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'April Fools Day' 🤡 1st April

"Sweet April showers Do bring forth May flowers."     

Thomas Tusser

"Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever."    

Charles Lamb

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 sayings 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".


To complete together ...

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

Fool's GOLD

Fools rush in where angels fear to TREAD

More fool YOU

Do not suffer fools GLADLY

Practical JOKER

All joking ASIDE

You must be JOKING

You've got to be KIDDING

Have the last LAUGH

Laughter is the best MEDICINE

A song to start 'Drip Drip Drop Little April Showers' -


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 wholly been refuted?

Are any good stories missing?

Answer the questions as you work through the pictures and descriptions.

Spaghetti Tree

On April Fools' Day 1957, the BBC aired a short TV segment 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."

  1. Which TV programme was it aired on?

a. 'Panorama'

b. 'Nationwide'

c. 'That's Life'

Cottingley Fairies

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.

2. Which character did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle create?

a. Miss Marple

b. Father Brown

c. Sherlock Holmes

Cardiff Giant

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, USA. 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 the petrified man was a forgery.

3. What was P.T. Barnum famous for?

a. His circus

b. His zoo

c. His museum

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. 

4. How many pieces are there on a chess board?

a. 42

b. 32

c. 22

Hiroo Onoda

Not really a hoax, but a great story in any case. After the Second World War ended Hiroo Onoda spent 29 years hiding in isolation in the Philippines until his former commander travelled from Japan to formally relieve him from duty by order of Emperor Shōwa in 1974. He held the rank of second lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Army and survived by eating a diet of bananas and jungle meat for nearly three decades. How the world must have changed when he finally re-entered it.

5. Which of these items were invented BEFORE 1974?

a. Walkman

b. World Wide Web

c. Pocket calculator

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 been 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.

6. How old is Paul McCartney?

a. 69

b. 79

c. 89

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.

Then, in April 2016, the real remains of 'a monster' were discovered by an underwater robot. Discovered remotely 180 metres down on the loch bed, the research team must have been initially thrilled to find something which could have been the remains of the real thing.

7. But what was it?

a. The remains of a 30 foot model of 'Nessie' lost during the making of a Sherlock Holmes movie

b. A sunken tourist boat which couldn't be recovered due to its depth

c. An underwater rocky outcrop?

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 large 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 beings. However, people who claim to have seen it describe 'Bigfoot' as large, muscular, bipedal ape-like creature, roughly 6–9 feet (1.8–2.7 m) tall, covered in black, dark brown, or dark reddish hair.

8. How big were his feet, or at least footprints?

a. 12 inches

b. 18 inches

c. 24 inches

Yeti or 'Abominable Snowman'

The 'Yeti', also known as 'Meh-Teh', in Himalayan folklore, is an ape-like creature purported to inhabit the Himalayan mountain range in Asia. In western popular culture, the creature is commonly referred to as the 'Abominable Snowman'. Supposed evidence of the Yeti's existence include anecdotal visual sightings, video recordings, photographs, casts of large footprints, etc. Some of these are speculated or known to be hoaxes. Folklorists trace the origin of the Yeti to a combination of factors including Sherpa folklore and misidentified creatures, such as a brown bear or yak. The Indian Army published the pictures below of unexplained tracks found in 2019.

9. What is the tallest mountain in 'The Himalayas'?

a. K2

b. Mount Everest

c. Matterhorn

Balloon Boy

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 hiding 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.

10. How far did the balloon travel before coming to rest?

a. 25 miles

b. 50 miles

c. 100 miles

Alien Autopsy

In the 1990'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.

11. In which US state is 'Area 51', a highly classified US Air Force base, located?

a. Hawaii

b. Kansas

c. Nevada

Crop Circles

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.

12. How did they make them?

a. Planks and ropes

b. Lawn mower and strimmer

c. A garden roller and shears

Piltdown Man

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.

13. Which scientist proposed the 'Theory Of Evolution'?

a. Isaac Newton

b. Albert Einstein

c. Charles Darwin

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.

14. Which 1984 movie starring Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks was about a mermaid?

a. 'Splash'

b. 'Big'

c. 'Castaway'

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.

15. Who wrote the 1902 story 'The Hound Of The Baskervilles'?

a. Agatha Christie

b. Daphne Du Maurier

c. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Bessie Houdini Seances

After Harry Houdini died on October 31, 1926, his wife Bessie moved to Manhattan and would try to contact him 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". "Rosabelle" was the name of the song she sang in her act when they first met. The code made the word "BELIEVE". In the 1930s Bessie re-married and moved to Hollywood, California, and worked to promote Houdini's memory. On Halloween 1936, Bess conducted a "Final Houdini Séance" and put out the candle that had burned for ten years, saying "Ten years was long enough to wait for any man."

