Voices on the Wind
Homage to the Cardiff Giant
by Larry Turner
And we’re standing, Jenny and me,
in front of the Cardiff Giant at the Farmer’s Museum
in Cooperstown, New York
What’s so great about a fake giant? she asks.
So I tell her that back in 1869
this atheist George Hull got irritated by the Bible literalists
who said there really were giants back in the days of Genesis.
So Hull had this statue made, nearly eleven feet tall.
He aged it then buried it on Newell’s farm in Cardiff.
A year later, Newell hired two men to dig a well there,
and the workers discovered the Giant.
Newell charged people 25 cents, and then later 50 cents,
to see the Giant. The marvel was so popular
Hull and Newell sold out to a syndicate.
You keep talking about Barnum.
What’s Barnum have to do with it?
Barnum offered $60,000 to rent the Giant
but the syndicate said no dice. So Barnum
had a copy made and began to show it.
At one point, both Giants were on display
in New York City, each claiming
to be the only authentic one.
Next time we’ll go to
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
near Detroit, and see Barnum’s copy
among various vintage coin-operated machines
and a replica of the electric chair from Sing Sing.