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Short Film Week

Day 4: Mouse-X
Who are you, if you’re not the only you?

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April Fools Day: The Moon Hoax

The Moon Hoax; or, A discovery that the moon has a vast population of human beings (1859), By Richard Adams Locke

In 1835, Richard Adams Locke began to publish articles in the New York Sun that claimed to prove the existence of life on the moon. The New York Sun had an avid readership due to the public’s immense curiosity to learn more about Locke’s stories of life on the moon.  Few people initially questioned the validity of Locke’s claims (or were bothered by their specious nature). The Moon Hoax can be compared to Orson Welles’s 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast, in which the public fervently believed that Welles’s narration of an alien invasion was completely true. Locke’s book was not published until more than 20 years after his stories’ initial publication.  The Moon Hoax is a compilation of many accounts that made up Locke’s elaborate, facetious tale.

Pictured: Preceding the final publication of Locke’s book, these drawings of Lunar Temples and Lunar Animals corresponded with his claims of the existence of life on the moon. These illustrations date from 1835, when Locke’s stories first began to be published in the New York Sun.  The temples and animals, according to Locke, were discovered by Sir John Herschel in his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope. Locke also stated that these illustrations were copied from sketches in the Edinburgh Journal of Science. 


The Moon Hoax is accessible in the Newberry’s Special Collections.

Apollo 15 Landed near the mountainous rim of the vastImbrium basin, on a lava plain cut by a winding valley like ‘Rille’ believed to be a collapsed ‘lava tube’ cave. This view looking down a ‘bend’ of Hadley Rille is among the best lunar landscape images ever photographed. Unfortunately portions of the scene had to be filled in using lower resolution material. Sometime I hope to redo this image using more pristine material of consistent quality.