FORT DODGE, Iowa- This is the 150th Birthday of the Cardiff Giant. The 1869 discovery in Cardiff New York of a ten foot tall “man.” People thought the find was real, and paid to go see this man.
Actually George Hull produced the sculpture from gypsum from a Fort Dodge mine.
Hull went to a church meeting where he got into an argument with a local pastor.
“So the preacher was taking the Bible verses literally saying there was giants who were walking on this earth and George Hall said well that’s ridiculous,” said Heather Jensen, Curator of the Fort Museum, where the Cardiff Giant is displayed.
Hull produced his own statue of the giant, and secretly moved the large object packaged as farm equipment, to his cousin’s farm at Cardiff NY.
“After a few years stub Newhall needed a new well-built of course he knew exactly where to dig so they dug up this giant man,” said Jensen. “People of the time were so fascinated by this man they had no idea where he came from they thought he was a petrified man.”
Hull charged people to see this giant. P.T. Barnum also came up with his own “giant” also made from Fort Dodge gypsum. The two giants toured town to town competing for the money of curiosity seekers.
“They just wanted to see what kind of crazy thing he come up with or how believable it did look,” said Jensen. “Eventually it kind of fell flat people realize there were two giants one of them, or both of them had to be a hoax.”
Everyone now is in on the hoax. Even so, the Fort Museum is holding a birthday party, complete with cake for the Cardiff Giant from 5-7 on Wednesday.If you would like to know more about the Fort Museum, click here.