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By Becky Little

Websites like Google and YouTube use April Fools’ Day to prank the public with fake videos and announcements (like last year’s Pokémon Challenge)—but they didn’t start the trend.

On April 1, 1957, the British Broadcasting Corporation told viewers that there had been an “exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop” in Switzerland that year, due in part to “the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil”

The BBC showed footage of spaghetti harvesters diligently picking noodles from trees. Some viewers were upset—but some called to ask where they could find a spaghetti bush.

By 1957, April Fools’ pranks were already common in American and European newspapers. No one knows how the holiday started, but we do know something about how it’s changed. Here are a few of the greatest hoax hits in history.
The Washing of the Lions

The earliest April Fools’ Day hoax on record was in 1698, says Alex…

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