Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Great Moon Hoax

August 25, 1835
It was on this day in 1835 that a series of six articles describing the discovery of life on the moon began in the New York Sun newspaper. The newspaper, which started up just two years earlier, was known as a “penny press” paper that was cheaper and its journalism was a little…off. The whole thing of course was a hoax, but sales of the paper shot up anyway as readers did not understand the joke. The stories were written by “Dr. Andrew Grant” who claimed that the Edinburgh Journal (which no longer existed at this time) reported that evidence of fantastic animals such as unicorns, two-legged beavers and winged humanoids had been found. Committees of Yale University scientists traveled to New York to read these articles, but were sent home. On September 16, 1835, the paper finally admitted that the whole thing was a satire and sales of the paper did not suffer.