On the first of april 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to spit out billows of black smoke. Terrified of an volcanic eruption residents ran out into the streets and calls poured into the local authorities.
It turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. To fool the local population into believing the volcano’s resurrection, local prankster Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano’s crater and then lit them on fire. Porky then spray-painted a huge message in the snow with 50-foot letters: “APRIL FOOL”, which was unfortunately not visible fro the nearby village. Once reconnaissance helicopters hovered over the volcano, the message was spotted.
Rumor has that when six years later Mount St. Helens erupted a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, “This time you’ve gone too far!”