1972
1972

Around the World for 210 Guineas

In honor of the 100-year anniversary of Thomas Cook's first round the world travel tour, the London Times ran an article about Cook's 1872 tour, in which it noted that the vacation had cost the participants only 210 guineas each, or approximately $575. A few pages later, Times readers then found a small article noting that in honor of this anniversary, Thomas Cook was running a promotion, offering the chance to buy a similar package deal at 1872 prices. The deal would be given to the first 1000 people to apply. The only clue that this was a joke was the remark that applications should be addressed to Miss Avril Foley. The response to this bargain-basement offer was swift and enthusiastic. Huge lines formed outside Thomas Cook offices, and the travel agent was swamped with calls. The Times subsequently issued an apology and dismissed the reporter who had written the article, though he was later reinstated.

Diseases of Brunus edwardii

The April 1972 issue of Veterinary Record, the weekly journal of the British veterinary profession, contained an article about the diseases that afflict a species it described as Brunus edwardii. The article warned that,

Pet ownership surveys have shown that 63.8 percent of households are inhabited by one or more of these animals, and there is a statistically significant relationship between their population and the number of children in a household. The public health implications of this fact are obvious, and it is imperative that more be known about their diseases.

The reader response to the article was enormous. For months afterwards the correspondence section of the Veterinary Record was dominated by letters about Brunus edwardii, many of which offered new observations about the species. The article proved so popular that it was eventually published in a special edition by Whittington Press. Brunus edwardii is better known as the common Teddy Bear.

The Body of Nessie Found

Newspapers around the world reported the sensational news that the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster had been found. A team of zoologists from Yorkshire's Flamingo Park Zoo had come across it while working at the Loch. The researchers tried to take the Nessie corpse back to Yorkshire, but Scottish police promptly stopped them, citing an old law that made it illegal to remove unidentified creatures from Loch Ness. However, subsequent examination of the creature determined that it wasn't actually Nessie. Instead, it was a large bull elephant seal from the South Atlantic. But how had it gotten to Loch Ness? This was revealed the next day when the Flamingo Park's education officer, John Shields, confessed responsibility. The seal had died the week before at Dudley Zoo. He had shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and kept it frozen for a week, before surreptitiously dumping it in the Loch, intending to play an April Fool's prank on his colleagues. He admitted the joke got somewhat out of hand when the police became involved.