Over time many people have perpetrated elaborate hoaxes in order to achieve money, fame or simply just to trick people for personal amusement. On the first day of April every year thousands partake in April Fools pranks and devote the entire day to misleading and tricking people or simply concocting annoying pranks. Although toilet papering a house or wasting hundreds of sticky notes is nothing compared to planning a hoax that tricks the media, experts and sometimes even the military. April Fools day itself was subject to a hoax but the perpetrator never intended for it to be believed.
Joseph Boskin a Boston University professor and pop culture historian tried to tell reporter Fred Bayles that the origins of April Fools day were murky. After being repeatedly questioned on the subject, he concocted a story to get the reporter off his back. Boskin claimed April Fools began back when Constantine ruled over Rome. A court jester asked Constantine for a chance for one of their own to rule for a day. The emperor agreed and a jester King Kugel ruled for 24 hours and his only order of business was to declare April 1st as a day of silliness and fun. Boskin claimed he made the story so ridiculous that the reporter would have to catch on, but the next Day the Associated Press ran the story and he fielded calls from news outlets across the country. After a few weeks of keeping the ruse the truth came out in one of his lectures about the media.
Some of the popular hoaxes in history might seem ridiculous, but thousands of people were willing to believe and in some cases many still do despite their perpetrators coming out and admitting the hoax.
8 The Cardiff Giant, 1869
7 The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 1890
6 The Surgeon's Photo of the Loch Ness Monster, 1934
5 The Priory of Sion, 1956
4 The Feejee Mermaid, 1942
3 Piltdown Man, 1912
2 Alien Autopsy, 1995
1 The Cottingley Fairies, 1917
Orson Welles broadcasted a Halloween episode of radio show The Mercury Theater on the Air and adapted the episode from H.G wells 1898 novel War of the Worlds. The show ran without commercial breaks and did issue a disclaimer at the beginning of the episode introducing it as a play but listeners who tuned in later mistook the show as a real alien attack occurring and a small panic broke out. The programs new style format led to an outcry for radio regulations and was said to being cruelly misleading by newspaper reports of the incident even though it was never intended as a hoax.
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