Yesterday, I wrote about how our Moon is wobbling and it is affecting coastal flooding. It might have sounded like a hoax, but it is true. However, there was a big Moon hoax that started on August 25, 1835. The Sun newspaper in New York City printed a series of articles describing scientific findings about the Moon. They said the information came from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The information was recounted by Dr. Andrew Grant, a colleague of the famous astronomer Sir John Herschel.
The articles described the flora and fauna of the moon, the beings that lived there and the temples where they lived. Those lunar folks were said to “average four feet in height, were covered, except on the face, with short and glossy copper-colored hair, and had wings composed of a thin membrane, without hair, lying snugly on their backs.” All of this information was seen by an observatory at the Cape of Good Hope.
Of course, it was all a lie. No Dr. Grant, no observatory, no beings. But people believed this. Surprising? Well, people believed Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast about a hundred years later and thought aliens had landed in New Jersey. You don’t expect to read satire or find hoaxes in a newspaper or hear them on radio. People today sometimes see a tweet or link to a story from the satiric The Onion and react or pass it on as true.
Copies of the The Sun sold out and the series was getting reprinted all over the country and the world. The man behind all this was Richard Adams Locke, an editor at The Sun. He claimed for a while that he hadn’t intended for anyone to believe the tales and that when he wanted to go public with the hoax but the owner of the paper wouldn’t do it and it was many years before this ridiculous fake news was fully debunked. I suspect people had sopped believing it long before that, but who knows for sure.Edgar Allen Poe claimed the idea was plagiarized from a satire he’d written just a few weeks earlier about a man who made his way to the moon by hot air balloon.
This month had lots of tributes to the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon. It also saw the re-emergence of some of the Moon landing conspiracies that the whole thing was faked – an elaborate hoax.
It would have been one helluva hoax. It would have involved thousands of people who have miraculous all stuck to their non-disclosure agreements and kept the secret. That alone is enough reason for me to believe it could never have been a hoax.
Of course, there were good reasons to believe that the pressure was on for NASA to get a man on the Moon. President Kennedy on May 25,1961 had said to Congress”
” I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”
The decade was running out in 1969, so if NASA wanted to stay with that target it had to get a man on the Moon that year. Some people apparent;y thought we weren’t ready to do it for real, so we would have to fake it. There was also the perceived “space race” we were in with Russia to get there first.
One article that caught my attention this past week was titled “How Stanley Kubrick Staged the Moon Landing.” Despite that title, the article is more about debunking the conspiracy theorists who believed that the Moon landing was a hoax and other theories about that July 20, 1969 event at 3:17 P.M. E.S.T. that was so important in our history
Kubrick had directed 2001: A Space Odyssey the year before. That film was based on Arthur C. Clarke’s writing and the script, book, and film did predict manmade satellites, GPS, maybe even smartphones and tablets, along with a space station.
But the big hoax has always been the actual Moon landing. The Knight newspaper company in July 1970 found that 30 percent of Americans believed the Moon landing had been faked. Six years later, a Gallup poll found that 28 percent of Americans believed that the Moon landing had been staged by the U.S. government, and that was pretty consistent throughout the 1970s.
Kaysing got attention because he was the head of the technical presentations unit at the Rocketdyne Propulsion Field Laboratory from 1956 to 1963. when the major planning for the engine and components of the Apollo project was being done. Though Kaysing later admitted that he knew nothing about rockets, he did hold security clearances with the U.S. Air Force and the Atomic Energy Commission for his work and that sounded pretty official to many people. These clearances are fairly common for anyone who works on government and DoD or military contracts.
Kaysing was a technical writer for Rocketdyne, but he was convinced after he left the company that the U.S. was just not capable with our current technology to put a man on the Moon.
There have been 6 successful Apollo manned missions to the Moon, and a dozen men have walked the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. But it is that first lunar mission that is the focus of the conspiracy theories.
Kaysing’s 1976 self-published book explained his theories. He did believe that he was a whistle-blower letting the public know that there had been a cover-up.
A few of the inconsistencies he stated were easily debunked. He claimed that the American flag the astronauts planted on the moon should have been hanging down since there is no air or wind on the Moon. NASA had thought of that early on and not wanting that floppy effect had put a cross beam on the pole to hold the flag in a windy attitude. When Buzz Aldrin was twisting the pole into the surface it caused the flag to briefly move as if it was flapping in wind.
Another part of the hoax “evidence” is the multiple directions of shadows in photos and on film. Since the only source of light would be the Sun, this was said to prove that multiple movie lights had been used on a set. Actually, there were multiple sources of light during the lunar landings from the Sun, reflected from the Earth and from the lander module and from the astronauts’ space suits and helmets.
