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The 10 Funniest Pranks of All-Time
(in Honor of April Fool's Day)

April Fool's Day is just around the corner, and some of you may be looking to freshen up your arsenal of funny pranks. But first, did you ever wonder how April Fool's Day got started?

There is actually nothing set in stone about the origins of "All Fool's Day," but one theory does seem to stand out above the rest. The story goes that in France in 1582, people celebrated the New Year for eight days, beginning on March 25 and ending April 1.

April Fool's Day is just around the corner ... what practical jokes will you be playing?

Around this time, however, the Gregorian calendar was introduced and New Year's Day was moved to January 1. Of course, there were no phones or faxes back then, so word travelled by foot. It's said that many people either did not hear about the switch or simply refused to believe it, and as a result continued to celebrate New Year's Day through April 1.

The rest of the population (who was in on the new calendar) took to calling those left out of the loop as "fools" and even began playing practical jokes on them, hence the beginning of April Fool's Day as we know it today.

The 10 All-Time Best Pranks for April Fool's Day

Now, you may not be able to adapt some of the pranks below to work on your own friends and family, but you can certainly try (and if nothing else use them for some inspiration).

1. A Moment Without Gravity

Due to a rare astronomical event, namely the planet Pluto passing behind Jupiter, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced to a BBC radio station in 1976 that Earth's gravity would be lessened. The effect would only last for a moment, at 9:47 a.m. to be exact, and Moore encouraged listeners to jump in the air at that exact time to feel a "strange floating sensation."

Hundreds of people did, and began calling the radio station to share their feelings of the no-gravity moment (including one woman who said she and her friends even floated around the room)!

2. Mount Edgecumbe is Erupting!

Mount Edgecumbe is a dormant volcano in Sitka, Alaska. In 1974, the volcano began to spew clouds of black smoke, terrifying residents that the volcano may soon erupt. As it turned out, the volcano wasn't active again; it was billowing smoke because a local man, Porky Bickar, had flown hundreds of tires into the crater and set them on fire -- solely to trick the local people into thinking the volcano might soon erupt.

3. The New York City April Fool's Day Parade

A press release was sent out to the media in 2000 announcing the "15th annual New York City April Fool's Day Parade." To be included was a "Beat 'em, Bust 'em, Book 'em" float created by the New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle police departments that included "themes of brutality, corruption and incompetence."

Also to be featured in the parade was a "Where's Mars?" float portraying missed Mars missions, and the "Atlanta Braves Baseball Tribute to Racism" float. When reporters arrived at the scene to cover the parade, they found it was a hoax by Joey Skaggs, a practical joker who'd been sending out fake parade press releases since 1986.

4. Sharks in Michigan

The Herald-News in Roscommon, Michigan reported in 1981 that 2,000 sharks would be released into three lakes in the northern part of the state. This was due to "an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks." Great whites, blue sharks and hammerheads would all be released, and a representative from the National Biological Foundation was quoted as saying "the sharks will eat about 20 pounds of fish each per day, more as they get older."

The paper also reported that county officials had expressed concern that the sharks could pose a threat to fishermen and swimmers. Hundreds of letters were written to The Herald-News in response to the prank.

The best practical jokes are, of course, those where no one's feelings get hurt.

5. Operation Parallax

Operation Parallax, a government plan to resynchronize the British calendar with the rest of the world, was announced by Capital Radio in London in 1979. It was said that Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of other countries and to correct the situation April 5 and 12 would be cancelled that year.

Curious citizens called in the radio station to find out if employees still had to be paid for those days and what to do if their birthday fell on one of those dates.

6. Spring Cleaning for the Internet

In 1997, an e-mail was circulated worldwide announcing that in order to "clean" the Internet it would be shut down for 24 hours from March 31 to April 2. The cleaning would clear out "electronic flotsam and jetsam" and inactive ftp, www and gopher sites would be removed. The message warned users to disconnect all devices from the Internet during the cleaning period.

7. L.A. Highways to Close for One Month

A Los Angeles radio station reported in 1987 that the entire LA highway system would close down for repairs on April 8 -- and not reopen for an entire month! The radio station received hundreds of frantic phone calls following the announcement, as did the California Highway Patrol, which reportedly said "they didn't think [the prank] was very funny."

8. Moving the Eiffel Tower

In 1986, the Parisien reported that the Eiffel Tower would be dismantled and reconstructed in the Euro Disney theme park. In the tower's place the city would be building a 35,000-seat stadium to be used during the 1992 Olympic Games.

9. Grenades With Style

In 1996, when stories of Russian gangsters were frequently making headlines, Itar-Tass announced that a military factory was manufacturing diamond-encrusted grenades, which were being bought by fashion-conscious Russian gangsters. The article pointed out that "the use of such a grenade will leave your one-time rival in a sea of beautiful sparkling gems rather than in a pool of blood."

10. Corporate Logo Tattoos for Teenagers

National Public Radio's All Things Considered ran a program in 1994 that various companies, including Pepsi, were encouraging teenagers to get tattoos on their ears of corporate logos. In return, the companies would give the teenagers a lifetime 10 percent discount on their products. Numerous teenagers reportedly called in, wanting to take part in the promotion.

Recommended Reading

IRRESISTIBLE Silliness: Determine YOUR New Name and Pass It On!

Some Very Fun Exercises for Your Brain ... With an Amazing Little Test at the End


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