This is utterly fascinating.
In 1836, the New York Sun created these beautiful and utterly freaky illustrations of “the discovery of life on the moon”. Claiming to be the findings of British astronomer Sir John Herschel, perhaps the best known astronomer of the time, the extravagant stories where full of alien flora and fauna, including bat winged men, nude moon maidens with luna-moth wings, unicorn moon bison and bipedal tailless beavers. In the articles it was proposed that an expedition be made to the moon using hydrogen filled balloons lifting ship like gondolas beneath, which later returned to earth under large umbrellas.
Do note the disgusting nature of humans with the enslaving of the moon people, the killing of moon animals, and the sexualized interest in the moon maidens. Also notice the whips.
The story was not discovered to be a hoax until several weeks after it’s publication, and even then the newspaper did not issue a retraction. Eventually it was announced that the huge telescope used for the observations had caught a glimpse of the sun, magnified the beams and caught fire to the observatory, terminating any further views of the fantastic landscapes on the moon.