Episode 263 – The One Where We Dig Into A Giant Revenge Story

In This Week’s Show, episode 263, we try to find bones for our dogs and dig up the dirt on a giant’s bone hoax.

In This Week’s Show, episode 263, we try to find bones for our dogs and dig up the dirt on a giant’s bone hoax.

Now, grab a beer and help us test the god hypothesis — because, while Laelaps hasn’t struck us down yet, he probably won’t, because he’s a good boy. Yes he is!

(Dog that defended infant Zeus from the titans)

Shea’s Life Lesson

This week I learned that there is a point in the cremation process where the meat is perfectly cooked.

Jenn’s Actual Lesson

Did you know that today (recording date November 18th) is the anniversay of the 1978 mass cult suicide of Jonestown? I don’t really have a clever follow up to that, just thought y’all should know.

Find out more at https://interestingiftrue.com/w4w-125

But before we get to all that, let’s have a beer!

This Week’s Beer

Miami Weiss Hefeweizen – MIA Beer Co. Style Ale
Donated By Travis

  • BA Link: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/36536/136127/
  • BA Rating: 85
  • Style: German Hefeweizen
  • ABV: 5.8%
  • Aaron: 4
  • Jenn: 4
  • Shea: 5

This Week’s Show

Round Table

Thoughts and prayers to Steve this week who is in sports hell.

Happy Woofenoot, Nov 23rd. A newly created holiday celebrating wolves and dogs, we’ll tell you more about it later as our faith this week.

This Friday for the next 4MB!
Join us live at 6:30PM, Mt Time (Denver ;) ), at Patreon.com/w4w for another rousing episode of 4 More Beers!


Vulgarity for Charity

What is it?

Vulgarity for Charity is an annual charity drive jointly produced by Puzzle in a Thunderstorm and Cognitive Dissonance podcasts. The collaborators on CItation Needed.

When is it?

The charity drive runs from November 1st through Thanksgiving, November 28th, 2019.

What charity does it benefit?

Modest Needs (https://www.modestneeds.org), a tax-exempt charity that gives emergency grants to low-income workers who are at risk of slipping into poverty and for whom no other source of immediate help is available.

How does it work?

During the drive, donors that give $50.00 or more to Modest Needs can send a copy of their donation receipt to vulgarityforcharity@gmail.com with a request for a hilarious and outrageous roast. The donor can request anyone or anything to be roasted and the podcast crew will, over several podcast episodes, conduct these roasts. [Please keep in mind that if the person or thing is not famous then the donor should also send an image and a short description so they can get a proper roast.]

What’s the goal?

Last year we raised over $75,000.00 and an anonymous donor donated $50,000. This year we hope that this drive will generate $100,000.00 worth of donations for Modest Needs. An anonymous donor has pledged to match all funds up to $100,000.00 for the duration of the drive, so every dollar donated is worth double. We could reach $200,000.00!

What can you do to help?

Make a donation to Modest Needs during Vulgarity for Charity. If you cannot donate, share the word within your social networks and communities.

Taco John’s news

Laramie’s Taco John’s is currently raising money for WyoAIDS, a portion of all sales from nachos navidad and apple grandes will go to WyoAIDS as well as all cash donations. Also new this year they will be choosing one lucky donor to win a new chrome book. All you have to do is go into the Laramie Taco John’s and donate at least a dollar.

Show Story – “A Most Decided Humbug”

  • https://www.history.com/news/the-cardiff-giant-fools-the-nation-145-years-ago
  • https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/cardiff-giant-was-just-big-hoax-180965274/
  • https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/cardiff-giant
  • https://www.livescience.com/55787-cardiff-giant.html

It’s time for another installment in WEIRD HISTORY…EEE…EEE…eee…

Setting: Random farmstead in late 1860’s upper New York state. Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols are laborers, digging a well for the farm owner, William ‘Stub’ Newell. It’s October, 1869, and the workers are a bit confused about the well digging, because they actually had dug Stub a well a few years before that was still working as a well should, with water and stuff.

