note said "On Cable, April Fool, 1984." Nevertheless, two weeks later a reporter for "Breakaway," a syndicated news-magazine program broadcast on 55 television stations around the country, went on the air and reported the "Tingle" story as breaking news, not realizing that the article was a joke. The reporter, in his defense, later explained that he had never read On Cable Magazine, and that he had heard the story instead from "a woman that I know who is a friend of the family."

April Fool Categories: Music, Magazines and Journals, United States, 1984.
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.