Trick or Treat! Four Famous Tricks and Hoaxes

Categories: Oxi Fresh - Just for Fun

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is here! Around the United States (and in some other countries), we’ll be hearing
a very familiar call: “Trick or Treat!” Candy will be devoured, costumes complimented, but we
probably won’t even consider the first of the two options – Trick. There’s a long history of
pranks on Halloween, and we want to celebrate a few of the most famous pranks in history!
(Yes, none of these are Halloween themed, but they’re so incredible they deserve attention).

Harvest Your Own Spaghetti
A classic prank comes to us from 1957 in England. On April 1st, the BBC gave its viewers a
look at the grand Swiss tradition of the Spaghetti Tree Harvest. The video was shown during a
legitimate news show and baffled the nation. Many viewers called in, some amused, but many
others asked how to grow their own Spaghetti Tree. Thanks to Wikipedia for the information.

Well, That’s Just Overkill – The Berners Street Hoax
Everyone thinks of 19th century England as intolerably strict and dull. Well, we owe our second
escapade to that “serious” period. One day in 1809, hundreds of people suddenly showed up at a
normal, London home. Everyone in the crowd, from the Lord Mayor to six men delivering an
organ, claimed they had received letters requesting their presence on that specific day. The maid
hadn’t a clue about what was going on and had to turn away dozens of chimney sweeps, pianos,
doctors, priests, coal deliveries, cakes and much more (well, tried to send them away, it was
exceptionally difficult to move through the crowd). So what was the cause? One Mr. Hook made
a bet that he could turn a normal London home into the talk of the town. Thousands of letters and
requests later, he won that bet. Thanks to Wikipedia and Kelly Grovier of The Observer.

Mr. Hook, an Agent of Chaos

The Ghost Army
Here’s one that sounds spooky, but is more weird. Did you know that in WWII, there was an
entire army made of rubber? A highly classified and bizarrely effective war effort was led by a
battalion of 1,100 US soldiers whose sole job was to look like a much, much bigger army. They used
large, inflatable tanks, guns, and planes to create the illusion of a force that didn’t actually exist.
Over the course of the war, the fake army proved incredibly effective; its masterful deception fooled
German forces thoroughly, causing them to waste time, money and men. The Ghost’s craftiness and
intelligence was an important part of WWII. Thanks to Wikipedia for the information.

Image from SGM Herb Friedman (Ret.)

Silly School – MIT Hacks
The final prank I want to share is actually a series of them, all from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. The students of MIT pull off truly incredible pranks, or hacks as they call them,
on everyone and everything they can think of (including themselves). They’ve built upside down
living rooms, “parked” cars on domes, stole and transported CalTech’s cannon across the country -
okay, there are too many to talk about. If you want to read more about their hacks, click here.

Image from the MIT Museum

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