On October 16th, 1869 - a 10 foot tall "petrified man" was uncovered by workers digging a well...now he returns!
Thank you for visiting Kickstarter and for your pledge of support! I am extremely excited to bring this project to life in October!
Your funds will be used, in part, for the following needs:
- Supplies (remember the Giant is 10 ft, 4.5 inches long - that's a lot of plaster!)
- Studio Space
- Educational Historical Placards (museum quality)
-Transportation (by horse and wagon)
- T-shirt Production
- I am not charging an artist fee - but after all the supplies are garnered for the project, all proceeds from the show and merchandise sales will be split amongst our sponsoring non-profit organizations so that they can continue to support local artists and further their individual missions. So by donating, you are also giving support to the Onondaga Historical Association, The Westside Arts Council, and Lipe Art Park, amongst others!
On October 16th, 1869 - a 10 foot tall "petrified man" was uncovered by workers digging a well, behind the barn of William C. 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 the nation: was this an example of the giants written about in the bible? or was it an ancient 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 a banker and horse trader named David Hannum. The syndicate moved the giant to Syracuse, and placed it on display, raising the price of admission to one dollar.
Seeing such great crowds in Syracuse, 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 crew of workers to carve his own giant - which he put on display in New York City, claiming the Syracuse giant to be a fake!
As newspaper around the country covered Barnum's version of the story, David Hannum was quoted as saying: "There's a sucker born every minute" (in reference to people paying to see Barnum's fake giant). This statement has since been misattributed to P.T. Barnum. Following the newspaper battle, David Hannum sued P.T. Barnum for calling his giant a fake. But in February 1870, both giants were revealed as fakes in court, and the judge ruled that Hannum could not sue Barnum for calling a fake giant a fake. And thus was revealed one of the greatest hoaxes in United States history!
"There's a Sucker Born Every Minute: Re-creating the Cardiff Giant" is a project where artist Ty Marshal will create a Cardiff Giant replica according to the original size specifications. This project is a celebration of a unique piece of Central New York history with intentions of continuing the restoration of civic pride, defining a lineage to our history as a creative community, and reflecting on how arts & culture served as an economic engine the past, and how it relates to today.
The sculpture will be fabricated at the Gear Factory on Syracuse's Near Westside, with an opening at Lipe Art Park on October 16th, 2011, exactly 142 years from the date of the original unearthing. Following the opening, the sculpture will be moved to The Atrium at City Hall Commons by horse and cart.
During the exhibitions - lectures, talks, films, and live theater events will also be taking place at various local arts and cultural centers in the area. Re-creating the Cardiff Giant will allow participants to experience local history firsthand, learn about this unique piece of cultural heritage through live performance and presentations, and to explore arts & culture from an "up close and personal" perspective.
For event dates and times, and a list of all our partners, click below!
Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols.
Nowhere listed among the heroes of American archaeology, but the discovery they made on October 16, 1869, captured the nation's imagination. Digging a well on the farm of William "Stub" Newell in the hamlet of Cardiff, New York, they hit stone three feet down. Clearing the soil, they recognized the shape of a foot, and one of them uttered the immortal words, "I declare, some old Indian has been buried here!"
Andrew White, first president of Cornell University, describes his visit:
"The roads were crowded with buggies, carriages, and even omnibuses from the city, and with lumber-wagons from the farms--all laden with passengers." The giant was an impressive sight. "Lying in its grave," wrote White, "with the subdued light from the roof of the tent falling upon it, and with the limbs contorted as if in a death struggle, it produced a most weird effect. An air of great solemnity pervaded the place. Visitors hardly spoke above a whisper."
White nonetheless recognized immediately that the giant was a hoax: it was obviously a statue, and not a very good one, and there was no reason for the two laborers to have been digging a well at the spot they found it. Even so, White overheard "a very excellent doctor of divinity, pastor of one of the largest churches in Syracuse" declare that, "Is it not strange that any human being, after seeing this wonderfully preserved figure, can deny the evidence of his senses, and refuse to believe, what is so evidently the fact, that we have here a fossilized human being, perhaps one of the giants mentioned in Scripture?"
"Therefore it was," recalled White, "that, in spite of all scientific reasons to the contrary, the work was very generally accepted as a petrified human being of colossal size, and became known as 'the Cardiff Giant.'"
