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Odd Bits: The Great Moon Hoax

The Great Moon Hoax
In the summer of 1835, readers of the New York Sun were startled to learn that famed astronomer Sir John Hershel had made an astonishing discovery: the existence of life on the moon. Not just any life, mind you, but frolicking, bat-winged moon men and ladies, moon beavers and unicorns. As the stories continued and claims repeated and expanded, they were accompanied by these extremely convincing and very scientific illustrations. Nearly a month had gone by before a rival paper finally exposed the hoax, thereby dashing the hopes of aspiring moon colonists everywhere, while not completely un-complicating the life of Sir John Hershel, who would later complain about having to re-iterate that he had not, in fact, found moon bat people.

Find out more:

The Great Moon Hoax – Museum of Hoaxes

“The Great Moon Hoax was Simply a Sign of its Time” – Smithsonian

“Belief, Legend, and the Great Moon Hoax” – Library of Congress