The Cardiff Giant was only a statue that George Hull, a cigar manufacturer had carved from gypsum to look like a petrified man. It all started when Hull had an argument with a fundamentalist preacher and remembered what the preacher said to him about Genesis 6:4 that "There were giants in the earth in those days". So he wondered if people like the preacher could be convinced that a large, stone statue found in the ground was actually a petrified giant. He decided to find out if he could pull this hoax off.
George Hull had this statue carved in secret and modeled after himself. It was about 10 feet 4 and 1/2 inches tall and weighed about 2,990 pounds. It cost him $2,600 to make but he believe if enough people saw it for a fee, he could make a profit. So he decided to buried it on his brother-in-law's farm and this is where the hoax begins.
On October 16,1869, two handymen were digging a well at William C. Newell's farm near Cardiff, New York, a village 12 miles south of Syracuse. They had dug down three feet when their shovels hit a large stone shaped like a human foot. Excitedly uncovering the rest of the dirt, the diggers discovered to their amazement a giant petrified man in a reclining position. People by the droves came to see this giant marvel. For a 50 cent admission ticket people could see the Cardiff Giant that was under a tent erected over the pit.
Yale paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh came to inspect the Cardiff Giant and declared it a statue of recent origin. The New York Herald said in an article that it was an outright hoax, claiming that it was a statue carved a year earlier by a Canadian sculptor. But people still came to see it believing it was an actual petrified giant man.
The Cardiff Giant was so successful at making money that P. T. Barnum had his own giant made from wood. It was when both giants appeared in New York City at the same time that the hoax was finally acknowledged by everyone.
The Cardiff Giant statue can be seen at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York. It is displayed inside a small tent on the south side of the museum.The Farmer's Museum is located at 100 Lake Street, Cooperstown, NY (about a mile north of the town).
For more information on the Cardiff Giant go to http://www.wikipedia.com or visit the Farmer's Museum.