The Brisbane Courier (Qld)
Date: May 3, 1870
Page Number: 4
THE Chicago Tribune, of February 2, gives the following account of how the "Stone Giant," found at Cardiff, New York, was made -

In the latter part of June, 1868, two men, one of them at present a large owner in the giant, arrived in Chicago. They had some time before considered the feasibility of inaugurating a Humbug, and had determined upon having something ancient--a statue so old that it would cause wonder and create such excitement that, before it subsided, their pockets would be full and their object accomplished. The work of cutting out the statue would have to be done secretly, and none but a man who could remain quiet was competent to do it. They searched for some time, and finally met a German who had been in this country about four years, then in the employ of a well known sculptor of this city. He agreed to do the work for 75 dollars down. A block of gypsum twelve feet long, three feet wide, and eighteen inches thick, was procured from Fort Dodge, Iowa, and placed in a gentleman's barn near Lincoln Park, on the North Side. The owner of the structure was let into the secret, as was another, an assistant to the German. These were the only persons, besides the two men mentioned, who know anything of it. Even the three did not know what was to be done with the figure when completed. In the latter part of July the two commenced the work of chiselling. In consequence of the thinness of the stone, about a foot and a half was taken off one end of the block, in order to have a bettor proportioned man. A model was necessary, so one of the men who made the arrangements--Hull by name--who is himself a giant in size, with sufficient intellect to humbug the learned savans and wise men of the East, stripped and chose the peculiar position to suit the twisted and unfavorable position of the stone. The artist then inquired what was to be made, and was instructed to make anything--a monkey, a baboon, or something that would represent a man. So, without questioning the motives of his employers, he set to work. There was no necessity for his leaving the barn for a drink when employed, as plenty of lager beer was supplied him. At the close of the eighteenth day the figure was nearly finished. He did not work at it steadily every day, but whenever he got an opportunity during daylight and at night. His employers then came to look at it, but what was their surprise when they found that the artist had given the figure any quantity of hair. There were ringlets dangling from the head, long beard and patches on other parts of the body. Hull said that would never do--hair would not petrify. The German was puzzled, and did not know what they meant, but removed the hair at their request. In two days more the work was pronounced done by the artist, and his employers, after examining it, expressed themselves as satisfied. Now to make him look old. A gallon of strong acid was procured and put on him. It ate into the soft material, producing spongy looking cavities. A quantity of English ink was then applied, and this had the effect of giving the giant the appearance of venerable age. The next stop was packing him in a box. During the next week the box was carted to the Michighan Southern depot. It remained there for so long a time that the owners were notified to take it away, as it occupied so much room and could not be moved to make space for goods receiving and delivering. It was subsequently removed and placed aboard a schooner which sailed for some eastern lake port. The next heard of it was of its being unearthed on a farm in New York State, and an announcement of its antiquity. What has been done with it since, the public well know, and therefore repetition is unnecessary.

The artist, who is a very modest man, and whose name is yet unknown to fame, does not consider this his best effort. This is evidenced by a remark he made when told it was a very poor piece of workmanship. "Well," said he, "they hurried me like thunder--any baker could make as good a thing out of dough." He further said, in view of these hard times, that he would be willing to take orders for duplicates from the admirers of antiquity and petrifaction at the same price, provided that the ten-acre quarry at Fort Dodge, which was purchased by Hull and Company to get the stone to make the giant, is not already exhausted by parties seeking specimens of this now celebrated stone for their cabinets.

