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  A Colossal Hoax by Scott Tribble

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The giant, of course, neither was a petrifaction nor a prehistoric statue, but rather the handiwork of a creator who fashioned it in his own image. At the time of the giant's discovery, George Hull laid low at his home in Binghamton, New York, some sixty miles south of Cardiff. Over the course of the weekend, Hull desperately yearned to know whether his partner Stub Newell successfully engineered the planned discovery and, more important, what the response had been thus far. The giant's discovery did not make the Binghamton papers on Monday, but, over the course of the day, news reached that city by way of the telegraph. A neighbor stopped Hull on the street, and, much to the latter's delight, excitedly related the breaking news from the north.

Hull was a small-time swindler, and not a terribly good one at that. His track record hardly suggested a man who could rival P. T. Barnum in terms of deceiving the American public. Physically, there was at least some promise, as the forty-eight-year-old Hull looked every bit the part of the classic cartoon villain. Even in his middle age, Hull boasted thick, raven hair, which he kept slicked back, and sported a full moustache. Accentuating his dark coloring, Hull typically wore black clothes and a black plug hat. At a time when the average man stood five foot eight inches, Hull was an imposing six foot three, and his unusually large wingspan, often punctuated by a long coat or cape, seemed capable of enveloping acquaintances at any time. Still, what men and women seemed to remember most about Hull were his piercing eyes. One man recalled the effect of those eyes on an entire village: "Those eyes looked right at us, and seemed to pry, and gimlet, and cork-screw their way clear down into the innermost recesses of our souls."


Cardiff Giant Photo
A Colossal Hoax: The Giant from Cardiff that Fooled America, by Scott Tribble, Available from Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Fall 2008
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