On this day in 1835, the New York Sun published the first in a series of articles detailing the wondrous discoveries of life forms and civilization on the moon. It was all downhill for the New York Sun after that.
The Great Moon Hoax was the fourth greatest scientific fraud of all time, according to one internet listicle! The six stories were quite the sensation at the time and successfully sold some extra papers, although it's not clear whether everyone believed the stories or not. We would have! Listen to this sample scientific-sounding report:
The next animal perceived would be classed on earth as
a monster. It was of a bluish lead color, about the size of
a goat, with a head and beard like him, and a single horn,
slightly inclined forward from the perpendicular. The
female was destitute of horn and beard, but had a much
longer tail. It was gregarious, and chiefly abounded on the
acclivitous glades of the woods. In elegance of symmetry it
rivalled the antelope, and like him it seemed an agile
sprightly creature, running with great speed, and springing
from the green turf with all the unaccountable antics of a
young lamb or kitten. This beautiful creature afforded us
the most exquisite amusement. The mimicry of its movements
upon our white painted canvass was as faithful and luminous
as that of animals within a few yards of the camera obscrua,
when seen pictures upon its tympan. Frequently when
attempting to put our fingers upon its beard, it would
suddenly bound away into oblivion, as if conscious of our
earthly impertinence; but then others would appear, whom we
could not prevent from nibbling the herbage, say or do what
we would to them.
Telescopes were amazing back then.