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?