Extraterrestrial hoaxes have a long and venerable history:
As announcements go, the following – made in the New York Sun newspaper, on this day (25 August) in 1835 – is a tantalising one:
GREAT ASTRONOMICAL DISCOVERIES LATELY MADE
BY SIR JOHN HERSCHEL, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c.
At the Cape of Good Hope
[From Supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science]
What was it that one of the most acclaimed astronomers of his day had observed? Must have been something of great scientific importance to have made the pages of the respected Edinburgh Journal of Science first…
[it was] no less than evidence of life forms on the moon. And what life forms they were: unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats… Aside from the animal life on the moon, the articles also offered detailed accounts of the moon’s landscape (which included trees, beaches and rivers).
Read the full account over at the Wellcome Library Blog