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The Cardiff Giant

Monsters and Mermaids: Unraveling Natural History’s Greatest Hoaxes.

On its way to the Bruce Museum from The Farmers' Museum


Meet the Cardiff Giant!

The Giant is a centerpiece of the exhibition, Monsters and Mermaids: Unraveling Natural History’s Greatest Hoaxes. On View August 26, 2023-February 11, 2024 "We will present the motivations behind the perpetrators and the methods scientists eventually used to debunk each hoax." Bruce Museum Curator Daniel Ksepka notes, “It is an exhibition well-suited for this age of disinformation.” An infamous hoax, the Cardiff Giant was the creation of George Hull, a cigar-maker and con artist, in 1868. Hull had a stonecutter make the Giant as a get-rich-quick scheme inspired by the biblical passage, “There were giants in the earth in those days” (Genesis 6:4). He had it buried on his brother-in-law Stub Newell’s property in Cardiff, New York. Newell orchestrated the “discovery” of the giant in October 1969 under the pretense of having workers dig a well in that spot. Experts and the public alike debated the Giant’s authenticity, and Newell and Hull capitalized on the excitement. The Giant went on display in Syracuse. The debate didn’t last long, however, as evidence piled up that it was a fraud. Hull admitted the hoax in December of 1869. Nonetheless, it remained popular; P.T. Barnum had his own competing copy made.

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