Aha, the lunar photos show no stars in the pictures! Where did they go? The moonwalks were made during the lunar morning and just like here on Earth, you don’t see stars when the Sun is out. We don’t even see them at night if we are in a brightly lit area that washes out the sky, such as at a stadium.
Kaysing even questioned how Neil Armstrong’s first steps onto the Moon were filmed if he was the only one there. Quite simply, a camera had been mounted to the side of the lunar module.
Kaysing didn’t doubt that a rocket blasted off in July of 1969, but claimed that the astronauts had been taken off before takeoff. They were then taken to Nevada which is where the studio set was to fake the landing photography.
The Hollywood film Capricorn One was based on the hoax theories and was about a faked mission to Mars. Some scenes from the faked Mars landing scenes have turned up in Moon landing hoax conspiracy documentaries, such as the TV show Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land On The Moon and the film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon.
America was ripe for conspiracies with the Watergate scandal and Vietnam War revelations in the news showing us that the government was doing a lot of things secretly and hiding the truth from the public.
Which brings me back to Stanley Kubrick. If you had to pick a director to shoot believable Moon landing footage, Kubrick would be a good choice. Kubrick’s astronauts in his 2001 film landing on the Moon look a lot better than the actual lunar landing footage. It would have been easy for him to stage scenes that didn’t have to look as good. From what I have read about Kubrick’s directing style, it would have been a lot harder to get him to shoot the landing without many takes and certainly impossible to get him to do a live shoot. Kubrick shot 2001 without computer graphics, so he would have to use models and actual sets and props such as the space station and a Moon surface with rocks and lunar dust. He had done the research.
I do believe that on July 20, 1969, the lunar module Eagle landed on the surface of the Moon, carrying Neil Armstrong and Edwin A. “Buzz” Aldrin. I believe that Armstrong was the first human to set foot on the moon and Aldrin was the second human on the Moon while Michael Collins orbited above. They stayed on the Moon for 21 hours and 36 minutes.
Here is some footage that was not seen back in 1969. I guess Kubrick had outtakes?
I wrote last week about the legendary Bigfoot and I hesitated to write this weekend about more fringe science, but I have a longtime fascination with time travel and a story about a time traveler caught my attention this past week.
Let’s start out by saying this tale is very likely a hoax, but it captivated fans of time travel, the supernatural and the paranormal.
It started with an online post in November 2000 by someone who called himself Timetravel_0 but would come to be known as John Titor.
John Titor said he was a man from the future, who had been sent to the past (our present) to retrieve a portable computer in order to correct something that had happened in his future world.
John said he traveled back from 2036. He posted on the Art Bell BBS Forums. Art Bell is an American broadcaster and author who was the founder/host of the paranormal-themed radio program Coast to Coast AM and a companion show Dreamland.
John Titor’s posts ended in late March 2001 but a number of websites reproduced Titor’s posts and sometimes arranged them to create a kind of narrative.
Titor posted right off pictures of his time machine and its operations manual. As you would expect, Bell’s listeners hit him with lots of questions about why he was here and the physics of time travel. He did engage with others on the Bell forum and also on several other online sites.
Titor claimed to be an American soldier based in Tampa, Florida in 2036. He had earlier been assigned to time-travel back to 1975 to retrieve an IBM 5100 computer. He said the 5100 was needed in order to debug various legacy computer programs in 2036. I haven’t dug deeper into this computer – which seems like an odd old technology that would be needed in the future – but others have commented that it may be a reference to the UNIX year 2038 problem. So, Titor was sent back two years before the problem would occur to get the old technology. The IBM 5100 was not a powerful computer and it ran the not very sophisticated APL and BASIC programming languages.
Now in 2000, Titor said he was visiting again for “personal reasons” which included collecting pictures lost in a future civil war and to visit his family.
Titor made a number of predictions – some vague and some specific – about coming events. he described life after a nuclear war, the breakup of the United States into five smaller sovereignties, and the assertion that CERN would discover the basis for time travel sometime around 2001, with the creation of miniature black holes.
Because some of his predictions have already passed and not occurred, people say it was all a hoax. Of course, there are believers that say that Titor or other time travelers have returned to correct things so that these tragedies did not occur.
One of Titor’s “predictions” (not really a prediction since he claimed to be telling us a future history) was of an upcoming civil war in the United States having to do with “order and rights.” He claimed it would begin in 2004 with civil unrest surrounding the presidential election of that year.
He didn’t seem to know that it would be the John Kerry vs. George W.Bush election. This civil conflict build and fully erupt by 2008. Of course, there was unrest during that period and foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush’s War on Terrorism and the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Titor said that UFOs were still a mystery in his time, but he thought that extraterrestrials might be travelers from much further into the future.
