Why news on April Fool's Day may confuse

April Fool's Day puts news consumers on high alert for hoax news stories, with the result of making actual stories appear false.

Toru Hanai/Reuters
Burger King Japan's perfume, which smells like a flame-grilled burger patty and is named "Flame Grilled Fragrance", is shown here in front of a whopper at their store in Tokyo on Wednesdy. The perfume, which comes with a Whopper and is limited to 1,000 units, is selling at the price of 5,000 yen (42 USD) and available only in Japan on Wednesday.

On this April Fool’s Day, a test. Which of the following news reports is true?

a) Tokyo residents can now pay $40 to smell like a hamburger

b) Police in India are taking ‘mug shots’ of cows to enforce a law against beef consumption

c) A town in Sweden is about move its town center 2.5 miles to the east

d) A Wiccan priest would like to thank Indiana Governor Mike Pence for freeing his coreligionists to now marry horses.

e) All of the above are true.

If you guessed e), you're right! But don't fret if you were overly skeptical of any of these stories. Today, more so than all other days, is the day to give your skeptical muscles a workout. Practicing being a discerning consumer of news will serve you well for the other 364 days of the year, too.

This week in Japan, those who want to smell like a Whopper may spend 5,000 yen (about $40) for "Flame Grilled" cologne being sold at the fast-food chain's stores in Japan, according to published reports.

As for the mug shots of cows, according to BBC News, law enforcement officials in the city of Malegaon, in the western Maharashtra state, “say the photos are needed for reference in case a criminal case arises under the recently introduced law, which bans the slaughter of all cows and sale and consumption of their meat.”

The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act came into force on March 2nd.

"We are keeping the photographs for verification purposes only," police official Mahesh Sawai tells The Times of India. "If someone alleges that some illegal activity has taken place and if the owner has a photo, it will be easy to establish the truth."

In a colossal unprecedented experiment, Kiruna, the northernmost town in Sweden, is preparing to move its entire city center to make way for its expanding iron ore mine, Agence France-Presse reports.

“Kiruna needs to move about four kilometres (2.5 miles) to the east as the mine's extraction area inches deeper and closer to the town, causing cracks to shoot up under its foundations,” media the French news organization reports.

"We have always lived off the mine and we always will," Bror Pudas, who lives on Gruvvaegen, or Mine Road told AFP.

The Daily Beast reports that Wiccans are Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s “new fan club.”

Finally, while many fear the potential for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) legislation to limit LGBT civil rights in Indiana and other states, Wiccans are poised to take full advantage of the double-edged dagger that this ordinance appears to be.

“While no religion should be used against people and I am against discrimination against LGBT or anyone else, this law says ‘religious freedom’ and practice,” says Star Ravenhawk, founder of the Pagan Temple of New York City, reverend, elder and teacher at The Witch School WFT Academy of Pagan Studies in an interview.

“If you’re going to protect religions you’re going to have to protect all religions, including Wicca. Indiana's governor and anybody else adding this law is doing us a favor. As long as the law is managed properly to work, so nobody is harmed in the name of religion. But if they can manage that I agree with it all. The Religious Freedom laws will let us all practice our faith.”

Dusty Dionne, High Priest and High Summoner of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church of Washington State told The Daily Beast that, while he is horrified by the notion of RFRA being used against the LGBT community, he supports RFRA’s power to free Wiccans from religious oppression.

“Many of us believe that love is the law. Though it is not a quote-unquote Wiccan tenet to have polyamorous marriages, it is under Wiccan law that love is the law,” Dionne told The Daily Beast. “Whatever we want to do with marriage we can do. Carte Blanche. If I want to marry a horse, I can marry a horse.”

All that said, if someone tells you that Wiccans – or practitioners of any contemporary religion – make a regular habit of marrying horses, you can be certain that they're pulling your leg.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.