April Fools' Day - 1st April
Updated: Apr 1
"Sweet April showers Do bring forth May flowers."
"Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever."
Before we start, say the following phrase together with members ...
"Pinch and a punch for the first of the MONTH.
A flick and a kick for being so QUICK.
A punch in the eye for being so SLY."
Discuss the meaning of this phrase and "White rabbits, white rabbits and no returns!", which is also often said on the first of the month.
Both are said to bring good luck.
According to some, US President George Washington met local Indian tribes on the first day of each month. He would supply fruit punch with an added pinch of salt. It became known as ‘pinch and punch on the first of the month’.
Others believe the tradition originated in medieval times, when people believed in witches. Salt was meant to make witches weak, so the pinch signified the use of salt to weaken the witch, while the punch was then administered to banish the witch for good.
As for "White rabbits", a reference is found in ‘Notes and Queries’ (a British periodical where experts shared knowledge on folklore, literature and history) from 1909. The entry reads: "My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month."
It was also a common belief among RAF bomber aircrew during WW2 that saying "white rabbits" when you woke up would protect you from harm.
April Fools' Day is an annual custom on April 1, consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes. The player of the joke or hoax often exposes their action later by shouting "April fool" at the recipient. Mass media can be involved in these pranks, which may be revealed as such the following day. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a public holiday in any country. The joking must cease at noon, after which time it is no longer acceptable to play pranks.
In Scotland, April Fools' Day was traditionally called 'Huntigowk Day', which refers to a traditional prank where someone is asked to deliver a sealed message that supposedly requests help of some sort. In fact, the message reads "Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile." The recipient, upon reading it, will explain he can only help if he first contacts another person, and sends the victim to this next person with an identical message, with the same result.
In Ireland, it was also traditional to entrust the victim with an "important letter" to be given to a named person. That person would read the letter, then ask the victim to take it to someone else, and so on. The letter when opened contained the words "send the fool further"
The joke is on YOU
There's no fool like an OLD FOOL
You could have fooled ME
A fool and his money are soon PARTED
A fool's ERRAND
Playing the FOOL
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, SHAME ON ME
Fools rush in where angels fear to TREAD
More fool YOU
Do not suffer fools GLADLY
The joke's on YOU
All joking ASIDE
You must be JOKING
You've got to be KIDDING
Have the last LAUGH
Laughter is the best MEDICINE
BEST APRIL FOOLS OR HOAXES
Discuss each of these April Fools pranks and other hoaxes with members.
Which of them have members heard of?
Which are the best?
Do members believe there is any truth in any of the stories which haven't been refuted?
Are any stories missing?
On April Fools' Day 1957, the BBC aired a short TV segment on 'Panorama' about the harvesting of spaghetti trees in Switzerland. At the time, not everybody knew how pasta was made, so to them, a spaghetti orchard seemed just as plausible as anything else. About 8 million people watched the broadcast, which CNN later called "the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled."
Known as "The Cottingley Fairies," the pictures were taken in the summer of 1917 by a 16-year-old girl named Elsie Wright and her younger cousin Frances Griffiths. The images were an instant sensation, even fooling Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who viewed them as clear proof of the existence of fairies. It wasn't until 1983 that the two girls finally admitted that they faked the photos by using cardboard cutouts.
In 1869, George Hull created a fake 10-foot-tall petrified man, then buried and exhumed it from his cousin's back yard in Cardiff, NY. Upon "discovery" of the giant, they immediately began charging spectators 50 cents to see it. The giant became such a phenomenon that Hull managed to sell his part-interest in the Cardiff Giant for $23,000 ($429,000 when adjusted for inflation). A year later, to stop P.T. Barnum from profiting off an unauthorized copy, Hull confessed in court that petrified man was a forgery.
The Unbeatable Mechanical Chess Player
Known as "The Turk," this 18th-century automated chess-playing robot toured the world for a staggering 84 years and defeated thousands of human players in the process. In fact, the Turk didn't know how to play chess at all. Instead, a chess master would hide inside its table and manipulate the pieces via magnets and levers.
Paul McCartney Is Dead
In one of the strangest hoaxes of all time, rumours swept the world in September of 1969 that Paul McCartney had died and was replaced with a look-alike. The story began when a writer for the Drake University newspaper pointed out various "clues" to Paul's death in Beatles album artwork and tracks. McCartney, who had been out of the public spotlight for a few months, finally granted an interview with 'Life' magazine in November of 1969, and so corrected the story.
