How great that we have a special day to celebrate jokes and pranks! Apparently as far back as the Romans many different cultures have had days of foolishness around late March or the beginning of April – perhaps there’s something about the time of year, with the turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to light-hearted moments. (Especially so this year when winter has outstayed its welcome – we’re all ready for a bit of spring fever).
Traditionally the laugh is usually at someone else’s expense, and involves tricking the gullible into believing something far-fetched. My favourite was one pulled by the much-missed astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who on the morning of 1st April 1976 announced on the radio that a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was about to take place. He said the planets Pluto and Jupiter were temporarily causing a gravitational alignment and if listeners jumped in the air at exactly the right moment, they would experience a strange sensation. So convincing was Patrick that the BBC received hundreds of phone calls from excited listeners – one woman even reported she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room! Continue reading