Oddity of the Week - Lunar Biology

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We love hoaxes, don't we?

Lunar Biology

Lunar life forms, according to the New York Sun

Yeah, yeah. We know all about the Great Moon Hoax, perpetrated on an innocent public in 1835 by the mendacious New York Sun. That paper claimed that Sir John Herschel, the astronomer, had found all manner of interesting Harry Harryhausen type stuff on the moon. Phooey. Any Star Trek exobiologist would have sussed them in a Starfleet standard minute.

But seeing is believing, right? That's why they included an illustration. According to the Library of Congress, the Sun called this:

Lunar animals and other objects Discovered by Sir John Herschel in his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope and copied from sketches in the Edinburgh Journal of Science.

Now, that's chutzpah. The Library of Congress archivist describes the image more drily:

Print shows illustration for the New York Sun relating to the Great Moon Hoax with human-bat creatures, unicorns, and other imaginery [sic] beings on the Moon.

What do we learn from this, other than that we wish archivists would use spell-check? That there's a sucker born every minute. Oh, and check your internet sources.

You know you can always believe h2g2. We never lie. The Post, on the other hand, gets up to shenanigans now and again. We promise to tip you the wink.

Post Quiz and Oddities Archive

Dmitri Gheorgheni

30.09.13 Front Page

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