This is what some people say: “I read it in the paper.” or “I saw it on the Internet.”
…so it must be true.
Here are a few newspaper stories that, of course, never happened.
New York Sun, 1835
Richard Adams Locke, editor of the four-page daily Sun, published a series of articles about moon discoveries. The series began with a news item stating that astronomer Sir John Herschel, had made some amazing astronomical discoveries by means of an immense telescope in South Africa.
According to the story, the telescope, which stood on 50-metre-high pillars, could magnify an object 42,000 times.
They claimed they had seen moon forests, an amethyst crystal 30 metres high, a blue goatlike animal with one horn and even some people. These moon people were short and hairy-bodied, with yellow faces, and had membranous wings. They had built sapphire temples, on whose roofs were designs showing a flaming globe.
The Sun’s readers, who reached a record number of nearly 20,000, apparently believed the story. A priest suggested getting the Gospel to the moon people. Edgar Allan Poe was one of the few to claim the story could not be true due to its scientific inaccuracies, e.g. how could birds fly on an airless moon?
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC IN THREE DAYS
New York Sun, 1844
It was Edgar Allan Poe himself who invented a story that told of an Atlantic crossing by balloon. The story was accompanied by a woodcut showing the balloon and the fictional correspondent interviewed some of the eight people who had taken part in the 75-hour crossing from England to South Carolina.
TUTANKHAMEN’S GOLDEN TYPEWRITER
Toronto Mail and Empire, 1922
Charles Langdon Clarke had fooled some people into believing that the fossil of the whale that might have swallowed Jonah had been unearthed a few years earlier.
His best hoax, however, was a serious-looking article about King Tut’s Golden Typewriter. The article appeared after archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the almost untouched tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings.
Among the priceless treasures entombed with the pharaoh, Clarke said, was an incredible golden typewriter. This ancient and impossible instrument (How to print hieroglyphics with typewriter keys? How to make a typewriter big enough to hold them all?) was so exciting to a rival editor that he sent a reporter to interview Egyptologist C. T. Currelly about the find. At that point Clarke admitted that he had faked the story.
Happy English learning!!