One of Poe's particular gifts is the ability to tell a wild story through the words of a narrator who seems calm and ordinary, a person you could encounter in everyday life, which is probably why he was able to successfully convince readers that "The Balloon Hoax" was a true story.

Poe submitted this intricately detailed story (which included many technically sound details and the names of several real people) about a man who miraculously crosses the Atlantic Ocean in only three days in a hot air balloon to The Sun. The newspaper then published the story with this headline: "ASTOUNDING NEWS! BY EXPRESS VIA NORFOLK:THE ATLANTIC CROSSED IN THREE DAYS! SIGNAL TRIUMPH OF MR. MONCK MASON'S FLYING MACHINE!!!"

The story caused the newspaper's New-York-based building to be overrun by excited readers, but was quickly revealed to be a hoax and retracted just two days later. Still, Poe's efforts were successful in so far that he had convinced many people that his tale was true and he proudly observed that he had "never witnessed more intense excitement to get possession of a newspaper."