Who Started the Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy Theory?

It's been 50 years since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and for many of those years, we've heard people express disbelief that it ever happened. Sure, it was incredible that NASA accomplished the feat, and only seven years after President Kennedy set the goal, but when you think about it, creating a hoax would have been just as difficult, if not more. Who was the first person to publicly accuse NASA of creating a fake moon landing? It appears to have been Bill Kaysing, who self-published the book We Never Went to the Moon: America’s Thirty Billion Dollar Swindle in 1972.

Now, if Kaysing was just some random guy shouting in the wind, it’s unlikely anyone would have listened to him. Every conspiracy theory origin story needs at least some shred of credibility from the person starting it to get the fire going. For Kaysing’s assertions about the moon landings, this comes in the form of the fact that for a brief period he worked for Rocketdyne, a company that made rockets for the Apollo program. Not an engineer or having any similar technical expertise whatsoever, Kaysing’s background was primarily in writing, earning an English degree from the University of Redlands, after which he naturally got a job making furniture.

As for the writing gig he landed with Rocketdyne, his job was initially as a technical writer starting in 1956 and he eventually worked his way up to head of technical publications. He finally quit in 1963, deciding he’d had enough of working for the man.

After quitting, to quote him, “the rat race”, in 1963 Kaysing traveled the country in a trailer with his family, earning his living writing books on a variety of topics from motorcycles to farming.

The book wasn't a bestseller, but might have been if anyone were to actually read it as a comedy. Kaysing has the three Apollo 11 astronauts hanging out in strip clubs in Las Vegas when they were supposed to be in space, until they were taken to Area 51 to fake the lunar landing broadcast. Find out where Kaysing got his ideas and read some of the bizarre evidence he presented at Today I Found Out.

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