Top 10 Worst April Fools Pranks of All Time Going Untrue
Photo: CNN

Here are the top 10 worst April Fools' Day pranks of all time:

#1. Origins of April Fool’s day

In 1984, an Associated Press reporter asked Professor Joseph Boskin of Boston University about the origins of April Fool’s Day. Pressed for an answer, Boskin invented a jester, Kugel, who had told a Roman emperor he could do a better job and was made emperor for a day – during which he called for absurdity and pranks, starting the tradition. The tale was picked up by other media and it took weeks for them to get the joke: Kugel is a Jewish pudding, often made with noodles, as cited by History Extra.

#2. That time when a prank nearly led to war

In 1986, an Israeli intelligence officer played an April Fools’ prank involving fake news that an Islamic leader had been seriously wounded in an assassination attempt. Haha? No. Not really. The news caused an immediate flare-up in tensions in the region, and the high-ranking prankster was court-martialed.

How April Fool’s Day celebrated Around the World? How April Fool’s Day celebrated Around the World?

#3. One last lesson

A schoolgirl prank got out of hand in 1897. Girls at the prestigious Lucy Cobb Institute in Georgia, US, thought it would be hilarious to abscond from school and have a day of fun. As well as missing school, they also made the unladylike decision to wander around the town unchaperoned. What they weren’t expecting was for their headmistress to quickly write a letter to all of their parents, asking for their removal from the school to ensure its reputation was maintained.

#4. I’m really not a crook

On April 1, 1992, a man claiming to be Richard Nixon told NPR he would be running for president and that, “I never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.” Despite the date, thousands believed it was actually Richard Nixon announcing another bid for the presidency. Of course, it wasn’t actually Nixon speaking, but that didn’t stop the outrage, and many began gearing up to protest.

#5. This one’s a real cracker

According to Reader's Digest, in 2001, a Brighton DJ told his listeners that a replica of the RMS Titanic could be seen off the coast of Beachy Head in East Sussex – the highest chalk sea cliffs in Britain. Hundreds of people rushed to the spot, only to discover it had all been a joke. The cliffs developed a five-foot crack under the enormous strain of the crowds, with police urging people to leave before tragedy struck. Two days later, part of the cliffs collapsed into the sea.

#6. Whoppers for southpaws

On April 1, 1998, Burger King announced it would now offer a version of the Whopper that had been carefully designed for left-handed folks. The joke was on Burger King, however, when stores across the country were flooded with orders for the left-handed Whopper.

Top 10 Worst April Fools Pranks of All Time Going Untrue
Photo: USA Today

#7. It certainly blew up

A 1980 news report spread fear among the residents of Milton, Massachusetts, when it reported that a local (and distinctly nonvolcanic) hill was erupting. They backed up their spurious claim with footage of Mount St Helens in Washington, a volcano that was actually close to erupting, with an old commentary from President Jimmy Carter. At the end of the segment a card was held up saying ‘April Fool’ but it was too late. The police were inundated with calls from concerned citizens, many of whom were considering leaving their homes.

READ MORE: April Fools' Day: Date, Origin & Celebrations

#8. A cliff-hanger

In 2001, a DJ in England decided to prank his listeners on April 1 by broadcasting that a ship that looked suspiciously like the Titanic could be seen from the cliffs at Beachy Head in East Sussex. Hundreds of listeners believed him, trekking to the cliffs to catch a glimpse. Unfortunately, all the foot traffic caused a large crack in the cliff face. A few days later, it fell into the sea. Hilarious?

#9. Written in the stars

English astrologer John Partridge was known for his inaccurate predictions and criticism of the Church. He attracted the attention of the satirist and author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, who decided to have some fun. Writing under the pseudonym Isaac Bickerstaff, he made a prediction of Partridge’s death in 1708. Swift later wrote under the alias of a revenue official, confirming the death – this news became public on 1 April. Partridge protested but he never shook the rumours of his untimely demise and his career suffered until his eventual death six years late.

#10. Killing joke

John Ahrens probably didn’t intend the tragic consequences of his prank. Near Nashville in 1896, he thought it would be hilarious to disguise himself as a tramp with a white mask to scare his wife. He knocked on his front door to greet her and ask her to start cooking dinner – she fainted immediately and died within an hour. They had only been married a few months and Ahrens became overwhelmed with grief.

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