Friday, April 1, 2016

Boston April Fools' Day Game

In honor of this being April Fools’ Day, we have our own version of Two Truths and a Lie or for those of you NPR aficionados, "Bluff the Listener".  Below are three April Fools’ Day stories all related to Boston. Can you guess which stories are true and which is fiction?

1. One Southern State Honored the Boston Strangler

April 1, 1971: The House of Representatives of one Southern state unanimously passed a resolution honoring Albert DeSalvo, noting he had been "officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts for his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology." The politicians were embarrassed when it was later revealed to them that DeSalvo was better known as the "Boston Strangler." He had confessed to killing 13 women. The resolution had been submitted by two representatives, who said they did it to demonstrate that "No one reads these bills or resolutions." Funny, yet not funny!

2. Boston-Based Professor April Fooled the Country

April 1, 1983: A professor of history at one of Boston’s many universities provided a false account of the history of April Fools’ Day, attributing its origin to Roman Emperor Constantine, and his having made one of his jesters or fools, King for the day. His history of the day was taken seriously and published nationwide via the Associated Press. Turns out he made the whole story up though. Happy April Fools’ from Boston’s intellectual elite!

3. Local College Students Tested Archaic Boston Laws

April 1, 1998: Boston has some foolish laws still on the books, ranging from the prohibition of taking baths on Sundays to prohibition of playing the fiddle. One dated law allows anyone to graze their livestock in the Public Garden and Common except for Sundays. A group of college juniors decided to test this out for an April Fools’ prank. On the night of Tuesday, March 31, 1998, friends at the University of New Hampshire helped them borrow cattle from the school and deposited them on Boston’s Common. The joke was on them though because more recent legislation indeed renders this illegal. You’d think college kids would have been smart enough to look that one up!  


Please contribute to the discussion here.