The Prince and the PilotOn April 3, 2019 by Elyse
Loyal readers might recall the story of plant-eating, teetotaling, jiu-jitsu-demonstrating health nut and newspaper darling, Gladys Mason, who went missing somewhere between Chicago and San Francisco on a cross-country trek in 1913. Well, folks, we found her!
It turns out, after leaving Chicago, she took a detour to Wisconsin, where she opened a popular burger joint/martial arts studio. During Prohibition, she made a fortune manufacturing bathtub gin. Later in life, she invented the treadmill and lived happily ever after. Case closed.
April fools! I’m two days late, but fake news never expires. Gladys’ case is still unsolved, so keep those tips coming.
In the meantime, the Day Book published an account of a much more interesting prank from 1914:
America is not the only country that gets fooled on titles, now and then! Right here, in England, where they grow them, one of the greatest hoaxes ever put over an unsuspecting public has just been played and all Britain’s “common folks” are getting a great laugh over the way royalty “fell” for it!
According to the article, “a young man of charming manners” introduced himself to pioneering pilot Claude Grahame-White as Lord Stanton Hope at an aeroplane meet Grahame-White hosted at Hendon Aerodome, an early aviation center in London. Grahame-White graciously presented Lord Hope, along with his friend, the crown prince of Wurtemburg, to his other distinguished guests. They reportedly “made themselves at home with the society people, and became popular.” After Lord Hope suggested to Grahame-White that the crown prince might like a ride in his plane, the royal was treated to several flights that day.
Later in the week, when Society (with a big S) had time to look up “Lord Stanton Hope” and the “crown prince of Wurtemburg,” it was discovered there are no such persons in existence!
The imposters had been busted. Still, Grahame-White was a good sport about it:
“But, so far as I, personally, am concerned, no harm was done—except I’m minus the fee the ‘prince’ should have paid me! No, we have taken no steps to discover the two ‘fakers,’ nor will we. They were really charming fellows, you know, and no one could have detected the difference between them and any sure-enough royalty!”
There’s just one more detail you should know: The article was published on April 1, 1914. The media’s April Fools’ Day pranks are a time-honored tradition, and the entire article is just as fictitious as Gladys’ aforementioned ventures. April fools!
I promise, I’m done now. Hoaxes aside, Claude’s real-life adventures were far more exciting than his fake mishap.
Considering this zombie-like picture, the newspaper should really check its sources:
In some ways, Claude was a visionary ahead of his time:
In other ways, not so much:
Unfortunately, that article was not published on April 1.
Did you click through Facebook or Twitter? We got lucky—don’t let social media algorithms keep you from seeing a post! Save yourself a click, and subscribe to have stories delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re published.
Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above historical articles. I assert only that they make for a good story.
- Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
- April 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- January 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- August 2020
- July 2020
- June 2020
- May 2020
- April 2020
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018