The man who scared his wife to death
According to the Museum of Hoaxes, a horrifying April 11, 1886 item in the Des Moines Daily News read as follows:
Near Nashville, John Ahrens, a farmer, planned an April fool joke on his wife with disastrous results. He disguised himself as a tramp, fastened a white mask over his face and knocked at the door. When she appeared he order her to get dinner for him. To his horror his wife fell to the floor in a faint and died an hour later. Ahrens had been married only a few months and idolized his wife. Her death has crazed him with grief and remorse, and he threatens to take his own life.