Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Great Moon Hoax of 1838

 

Top Ten Things not to do

This week marks the  185th anniversary of the appearance of the first in a series of six articles in the New York Sun newspaper announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon. Now, we cannot miss going there to get a feeling of how folks back then could have been fooled by such a story. So that we don’t disrupt the time continuum we need to take the usual list of what not to do.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Great Moon Hoax of 1835

10 If you go, do not laugh out loud when you read the first installment. If you do, at best, folks will think you are reading about the latest divorces. At worst, the editor Benjamin Day will think you have caught on to the hoax. (You see, Macon the paper was founded in 1833, and the articles about life on the moon were written by Richard Adams Locke as satire in response to some other ideas put forward at the time. If Day knows you know, he might have to figure out a way to silence you. Oh, oh, who are those men in black suits?)

9 If you go, do not ask Tiny the WWF champ if he has seen any men form the moon. If you do, at best Tiny won’t be paying attention. At worst, Tiny, who has had one wrestling match over the line, will think you are teasing him. (One of the descriptions of men from the moon describes them as furry winged, bats. Tiny hates things that could get caught in his hair. He is planning to use you to swat them out of the air. Don’t worry Maddock, we all know they aren’t real. Yeah, you are right. Tiny might let you go if he gets tired, spinning your around while holding your legs. Yup, it might hurt.)

8 If you go, do not ask Benjamin Day how he can afford to sell his paper for a penny. If you do, at best he’ll ignore you. At worst, since he made the decision to appeal to the working class, he’ll consider you as a bourgeoise member of the leisure class. (So he didn’t answer your question, Madog. Don’t feel bad.  His price of a penny (26¢ today) was so working folks could have a paper. Other papers cost 5¢ ($1.04). He doesn’t like the leisure class much.)

7 If you go, do not ask Day about the other content of the newspaper. If you do, at best, Day will be busy. At worst, Day will think you are working for the New York Times. (Day decided that his low-income readership would like to know more about life than book reviews and the theater. He was the first to send out reporters to cover crimes, suicides, deaths, and divorces. He is now talking to those two big guys dressed in black, Maged. I don’t think your departure is going to be all that dignified)

6 If you go, do not question the so-called facts in the story. If you do, at best, the noise level in the room will drown you out. At worst, you could question the facts within earshot of the Reverand Thomas Dick. (Not only does the Reverand have an unfortunate name, Maher, but he has also published a number of best-selling books where he describes the moon as having 4.2 billion inhabitants. The story was written as a tongue in cheek jibe at the Reverand. Yes, I would say he is angry. Yes, that does look like a gun.)

5 If you go, do not start a Go Fund Me campaign for a trip to the moon. If you do, at best, everyone will think you are joking. At worst, Benjamin will want to put a quick stop to your efforts. (Day is very happy with the newspaper sales and views your efforts as potentially damaging. (If everyone decided to go to the moon, Mai, they would lose interest in the stories, and the sales would fall. Looks like the sheriff has been called. Something about unlicensed fundraising.)

4 If you go, do not start selling souvenirs from the moon. If you do, at best, you’ll get no buyers. At worst, you’ll be asked to authenticate the objects as being from the moon. (The articles in the newspaper detailed descriptions of the moon’s amethyst crystals. I guess you could use those descriptions as proof of authenticity, Mairtin. Just stay out of Benjamin Days way, though. He’ll want a cut of the profits.)

3 If you go, do not start describing how delicious a Royal Crown Cola and Moon Pie are together. If you do, at best no one will get it. At worst, everyone will want some. (Now you are in trouble, Majid. Royal Crown Cola was first made in 1905, and the moon pie was invented in 1917. Maybe you could whip something up before that crowd of hungry onlookers pay you a visit.)

2 If you go, do not demonstrate your version of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk. If you do, at best everyone will have left. At worst, you will shock the crowd into disbelief. (You also will have a tough time explaining just how you came to invent what will be known as Makani’s moonwalk, Makani. Whatever happened to trying to prevent a tear in the time continuum.)

1 If you go, do not try to help a group of Yale scientists who have come to review the information behind the stories. If you do, at best they won’t believe you. At worst, the scientists would learn from you enough to blow the whole story. (Calm down, Maklolm. Yes, the scientists did come to investigate. The New York Sun staff kept them so busy they went back to Yale, never knowing the stories were a hoax. So you did not cause a tear, and the paper admitted the stories were fake a month later.)

72 comments

  1. We now know it was the Borborygmi, John.
    Don’t forget, also, that Mars is still the only planet in the known universe populated entirely by robots! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes we do. Thanks, Keith.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I didn’t know that, Hmm. Making a note.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Don’t listen to him Susannah. He’s a fiction writer obsessed with the moon. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So he’ll moon us, if he gets the chance, is that what you’re saying John?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Too bad he doesn’t come back and we could see if a moon is in the cards. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea of this weird bit of journalistic history!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fascinating it was. Thanks, Liz.