Stub directs the men to dig a fair piece away from the farm, near a tree, which makes digging a bit more difficult. Stub was not to be naysayed (“if there’re roots there, there’s water there”)and the men get work, with the invitation to ‘help themselves to some water from the other well’ if they wished.

It didn’t take very long before they hit a snag, and it wasn’t a root. About 3 feet down they uncover a huge stone foot, attached to a very big stone man. “I declare,” one of the men supposedly said. “Some old Indian has been buried here!”

In fact it was a 10ft tall giant, made of stone, lying in a weirdly contorted manner, but with a serene expression on his big ole face.

Despite looking like a first-timer’s practice sculpture, people were very bored in those days and word traveled quickly. After it was fully excavated people began to flock to the farm for a view. From history.com:

“Men left their work,” the Syracuse Journal later wrote, “women caught up their babies, and children in numbers, all hurried to the scene where the interest of that little community centered.” Since Cardiff was already known for its fossil deposits, many surmised that the body was an ancient man that had been petrified by the waters of a nearby swamp. While early examinations appeared to confirm this theory, a Syracuse-based science lecturer later declared the giant was not a man, but rather a statue possibly carved by French Jesuits centuries earlier. As the speculation mounted, Stub Newell played the part of the humble farmer with aplomb. He even vowed to re-bury the giant and forget about it until his neighbors “convinced” him that the discovery might have some historical value.”

Yes, Stub made a spectacle of being reticent about housing the giant, but he pretty quickly had a big tent set up over the hole and began charging $0.25 per view.

In addition to thinking he may be a fossilized person, Biblical literalists were thrilled with the idea of real giants, proving that the verse in Genesis that references giants is real and true and good. (The verse that states “there were giants in the earth in those days.”)

With the numbers of thrill-seekers growing and the price per head ballooning to $0.50, it didn’t take very long before entertainment folks started sniffing around. Stub decided to sell his stake in the giant for $23,000 to a group headed by David Hannum, who then moved the big guy to Syracuse, NY.

Of course, who could have a 19th century freaky discovery without alerting the big top showman himself, PT Barnum. Smelling the potential for profit, Barnum offered the Syracuse group $50,000 (a stupidly huge amount of money at the time), that was surprisingly turned down. Of course, knowing PT, he packed up his bag, said ‘thanks, anyway!’ and went home.

Ha! Whatever! Barnum instead pulls a switcheroo, creates his own goofy and poorly sculpted stone giant, which he begins to to market in NYC as the ‘orignal Cardiff giant’. Hannum decides to sue, Barnum laughs really loudly all the way to the bank. (In fact, he laughed all the way through history: Hannum, in reference to those paying to see Barnum’s version of the giant, was quoted in one newspaper as saying “There’s a sucker born every minute”. But who is that quote always attributed to…?)

From History.com:

“What is it?” asked the ads for Barnum’s exhibition. “Is it a Statue? Is it a Petrification? Is it a Stupendous Fraud? Is it the Remains of a former Race?” Barnum’s giant drew huge crowds, even outselling the original when it finally arrived in New York that December. The man who built Barnum’s forgery soon made several other copies, and by the end of the year, a half-dozen Cardiff Giants were being exhibited around the country. “It is rather rich,” quipped the Philadelphia Inquirer, “that we should be victimized by such a fraud upon a fraud.”

Taking a quick step back from the showmen making their money off gullible people

and no one understanding how fossils work, let’s go back to 1867 and introduce George Hull, a man that really can’t let an argument go. Like at all. It was this year that the contrarian tobacconist got involved in a heated argument with a Methodist revivalist preacher. Hull, an avowed atheist, was really not dealing well with having a long talk with a biblical literalist and left the conversation ready to make a monkey out of them all.

