Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 16 - Cardiff Giant

The Cardiff Giant was unearthed on October 16, 1869, on the farm of William "Stub" Newell, in Cardiff, NY, near Syracuse, during a well-digging. The 10-foot tall “petrified man” was a hoax carved from gypsum and “aged” by being pounded with steel needles and treated with stains and acids. It was the creation of New York tobacconist George Hull, an atheist who had argued with the Biblical literalism of a Methodist minister who insisted on the truthfulness of Genesis 6:4, which states, "There were giants in the earth in those days." Hull planted the stone giant at the farm of Newell, his cousin, then charged 50 cents a head for vast crowds of eager viewers. It was a sensation. He sold the figure to a syndicate headed by David Hannum, who later refused to sell the Cardiff Giant to P.T. Barnum for $50,000. When Barnum secretly made a plaster replica and exhibited it as the “authentic” oddity, Hannum uttered the immortal sentence, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” referring to Barnum’s double-hoaxed paying customers. Today the infamous giant resides in Cooperstown, NY.

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