National Geographic interviews Alex Boese, curator of the Museum of Hoaxes, about the history of April Fool's Day. Read it to learn the likely origins of the tradition, which authoritarian regimes resist the holiday, and why the Internet embraces it. And for this story:
Q: Do you have a favorite "good" prank?
A: One has elements of almost being bad, but I just liked the idea of it. Back in World War I, French air force pilots flew over German camps and threw out fake bombs with April Fool's Day notes pinned to them. The Germans saw these things falling, scattered everywhere, crept back, and saw the notes. It's kind of mean, but the fact that people would stop fighting for a day to play pranks on each other–that appealed to me.
Q: And you swear you're not making that up?
A: It's true. If you can believe newspaper reports. It was reported back in 1915.
If you spot any interesting hoaxes today, tell us about them in the comments thread. I received my first fake press release of the day at 11:00 last night (you're jumping the gun, boys!), claiming that John Yoo had been arrested in Italy and held for possible extradition to Spain. Allegedly a Reuters report, it was "edited by Antonio Gramsci."