Janice Boekhoff


Only two more days in hoax month! Be sure to visit here on Friday to read about the most famous Halloween hoax.

The Cardiff Giant is a ten-foot tall stone man that was found in 1869 by workmen digging a farm well near Cardiff, New York. From the moment of its discovery, this giant man created controversy. Some believed it to be a statue carved centuries before. Others thought it was a petrified giant, as in proof of the biblical passage that says “there were giants on the earth in those days.” Still others recognized if for the hoax it was.

This hoax started when George Hull, a cigar-maker, visited the gypsum mines of Fort Dodge, Iowa. You see, George was an atheist and he’d just had an argument with a minister about the literal interpretation of the Bible, including the passage referring to giants. At the gypsum mine, he came up with an idea. Why not poke fun at biblical literalists and make some money on the side?

So, he paid to have a five-ton block of gypsum sent to a stonecutter in Chicago whom he swore to secrecy. The stonecutter carved the ten-foot tall man, then it was shipped secretly to Cardiff and buried on a farmer’s land. The farmer hired two workmen, ordering them to dig a well at the exact spot where the giant was hidden, ensuring the discovery.

Immediately, the farmer started charging people to come see the giant. And people came from everywhere across the country. Soon, a group of businessmen bought the giant for $37,500 and moved it Syracuse where it came under greater scrutiny.

Sensing the truth would come out soon anyway, George Hull admitted to the hoax and his reasons for doing it—to ridicule the Bible-believing public. Amazingly, his admission did nothing to lessen the popularity of the Cardiff Giant. People seemed to love it, hoax or not.

As a biblical literalist, I find it astounding the lengths George Hull went to make fun of people who believed differently than him. Would I bury a hoax dinosaur-bird missing link just to discredit evolutionists? No way. That’s basically lying to somebody and then calling them an idiot for believing you.

But then again, for George Hull, maybe it wasn’t about religion at all. Maybe it was just about the money. What do you think?


References: http://hoaxes.org/archive/permalink/the_cardiff_giant, http://www.farmersmuseum.org/node/2482

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/fixler/232748689/”>fixlr</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

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