      Like

  3. The title of your post caught me as I’m fascinted with the moon. Laughed at #2. And we probably shouldn’t say the name Neil Armstrong. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes that is our little secret. Thank you, Joan.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was great, John. Number five cracked me up as I’ve seen a few questionable Go Fund Me accounts. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are a ton of questionable Go Fund Me accounts for sure. Thanks, Jill.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Come to New York…Go Fund is out of hand.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Phew! The last thing I want to do is mess up our history. I’d be worried that you would sense the tear (you seem to have an understanding about time) and send Tiny back to stop me. I’m guessing that would leave a mark.

    Nice list, John. Now I have to read more about this. I think I’ll start with the National Enquirer archives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The National Enquirer is the perfect resource, Dan 😁 Yes a visit by Tiny would probably hurt.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    #2 had me chuckling! Great list, John. Imagine our grandkids looking back at 2020. I wonder what the top ten list might look like? Hmmm…:D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an intriguing thought, Gwen. Top Ten Things Not to Do When All Hell Broke Loose in 2020.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello John. I love the way you work out the dos and donts of your posts. Great fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. Glad you enjoy it. I enjoy doing it. 😊

      Like

  8. Never heard of this event. Rather curious to know how it all went down, so I should probably research it later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The public forgave the Sun when they owned up the hoax. Go figure.

      Like

      1. A nicer time. Though, I guess back then it would have been seen as creative and funny.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. That is exactly what happened.

        Like

  9. Loved the mention of Moon pies! Just hearing the name takes me back to my first year in Texas — how’s that for time travel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like an interesting story, Linda. Maybe you should tell it.

      Like

  10. Is it just me, or was fake news more fun years ago. People seem to have lost the plot these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Back then it was real fake news. Today it is just fake fake news. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Like Charles, this one is news to me – guess I should say fake news, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup. Fake is a sfake does. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I have a copy of the story. I am waiting at an intergalactic coach stop. And will read the story on the coach trip. One of the other passengers said the first almost intergalactic stations is on the Sea of Tranquility. And that they sell post cards with Tranquility Gulls right next to the lunch counter or the vending machines… Let me know how the convention turns out. Rumor has it that they are going to be even madder than Tiny. If that is at all possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t forget the boat rides as well. (and moon dust taffy)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Lol! Talk about fake news! And we thought it was a new thing. 🙂 Good one, John!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This was good ole fake news.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. You got me twice John…Go Fund, and M. Jackson’s moonwalk. You know, I’ve been known to do it at parties, of course after many glasses of spiked punch that is.

    It’s a pity this wasn’t happening now. People would be packing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. Elon Musk would have sold out trips.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m laughing. No easy feat today.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. But is very good for you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Best medicine. Too bad you can’t buy it in bulk on Amazon.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Would be swell if you could. Until then I’ll keep the laugh machine warmed up. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Like a getaway car…I like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Another creative piece that brought a smile to my face!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad Noelle.

      Like

  16. Entertaining idea, dear John! It reminds me of “Elephant on the Moon” by Samuel Butler. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has that ability. Thanks, Maria.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    I haven’t heard of this. It doesn’t sound to dissimilar to things I’ve read lately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. Could be the same fake news.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This was was exceptional. I even learned about Moon Pies and RC Cola. Two of my favorites as a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Andrew.

      Like

  19. Based on this list, I have a feeling it wouldn’t be a very good idea to invite Ralph Kramden along. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To the moon, Alice. Thanks, Marc.

      Liked by 2 people

  20. I’m with Tiny on this one — I don’t want weird, bat like things caught in my hair either! The mention of Moon Pies takes me back to when I was a kid, and my grandpa used to keep them as treats for us kids (that, and an “arra cee” cola!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad it brought a memory, Debbie.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. This seems so strange, buy why wouldn’t people (some people) believe it. The account of 4.2 billion furry-winged bat people is a little far fetched, but you know humans. 40% of them will believe anything. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Diana. Thank you. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m with Tiny not liking anything that can get caught in my hair like bats, spiders, and webs! EWWW!

    Fun list. I didn’t know this history. You always come up with the most interesting things to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do get pretty obscure don’t I? 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Only you would find this bit of history, John!
    Boy… people have been pulling the wool over the eyes of folks for a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so true. You have to laugh at how gullible people were though. 😁 This went on for six editions of the paper.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No kidding!! Six! Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Very funny, John. The Michael Jackson moonwalk – priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Like

  25. I’ve never heard of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t either till I saw the anniversary notice.

      Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: