Fool Me, by Emily Winslow

The “Museum of Hoaxes” website has a delightful list of the Top 100 April Fools Day Hoaxes in history.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorites:

#15: Metric Time
“1975: Australia’s This Day Tonight news program revealed that the country would soon be converting to “metric time.” Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days.”

#31: Migrant Mother Makeover
“2005: Popular Photography ran an article titled “Can these photos be saved?” about how to remove unsightly wrinkles from photographic subjects. They chose, as an example of a photo that “needed to be saved,” Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” photo taken in 1936 during the Great Depression.”
[Yes, it’s the photo you think it is.]

#80: Moscow’s Second Subway
“In 1992 the Moskovskaya Pravda announced that the winds of capitalism transforming Russia would bring further changes for the residents of Moscow. Apparently plans had been finalized to build a new Moscow subway system. Of course, there was nothing wrong with the city’s current subway. But in the spirit of capitalism, the second system would be built to promote ‘the interests of competition.'”

Oh, and number 30 contains this marvelous sentence:
“Eventually Riche broke down and admitted she hadn’t been abducted by Puritans.”

From my personal experience, I remember the magazine I used to write for, Games, debuting “Magic Eye” puzzles in what by chance turned out to be an April issue. Many readers were wrongly convinced that the puzzles were a hoax.

I love surprises in books too, the kind of satisfying revelation that’s so obvious in retrospect but rocks me back at the time. I’ve tried to pull off a few of those in my own book.

Who has fooled you, in a good way? In real life? In books?

8 Replies to “Fool Me, by Emily Winslow”

  1. I get fooled practically every day. I’m a “gullible is written on the ceiling” kind of person.

    My favorite April Fools Day hoax was when Taco Bell announced it was buying the Liberty Bell. Hee hee!

  2. PS, I remember being blown away by the ending of the movie The Village. I just did not see that coming. Same thing with the ending of the book, The Ninth Life of Louis Drax. I love being fooled like that!

  3. I had the exact opposite reaction, Alicia! I totally guessed the ending to The Village in the first scene, where it was *kinda* old-timey, but not *really* old-timey. I’ve often wished that the movie had spent two hours telling the story of what they did to make things the way they were, instead two hours skirting around it for the sake of surprise. BUT I totally get your love of being satisfyingly fooled. I think that’s part of what’s so tricky with surprise–some people won’t actually be surprised at all, while others will be delighted by it. (And others won’t get it at all, even *after* the big reveal. Heh.)

  4. My older brother once came into a restaurant where I was waitressing and hunched over a menu, ordering in a quiet voice. I couldn’t see his face – and had no idea he’d returned to the country from his travels. Didn’t know who it was until he looked up and smiled.

  5. Aw Sarah–what a lovely surprise!

    Greg–I just checked out your paintings. Wow! The one that goes with the quote “he speaks the truth with his art” is GORGEOUS. (I mean, they all are, but that one just speaks to me especially)

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