If the owners of the giant who perpetrated the joke on the savans, and a goodly portion of the people of the country, find that their swindle is in any way interfered with by this expose, let them secure the services of some influential newspaper, and some more affidavits and opinions of the wiseacres of science, and they may be able to sell some more stock in their enterprise. If they do this, as stated before, the names of men in this community--honest, responsible men, who are acquainted with all the circumstances--will be given, backed by their affidavits, and conclusive proof will be brought forward to show the Cardiff Giant to be one of the greatest humbugs ever gotten up in this country.
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW)
Date: May 25, 1889
Page Number: 5
The town of Dubbo keeps well in front as a reservoir of natural curiosities. The last discovery is probably the most interesting, and should go far towards putting a vexed question to rest. A marble man has been found in a quarry there. In one sense, of course, there is a man in every marble block ; but only a sculptor can induce him to appear. In the Legislative Assembly a good deal of interest has been caused by the Dubbo relic. One member, indeed, was for holding an inquest ; while another suggested, with unbecoming levity, that this antique might be employed on the school history of Australia as he must have seen a good many ups and downs in the country. In the last number, by the way, of the Universal Review - a periodical apparently securing a high place in public favour - there is a charmingly imaginative article on "Primeval Man," the remote person who roamed over the great snowfields of the British Islands, what time the mammoth and the Irish elk as good as owned the country. In scientific eyes Dubbo has come to the front in one bound. It is to be hoped it will endeavour to live up to its lately-acquired reputation.
The Giant That Fooled the World
 ...the incredible tale of history's weirdest hoax
When George Hull left his weed-choked, debt-ridden tobacco farm outside Binghamton, N.Y., and headed west in 1868 to seek better fortune, he thought maybe he'd go prospecting for gold. But he never reached gold country. On the way, 90 years ago, he stumbled on something more precious than the yellow metal: human gullibility.
The result was one of the most successful scientific hoaxes in history. On a total investment that probably didn't top $4000, Hull netted a profit estimated at $30,000 to $60,000 -- a small fortune in those days.
Hull's hoax was the famous Cardiff Giant -- a 12-foot statue of a man, secretly made, secretly buried, and then "discovered." Hull had a fabulous double-barreled lie to go with it: It was either a petrified man or an ancient statue -- take your choice. Not only the general public, but many learned men, paid to see it and swallowed it whole.
IDEA. Wandering west to seek his fortune, George Hull stopped at Ackley, Iowa, to visit his sister. One night a clergyman dropped in, talked about giants who once strode the earth. Hull argued there were no such giants, then fell silent. The Big Idea had hit him. People would believe anything, he thought...
RAW MATERIAL. Hull had heard of petrified trees. Why not a petrified man -- a giant, aged to stone in his tomb? Near an Iowa railroad construction site, he found beds of gypsum, a soft limy rock. He paid a grading crew one keg of beer to quarry out a mammoth 12-by-4-by-2-foot block.
TRANSPORT. The block weighed some three tons. Hull had it wrapped in canvas and hoisted onto a dray. It took three weeks to move it 40 miles to the nearest railhead. Two wagons and a bridge broke under the weight. Hull cut off a ton, told bystanders the stone was for a monument.
SCULPTURE. Hull confided his scheme to Chicago stonecutter Edward Burkhardt, had the block hauled into an empty barn Burkhardt owned. With two assistants, Burkhardt began hacking the gypsum into the figure of a 12-foot-tall man who had died in agony. The face was a likeness of Hull's.
FINISHING TOUCHES. To simulate pores in the giant's skin, Hull made special hammers by setting needles in lead bases. To make him look antique, the stonecutters rubbed him with sand, water, ink, and sulfuric acid. By unexpected luck, veinlike lines appeared in the gypsum.
SETTING THE BAIT. In Cardiff, N.Y., a relative of Hull's, William Newell, had a farm. For a fourth interest, he agreed to have the giant buried there. In November, 1868, Hull, Newell and two friends lowered the 2990-pound colossus into his tomb, carefully filled it over.
SPRINGING THE TRAP. Hull waited a year until all talk of his mysterious wagon cargo was forgotten. Then, in October, 1869, Newell hired two neighbors to help him dig a well -- pointing out just where they should start. The point of a shovel hit something. The hoax was on.
LAST HURDLE. Hull's one worry was that scientists would spot the hoax, but to his delight they were awestruck. They came from universities and museums far and wide. They didn't go for the "petrified man," but called the giant an ancient statue. Hull told Newell to bill it as such to the public.
IN THE MONEY. Huge crowds came to see the giant. Newell fenced off the area, hired a barker, charged 50-cents admission. Hull refused one $10,000 offer for his "find," finally sold a part interest to Syracuse businessmen for $30,000. The giant was exhibited in Boston and elsewhere.
TROUBLE BEGINS. Showman Phineas T. Barnum offered a huge sum, reportedly over $50,000, for a share. Newell turned him down. Barnum then had his own giant made of papier-mache, exhibited it in New York, offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who proved his less genuine than Hull's.
THE JIG IS UP. Stirred by Barnum's spoof, scholars examined the giant more closely early in 1870. Prof. O.C. Marsh of Yale noticed crevices ink and sulfuric acid hadn't reached, fresh tool marks near worn surfaces. The Iowa rail crew remembered quarrying the gypsum block for Hull.
THE END. Hull finally sold his giant to a carnival. He was a rich man. But by 1873 he was flat broke again, a result of bad investments. He tried to repeat his great hoax with another giant "discovered" in Colorado, but this second hoax never got off the ground. Hull went to England... and oblivion.
Text and images reproduced from Popular Science, July 1959.
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More on the Cardiff Giant:
Australia's Own "Cardiff Giant"
Marble Man