Loch Ness Monster
In 1934 and the decades that followed, this image was known as the 'Surgeon's Photograph'. It was viewed by many as indisputable proof of the existence of 'Nessie', the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, photographer Robert Kenneth Wilson eventually admitted it was a fake made of a toy submarine purchased from Woolworths with a wooden head attached.
Bigfoot or Sasquatch
In North American folklore, 'Bigfoot' or 'Sasquatch' are said to be hairy, upright-walking, ape-like creatures that dwell in the wilderness and leave footprints. Depictions often portray them as a missing link between humans and human ancestors or other great apes. A majority of scientists have historically discounted the existence of Bigfoot, considering it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than living animals. However, people who claim to have seen it describe 'Bigfoot' as large, muscular, bipedal ape-like creatures, roughly 6–9 feet (1.8–2.7 m) tall, covered in black, dark brown, or dark reddish hair. The enormous footprints for which the creatures are named are claimed to be as large as 24 inches (60 cm) long and 8 inches (20 cm) wide.
In October of 2009, Richard Heene (a father in Colorado) caused a media sensation when he claimed that his 6-year-old son was trapped inside a runaway gas balloon. People all over America watched live as the balloon sped through the sky, presumably with a child stuck inside. However, it later came to light that the story was a ruse and the child was safely at home the whole time. For orchestrating this event, Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail and had to pay $36,000 for wasting the time of rescue personnel.
In the 90's, a man named Ray Santilli released a supposed 50-year-old alien autopsy film. The footage was black-and-white, grainy, and very suspect. Even still, UFO conspiracy theorists loved it, and it became the focus of a massively successful hour-long Fox special titled 'Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction'. In 2006, Santilli admitted he shot the whole thing with a homemade dummy.
A series of mysterious markings were left in a Wiltshire cornfield in 1985. People thought extraterrestrial life was the only entity that could possess the tools to make such incredible formations. However, later in 1991 Doug Bower and Dave Chorley admitted creating every single crop circle in the area since 1978. What was their motivation? ...boredom.
Hoaxes don't get much bigger than Piltdown Man. It was a skull that purported to be proof of evolution's "missing link" between apes and humans, and was celebrated as one of the most important cultural discoveries in history. For a full 40 years, Piltdown Man was regarded as fact, until it was exposed as a forgery in 1953. Charles Dawson, the hoaxer was said to have set the evolution debate back an entire generation.
Fiji Mermaid Skeleton
For the price of $12.50 per week, P.T. Barnum purchased the exclusive rights to display a supposed "mermaid skeleton" called the 'Fiji Mermaid'. (Actually, it was the remains of a monkey sewn to the back half of a fish!) Barnum then hired an associate to pretend to be a doctor who discovered the rare creature and had that man travel city to city, drumming up grassroots enthusiasm. Once the public was sufficiently enamoured, Barnum "convinced" the doctor to let him display the mermaid to the public.
Beast of Bodmin
'The Beast of Bodmin Moor' is a phantom wild cat purported to live in Cornwall. Bodmin Moor became a centre of supposed sightings after 1978, with occasional reports of mutilated slain livestock. The alleged panther-like cats have become a part of British folklore, however scientists have rejected the existence of such an animal because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population and because climate and food supply issues would make such creatures' survival in reported habitats unlikely.
Bessie Houdini Seances
After Harry Houdini died on October 31, 1926, his wife Bessie moved to Manhattan and would try to contact Harry during seances with a code that only she and Harry knew about, to be sure that the spirit medium was not a fraud. The code was: "Rosabelle – answer – tell – pray – answer – look – tell – answer – answer – tell". Bessies' wedding band bore the inscription "Rosabelle", the name of the song she sang in her act when they first met. The other words correspond to a secret spelling code used to pass information between a magician and his assistant during a 'mentalism' act. Each word or word pair equals a letter. The word "answer" stood for the letter "B", for example."Answer, answer" stood for the letter "V". Thus, the Houdinis' secret phrase spelled out the word "BELIEVE". In the 1930s Bessie moved to Hollywood, California, and worked to promote Houdini's memory along with her manager and partner, Edward Saint. On Halloween 1936, Bess and Saint conducted a "Final Houdini Séance" on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood. At the conclusion of the failed seance, she put out the candle that was said to have burned for ten years and later said "ten years was long enough to wait for any man."
