Most famous April Fools’ Day hoax

Probably the most famous April Fools’ Day hoax of all time is the Spaghetti Tree Hoax.

On 1st April 1957, BBC’s current affairs television programme Panorama showed what was apparently a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from a tree. It was reported that the bounty was caused by the eradication of the spaghetti weevil. As a result, many people to contacted the station to find out how to plant their own “spaghetti trees”.

The hoax worked because at that time the Italian delicacy was not yet popular in the United Kingdom, hence not everybody knew that spaghetti is made from wheat flour and water, and definitely does not grow on trees.

In addition, it was narrated by respected broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, hence increasing its credibility.

The report lasted around 3 minutes:

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The BBC let its viewers know the truth on the same day.

Many years later CNN called this “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled.”

Museum of Hoaxes

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