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The Cardiff Giant
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Oddity
    (October 16, 1869- )
    Born in Cardiff, New York
    Ten foot tall 'petrified man'
    Discovered by workers digging a well on the farm of William 'Stub' Newell
    On display at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York
    The whole thing was (surprise!) a hoax.
    Newell's cousin, George Hull, secretly had a statue carved, artificially aged it, then had it buried on the farm.
    It still had visible chisel marks, proving: (1) it was a statue, not a petrified man; (2) it had not been in the ground all that long.
    Several fundamentalist preachers endorsed its legitimacy.
    Newell began charging curiosity seekers 25 cents for a look, then doubled the price just two days later.
    Hull, an atheist, created it after an argument with a fundamentalist preacher over the 'There were giants in the earth those days' passage in Genesis.
    Hull spent $2,600 creating the Giant and sold it to a five-man syndicate for $37,500.
    P.T. Barnum attempted to lease it from the syndicate for three months for $60,000.
    When the owners refused, Barnum had a replica built, put it on display, and was soon drawing larger crowds than the original.
    The owners of the original Giant sued Barnum, but lost with the judge ruling both to be equally fake.

Credit: C. Fishel


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