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Offbeat History: The Great Moon Hoax of 1835, Part 1


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Yeah, we're adding this to our our regular publishing schedule as one kind of big drop all at the same time on March nineteenth, and that is so that you maybe have a little bit of extra entertainment options available to you particularly if you are self, quarantined or shelter you. Welcome to stuff. You missed in history class production iheartradio. Hello and welcome to the PODCAST. I'm howling cry and I'm Tracy Wilson. And who doesn't love a good hoax story. There's actually a new series that we're going to talk about today and we have to kind of air. Quote the Word News but it's an important landmark in journalism history as well as cultural history, it also involves the history of mass media and even sort of a lesson in gullibility and kind of crowd mentality This is a topic that the Memory Palace. Short episode on back in two thousand ten, and that episode is called the Moon in the sun in. It's worth listen It is a brief, but very enjoyable, so conspiracy theories and cartoons like Tex Avery is the cat that hated people. Aside you remember that cartoon Tracy Deny it was about a cat who hated people. He lived in New York City and so he. Got, himself on a rocket to the moon, so he can be alone and enjoy it, but of course the moon was full of crazy things that made him just as annoyed as earth, and even more so so much so that he figured out a way to get back to Earth, and even though New York did not treat him while he was very happy, but we know that in fact. That is fallacious information and that the moon is basically pretty empty. There's some things there, but not crazy horn people as shown in that cartoon walking around but in eighteen thirty five, a New York newspaper printed a series of stories about amazing discoveries on the lunar landscape. And we are, I can talk at length about the incredible descriptions of the amazing things that were allegedly seen on the lunar surface through a telescope. One thing I noticed during my research about this new series is at the articles and again there are six of them. They're very lengthy kind of get summarized to this point where it slaked to two five sentences about each one, maybe in some don't even cover that and you lose a lot of the amazing and sometimes crazy descriptions of these discoveries, so tracy and I are actually going to walk through the text with a lot more description. We're going to break down a lot more of it. and that makes this a two parter because there is a lot to talk about. Even though we're not covering everything in that. Quote Historical Account because that would take hours. It's still going to take quite a bit of time and so this first part. We're going to talk a lot about those Those entries in the New York Sun, the second part of this two parter will wrap up the account as it was published in serial form, and then we'll talk about kind of the reception. These claims godden sort of the atmosphere of the culture at the time, and how that sort of enabled and provided a fertile ground for this hoax to happen. So before the series began, the small teaser appeared in the New York Sun and that was on Friday August twenty, first, eighteen, thirty five, and this little teaser read quote. We have just learnt from an imminent publisher in this city that Sir John Herschel at the Cape of good, hope has made some astronomical discoveries of the most wonderful description by means of an immense telescope of an entirely new principal and the city that was being referenced in that sentence was number. Yeah that was it was placed again. It was a tiny little teaser, and he was placed as though it was put there by the Edinburgh, current. Now, the first entry in this series appeared in the paper on Tuesday August, twenty fifth still eighteen, thirty five, so a few days later, so that that little teaser had been allowed to sit for a bit, and it was titled Quote Great, Astronomical Discoveries lately made by Sir John Herschel L. L. D. F.. R. S at the Cape of good. Hope from the supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science Sir John. Is Not an entirely new name on the PODCAST. We mentioned him as the nephew of Caroline Herschel in our episode on Astronomy Cinderella. Yeah, we'll reference caroline very briefly at towards the end of the second episode, but. This article this first entry ran on the front page of the New York Sun. It took up about seventy five percent of the the front page and it opened with this. In this unusual addition to our journal, we have the happiness of making known to the British public, and thence to the whole civilized world, recent discoveries in astronomy, which will build an imperishable monument to the age, which we live and confer upon the present generation of the human race, a proud distinction through all future time, and again they're placing this as though it had been, these were notes to the Edinburgh Journal of Science that were then being reprinted in New York. It goes on to build up the announcement before making