Great Moon Hoax of 1835

Looking at Earth from the Moon during Apollo 11 mission
Looking at Earth from the Moon during Apollo 11 mission | Source

Astonishing Reports about Life Discovered on the Moon

Reports of life discovered on the moon include details of herds of bison, blue unicorns, tail-less beavers and goats. The topography is reported to include oceans, trees, beaches and mountains. Great temples made of sapphire with roofs of gold are to be found on the moon. The most astonishing of all are the details of the furry bat-like humanoids with large wings on their backs. All of this was observed through an amazing invention of a telescope with a lens that is 4 feet in diameter, a tube that is forty feet long and a magnifying power of 6,000 times, located in Cape Town, South Africa.

Are you thinking these are details of a new science fiction movie or perhaps a page from a comic book? Wrong! These are actual reports from the New York Sun newspaper which ran a series of columns over the course of 6 days outlining the astonishing discoveries of Sir John Herschel, a famous British astronomer. Are you saying you never heard of these amazing discoveries? That could be because the dateline was August 25, 1835!

Lunar Man-Bat
Lunar Man-Bat | Source

Humanoids Viewed through Powerful Telescope

The discovery of civilization on the moon was reported by Richard A. Locke, a journalist with the New York Sun. The paper was struggling for circulation and the number of readers skyrocketed to 19,360 by the time installment number 4 was printed. That was the largest circulation of any newspaper in the world at the time.

The fourth column described the humanoids that were viewed through the powerful telescope as being about 4 feet tall with copper colored hair covering all of their bodies except their faces and they had wings on their backs from the shoulders to the calves of their legs.

Worldwide Hysteria about the "Moon People"

Installments 5 and 6 of the series gave more details of the lunar man-bats and reported the existence of what was called the Temple of the Moon, made of sapphire with a roof of gold.

The world was in an uproar about the new-found civilization. Finally, there was an answer to the age old question: Is there life on the moon? A Springfield, Massachusetts missionary society was planning to send missionaries to the moon to convert and civilize the bat men. Who knows how they planned to get there. It wasn't very logical thinking for the time!

Readers of the Sun waited anxiously for more installments of the coverage of the "New Civilization" and the "Moon People". The world faced extreme disappointment when it was reported that the telescope had been left facing an easterly direction and the sun's rays coming through the lens created a fire which destroyed the telescope!

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Life Discovered on the Moon - "The Great Moon Hoax"

We know now that the moon is an airless, dead rock but in the 1800's, very little was known about the moon. The idea of life there was very exciting and believable.

However, it wasn't long before readers began to suspect the story was a hoax and just a ruse to sell more newspapers. On September 16, 1835, the New York Sun said there was a "possibility" the story wasn't true but they didn't admit it was a hoax. Unbelievably, their circulation did not suffer and the newspaper never lost the new readers it gained during the "Great Moon Hoax". Mission accomplished!


From an editorial in the New York Sun on August 10, 2010, the 175th anniversary of the hoax:

"So let us just say that one of the things a long newspaper life has taught us about corrections is that, obligatory as they may be when the truth is out, one doesn't want to rush into them. For the moment, let us just say that we’re aware of the claim there are no lunar man-bats, neither on the moon nor here. Rest assured that we’re looking into it. You can check back in this space in 25 years."

I will check the New York Sun on August 10, 2035 to see if they finally admit to the hoax. I plan to still be around on that date but it remains to be seen if the New York Sun will still be in publication.

© 2011 Thelma Raker Coffone

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Please Share Your Comments on "Life Discovered on the Moon" 15 comments

mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia

Another very interesting hub. I wonder if this was sort of the 'birth' of the supermarket tabloid. It certainly has become a very popular form of modern media.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 2 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

manatita44 thank you for reading my article and taking the time to respond to it.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

Very funny article.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 4 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

jpcmc I agree with you completely. Thanks for reading my hub and for your comments!


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

I enjoyed the hub. It's really fascinating how people can come up with these things. I'll stick to focusing on problems and on our planet first before worrying about bat people from the moon. :)


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

family2010 and stephaniedas thanks to you both for your nice comments. It is amazing that this story has been around for years and most people aren't aware of it. Thanks for taking the time to read my hubs and to follow me!


stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

This is so funny! I'd never heard of this! Goes down as one of the best hoaxes ever. Great hub!


family2010 profile image

family2010 5 years ago

Thanks again for this interesting hub.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Sakesare thanks for taking the time to read my hub and post your comments. Thanks also for the vote UP...that's always nice to receive.


sakesare 5 years ago

Quite informative stuff here. I have really been waiting since my childhood for the possibility of new world on moon. Getting to a new place is always exciting and even more when its not earth...:) I am being a bit kiddish here...:) Nice hub TheImac voting up..


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Frogyfish thanks for the nice comments and taking the time to read my hub!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

My goodness, never heard of this before! Will have to pass your info around....fun read!


Mark E Park 5 years ago

Must be one of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers ;-)

Nice story...thanks for sharing it!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Author

Movie Master, as always, I appreciate your feedback. I had never heard about this until I was reseaching another hub and just stumbled upon it. I thought probably other people didn't know about it either and decided to share.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

What a fasinating read Thelma, I loved it thanks for sharing.

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