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW)
Date: May 30, 1889
Page Number: 5
Sir,--Having to-day visited the much talked of marble man from Orange, I should like to put the following questions to the exhibitor. 1. What has become of the arms ? They must have been broken off before fossilisation commenced, as the appearance of the stumps is the same as the rest of the body. By the position of the shoulders, the arms must have been raised up on a level with the head. What man ever died or was laid out in such a position ? 2. How came the black veins all along his back ? I believe that veins of this sort never occur in fossilized lime. 3. Does the marble which composes the figure correspond with the other marble found in the quarry ? 4. How is the shape of the back so well preserved ? When a man lies exhausted on the earth his back naturally falls level with the ground and does not maintain the beautiful curve that this figure has. 6. How many hundreds of years would it take for a man to be completely fossilized as this man is ? He has the features of a European, but this man, if genuine, must have died hundreds of years before any white man ever crossed the mountains. A man with a face and head such as this would be supposed to have stout legs and thighs. This man's thighs are fit for a slim youth, and would hardly have carried him to Orange at the time he is supposed to have lived. By the position of one part of his body he must have been lying on his side, and the shape of the rest of his body is totally at variance with it. If this is the genuine body of a man, how can it belong to a private individual ? Does it not become the property of the State? I am no scientist, but have had some experience of marble in Italy and elsewhere. My opinion is that it is an old statue, carved by some early settlers, and the arms being broken off, it was thrown on one side. It has the appearance of having been in the bed of a river, but there is no river near Orange likely to have this effect on it. "Will not one of the professors at the University or Museum give us his opinion of it ? Apologising for trespassing so much on your space,

I am, &c.,
The Marble Man
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.)
Date: June 1, 1889
Page Number: 4
The supposed petrified man, said to have been found in a marble quarry near Orange, and which is now being exhibited at Sydney, turns out to be a hollow sham. The Government Geologist, in a report to the Minister of Mines, states :--"It is quite unnecessary to describe the specimen, as it is unquestionably an artificial production. It consists of a white vein of marble rudely carved in the form of a human body, and smeared over with clayey whitewash, the surface being highly polished in parts, as though washed with some solution. The marble bears a much stronger resemblance to that found at Bathurst than that of the Orange formation."

