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5 Great Pranks In History That'll Make You Laugh Out Loud This April Fool's Day

Here are some of the most creative—and meaningful—hoaxes ever devised. Don't miss these 5 great pranks in history that'll make you laugh this April Fool's Day!

Pranking people can be not only a fun affair, but a very meaningful act as well when handled right—as proven by several incredibly creative people throughout history. A good prank can easily make April Fool's one of the funnest days of the year.

The following pranks and hoaxes are among the best, most imaginative ones in history. Just remember to avoid any harmful or dangerous stunts—the best kind of pranks are those that make everyone, especially the prankee, end up laughing with the pranksters. Keep it light, keep it meaningful, keep it fun.

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A similar note: Witty WWII Mexican Propaganda Posters That Show Why Humor Is Our Best Weapon

1. An alien invasion

On October 30, 1938, the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network aired an episode of its drama series The Mercury Theatre on the Air as a Halloween special. The episode was called "The War of the Worlds." It was narrated by legendary actor—and later, filmmaker—Orson Welles, and adapted from H.G. Wells' 1898 novel The War of the Worlds.

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The episode was recorded in the format of a breaking news bulletin, making it seem like a legitimate, true story. Though the radio network announced it was a fictional adaptation at the beginning of the broadcast, people who tuned in in the middle of the show thought they were hearing an actual journalist reporting on an unfolding event that featured a violent and devastating alien invasion. So, clearly, people panicked.

Despite the initial outrage, this episode single-handedly secured Welles' fame as a dramatist.

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2. The most dangerous substance on the planet

What if I told you there's a chemical compound whose incredibly harmful properties have so far been ignored by government regulations? I'm talking about dihydrogen monoxide, also known as hydroxylic acid, and you encounter it every day. This product is not even labeled as dangerous, even though it’s used pretty much everywhere. Here's a list about its alarming dangers:

Dihydrogen monoxide:

  • is also known as hydroxyl acid and is the major component of acid rain. 
  • contributes to the "greenhouse effect."
  • may cause severe burns.
  • contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
  • accelerates corrosion and rusting in many metals.
  • may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.
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    Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:

  • as an industrial solvent and coolant.
  • in nuclear power plants.
  • in the production of styrofoam.
  • as a fire retardant.
  • in many forms of cruel animal research.
  • in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
  • as an additive in certain "junk foods" and other food products.
  • Would you sign a petition to ban, or at least regulate, hydroxylic acid? In 1997, a 14-year-old student named Nathan Zohner collected signatures to do just that, and he got them. The petition was part of Zohner's science project titled "How Gullible Are We?," a study about the problems with scientific illiteracy and the gullibility of people in general when presented misleading facts in an alarming fashion.

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    After he gathered the signatures, Zohner revealed the most popular scientific term for dihydrogen monoxide: H2O, commonly known as water.

    Another interesting article: 18 Hilariously Creepy Vintage Halloween Greeting Cards

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    3. The woman who gave birth to bunnies

    In 1726, Mary Toft, an English woman from Godalming, Surrey, became the fascination of doctors the world over for her seemingly impossible pregnancy. According to several sources of the time, Toft miscarried after having a certain fascination with a rabbit. The stillborns, it was said, were rabbits themselves.

    Or so the medical community believed after an initial investigation about Toft's claims. Her case got the attention of several noted surgeons, many of whom took it as true. The first doctor to see her didn't initially believe her, but upon visiting on several occasions, he became convinced of the fact she had been giving birth to many animal parts over the course of several days.

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    He contacted other doctors, who then contacted others, and months later, her story became widely known. After she was transferred to London to be studied in far more detail, she confessed to the hoax. It appeared that, with the help of some friends, she had inserted the animal parts into her vagina and under the bed covers, so that it would give the impression they had come from her pregnancy.

    A seemingly innocent prank at first, the whole affair soon got out of hand and way bigger than she ever thought it would. Though she was initially charged with fraud and ruined the careers of many respectable surgeons, she was released shortly after and returned home.

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    Yeah, this one probably is not an example of a harmless prank for the disgraced surgeons, but you have to give Toft kudos for creativity nonetheless.

    You'll like this: Death By Tickling: The Horrible Torture Method That Can Cause An Aneurysm

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    4. And the baby shall be called April... April Fool's

    Stephan Barrows, an economics professor at Aquinas College, Michigan, had a special rule in his class. If any cellphone rang during class hours, the owner would have to answer it and place the call on speakerphone. Meant to deter the use of phones, students took the rule and turned it on its head. They arrange for a friend to call one of the girls and announce that her pregnancy test came back positive.

    The professor bought it and realized the severity of the incident. He became increasingly uncomfortable and soon apologized to her and the rest of the class for his ill-advised rule. The girl immediately told him, “That’s okay, I’ve been expecting this call… I already know what I’m going to name the baby. The first name will be April, and the middle name will be Fools.”

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    The whole thing was captured in video, of course. Here it is:

    A truly good April Fool's prank, where everyone laughs and no one gets hurt in any way.

    5. A rhino in political office

    It was 1959, and it was election time in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Corruption was rampant at the time, so a group of local college students came up with an idea that would rock the history of Brazil's pop culture to its core.

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    The students fashioned many homemade ballots in order to get Cacareco, a five-year old rhinoceros, elected to the city council. "Cacareco" is the Portuguese word for "trash," and the stunt was meant as a protest against political corruption. To the student's surprise, the charming four-legged candidate didn't just win. He trampled his opposition, obtaining over 100,000 votes—far more than any other of the 540 candidates.

    But Cacareco never got to see his place at the council. The election was nullified—as expected—, but the prank as never been forgotten. To this day, the expression "Voto Cacareco" is used in Brazil to mean "Protest Vote."

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    There have been many other amazing pranks and hoaxes throughout history, but these are enough to get the mood going for one of the funnest days in the year. Remember to keep it fun by avoiding dangerous stunts. Otherwise, have fun, and we hope you enjoyed our list!

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    Take a look at this other article:
    25 Photos Of Vintage Halloween Costumes That'll Seriously Creep You Out

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