it, it describes the all of such discovery, and how it makes us. earthbound creatures feel almost like we suddenly have supernatural powers. Herschel is described as setting up his stupendous apparatus, which was as new telescope, which was quote of vast dimensions and entirely new principal, and then he is described as pausing for several hours before looking through it so that he could collect himself and prepare for the discoveries he was about to make. the article assured the reader at this point that Herschel was right to do so because the things that he saw in his first hour of observation are incomparable in the way in which they're. They're going to advance human knowledge his telescope. The article said rendered his view of objects on the lunar surface quote fully. which the naked eye commands of terrestrial objects at the distance of hundred yards, an important thing to note at this point is that the article title makes it sort of sound like it was written by Sir John Herschel, but the actual entry is written as introduced from the point of view of the newspaper reported to them. through Dr Andrew Grant and that's who the New York. Sun described as an assistant to the astronomer. The Sun assured readers that the notes that grant had shared with the publication. We're almost as thorough as thorough as those of Herschel himself. After the Intro, the articles then are framed as being written by Andrew Grant himself so the rest of the August twenty fifth entry went on to describe in great detail, Herschel Telescope and the reason for this lengthy description and I. Mean it is in great detail according to this article. Is that quote? A knowledge of the one is essential to the credibility of the other so they. They're kind of setting it up that once. Readers understand how amazing this telescope is. Then they won't for a second doubt, its ability to see these things that no one else had previously seen. It claimed that this apparatus was twenty four feet in diameter or seven point three meters, and this would have made it six times the size of the Scout, the telescope that his father William had built to make some modern comparisons. The Hubble telescope is fourteen feet or four point three meters in diameter diameter. The, Grand Telescope Yo Canarias. In the Canary Islands which is currently the biggest telescope on earth is thirty four feet or ten point four meters in diameter so. Those basically claiming that this telescope was was huge. Huge even into other telescopes of today. And at this point remember They're sort of building on this idea. Eh, you know they're. They're referencing William. Herschel who at that point was very well known astronomer the discovery of Uranus had happened in the recent past, and so they're kind of building a scientific credibility by referencing him and talking about how his son is advancing telescope technology so much more. and apparently this new telescope that there they were describing, which was reported as weighing nearly seven tonnes, also possessed a hydro oxygen microscope, so it combined telescopic technology with microscopic technology in this projected the telescopic image onto a screen of canvas in allowed for clear magnification of far distant. How big in clear did this article claim? It made things It was reported that this telescope they're describing would have a magnification of forty two thousand times, so this was the first of the six entries in the series, and you will notice that his said almost nothing about the moon yet. This is all set up at this point, and before we get to the juicy stuff. Do you WanNa? Pause for word from a sponsor. Let's do because then we can have lots of juicy stuff close together. Here's the thing. Saving money with Geico is almost better than playing pickup basketball. Because there's always that guy who joins your game, he never passes the rock. He constantly brings threes, and who completely hack you and then put his hands up and say no foul no FAO. With GEICO. It's easy to switch and save on car insurance, no need to fake an ankle sprain because you're absolutely exhausted so switch and save with Gyco. It's almost better than sports. Hey, everybody, we know that so many people who listened to our show have been trying to find some ways to fill some unexpected time at home as pretty much, the whole country has gone. Gone into a more protective mood in the face of the current pandemic, so we wanted to help out, and we came up with a list shows that are a little lighter in tone, and maybe a little funny to help lifts his spirits, and also just provide an escape from the things that are going on. This is something. We are calling our offbeat history playlist. Drop as ten episodes into our shows feed. That is going to happen on Thursday march nineteenth. They will all be labeled as offbeat history playlists, so you'll know what that is when you see it, so we hope that it helps you get through this crazy time and that you enjoy. Back to the New York son's account as related to them by Dr Andrew Grants of the work of Sir John. Herschel the second entry that the newspaper published. Just the next