Posts Tagged ‘The New York Sun’

The New York Sun’s “Great Moon Hoax” of 1835

August 19, 2009

Life on the moon? Yep, it’s really true, and the New York Sun had the exclusive scoop. In late August 1835, the newspaper published a week-long series covering a powerful telescope that allowed astronomers to view the moon’s surface.

So what was on the moon? According to the Sun, living the lunar life were winged humans called “man-bats,” bison, unicorns, beavers walking on two legs, as well as rivers, valleys, and forests. The lithograph below gives you an idea.


Of course, it was all a hoax planned by the paper’s editors, designed to drum up circulation. The stunt worked, but then, the Sun tallied its own circ numbers, so who really knows.

Many New Yorkers fell for it while others weren’t sure what to think. The Sun raised the possibility that the story wasn’t true in a September 1835 article, but they never ‘fessed up completely.

The Sun has one lovely legacy: this weathered yet elegant clock-thermometer that survives on Chambers Street.

“The Sun: It Shines for All”

June 6, 2008

This (broken) thermometer, along with an identical-looking clock, has been greeting passersby on Broadway and Chambers Street since 1917, when the New York Evening Sun moved into the building. 

The Evening Sun, famous for running the “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” editorial in 1897 as well as a fake story by Edgar Allen Poe in 1844 about crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon, merged with the New York World-Telegram in 1950.