When Poe Punk'd America
The Daily What writes, "Yo Balloon Boy, I’m happy for you, and I’mma let you finish, but Edgar Allan Poe had the best balloon hoax of all time." Bill Lucey takes it away:
On April 13, 1844, Edgar Allan Poe wrote an article in The New York Sun, chronicling how Monck Mason, leaving England for Paris drifted off course and had traveled across the Atlantic in three days, landing safely on Sullivan’s Island near Charleston South Carolina, while riding an ``egg-shaped gas-filled balloon’’, named the Victoria. The story caused such a stir that an excited mob quickly gathered outside of the editorial offices of the Sun, hoping to land a copy of the historic edition. Not until two days later did the New York daily publish a correction, noting the story was pure fiction. The published correction read: ``We are inclined to believe the intelligence is erroneous.’’
Not only was the story untrue, but a balloon would never cross the Atlantic until 1978, when the Double Eagle II successfully landed in Misreay near Paris, 137 hours after departing Presque Isle, Maine.