Hull travels to Iowa and begins his plan. From legendsofhistory.com

“He purchased an acre of land along Gypsum Creek. Then he hired men in Fort Dodge to carve out a 12 foot long, by 4 foot wide, block of gypsum that was 2 feet thick. Telling the local men it was for a monument to Abraham Lincoln, he then had the block shipped to Chicago, where he hired Edward Burghardt, a German stonecutter, to secretly carve it into the likeness of a man.

The giant had details like nails, nostrils and an Adam’s apple, clearly visible ribs, and even a hint of muscle definition. Its left leg was twisted over the right and its hand seemed to be holding its stomach in pain, though the facial expression was serene. Later, visitors would remark upon its “benevolent smile,”. The giant originally had hair and a beard, but were removed when Hull learned that hair would not petrify. Workers applied sulfuric acid and other liquids that left it with a dark, dingy, aged hue.

After they were finished, Hull then secretly shipped the carved block to Cardiff, New York, where it was put into a pit and buried on land owned by his cousin William ‘Stub’ Newell. Hull’s total cost in setting his plan in motion was $2,600, which would equate to over $42,000 in 2016.”

About a year later, Stub sets the second part of the plan into motion by digging a second well. And here we are.

Hannum has decided to sue Barnum for disparaging his big, weird stone lump but when taken to court the judge had no time for these shenanigans.

From history.com:

“The judge hearing the case just said “Bring your giant here, and if he swears to his own genuineness as a bona fide petrification, you shall have the injunction you ask for.” In other words: You can’t really have a fake of a fake.”

It turns out nothing really ever worked out well for poor Hannum. By the time the lawsuit was at the point of ‘you show me your giant, I’ll show you mine’, it was pretty much understood that the Cardill giant was a big ole fakey fake.

To finish it up, from livescience.com:

“Paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh declared that it was a fake and on February 2, 1870, the Chicago Tribute published an exposé that included confessions from the masons who had worked on the giant. Hull walked away from the encounter with between $15,000 and $20,000, a small fortune at the time. Today, the Cardiff Giant can be seen at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York.”

Patreon Story

Available now at http://patreon.com/w4w for a buck! And you’ll get access to today’s 4 More Beers live show!

  • The Solid Muldoon and more Giants
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_Muldoon
  • https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-americas/solid-muldoon-0011780

While the Cardiff Giant will remain on of the nations greatest hoaxes of all time, it was not the only giant found in the US. Almost ten years after the Cardiff giant was unearthed a similarly large body was found at a spot now known as Muldoon Hill, near Beulah, Colorado (southern CO). The Solid Muldoon was a supposedly prehistoric “petrified human body” unearthed in 1877.

The Solid Muldoon is approximately seven feet, six inches tall, and lies on his back, with one arm crossed over his chest and his other hand resting upon his leg. His appearance was described by one contemporary account as “Asiatic … a cross between an ancient Egyptian and an American Indian”. Aside from his height, the figure has several other unusual characteristics; each arm is nearly fifty inches long, and his feet are long, flat and slim. The end of the backbone protrudes outwards some two or three inches in the manner of a tail, which was seen as “strongly suggestive of the truth of the Darwinian theory”

It was “discovered” by William Conant, who reportedly visited the area often to hunt for fossils. He claimed that while eating his lunch, he had spotted an unusual stone that resembled a human foot, and upon digging away at the surrounding earth, discovered a seven-foot human form lying beneath the ground. The entire figure, according to Conant, was embedded in hard clay which required the use of a pick-axe to remove, and entangled in the roots of a cedar tree. He eventually unearthed it, however, and took it to Pueblo, where it was placed on display. Closer examination quickly dispelled the notion that the Solid Muldoon was a “petrified man”; instead, it was taken to be an ancient work of art, sculpted by an unknown primitive race. The Denver Daily Times dismissed the possibility of a hoax, asserting that “there can be no question about the genuineness of this piece of statuary”.