day is where things really get cooking so in terms of Descriptions it really sort of blew things wide open if I established the time line of Herschel, having left London on September fourth of eighteen, thirty four. Transporting when he did this, his assistance and his new lenses. By ship to the Cape of Good Hope and it also described installation of the telescope in great detail, talking about like how it was laid out how they built a foundation for it at Cetera further establishing the credibility of the discoveries, they were about to share. The New York Sun reported that fateful day on which Herschel turned his telescope to the moon was January tenth eighteen, thirty five at about nine thirty in the evening. The lunar landscape is this telescope. was apparently to Herschel a Greenish Brown Basaltic Rock, and he also saw that it was covered with dark red flowers very similar to poppies. This the article claimed was quote. The first organic production of nature in a foreign world ever revealed to the eyes of men. He also recorded a lunar forest, which was said to resemble really large you trees, and the astronomer observed that as the moon shifted positions this was followed by green plane, and then a forest of for trees, and after adjusting the telescope's magnification, Herschel and his assistant realized they had also found a body of water with beautiful beaches that were full of white sand, bordered by these green marble rocks. The water appeared to be blue. Just doesn't earth and also seems. Seems to experience tides yet talks at length about where they could see that the tides had hit the the rocks on the edge of one side of this body of water, so according to the information. The Dr Grant shared with the New York Sun. The landscape observations that Dr Herschel, and his team were doing went on for almost two hours, and then after adjusting the lens of the telescope once more. There are often references throughout all of these these. Articles of how they adjusted lenses and switched things out then they observed various crystalline structure in the landscape and then. A herd of quadrupeds was spotted, so this heard of creatures was reported to be in the shade of the forest, and the animals appeared to be a lot like small bison, although very much smaller than any bison on earth. These creatures had a lot of characteristics that were similar to terrestrial bison. They were quote semi-circular horns, the Hump on his shoulders, and the depth of its delap and the length of its shaggy hair. He also described the species as having quote. A remarkable fleshy appendage is which spanned across the head from ear to ear. So according to this account Herschel is said to have guessed that this flap covering the is would shield the animal from the extreme variations in light and darkness that the moon would experience. Next in his moons, wildlife discoveries were creatures that article suspects would be classified as monsters on earth. These were small goat sized species that were the color of quote. bluish lead males had single horns and beards and female had neither horns nor beards, but did have longer tails than the males did they frolicked around like antelopes, and they were very social creatures and their antics. According to this report. We're delightful. Yet goes on at length about how they were jumping around and playing with each other, and how all of the astronomers observing this just charmed two pieces they were charmed by the delightful monsters. The delightful Goat Unicorn creatures that were blue. There were also waterbirds. Aspide through this telescope, including Pelicans and cranes, being the most common these birds were discovered along a branching river, and the astronomers watched this river for sometime. Hoping to get, there is on what they suspected might be lunar fish. They were not rewarded but did deduce that the fish must have been there because the birds were seen dunking their heads in. In the water seemingly as a food gathering activity at this point and observations, the lunar atmosphere, not earth's atmosphere became too cloudy for them to be able to see any further, and so the observers decided to take a break. They were also pretty tired by that point, so that ended the second installment of the New York Sun series with kind of cliffhanger. At, this point, they've introduced crazy animal species that have been seen on the moon but there is so much more to come so on Thursday. August twenty seventh of eighteen, thirty, five, the third installment, the Moon Discovery Series was published the cloudy conditions that had halted their viewings for a couple of nights cleared up on January thirteenth, and at that point both be moons, atmosphere, and the Earth's were clear quote. One of Purley purity and loveliness and the position of the Moon, relative to the telescopes location was getting ready to shift Dr Grant wrote. The doctor Herschel wanted to focus the entirety of the evening on January thirteenth to just a few specific spots before that shift happened. there is a at this point in the narrative additional topographical descriptions of the moons landscape, and