The Cardiff Giant was a hoax.
In 1868 George Hull had an argument with a man from Iowa about a biblical reference to the existence of giants.
Following that argument, Hull (a cigar manufacturer from Binghamton, New York) purchased a large block of gypsum, and brought it to Chicago where he had it carved into the shape of a giant man. The giant stone man was then transported to upstate New York and buried on the farm of Hull's relative, William "Stub" Newell.
A year later, and a short while after the discovery of very old fossils on a nearby farm, Newell hired well-diggers, and Hull suggested they might find water under a tree behind Newell's barn. Instead they found (surprise) A GIANT, ANCIENT, FOSSILIZED MAN!
Later that day, George Hull started charging admission -- 25 cents per giant viewing. People came from all over the state (even New York City!) to see the giant, whom various experts dubbed a petrified man, an example of early sculpture, or, in some cases, a hoax.
Hull doubled the price of admission, and sold shares of the giant to various businessmen. P.T. Barnum made a copy of the Giant, claiming that Hull's giant was a fake and his was the genuine article. When the businessmen who now owned the giant were outadvertised by Barnum, they sued him for calling their giant a fake.
During the trial, Hull admitted that the Cardiff Giant was a hoax; the case against Barnum was dismissed. David Hannum, one of the investors, coined the phrase, "There's a sucker born every minute," (this was later attributed to Barnum).
Ten years later, Hull (now assisted by Barnum) tried to pull off the same hoax again, this time in Pueblo, Colorado. It didn't work nearly as well the second time around.
Today, the Cardiff Giant can be viewed at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Considering the price of admission to the Farmer's Museum, the Cardiff Giant should be considered a very successful hoax.
What have we learned from this? Don't let the uninformed businessmen go on tour with your fake stone giant if someone else will do a better job advertising their fake stone giant.
Thanks to www.cardiffgiant.com