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The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous hoaxes in American history, was a 10-foot-tall stone man discovered October 16, 1869 by workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. "Stub" Newell in Cardiff, New York.
It became the subject of huge interest and debate, with some saying it was an ancient statue and others saying it was a petrified human giant from days of old. Eventually it turned out that the Giant was creation of an New York tobacconist named George Hull, who spent $2,600 having the Giant carved and buried, but who sold the creation for $37,500. It was moved to Syracuse, New York for exhibition, where it was revealed to be a fake.
Surprisingly, the revelation didn't reduce the Giant's popularity. It drew such crowds that showman P.T. Barnum offered $60,000 for a three-month lease of it. When he was turned down he made a plaster replica and put it on display, which led the Giant's owners to sue him.
The Cardiff Giant is still on display at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York.