If you’ve read The Charlatan’s Boy, you’ll remember Floyd and Grady’s roaring machine. It was inspired by something that happened in my father’s boyhood. Some old boy stretched a cowhide across the bottom of a nail keg and punched a hole in the cowhide. When he pulled a rosined string through the hole, the keg served as a resonance chamber to amplify the vibrations into a very loud moaning, roaring, growling sound. By night the fellow carried his device into Gum Swamp and roared away. Apparently he had no reason other than the pleasure of hearing people speculate as to what the mysterious sounds coming out of the swamp might be.

A couple of bloggers discussing The Charlatan’s Boy mentioned that they, too, had heard of people in other places who had done the same trick. There was a roaring machine operator in Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp, for instance. Apparently that trickster, like the one in Gum Swamp, had no good reason for his hoax other than the simple fact that he thought it would be funny.

It’s April Fools’ Day–a day people go to a lot of trouble to perpetrate tricks and hoaxes simply for the fun of it. What are your favorite April Fools’ Day tricks and hoaxes?