Saturday, February 25, 2012

Missouri's Mysterious Buried City

Jason Offutt (From The Shadows blog) digs up an 1885 article in the New York Times that tantalized Gothamites with a tale of "Missouri's buried city: A strange discovery in a coal mine near Moberly [MO]".

According to the report, miners working near the small town broke through to a large cavern comprised of "lava arches" and containing a buried city.

Among those items found within were tools, stone benches, statues made of a bronze-like substance, and the skeletal remains of a giant man.

Given the timeframe of this account, it's likely Offutt stumbled upon one of the many instances of fantastically fabricated tales that posed as news at the height of Yellow Journalism. Oklahoma itself has seen plenty of these stories that were proffered as truth in order to sell more copies in a highly competitive environment.


James Carlson said...

It comes as a constant source of surprise to me that more people aren't aware of the lengths 19th century "journalists" were willing to go in order to grab their audience by the shorthairs. There have been incidents in which one writer would influence another, allowing later historians to track the folk tales across the country, from one state into another, evolving in character and depth as the story drifted from California to Florida in some cases. It should come as no surprise that Samuel Clemens was one of those newspaper writers during the fun years on the frontier before he started using the AKA Mark Twain. Those must have been good times!

Chefjames60 said...

While I don't disagree that such journalism was (and still is) used as a ploy to increase circulation, not all articles were fabrications. Case in point; if you watch this weeks episode of Search for the Lost Giants airing Tuesday the 11th at 10 pm CST, the research I did for the episode was based on one old newspaper accounts from a small town newspaper. Once I began digging at the library, I was able to substantiate the claims with color photos and other articles from well known newspapers. Without giving the show away, there is a LOT of hard evidence to be found for some of the claims IF one is willing to go to sites, and do research. The problem is that your site and others dismiss ALL such articles as fantasy when indeed, that is not true.