The Great Moon Hoax – Unicorns and Batmen on Lunar
Once up on a time, (The story demands me to start it this way) there was a very popular newspaper in New York. Right after two years of it’s formation, the paper decided to publish Richard Adams Locke’s series of articles on civilization on the moon. There are altogether 6 of such articles that had been publicized.
Since Mr. Locke is a graduate of Cambridge, he gathered and involved a lot of realistic information in to the articles. Such as, attributing Sir John William Herschel has found out that strange living things on the Moon and he did it through his special telescope. Mr. Locke has even created an imaginary assistant astronomer for Sir Herschel and his name is Dr. Andrew Grant.
They have made an advertisement regarding these articles on 21st August 1835 and the first article has been released on 25th August 1835. Starting then, they’ve publicized one article per day till 31st August 1835. According to this series, there is a nature on moon and it was mentioned as ‘the first organic production of nature, in a foreign world, ever revealed to the eyes of men’. It says the further observation has revealed the details of Green forests and shimmery blue seas that were existing on the moon. It was written that there were some small brown colored mammals close to the shape of Bison on the Lunar. It was even written that the astronomers has found some Unicorns that were with goat beards and some strange amphibians living there.
Though it was a stunt to make the paper more popular, it effected the readers that people has actually believed that there are Unicorns on the Moon. But their intention was full filled. The circulation of ‘The Sun’ has been increased tremendously. Then Richard has actually started writing more and more stories under ‘Great Astronomical Discoveries’. That wasn’t all! The founder of ‘The Sun’ and the owner of the first penny press, Benjamin Day has started selling a pamphlet version of the ‘Great Astronomical Discoveries’ and the Moon Hoax attaching a 25 cent lithograph that has the depictions of the Bat Men, Unicorns and the other Lunarian species. Both of them turned out to be best sellers.
But the fact is the entire depictions of the species on Moon were fake. Sir John Herschel was really an Astronomer and been studying and observing the Galaxies and Moon. But the explanation of his special Telescope (it was said to have a power of magnifying 42000 times) that he saw these creatures on moon, The Unicorns and Bat men, his assistant Grant and their travel to the lunar were purely fictions. This all might have come out from the author’s enthusiasm over the Moon.
The paper has officially declared that Locke is the one who wrote it, though he always denied it. But according to the General of Commerce, Locke had confessed the fact to one of it’s reporters in a saloon, while he was drunk. Pity Locke! The sales of ‘The Sun’ continued to boom long after the stories had dissolved from view. Rather than being disgusted, most people simply regarded the series as a clever stunt for popularity.
Though it has been declared that they are fictions, the Moon stories continued to be published in different countries and languages and were huge hits. According to some surveys, the re-written stories are being still printed and believed in some parts of the world.
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