As a student of time travel, I wondered about all these interactions Titor was having in the past. Wasn’t he afraid he would change something disastrously? Had he seen Back to the Future? Didn’t he know what would happen to Marty McFly if he met himself in the past or stopped his parents from dating and getting married? hadn’t he heard of the Grandfather Paradox in which a person travels to the past and kills their own grandfather before the conception of their father or mother, which prevents the time traveler’s existence.
Titor was unconcerned. He claimed that the “Everett–Wheeler model of quantum physics,” better known as the many-worlds interpretation, is correct. In that model, every possible outcome of a quantum decision occurs in a separate “universe.” No worries about any grandfather paradox. You would be killing a different grandfather in a different timeline.
By that model, the chances of everything happening someplace at sometime in the superverse are 100%. And so, maybe John Titor did travel back to 1975 and 2000.
On March 21, 2001, John Titor wrote that he would be returning to 2036, and he was never heard from again.
A book titled John Titor A Time Traveler’s Talewas compiled by John’s mother in our time using John’s posts and published as a 164 page paperback. It includes the black and white photos he posted of his time machine and its operations manual. It is now something of a rarity and it sells online for $130-$600. Not bad for a hoax.
John, if you read this, post a comment and give us an update.
If you were to believe David Meade, a self-described “specialist in research and investigations,” this will be my last blog post. That is because he has said that today – Sept. 23, 2017 – the world will end. Or begin to end.
Someone predicts the end of the world every year. This particular prediction is based on a sign prophesied in the Book of Revelation 12:1 — a constellation – will reveal itself in the skies over Jerusalem. This signals the beginning of the end of the world. A month later we will enter a seven-year tribulation period. The eclipse last month was also a sign.
But Meade (who has published many books on strange topics) and others have claimed that a planet called Nibiru/Planet X (NASA says no such planet exists) is headed toward Earth and when it passes us later this year we can expect earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and other tragedies.
There have been several earthquakes and some terrible hurricanes the past month. Meade predicted all this would happen earlier, but he revised the date to today. I suspect he may revise it again tomorrow.
The idea that it will look like there is a double Full Moon this week on the August 27 because Mars is passing so close to Earth that it appears the same size as the Moon in the night sky, is complete lunacy.
This is a story – usually accompanied by a photo like the one here that I really hesitated to spread around again – that has had a very healthy life on social media and even earlier via email since the turn of the century.
It really gained power in 2003 when Mars did pass within 35 million miles of Earth on Aug. 27 of that year. Yes, that was its closest approach to our planet in nearly 60,000 years. But even though Mars appeared six times bigger and 85 times brighter in the night sky than it normally does, it was nowhere near the size of the Moon. It still looked like the reddish star.
If you have time to waste and search “double moon,” you’ll get lots of results. Facebook, the main vector of misinformation these days, has over a million shares on the hoax. There may be a nice Full Moon to see in your night sky this week, but nothing more captivating about it than the monthly wonder of seeing it up there.
Right off, let’s say that Mars will NOT be approaching Earth this week at some extraordinary closeness. I think this must be an offshoot of the “supermoon” phenomena.
This hoax or just misinformation has been bouncing around the Net since the days when these kinds of memes were passed via emails. Here’s what you might see posted online on Facebook or other networks
On August 27 lift up your eyes and look up at the night sky because the planet Mars will pass just 34.65 million miles from the earth. To the naked eye it will look like two moons. The next time Mars will be so close to the Earth is in 2287. No one living on this earth has ever seen this and no one living now will ever see it again!
The closes we have to there being any truth to this goes back to August 27, 2003. Mars, the red planet, did come within 35 million miles (or 56 million kilometers) of Earth and that was its nearest approach to us in almost 60,000 years. I remember looking up that night. My view was obscured but Mars appeared approximately 6 times larger and 85 times brighter in the sky than it ordinarily does.
This what is known to astronomers as a perihelic opposition. It is a rare occurrence, but Mars comes almost as near to us every 15 to 17 years. Mars’ appearance in August 2003 wouldn’t have looked much bigger to the eye than on its other close appearances.
If you want to mark your calendar for 2018 (I’ll queue up the blog post now), our view of Mars will be similar to the 2003.
But it won’t be until the year 2287 that Mars will come closer to Earth than it did back in 2003.
So is anything interesting happening this week in the sky? EarthSky reports that first of all the moon will not be full on August 27, 2014 but just a thin crescent in the west after sunset. Mars will also not be at its brightest or its closest at all in 2014.
It’s still a good idea to look up in the sky at night and enjoy the Moon, the stars and the planets.