The 25th Day of August

The Great Moon Hoax 1835

The “Great Moon Hoax” refers to a series of six articles that were published in The Sun, a New York newspaper, beginning on August 25, 1835, about the supposed discovery of life and even civilisation on the Moon.

The articles described animals on the Moon, including bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tail less beavers and bat like winged humanoids who built temples. There were trees, oceans and beaches.

The Great Moon Hoax 1835

The author of the narrative was ostensibly Dr. Andrew Grant, the travelling companion and amanuensis of Sir John Herschel, one of the best known astronomers of that time. These discoveries were supposedly made with “an immense telescope of an entirely new principle”.

Eventually, the authors announced that the observations had been terminated by the destruction of the telescope, by means of the Sun causing the lens to act as a “burning glass”, setting fire to the observatory. It was not discovered to be a hoax for several weeks after its publication and, even then, the newspaper did not issue a retraction.

Extra Note: According to legend, The Sun’s circulation increased dramatically because of the hoax and remained permanently greater than before, thereby establishing The Sun as a successful paper.

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NO: 2674

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