Sunday, October 28, 2007

Unicorns, Two-Legged Beavers, and Flying Humanoids!

Get your attention? At the end of the summer of 1835, it got quite a few people's attention. On August 25th of that year an article in the New York Sun was printed as the 1st of a six part series on supposed discoveries by Sir John Herschel, a world renowned astronomer of the day. The New York Sun was supposedly reprinting them from the Edinburgh Journal of Science.

It described that Herschel had supposedly gone down to South Africa and used one of the most technologically advanced telescopes of the day. Once he viewed the moon he was able to spot conclusive evidence that there was life on the moon. He was able to spot unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids. These furry, winged humanoids resembled bats. The articles also revealed vivid descriptions of the terrain on the moon. Rushing rivers, massive craters, and lush greenery could be seen. It was a marvelous story.

So marvelous, that many people believed it. The readers ate up the stories, searching them feverishly for the next great discovery. A committee of Yale University scientists even bought the grand tale of the discovery of life on the moon. They showed up at the Sun searching for more details.

Once it was all said and done, the paper eventually printed a story explaining that it was all a grand hoax. It was meant as "satire", but the satire was missed on most. Many of the readers found the whole thing humorous, but many in the scientific community felt duped. The whole incident was eventually dubbed, the Great Moon Hoax.
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Entirely random and useless history lesson.

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