"There's a Sucker Born Every Minute: Re-creating the Cardiff Giant" is a project by Syracuse Artist Ty Marshal which re-creates the Cardiff Giant according to the original size specifications. Ty will be using Hypertufa, a mix of Portland cement, peat moss, and perlite (which creates a "lighter concrete" that can withstand harsh weather conditions). The project focuses on defining a lineage to Central New York's history as a creative community, how religious fundamentalism and pop culture has affected our beliefs in Upstate New York and throughout the nation, and ways that arts and entertainment has served as an economic engine (both in the past and today).

Fabrication of the giant is currently underway at the artist's studio.

Upon completion of the sculpture, it will be buried in Lipe Art Park on Syracuse's Near Westside, and unearthed commencing on October 16th, 2011 (exactly 142 years from the original discovery). A tent will be erected over the giant, where it will remain on display for approximately one week. Viewers will be charged 25 cents to see the giant, and two days later, the price will rise to 50 cents. Inside the tent, viewers will also be treated to historical placards (provided by the Onondaga Historical Association) relaying the Cardiff Giant story through words and pictures, old newspaper articles and relics from 1869, exhibition staff dressed in 1860's fashions, and a gift shop featuring a line of "Cardiff Giant" products created by local businesses including: Cardiff Giant Soap from Syracuse Soapworks, Cardiff Giant Chocolate from Speach Family Candy Shoppe, Cardiff Giant Wine from Lakeland Winery, and Cardiff Giant Coffee from Kind Coffee Company, and more!

Approximately one week later, the Giant will be carted, via horse and buggy, to The Atrium at City Hall Commons in Syracuse's Hanover Square, mere footsteps away from the original exhibition site. Here, the giant will remain on display through October 31st, 2011, and admission will be raised to $1.00.

Special Events focusing on the Cardiff Giant Hoax will be taking place between October 16th and October 31st. Please see the sidebar to the right of this page for event information. Events include film screenings and historical presentations in Syracuse and Homer, N.Y., a reading/sing through of "A Giant Hoax", a one act musical by Kit Goldstein, anthropological presentations and a panel discussion with area artists, scientists and historians.

Local artists have been invited to create work focusing on or inspired by the Cardiff Giant Hoax, and will be on display at various sites throughout Central New York during the exhibition.

(Image by Popular Science 1959)

Interested participants (volunteers, artists, businesses and sponsors) can contact Ty Marshal at TYMARSHAL@gmail.com

Dig down into the Cardiff Giant History!

On October 16th, 1869 - a ten foot tall "petrified man" was uncovered by workers digging a well, behind the barn of William C. "Stub" Newell in Cardiff, N.Y. . Newell set up a tent over the giant and charged people 25 cents to see the "Goliath".

The Syracuse Journal reported the story, and two days later, Newell increased the price to 50 cents! People came by the wagonload. The discovery stirred debate across the area and nation: Was this an example of the giants written about in the bible? or was it a statue left over from some unknown civilization?

About 10 days after the initial discovery, the giant was sold for $23,000 to a five man syndicate from Syracuse, N.Y., led by banker and horse-trader, David Hannum (from Homer, N.Y.). The syndicate moved the giant to Syracuse and placed it on display in an exhibition hall in the City's first commercial district, Hanover Square, raising the price of admission to $1.00! Seeing such great crowds, the famous showman P.T. Barnum offered $50,000 for the giant - but the Syracuse syndicate turned his offer down. Rather than up his price, P.T. Barnum hired a sculptor from Syracuse named, Prof. Carl C. F. Otto, to create his own giant (using a mold secretly taken from the original Cardiff Giant) and put it on display in New York City, claiming the Syracuse giant to be a fake!

As newspapers around the country covered Barnum's version of the story, it was David Hannum that was quoted as saying: "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" in reference to people paying to see Barnum's copy. This statement has since been misattributed to Barnum.

Following the newspaper battle, David Hannum and his partners sued P.T. Barnum for calling the Syracuse giant a fake. But in February 1870, about 5 months after the initial discovery, both giants were revealed as fakes in court. The judge ruled that Hannum and Co. couldn't sue Barnum for calling a fake giant a fake.

And thus was revealed one of the Greatest Hoaxes in U.S. History!

The Cardiff Giant was the creation of New York Tobacconist, George Hull. An outspoken atheist, he decided to create the giant after an argument with a Methodist reverend about the passage in Genesis 6:4, stating that there were "giants that once roamed the earth". Hull hired men to carve out a 12 foot block of Gypsum from Fort Dodge, Iowa, telling them it was intended as a monument to Abraham Lincoln. He shipped the block to Chicago, where he hired a german stonecutter, Edwin Burkhardt, to carve it into the likeness of a man and swore him to secrecy. Acid was poured on the Gypsum to give it an aged look, and boards lines with nails were pressed into the gypsum to give the illusion of pores. In November 1868, Hull transported the giant by rail to the farm of William C. "Stub" Newell, his cousin. By then he had spent $2600 on the hoax.

The original Cardiff Giant now rests at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

P.T. Barnum's version is at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

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