Shroud Of Turin
The 'Shroud of Turin' is a length of linen cloth bearing the negative image of a man believed to be Jesus Christ. Believers claim the image depicts Jesus of Nazareth and the fabric is the burial shroud in which he was wrapped after crucifixion. However, in 1390 a local bishop wrote that an unnamed artist had confessed to it being a forgery, and radiocarbon dating of a sample of the fabric undertaken in 1988 is consistent with this. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Pope John Paul II later called the Shroud "a mirror of the Gospel". Whilst science has largely confirmed the 'Shroud Of Turin' to be a medieval facsimile, the mystery remains that the image on the shroud is much clearer and more lifelike in black-and-white negative, which was not observed until 1898, rather than in the sepia colour with which it was created. How could medieval hoaxers have made it in reverse negative before photography was invented?
The 'Bermuda Triangle', also known as the 'Devil's Triangle' or 'Hurricane Alley', is a loosely defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Most reputable sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery. The vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle is amongst the most heavily travelled shipping lanes in the world, with ships frequently crossing through it for ports in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean islands. Cruise ships and pleasure craft regularly sail through the region, and commercial and private aircraft routinely fly over it. Popular culture has attributed various disappearances to the paranormal or extraterrestrial activity. However, documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were spurious, inaccurately reported, or embellished by later authors.
The 'Millennium Bug' referred to events related to the formatting and storage of calendar data for dates beginning in the year 2000. Problems were anticipated because many programs represented four-digit years with only the final two digits – making the year 2000 indistinguishable from 1900. The assumption of a twentieth-century date in such programs could cause various errors, such as the incorrect display of dates and the inaccurate ordering of automated dated records or real-time events. But midnight passed on the 1 January 2000 and the crisis failed to materialise - planes did not fall from the sky, power stations did not melt down. Clocks did not stop.However, computer experts have said that the 'damp squib' was only because of the hard work in correcting computer programmes they did in the run up to the date.
Next, discuss 'School Pranks' with members.
Do members remember having a local 'Joke Shop' which they would visit in the run up to 'April Fools' Day'?
Do members remember these tricks?
Ask them to describe how they worked?
- Whoopi Cushion
- Itching Powder
- Bucket of water on a partly open door
- Balloons filled with water
- Cling film over the toilet seat
- Plastic dog turd
- Stink bombs
- Dribble glass
- Salt in sugar bowl
- Rat Tat Ginger
- 'Kick Me' sign.
Are there any others they remember using to good effect?
BEST EVER ONE LINERS
"Are these the greatest comedy one-liners ever told?" - BBC Radio 4
"I never forget a face, but in your case, I’ll be glad to make an exception."
Winston Churchill’s famous (though possibly apocryphal) riposte to Nancy Astor’s line “If I was your wife, I’d put poison in your tea.” was “Madame, if I was your husband, I’d drink it.”
Tim Vine – “Conjunctivitis.com – that’s a site for sore eyes!”
Joan Rivers – “All my mother told me about sex was that the man goes on top and the woman on the bottom. For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds.”
Ken Dodd – “I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.”
Bob Monkhouse – “I want to die like my father, peacefully in his sleep, not screaming and terrified, like his passengers.”
Jo Brand – "The way to a man's heart is through his hanky pocket with a breadknife."
Milton Jones – “I was mugged by a man on crutches, wearing camouflage. Ha ha, I thought, you can hide but you can’t run.”
Ross Noble – “How come Miss Universe is only ever won by people from Earth?”
Jimmy Carr – “A lady with a clipboard stopped me in the street the other day. She said, ‘Can you spare a few minutes for cancer research?’ I said, ‘Alright, but we won’t get much done.”
Sarah Millican – "I saw a pair of knickers today – on the front it said, 'I would do anything for love' and on the back it said 'but I won't do that.'"
Tommy Cooper – "Police arrested two kids yesterday. One was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off."
Jack Whitehall – “I'm sure wherever my father is, he's looking down on us. He's not dead, just very condescending."
Spotify Playlist link here - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0rpmSDM8sdYAS8V3S80CkT?si=OkGn4leZQbOsBxgW6m0KOw
'The Fool On The Hill' (1967) - The Beatles
Which 1967 Beatles album was this song from? - MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
'Fool If You Think It's Over' (1982) - Elkie Brooks
Complete these Elkie Brooks song titles ...
