Remembering the Great Moon Hoax

ON this day in 1835 the first of a series of six stories appeared in the New York Sun purporting to detail the discovery of life on the moon by the renowned astronomer Sir John Herschel. Who, I hasten to add, was an innocent victim of the hoax, as well. They just used his name as it was perhaps the most prominent in the field in that day. The astronomer appears to have been amused, at least until he realized people actually believed the stories.

It is assumed the hoax was the work of Richard Locke, a journalist at the Sun.

It probably inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s own Balloon Hoax, published in the same paper just shy of a decade later.

I don’t know why I like stuff like this.

Some little devil in me, no doubt…

If you’re interested, here are the stories.