these on, and on for quite some length to detail, there are mountains there. mountains made of crystal. There are active an inactive volcanoes. There are incredibly fertile areas at one point This third installment describes it as quote fertile to excess in one passage, so it goes on a lot about the landscape. Additional animals were identified as being different from the ones that had been cited on earlier viewings, including larger versions of those bison creatures as well as numerous flocks of red and white birds. Herschel and his team, according to this article, classified thirty eight different species of lunar forest trees that night, and twice that number of plants in the relatively small area where they were concentrating their observations, they also catalogued nine mammal species and five over Paris species. The mammals included beasts that look like little reindeer, as well as elk and Moose and horned bears and one that looked like a bipedal ver-, although apparently the moon beavers had no tails. So the moon, beaver gets talked about a lot. It was very exciting, and it also again being by Ted carried. It's young cradle in its arms, the same way that a human would, as it was tootling around on its hind legs, and these lunar beavers also constructed huts rather than dams, so they're a little more archaeological architecturally advanced. In this construction was described as quote better and higher than those of many tribes of human savages, and from the appearance of smoke in nearly all of them. There is no doubt of its being acquainted with the use of fire. So if you do have the opportunity which I encourage you to take to listen to the Memory Palace episode about this one of my favorite parts about these beavers. When. You're reading the articles. The the beaver part is just hilarious to me. Yes, because there's such excitement over these by PIPPI verge the know how to use fire so south of where these beaver type animals were seen was a dense forest where the only animal seen was this large stork like bird, not far from the thickly wooded area, was the largest lake that was visible, which was estimated to be one, hundred, Ninety, eight by two hundred and sixty six miles, or three, hundred nineteen by four hundred twenty eight kilometers. The lake reportedly contained volcanic islands. And before we talk about a little bit of amazing florist seen on some of these islands in this lake. Do you want to have a word from sponsor sure? About food is that it's never just about the food. Sources, origins and the roots of different food ways are intrinsically tied to our humanity. From iheartradio in Wet Stone, magazine comes season two of point of origin. podcast dedicated to exploring that connection. It's season to drinking, natural wine and learning why it's all the rage. Were discussing T in Asia along the way sampling Taiwanese long and Sri Lankan say law. We're exploring food through the Lens of Diaz Sport Cooking And considering the connection between supporting refugee food, ways and examining cultural empathy, so please join us. As we traveled to a new place each week to consider the origins of the things we eat and drink with me. Your host tour, guide Steven. Satterfield fine point of origin season two on the iheartradio APP or wherever you listen to podcasts. Back to these amazing volcanic islands discovered on the Moon, one of the really fabulous and exciting discoveries there was there were moon palm trees. These were visually almost identical to earth palm trees, except that they blossomed with bright red flowers, and they did not appear to bear fruits, league, date or coconuts. However in terms of fruit bearing trees, there was a melon tree, and they were herds of miniature zebras and birds. The team thought were pheasants. The shores of this massive body of water were also filled with shellfish. an as this third entry in the series wines down. There is an attempt to describe the Crystal Line Vista, that surrounding these waters, although the curvature of the moon and the earth rotation. Allows for no visibility that they can identify the end of this particular segment of landscape. So, you may be thinking that the wonders described up until this point. We're really pretty amazing, but the fourth installment that was printed in the New York Sun is even more incredible. This one appeared on Friday August twenty, eighth, eighteen, thirty, five, and a lot of people regard it as the most sensational of the six parts of this serial. So again it starts as previous entries with a lengthy description of the latest landscape that they're observing which featured bright red perpendicular mountains and long veins of what the team concluded were Virgin Gold they also describe another quadrupeds species, and these ones were observed to be white sheep like beasts, but with long necks in the body is described almost deer like in shape, but with longer front legs, so as I was trying to visualize this I was like. It's a sheet deer giraffe But then another group of animals is described. That apparently looked exactly like sheep. Exactly like sheep note, no visible variation at all