- The Birth of the "Great Moon Hoax"
- A Lunar Paradise
- A Telescope of Enormous Power & The Rise to Fame
- The Great Moon Hoax Revealed
- A Captivating Chapter in Journalism
The Birth of the "Great Moon Hoax"
In 1835, a remarkable event unfolded in the world of journalism - the "Great Moon Hoax." Published in The Sun, the leading New York newspaper at the time, it featured a series of articles that captured readers' imaginations with stories of life and civilization on the Moon. Little did anyone suspect that this fictional journey to the lunar surface would spark a media sensation and become a timeless example of audacious storytelling.
A Lunar Paradise
The articles painted a vivid picture of the Moon, a realm teeming with fantastical creatures such as bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail-less beavers, and bat-like winged humanoids.
The Moon in these tales was a land of lush trees, vast oceans, and inviting beaches, a vivid escape from Earthly reality.
A Telescope of Enormous Power & The Rise to Fame
These discoveries were attributed to "an immense telescope of an entirely new principle." The most enigmatic lunar inhabitant was the "Vespertilio-homo," a term that translates from Latin as man-bat, bat-man, or man-bats.
The Great Moon Hoax left an indelible mark on The Sun's reputation, establishing it as a successful newspaper. It also engaged readers in a detective-like quest to uncover the truth, a precursor to modern crime reporting. Yet, the impact on the paper's circulation may have been exaggerated. The hoax remained undiscovered for weeks, and The Sun did not issue a retraction.
The Great Moon Hoax Revealed
The authors of these fantastical lunar tales delivered an astonishing revelation. They claimed that their celestial observations had been abruptly terminated by the catastrophic destruction of their groundbreaking telescope. The culprit? None other than our radiant Sun, which, according to their narrative, had rendered the telescope's lens as a blazing "burning glass," engulfing their observatory in flames.
A Captivating Chapter in Journalism
The Great Moon Hoax of 1835 stands as a captivating chapter in the history of journalism, reminding us of the allure of the unknown and the power of storytelling. It reflects an era when readers sought entertainment alongside information from penny press newspapers, a concept that would evolve with the development of ethical reporting.