Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 31, 2013

April 1 a day for fools

-- — Today is April 1, also known as April Fool’s Day. Its exact origin depends on which website you read, but it’s generally accepted that it has been around since the early 1700s.

Over the years, numerous pranks and practical jokes have been played on friends, family and neighbors, most harmless and funny. But there have been times when tremendous hoaxes have been perpetrated on an unsuspecting public by news organizations. The stories have been so outlandish that it is generally thought that no one would actually be duped by them. And yet they were. By the thousands.

A quick look on the Internet reveals some of the most entertaining and amusing of public hoaxes over the years, most of which will make you wonder how anyone could have believed them, but believe them they did!

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest was reported by the BBC in 1957. The report stated that due to a mild winter, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper crop of spaghetti, accompanied by a photo of women in the fields picking strands of spaghetti off of trees. Reportedly thousands called in, wanting to know how to grow the trees.

The Taco Bell Liberty Bell hoax started with a full page ad in a number of major newspapers announcing that the company bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Thousands protested to the government.

Nixon for President was announced on NPR’s Talk of the Nation in 1992. Thanks to technology and Rich Little’s impersonation of the former President, listeners were duped into believing that Richard Nixon had announced he was running again, under the campaign slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong and I won’t do it again.” The show was flooded with calls before the hosts finally admitted to the hoax.

In 1976, BBC Radio (gotta love those Brits), conducted an interview with a British astronomer who announced that at exactly 9:47 a.m. that day, a unique planetary alignment would reduce the earth’s gravity momentarily. He told listeners that if they jumped in the air at the precise moment, they’d feel a floating sensation.

Soon after 9:47 a.m., the station soon began receiving calls from listeners who said they had experienced the sensation, with some claiming they had floated into the air.

You won’t find any hoaxes in today’s Times, as generally, stories that are true are far more frightening and bizarre than even journalists can imagine.

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What We Think
  • A life that keeps giving

    When golfers take to the course today, they will play for fun and fellowship, but they will also play for the memory of a young man lost too soon and for the many lives he’s positively influenced since his passing more than 10 years ago.

    April 25, 2014

  • Meet the artist

    His prints are innovative, energetic, colorful, insightful.

    April 24, 2014

  • Program works to make men

    The idea is to change patterns.

    April 23, 2014

  • Missing persons: Fill in the blanks

    Missing persons cases are tough. They are tough because they are vague.

    April 20, 2014

  • He is Risen

    Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they and certain other women with them came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.

    April 19, 2014

  • Thumbs up

    THUMBS UP: To Carol Mikkelsen. Valdosta State University Opera’s “Dido and Aeneas” marks the last production before Mikkelsen’s retirement
    after 44 years with Valdosta State and the creation of the opera program. She plans to continue
    working with VSU part-time, but this weekend’s performance marks her last full-time participation with the opera productions. Ovations all around for her work.

    April 18, 2014

  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

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