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April Fools' Day 2021: Here's a Look at Five of the Most Outrageous Pranks of All Times

While the essence of April Fools' remains the same the ideas of marking the day have certainly been improvised over the years.  (Image for representation)

While the essence of April Fools' remains the same the ideas of marking the day have certainly been improvised over the years. (Image for representation)

The Great Dome hack by MIT, prankster in a bottle, the Taco Liberty bell are a few among the list of outrageous pranks in history.

April Fools’ Day is one of those days when one can pull a prank in the hope to be exempted of any consequences whatsoever. While the date remains the same, the concept of marking this day has changed manifolds. There are different origin stories associated with April Fools’ Day. Some historians suggest that it was first observed in 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar because the former did not reflect the actual time the Earth used to take to complete a revolution around the Sun. But some people continued celebrating the new year in the end week of March or around April 1. They would become targets for jokes and hoaxes and were called ‘April Fools’. Whatever might be the actual reason for the birth of the April Fools’ day, a good laugh is always appreciated. On this day of trickery, we have compiled a list for you of some of the best pranks ever in history:

1. The Great Dome hack by MIT

In 2015, hackers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) successfully pulled off the semester’s first hack. Executed as a homage to the pranks in the past, the pranksters on September 4, came together to answer an age-old hack question, “How does one actually get on top of the Great Dome?” The hack says the answer is catapults, which was renamed the “hackapult” by the anonymous hackers. So it was placed with its barrel looking directly towards the Great Dome, which boasted an amalgam of past hacks, including a cow, a fire truck, the One Ring from Lord of the Rings, an MIT Police car, and a TARDIS. The hackapult featured some handy diagrams and notes for every hack. They were not quite effective but the cow, truck, and police car seemed to crash land on the Dome.

2. Spaghetti grows on trees

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On this day in 1957, BBC ran a segment showing folks in Switzerland enjoying spaghetti harvest. The show Panoramareported the Swiss spaghetti crop witnessing a “bumper year”, courtesy mild weather and the spaghetti weevil elimination. It aired footage of people pulling out spaghetti from trees. Many credulous Britons were taken in and the story was ranked the No. 1 April Fools’ hoax of all time by the Museum of Hoaxes’ website.

3. Taco Liberty Bell

In this now-classic prank, Taco Bell tried to trick the world with its announcement that the company planned to buy the Liberty Bell and rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. It took out newspaper ads saying that the company was purchasing in an effort to help the national debt.

Six major newspapers at the time ran the announcement. Some senators were taken in, until later the fast-food chain confessed to the joke.

4. Sidd Finch the pitcher

George Plimpton invented a tale of rookie baseball player, Sidd Finch, for Sports Illustrated.The story convinced readers that Mets pitcher Siddhartha “Sidd” Finch could throw an 168-mile-per-hour pitch. However, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue a career as a French horn player. The story ran in the magazine’s issue of April 1, 1985, and eagle-eyed literary critics caught on immediately: The first words of the secondary headline read “Happy April Fools’ Day.” The ary writer later turned the story into a novel.

5. Prankster in a Bottle

January of 1749 saw London newspapers advertising that in a forthcoming new show, a man would cram his entire body into a wine bottle and after that sing while inside of it. The ad claimed that, “during his stay in the bottle, any person may handle it, and see plainly that it does not exceed a common Tavern Bottle.” The ad also said that people will be communicating with the dead on the show. The Duke of Portland was right in his bet when he said that he will easily find fools in London to fill a playhouse. The show was housefull and that night no performer ever showed up.

first published:April 01, 2021, 14:59 IST