The Onondagas have a local but different story. They say that a Stone Giant lived near Cardiff, a little south of their reservation, which is by no means their early home. He was once like other men, but was a great eater, becoming a cannibal, and increased in size. His skin became hard and changed into scales, which alone would turn an arrow. Every day he came through the valley, caught and devouted an Onondaga, a fearful toll. The people were dismayed but formed a plan. They made a road in the marsh witha covered pitfall, decoyed the giant through the path and down he went and was killed.Of course when the Cardiff Giant was "found" it did not astonish the Onondagas that he was of stone.
The Onondagas have also a story of a Stone Giant's race with a man near Jamesville. He ran the man into the hollow at Green Pond, west of that village, where the rocks rise 200 feet above the water on three sides. On the south side the precipice can be ascended by a natural stairway at one spot, and the man was far enough ahead to reach the top before the other. He lay down and looked from the rocks to see what the other would do. The latter came and looked around. Not seeing the man he took out of his pouch what seemed a finger, but was really a pointer of bone. By means of this he could find any object he wished, and so it was always useful in hunting. As he climbed the rocks the man reached down and took away the pointer before the other saw him. The giant begged him to restore it. If he would do this he was promised good luck and long life for himself and friends. Though he begged so piteously the man ran home with it to show his friends, leaving him there helpless, unable to find his way. His friends interceded, telling him to accept the giant's good offer and not incur his enmity. So they went back adn found him still at the lake. He recieved his pointer, promising to eat men no more, and good luck followed the man. This is one of the oldest Stone Giant stories, closely resembling one told by David Cusick.
Hannum was a banker and horsetrader from Homer, NY. He led the syndicate of Syracusans who invested in the Cardiff Giant, and brought him to Syracuse!
The original Cardiff Giant is on display at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY (if you donate 1,000 or more, you receive two tickets to the museum, plus a bunch of other cool rewards!)
P.T. Barnum's version of the Cardiff Giant is on display at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
In late 2008, I started researching various monsters and other unexplainable anomalies with the hope of creating a "lake monster" for Onondaga Lake. With all the recent attention being focused on the lake's cleanup, I had the idea to create a "monster" comparable to the Loch Ness Monster or Lake Champlain's "Champy".
I have always loved reading about Bigfoot and UFO encounters, Sea Creatures and other myths of this nature, and was wondering why I had never heard of one from Central New York...in the back of my mind I thought we deserved a myth! If Lake Champlain could have one, why couldn't we?
During my research, I stumbled upon the story of the Cardiff Giant by accident - and to my surprise I realized that Central New York DOES have a myth and an EPIC one at that! The Cardiff Giant!!! One of the Greatest Hoaxes in US History - whose story includes drama, scandal and intrigue involving none other than PT Barnum, the master showman himself!!!
So I returned to the drawing board, and started "digging up" as much as I could find about the Cardiff Giant with the intention of "unearthing" this story once again, with a few modern twists here and there...and there you have it...On October 16th, 2011, 142 years from the original discovery of the Cardiff Giant, "There's a Sucker Born Every Minute: Re-creating the Cardiff Giant" will open at Lipe Art Park in Syracuse, NY!
If you take a measuring tape and measure 10 feet 4.5 inches, you will see how big this Giant really is!!!
"There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" was a phrase uttered by Central New Yorker David Hannum (one of the principal investors in 1869 who brought the giant to Syracuse) and quoted in the newspapers in response to people paying to see PT Barnum's version of the giant - the "fake" giant, if you will. The phrase has been severely misattributed to Barnum.
"There's a Sucker Born Every Minute" - Doesn't that sound like something a Central New Yorker might say?
You can email me at: TYMARSHAL@GMAIL.COM
or reach me via twitter @TyMarshal
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Jun 28, 2011 - Aug 18, 2011
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You will receive an invitation to the Giant Preview Reception at BC Restaurant in Downtown Armory Square in Syracuse, New York! (http://www.bcrestaurant.com/)
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All of the above PLUS: A "Re-creating the Cardiff Giant" limited edition Poster!
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All of the above PLUS: One "I saw the Cardiff Giant in Syracuse, New York" T-shirt!
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All of the above PLUS: A "Re-creating the Cardiff Giant" commemorative DVD.
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All of the above PLUS: Your name listed in the "Re-creating the Cardiff Giant" program as "Sponsor", and dinner with the artist at BC Restaurant!
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All of the above PLUS: Associate Producer Credits, and 2 tickets to the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY! I'll throw in a sample of each of the "Cardiff Giant" Merchandise being offered at the events!
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All of the above PLUS: A photo shoot with the Giant to include a framed 8x10 vintage portrait!
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All of the above PLUS: Producer Credits and a bottle of "Cardiff Giant" Wine from Lakeland Winery!