Following the successful Colorado exhibition, the Solid Muldoon went on the road, attracting crowds all the way to New York City. The well-known showman P.T. Barnum was rumored to have offered $20,000 for the body. The hoax was eventually revealed to the New York Times as a man-made figure of modern origin. With the gig being up it was later discovered that the Solid Muldoon was a creation by George Hull in 1877, seven years after his infamous Cardiff Giant hoax. It was made of mortar, rock dust, clay, plaster, ground bones, blood and meat. It was kiln-fired for several days and buried near Mace’s Hole in Beulah, Colorado, only to be discovered by Conant later. After the hoax was revealed Muldoon faded from public view.

Also in Colorado, con man Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith buried and found “McGinty” in Willow Creek and then charged $1 to look at him on display at his saloon, the Orleans Club, in Creede. When a scientist came to authenticate the giant, it had conveniently disappeared. Soapy soon followed suit.

To get a leg up on his competition, Cataract House, the owner of Lake Cayuga, New York’s Taughannock House hired a foundry worker in 1877 to blend together a petrified man and then planted it for workers widening the hotel’s road to find. His prank proved to be a wonderful promotion—drawing huge crowds—until someone who helped bury the fake drunkenly let the truth slip at a bar and the iron filings used in the creature’s mix began rusting.

Next Week’s Beer

The Cabernet Grand Cru – Bruz

  • BA Link: n/a
  • BA Rating: n/a
  • Style: Barrel aged quad
  • ABV: 10.8%

Happy Ending


  • https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-food-wolfenoot-20181017-story.html

Furry Wolfenoot everybody!

‘tis the holiday season once again and instead of celebrating Festivus like the rest of us, we’re switching to Wolfenoot because dogs are better than any of Holiday icons you’ll see in this years macy’s day parade.

I mean, we don’t have to genocide large birds to celebrate dogs. Dogs don’t demand sacrifice. Or to watch you while you’re sleeping… though, if you happen to have a large dead bird sandwich in bed, there will certainly be eyes on you… sammich hungry eyes.

Wolfenoot, a proper holiday if ever there was one, was created by a 7-year-old from Not-Strailia Zeeland, and is to be celebrated on Nov. 23 world wide. Those who celebrate it will do so by donating time, money, or otherwise support do and wolf related charities.

When asked about why he created the holiday, he said “The Spirit of the Wolf brings and hides small gifts around the house for everyone. People who have, have had or are kind to dogs get better gifts than anyone else. You eat roast meat (because wolves eat meat) and cake decorated like a full moon.”

You can find out more at their site wolfenoot.com which does feature a shop, which of course has caused the naysayers to claim it’s not for the wolves. Ugh.

None of the money from merchandise sales goes to her family, Goss explains. All proceeds go to the charity the winning logo designer designated — Wolf Park, a research and education facility in Battle Ground, Ind., near Lafayette.

“We were floored. We didn’t know how she found out about us — the artist is in Ohio and has never been here,” says Wolf Park’s events coordinator Caity Judd. “We had heard about the holiday and planned to do something about it, but we didn’t know in advance that she had nominated us.”

In mid-October, Wolf Park received its first donation from Wolfenoot.

It is a small idea, but it comes from a child whose family doesn’t even have a dog. “We’re the kind of people who won’t keep a dog because our garden (yard, in the U.S.) is too small. We have two cats, though,” says Goss, reached by Skype in her home in Hamilton.

Goss doesn’t reveal her son’s name because of his tender age but says he’s “an extremely imaginative kid. He’s a pretty remarkable kid, if I do say so myself. I never had to teach him to share. He’s always had that spark of being a kind person, which makes me super-proud.”

Goss works at a zoo and is also an independent book publisher. So where Wolfenoot goes from here is logical. “I don’t want too many expectations,” she says. “I have some ideas about how it can continue and do some good in the world. At some point, we will probably sit down and make a children’s book together, telling the story of the Great Wolf.”

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