and they were so obviously she. According to Dr Grants Account that it made all of the astronomers laugh, and then back to grants account drops the real bomb. A holy creature appeared in the telescope's view and several groups of winged creatures descended from cliff base to land on an open plain. Sir John Herschel is quoted in the article. is saying quote now? Gentlemen might period against your proofs, which you have often found a pretty even bet we have. Here's something worth looking at. I was confident that if we ever found beings in human shape, it would be in this longitude, and that they would be provided by their creator with some extraordinary powers of locomotion first extremes for my number the. And so when he asked for that exchange for number D that refers to a lens that Herschel wanted to use to more carefully examined the scene before him, so adjustments were quickly made to the telescope. And everything was refocused in the team, then viewed three groups of these beings walking erect, and these new creatures were indeed similar to humans after more focusing and more adjustments, these creatures were brought into clear focus, and they appeared to be about four feet or one point two meters tall. They had copper colored for all over their bodies, except for on their faces, and their wings were like bat wings. Their faces were described as quote a slight improvement upon that of the large Tan. It's actually spelled in this as a rang, a Tang which delights me. And? They're described to seeming more intelligence than the earth primate the Iran John. Yeah. These people also had beards and darker hair on their heads, than on the rest of their bodies one of her shows. Assistance is quoted in grants account as saying quote, they would look as well on a parade ground as some of the old cockney militia. Hersal and his team observed these beings in what appeared to be impassioned conversation, just gesturing to one another, just like human beings would. This species was named by Herschel as a vesper Te'o Homo. Man Bats and the valley where they lived was named the Ruby Coliseum. The New York Sun omitted some of the passages from the notes at the behest of Dr Grant, who apparently felt like those elements were best shared by Sir Herschel himself. The son indicated that the omitted material does contain facts which would be wholly incredible to readers who do not carefully examined the principles and capacity of the instrument with which these marvellous discoveries have been made. the newspaper also indicates that sort of their editorial opinion that when the entirety of this work is published by Herschel, it is going to be quote at once the most sublime in science and the most intense in general interests that ever issued from the press. And that is where we now will cliff-hanging you. The second episode of this two parter is going to finish off. Dr Grants accounts of what Herschel observed on the moon, and then we'll talk about how all of this was received by the public and by other newspapers, and even by Sir. John Herschel himself. Yeah so there's plenty more. We've given you probably the the juiciest of the actual. Fonda discoveries. Thank you so much for joining us today for this classic? If you have heard any kind of email address or maybe a facebook url during the course of the episode that might be obsolete. It might be doubly obsolete because we have changed our email address again. You can now reach us at history podcast at iheartradio, dot com, and we're all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe to our show on apple podcast Google podcast the iheartradio, APP and wherever else you listen to podcasts. Stuff you missed in history classes, a production of iheartradio for more podcasts from iheartradio visit, the iheartradio, APP, apple, podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows. Hey everybody we know that so many people who listen to our show have been trying to find some ways to fill some unexpected time at home as pretty much, the whole country has gone into more protective mood in the face of the current pandemic, so we wanted to help out, and we came up with a list of shows that are a little lighter in tone, and maybe a little funny to help lift spirits and also. Also just provide an escape from the things that are going on. This is something we are calling our offbeat history playlist. It is going to drop as ten episodes into our shows feed. That is going to happen on Thursday march nineteenth. They will all be labeled as our offbeat history playlists, so you'll know what that is when you see it, so we hope that it helps you get through this crazy time and that you enjoy. What if you can learn from the world's most inspiring women? Now you can. Introducing Seneca women conversations on power. In purpose, we bring you. Purpose driven actionable ideas and insights from leaders such as Tory Burch, Madeleine Albright. Katie couric Valerie Jarrett Andrea Jong and many more. Listen to Seneca. Women conversations on power can purpose on the Iheartradio or wherever you get your podcasts.

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