The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW)
Date: June 1, 1889
Page Number: 4
A specimen of a petrified human body, discovered by Messrs. Baydon and Sala in their marble quarry at Calula, Mullion Creek, near Orange, now lies at 294, Castlereagh-street, Sydney. It is the body of a man about 5ft. 10in. in height, well formed, and evidently from the shape of the head and the contour of the features a European. To geologists and scientific men generally, an examination of this strange discovery should prove interesting. The marble in which the body was found is of various colours, but the body itself is petrified in white marble. With the exception of the arms, which are broken off at the shoulders, the limbs and features are intact, the left side of the body, however, being slightly flattened, due no doubt to the fact that it was found lying on this side. In the Assembly on Wednesday Mr. S. Smith, amidst great laughter, said that he had an explanation to make with regard to a question recently asked by Mr. Copeland about the supposed discovery of the body of a petrified man near Orange. The Government geologist, Mr. Wilkinson, had inspected the figure that day, and had reported that it was simply a roughly-executed statue, and not the remains of a human being.
The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA)
Date: June 3, 1889
Page Number: 4
With regard to the alleged discovery of a "petrified man" in New South Wales, the Sydney Daily Telegraph of May 30 writes :—

It was only a hoax after all-- a practical joke played by the country bumpkins of Orange upon their "knowing" friends in the metropolis. The "petrified man" had never taken part in the councils of his country; he was no dusky politician; he had never "played low" for the spoils of office, and then growing weary of the baubles sought retirement in the cloisters of a marble quarry. He was only a sham—a dummy from the beginning—the work of a cunning band and a very recent date; perhaps merely a creation of some "deadbeat's" idle momenta. Such at least was the explanation given by the Minister for Mines yesterday afternoon in the Assembly to a House full of laughing members. In his report upon the matter Mr. C. S. Wilkinson, the Government geological surveyor, says:—

"I inspected it this morning in company with Mr. David, Mr. Etheridge, Mr.Slee, and Mr. Carne, of this department. We were allowed to do so on payment each of 1s. admission. It is quite unnecessary to describe the specimen, as it is unquestionably an artificial production. It consists of white veined marble that has been rudely carved into the form of a human body and smeared over with clayey whitewash. The surface in parts is highly polished, as though it had been washed with some acid solution. We can, therefore, entirely confirm the opinion of Dr. Sorter, of Orange, who first examined the specimen, that it is certainly a piece of rude carving, and not petrified human remains as it has been represented. The white marble of which it is composed resembles that of Cow Flat, near Bathurst. The marble of the quarry in which it is reported to have been found is of a pinkish mottle description, two large blocks of which may be seen at the office of the Colonial Architect."

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW)
Date: June 3, 1889
Page Number: 9

Sir, -- In your issue of to-day Mr. H. C. Costling has asked several pertinent questions with regard to the exhibit known as the "petrified" man. We have been told by the press the circumstances connected with the finding of this "relic;" we have also had the opinion of a medical man on the question, and now we have the marble man exhibited in Sydney, and no doubt the modest proprietors are reaping large sums from this wonderful show. Now for a few facts. Yesterday one of my employees returned to Sydney from that historic portion of the colony known as "Cow Flat," where he had been engaged some weeks erecting machinery at the marble quarry. This marble is of a very white kind and suitable for statuary. While my man was working there he says a petrified man was hewn out of the stone in that quarry, and that to give it a weather-worn appearance acids were used pretty freely, and on one occasion it was buried in the earth for a time ; on another occasion it was lowered down a well in order to prevent people who were coming about the quarry seeing this wonder. Eventually it was packed in a case, the said case being made out of parts of various packing-cases which came from Mort's Dock. In consequence of a dispute amongst the proprietors and a few others who were anxious to become sharers in this speculation, the "petrified man" was moved from one quarry to another, where the public were informed this treasure was found. Experts, who have a knowledge of marble, comparing the nature and quality of the two marbles would see at once that the "petrified man" was neither hewn nor formed in the quarry from which it was stated to be taken. I enclose my card and remain,

May 31. Yours, &c, DEVOIR.
Wilkinson, Charles Smith (1843–1891)

Cultural Heritage: English
Religious Influence: Anglican

Geologist, surveyor, public servant.
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Additional articles may be found in Harry Stockdale's (1889) "The Legend of the Petrified or Marble Man".
The Marble Man
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
The Marble Man