16. What is the name of the 'Board' which is used to summon spirits?

a. Tarot

b. Ouija

c. Oracle

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. The fabric was said to have been the shroud Jesus was wrapped in 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 hoax, the mystery remains that the image on the shroud is much clearer and more lifelike in black-and-white photographic negative, which was not available until 1898.

17. In which country is the city of Turin?

a. Italy

b. Spain

c. France

Bermuda Triangle

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.

18. Who had a hit in 1980 with the song 'Bermuda Triangle'?

a. Cliff Richard

b. Barry Manilow

c. Neil Sedaka

Millennium Bug

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 1st 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.

19. The 1998 Robbie Williams hit 'Millennium' is based on the theme of which James Bond movie?

a. 'Goldfinger'

b. 'Diamonds Are Forever'

c. 'You Only Live Twice'

And here is Robbie's song -

'War Of The Worlds'

Perhaps one of the most phenomenal hoaxes ever was in 1939, when Orson Welles enacted a live broadcast of an adaptation of 'The War Of The Worlds'. It was performed and broadcast live as a Halloween episode at 8 p.m. on Sunday, 30th October, 1938, over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. The episode became famous for allegedly causing panic among its audience, though the scale of panic is disputed, as the program had relatively few listeners. The radio station played the drama as if it were segments of live news broadcast interrupting a classical music show. Hence the sense of realism and of live unfolding events being 'reported' as they were happening terrified some listeners and convinced them an attack from Mars was underway. You can listen to the full broadcast here

20. Who wrote the 1897 book 'The War Of The Worlds'?

a. HG Wells

b. John Wyndham

c. Isaac Asimov

Roath Park Luxe

A local joke came in October 2016, when 'I Loves The Diff' published an article about 'The Scott Memorial of Roath Park Lake' in Cardiff. The article stated that the unique property is actually "a luxury family home that is now on the rental market". The article was said to have prompted concerned locals to form an action group called 'The Lighthouse Family'. Was anyone taken in for a few moments when they read this, like me!?

21. What was the ship that Captain Robert Falcon Scott sailed from Cardiff to the Antarctic called?

a. 'Terra Nova'

b. 'The Beagle'

c. 'Endurance'


22. Which album is this song from?

a. 'Sergeant Pepper'

b. 'Help'

c. 'Magical Mystery Tour'

23. What was the name of her backing group?

a. 'The Four Seasons'

b. 'The Supremes'

c. 'The Three Degrees'

24. The lead singer Michael McDonald had another UK hit with Patti Labelle. What was it called?

a. 'On My Own'

b. 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart'

c. 'Islands In The Stream'

25. What was her other UK number 1?

a. 'Kinky Boots'

b. 'These Boots Were Made For Walking'

c. 'Que Sera'

26. She had a hit with a Joni Mitchell song. What was it?

a. 'Both Sides Now'

b. 'Big Yellow Taxi'

c. 'Woodstock'

27. She had another hit about wine. What colour was it?

a. Red, Red

b. Rose

c. Lilac

28. They had another hit with the name of a magic command. What was it?

a. 'Open Sesame'

b. 'Hocus Pocus'

c. 'Abracadabra'

29. What nationality is Carlos Santana?

a. Mexican

b. Spanish

c. British

30. What is the name 'Art' short for?

a. Artemis

b. Albert

c. Arthur


31. What was the little boy's name?


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?


"Are these the greatest comedy one-liners ever told?" - BBC Radio 4

Groucho Marx - "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 – “ – 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."


There are some great iOS App Store and Google Playstore apps available for puzzling.

Try these on a tablet ...

Jigsaw Puzzle

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

The Classic

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.

Try ...

- Crosswords

- Hangman

- Word Search

- Dominoes

1. 'Panorama'

2. Sherlock Holmes

3. His circus

4. 32

5. Pocket calculator

6. 79

7. Film model

8. 24

9. Mount Everest

10. 50 miles

11. Nevada

12. Planks and ropes

13. Charles Darwin

14. 'Splash'

15. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

16. Ouija

17. Italy

18. Barry Manilow

19. 'You Only Live Twice'

20. HG Wells

21. 'Terra Nova'

22. 'Magical Mystery Tour'

23. 'The Supremes'

24. 'On My Own'

25. 'These Boots Are Made For Walking'

26. 'Both Sides Now'

27. 'Lilac Wine'

28. 'Abracadabra'

29. Mexico

30. Arthur

31. Johnny Paper


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