Like it or not, April Fools’ day holds a dark and dense history even if most fail to realize it. Quite frankly, jokes of the 21st century are an outright disappointment when compared to those of the past. Believe it or not, April Fools’ was dangerous and extreme in the 19th century.
April Fools’ jokes from two centuries ago could either be too boring or extremely dangerous. There used to be absolutely no middle ground. And that’s a very serious statement to make because some people also died because of these jokes.
Many of the jokes of the 19th century were horrendous, while others were absurd but harmless. It’s proof of how strange people used to be in the past, so after reading about these jokes, one should only feel immensely grateful that they did not live in that era.
Imagine being given a photograph of a dead baby at the doorstep in the 21st century? Oddly frightening right? This used to happen frequently 200 years back. Thankfully, there weren’t actually dead babies, though.
A photographer, an employee of Tobias Luck, played a heavy joke. During the afternoon, Mr. William Spikes rushed into Mr. Luck’s study to warn him that a baby had died on Main Street and his parents wanted to photograph him. Luck could not go to take the photo, so he sent one of his employees.
After loading the camera and all the necessary equipment, he walked six streets to where the incident had happened. He found the house, but there were no dead babies. It was not until after returning to the studio that the employee remembered the date and realized she had been played.
The Killing Joke… Literally
Young Tom Rogers was anxious to carry out an April Fools’ joke. He went to the office of Doctor Mosley and left a message asking him to go to a country house several miles away to attend a young woman who was very sick. The doctor did not imagine it was a joke, he never thought anyone would be able to play with such a serious subject.
Mosley rode to see his patient, and upon arriving he realized that he had been the victim of deception. When he returned, he was furious. When he met the young man who played the joke, he attacked him with a knife. The doctor stabbed Rogers several times in the face, neck, and body, and did not stop until he had killed him.
There is no way to justify this massacre, but unfortunately, Rogers sought to provoke it (without imagining that he would react in this way). With his idiotic joke, he sought to annoy the doctor, and that person who annoys another without reason must face the consequences of his actions.
Scaring Gone Wrong
On the outskirts of Nashville, a farmer named John Ahrens played an April Fools’ prank on his wife with catastrophic results. He disguised himself as a tramp wearing a mask and knocked on the door of his house. When she opened the door, her husband shouted to him to give him food. The woman fainted and an hour later, died. Ahrens had been married for a few months and idolized his wife. His death caused him depression, and he threatened to take his own life.
Laughter isn’t always the best medicine
One of the weirdest April Fools’ jokes in history has been when a waiter, serving in a restaurant, laughed at his own prank so hard that he burst his vein.
This happened at the restaurant Barbary Coast. The waiter pranked one of his clients. He arrived at the table handling a lot of dishes and this is when the idea of April Fools’ dawned on him. He immediately chose the man sitting with a mustache as his victim.
“Excuse me,” said the waiter while he resisted the urge to laugh and ruin his joke, “there is some mashed potato on your shirt.”
The man looked down at the spot and immediately realized that he had been pranked with a silly joke. The waiter began to laugh so hard that he ended up falling to the floor and his co-workers had to carry him loaded into the kitchen, where they noticed that a vein had exploded. The accident caused his boss to send him home and have to hire another while the joker was recovering.
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]