- 'Pearl's A SINGER' (1977)
- 'Sunshine After The RAIN' (1977)
- 'Lilac WINE' (1978)
- 'No More The FOOL' (1986)
'Why Do Fools Fall In Love?' (1981) - Diana Ross
Which label was Diana Ross with? - MOTOWN
What was the name of her backing group? - THE SUPREMES
Some of her UK hits were ... (Maybe choose one of these to play?)
- 'I'm Still Waiting' (1971 - number 1)
- 'Touch Me In The Morning' (1973)
- 'All Of My Life' (1974)
- 'You Are Everything' (1974, with Marvyn Gaye)
- 'Baby Love' (1974)
- 'Do You Know Where You're Going To?' (1976)
- 'Upside Down' (1980)
- 'I'm Coming Out' (1980)
- 'Endless Love' (1981, with Lionel Richie)
- 'Chain Reaction' (1986 - number 1)
'What A Fool Believes' (1987) - Doobie Brothers
Who was the lead singer, who later had a UK number 2 hot with Patti Labelle entitled 'On My Own'? - MICHAEL MCDONALD
'What Kind Of Fool' (1980) - Barbra Streisand
Complete these Barbra Streisand film titles ...
- 'Funny GIRL' (1968)
- 'Hello DOLLY' (1969)
- 'What's Up DOC?' (1972)
- 'The Way We WERE' (1973)
- 'Funny LADY' (1975)
- 'A Star Is BORN' (1976)
- 'Meet The FOCKERS' (2004)
'The Joker' (1973) - Steve Miller Band
What was their 1982 UK number 2 hit? - ABRACADABRA
'Little April Shower' (1957) - Disney Studio Chorus
What 1957 Disney movie is this song from? - BAMBI
'April Come She Will' (1966) - Simon & Garfunkel
What were their Christian names? - PAUL & ART
'Art' is short for which name? - ARTHUR
What 1966 album is this from? - SOUNDS OF SILENCE
'Only Fools And Horses' - TV Theme
Name the main characters and actors? - DEL BOY (DAVID JASON), RODNEY TROTTER (NICHOLAS LYNDHURST), TRIGGER (ROGER LLOYD PACK) & UNCLE ALBERT (BUSTER MERRYFIELD)
Can members think of any standout moments from the show?
'Something Stupid' (1967) - FRANK & NANCY SINATRA
Complete the titles of these Sinatra hits ...
- 'Young At HEART' (1954)
- 'Three Coins In The FOUNTAIN (1954 - number 1)
- 'Love And MARRIAGE' (1956)
- 'WitchCRAFT' (1958)
- 'Me And My Shadow' (1962, with Sammy Davis Jr)
- 'Strangers In The NIGHT' (1966)
- 'That's LIFE' (1966)
- 'My WAY' (1969)
- 'New York New YORK' (1980)
'Silly Love Songs' (1976) - Wings
What was their 1977 Christmas number 1 hit? - MULL OF KINTYRE
Which 1973 James Bond movie did they perform the title for? - LIVE AND LET DIE
'Bermuda Triangle' (1980) - Barry Manilow
Name some triangles? - BERMUDA, EQUILATERAL, ISOSCELES, SCALENE, LOVE & PERCUSSION
What do Barry Manilow fans call themselves? - FANILOWS
'Send In The Clowns' (1975) - Judy Collins
Who is the most famous clown of all time (associated with fast food)? - RONALD MCDONALD
Go around the room. What are members favourite fast foods?
'The Windmills Of Your Mind' (1968) - Noel Harrison
Which 1968 film starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway was this song used in as the title track? - THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR
I'm a bit light on themed songs. Can anyone think of any to add to this playlist?
There are some great iOS App Store and Google Playstore apps available for puzzling.
Try these on a tablet ...
Magic & Relaxing Puzzles Game
Many of the jigsaw apps can be adjusted, in terms of number of pieces. Also people can choose the image they want to complete.
4 Pics 1 Word
This is a nice game to play as a group, with members trying to find the word in common with the four pictures. Difficulty level increases as the game progresses.
Close Up Pics - Zoom Quiz Game
Guess the picture word trivia!
Similarly, this game can be played as a group. Everyday objects come into focus and are revealed.
Alternatively, low tech games can be just as successful and are more recognisable, especially if previously played.
- Word Search
Please comment below or via the feedback form to let me know what has worked well, or if you have any other ideas for content.