Ghostwatch and other classic hoaxes you had to be exceptionally gullible to fall for

REMEMBER Ghostwatch, the BBC’s spoof documentary that terrified literally dozens of credulous fools? It’s not the only hoax only the forbiddingly dense believed: 


The giveaway with Ghostwatch was the acting, and the piecemeal uncovery of a whole ghost story, and the writers’ credit at the start. Although at the time nobody spotted that and made the natural assumption that a poltergeist existed because it was on telly. Nowadays internet conspiracists would claim Pipes was real.

The Lirpa Loof

That’s Life, known for wacky stunts eliciting zero mirth, featured a Himalayan ape-thing that mimicked humans. Red flags: it was April Fool’s Day, it’s ‘April Fool’ backwards, it was bollocks. Nonetheless Esther Rantzen had to apologise to people who’d gone to London Zoo to see it. They presumably thought That’s Life’s misshapen vegetables were real, fibrous carrot sex organs.

Alternative 3

Fake 1977 documentary about scientists mysteriously disappearing or dying due to a conspiracy to colonise Mars. The end credits included a cast list with well-known actors, but local papers and Anglia TV were still swamped with queries. Draw your own conclusions about the residents of Norfolk.

The spaghetti tree

Oddly appearing on Panorama, this 1957 April Fool report resulted in enquiries about how to grow your own spaghetti. If anything you feel sorry for the viewers. Rationing only ended in 1954 and now Richard Dimbleby is mocking peasants like you who don’t have a clue about Italian cuisine. Is there any reason spaghetti couldn’t grow on trees?

Alien autopsy

A surprising amount of credence was given to this dissection of a Roswell alien. The corpse was suitably full of chicken entrails and jam and filmed in such a way as to obscure what was going on. The hoax’s creator Ray Santilli later claimed it was a recreation of real footage he’d seen, which was good enough for UFO bellends.

Derren Brown: Apocalypse

Derren convinces someone there’s a zombie outbreak. It’s ambitious and unconvincing. The volunteer later said he was just doing what was expected so as not to ruin the TV show. Obviously Derren uses real mind control in all his other shows.

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National mood abruptly switches from spooky fun to sad about war

BRITAIN has made the whiplash-inducing U-turn from dressing up as a zombie to respectfully mourning those who died for its freedom.

The abrupt annual gear change sees the country tearing down skeletons, gory displays of slaughter and unquiet ghosts in favour of appropriate November activities like honouring the sacrifice of our forebears.

Steve Malley of Birkenhead said: “Last night? All about lurching around as the undead, a celebration of Satan and all his sulphurous minions while doing Demon’s Blood shots at the bar.

“Today? Put down the fangs, clumsily pin a poppy to your chest, lower your head, and pay your respects to those who fell. It’s a bit abrupt.

“Next weekend’s a brief time-out where we set off bombs and cheer a terrorist who tried to blow up the seat of government, which makes a nice break, then it’s straight back to solemnity.

“What did I dress as last night? Vampire Churchill.”

Girlfriend Lucy Parry said: “I’ll enjoy this limbo of tanks and guns while I can. When that two-minutes silence finishes, it’s officially the most harrowing time of year: Christmas.”