1835 – “The Great Moon Hoax” is published in the “New York Sun”

lithograph of the hoax’s “ruby amphitheater”, as printed in The Sun

On August 25, 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper.

Known collectively as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The byline was Dr. Andrew Grant, described as a colleague of Sir John Herschel, a famous astronomer of the day. Herschel had in fact traveled to Capetown, South Africa, in January 1834 to set up an observatory with a powerful new telescope. As Grant described it, Herschel had found evidence of life forms on the moon, including such fantastic animals as unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats. The articles also offered vivid description of the moon’s geography, complete with massive craters, enormous amethyst crystals, rushing rivers and lush vegetation.

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“The Great Moon Hoax” is published in the “New York Sun”

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Access Date

August 25, 2022


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Last Updated

August 24, 2020

Original Published Date

November 24, 2009