The Great Escape
On November 9, 1874, The New York Herald lent its front page to an astounding announcement that every dangerous animal in the zoo had escaped and was wandering the streets of the city, killing anyone foolish enough to be out. The trouble began when a reckless zookeeper annoyed a rhinoceros enough for it to bust out of its enclosure and gore him to death. Attempts to capture the loose rhino resulted in the animal accidentally breaking the enclosures of all the other animals. Soon, lions, tigers, elephants, bears, hyenas, and more were wandering about the city. The newspaper reported a number of unfortunate deaths and a few acts of courage: A General Dix managed to drop a leopard with one expert shot, and John Morrisey, a well-known gambler and politician, managed to land a deadly punch to a tiger’s head.
The article panicked the city, causing people to lock themselves indoors wherever they were when they heard the news. That’s a bit odd, since the last paragraph of the article read, “Of course the entire story given above is pure fabrication. Not one word of it is true. Not a single act or incident described has taken place.” Much to the editor’s chagrin, the hoax mostly proved that readers never finish reading articles.
Sort of reminds me of the Orson Wells radio program about a Martian invasion, ya know? People can be so gullible at times !
Coffee out on the patio again. No rain expected until Monday.