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Real, So-Wrong April Fools’ Day Pranks

Much good-natured fun can be had on April Fools’ Day, unless you’re cursed or lack proper discernment and everything goes terribly wrong. I remember that as a child, somehow I could never think of a joke or a prank to pull on anyone. If only there had been a Google back then! Plenty of people have had the opposite problem. They have pulled pranks that went awry. The following are some examples of real April Fools’ Day pranks from the times when there was no help from the Internet.

Ends in Death

In a tragic true news story printed in a Wisconsin newspaper in 1896, a loving husband pulled a prank that turned deadly. John Ahrens, a farmer, wore a white mask and dressed like a tramp on April Fools’ Day. He then knocked on the door of his home. His wife answered the door, and he demanded that she prepare dinner for him. The poor woman fell in a dead faint—literally, since she died one hour later. They had been newlyweds enjoying wedded bliss for only a few short months when she died, and the news later reported that he was threatening to take his own life, as well.

Ends Very Badly

An Atlanta, Georgia, newspaper from April 1886 tells of an April Fools’ Day prank that went shockingly wrong. Tom Rogers of Kaufman, Texas, played a joke on Dr. Mosley. He left a message for the doctor to go out to the country a distance of three miles to see a critically ill young lady. Dr. Mosely rode his trusty steed to the destination and discovered that it was merely a hoax. The doctor was not amused. In fact, he was fully enraged. Discerning that Rogers was the culprit, Dr. Mosley found Rogers and mercilessly attacked him with a knife! He stabbed Rogers in the body, neck, and face and continued until several fatal wounds had been inflicted.

Dead Baby

Tobias Luck, a photographer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and a cohort, William Spikes, played a strange dead-baby prank on the photographer’s intern. Spikes rushed into the studio saying parents on a nearby street wanted their dead baby to be photographed as soon as possible. Luck was busy and sent his employee instead. The intern gathered all of the needed devices and photography equipment and walked approximately six blocks with the heavy load, looking for the address. When he found the right street but not the right number, he trudged back to the photography studio for more information. Suddenly, he realized the date and had a good laugh. Okay, this was a pretty good one, but it wouldn’t go very far today. The intern would probably find out on GPS that the address wasn’t good, before even leaving the studio to shoot the dead baby.

Happy April Fools!

If you find yourself struggling over a nice prank to pull on April Fools' Day, there’s a search engine waiting for you. Just remember things don’t always go as anticipated. Proceed with caution because, in general, life can suddenly turn to crap on any given day of the year.

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