The Cardiff Giant.

Here’s the whole story of the Cardiff Giant from the Museum of Hoaxes:

The Cardiff Giant, a gigantic ten-foot tall stone man, emerged out of the ground and into American life on October 16, 1869, when he was discovered by some workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. “Stub” Newell in Cardiff, New York. Word of his presence quickly spread, and soon thousands of people were making the journey out to Stub Newell’s farm to see the colossus. Even when Newell began charging fifty cents a head to have a look at it, people still kept coming.

Speculation ran rampant over what the giant might be. The central debate was between those who thought it was a petrified man and those who believed it to be an ancient statue. The ‘petrifactionists’ theorized that it was one of the giants mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 6:4, where it says, “There were giants in the earth in those days.” Those who promoted the statue theory followed the lead of Dr. John F. Boynton, who speculated that a Jesuit missionary had carved it sometime during the seventeenth century to impress the local indians.

The truth was somewhat more prosaic. It was actually the creation of an enterprising New York tobacconist named George Hull. The idea of burying a stone giant in the ground occurred to him after he got into an argument with a methodist Reverend about whether the Bible should be taken literally. Hull, an atheist, didn’t think it should. But the Reverend disagreed. The Reverend insisted that even the passage where it says ‘there were giants in the earth in those days’ should be read as a literal fact. According to Hull, after this discussion he immediately “thought of making a stone, and passing it off as a petrified man.” He figured he could not only use the fake giant to poke fun at Biblical literalists, but also make some money.

Read the rest if you don’t know it. The story is awesome.

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3 responses to “The Cardiff Giant.

  1. Howard Mestas

    I first read about this about 1 year ago in the hoaxes section of Archaeology.org magazine and was fascinated by the story and how religious zealots are always locked and loaded to pounce on a story. The hoax led to numerous copycat hoaxes since they were money makers, including, of all things, The Solid Muldoon hoax in Beulah, Colorado! When I Googled Cardiff, NY and discovered it was on the “Burned Over District” I had to laugh. When I pointed this out to my Latter Day Saints friends and explained the atmosphere swirling around upstate New York at about the same time Joseph Smith saw the golden plates there were not too amused. Needless to say, I am no longer Temple Worthy. I always believed that the Cardiff Giant was lost or buried I figured that was the end of it, but when I stumbled into a tent in Cooperstown and saw the actual giant I was thrilled! Every day of this trip was extraordinary, but just seeing the Giant was enough for me to have made the trip! I am listing the link called when Giants Roamed the Earth: http://www.archaeology.org/0511/etc/giants.html

  2. Eloyda Vallejos

    Howard, did you get a picture? I’d love to see it if you did.

  3. Howarad Mestas

    Yes of course Eloyda, I have many pictures and I will gladly send them to you, along with any pictures from all of the stops. This was such an awesome trip I kind of went camera happy and probably took over a thousand pics…the joy of the digital age! I enjoyed your blogs and If you don’t mind I would like to share some lesson plan ideas with you. There will be plenty of photos for slide shows!

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