I remember when, in grade 6, my music teacher played us the original Orsen Welles recording of War of the Worlds. Listening to his voice in a darkened room at age 11, I understood the fear that swept the nation when he first spoke those words on the radio in 1938. But that was not the first time the media had sent the world into a panic over an alien invasion. Over a hundred years earlier, The Sun newspaper in New York ran a series of six stories about the world’s foremost astronomer, Sir John Herschel, discovering that there was, indeed, life on the moon. Known as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the stories gave details of batwinged men and animals like bison, beavers, goats and unicorns inhabiting the moon, which was described as a lush place of waterfalls and massive foliage. The authors of the piece were never acknowledged, the pieces being attributed to Dr. Andrew Grant, the nonexistent companion to Herschel; and the stories were reported to be a reprint from The Edinburgh Courant, based on the real observations of Herschel, which he made through a telescope. Readers of The Sun believed the reports to be real, and Herschel had to face questions about these purported discoveries for years afterward. The Sun never printed a retraction of the story, and its readership permanently increased because of the hoax. Below find some awesome lithographs of Herschel’s discoveries done by Italian illustrator and printmaker, Leopoldo Galluzzo, for his book Altre scoverte fatte nella luna dal Sigr. Herschel (Other discoveries made on the moon from Mr. Herschel), as well as two of the original lithographs from the article series in The Sun.
(Discoveries made by Mr. Herschell on the moon)