Voices on the Wind Memorable Voices
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.