My Great Moon Hoax Data Dump

Way back when, in the mid-1990s, the hoax that initially got me hooked on studying hoaxes was the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. I remember coming across a brief reference to it in a book — I can't remember which book anymore — and being so intrigued by it that I immediately started tracking down more information about it. Then I decided to devote a chapter in my doctoral dissertation to it. I never finished the dissertation. Got a bit sidetracked. But I did spend a lot of time researching the moon hoax, and writing up notes about it, before I gave up on the dissertation.

However, all that information then sat on my computer. It never made its way to the Museum of Hoaxes, where I had posted only a short article about the moon hoax — and that article actually had some errors in it.

But recently I was cleaning up the Hoax Archive, and as I was doing so, it occurred to me that I really should have a better article about the moon hoax on the site. After all, I spent a couple of years researching it (though, of course, that wasn't the only thing I was doing during that time), but all I had to show for that effort was a short, error-filled article. Why not take all my moon hoax notes, organize them into a coherent form, and put them online, where they might be of interest to someone. And where they'd definitely be of better use than sitting on my computer, inaccessible to anyone but me.

So that's what I spent the last few weeks doing. I got a bit carried away. My new moon hoax article is, by far, the longest article posted on the site, coming in at around 17,000 words — or about 60 pages, if someone were to print it out, though I've got the entire thing on a single page.

It's definitely more information about the moon hoax than most people want to know. I go into detail analyzing questions such as how many people actually fell for the hoax? Why did people believe it? Did the hoax really cause the NY Sun's circulation to rise dramatically? And why was there speculation that Richard Adams Locke wasn't the only author?

But I feel good that I finally got all that material out there. Like I said, maybe it'll be of use to some future researcher of the moon hoax.

Oh, and one more thing: I noticed that someone is selling an original copy of the moon hoax on eBay. That is, they're selling the actual copies of the NY Sun from 1835. They're asking $488. I thought an original copy of the moon hoax would fetch more, but the copies they're selling are in pretty bad condition, and they're not complete pages. Someone cut out the text of the hoax, so none of the surrounding material is preserved.


Posted on Fri Dec 16, 2011


I bet you placed a bid anyway...grin
Posted by Nettie  in  Perth, Western Australia  on  Sun Dec 18, 2011  at  05:45 AM
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