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Payment Demanded, Affidavits and threats by a mr. F. Morhmann

The Cardiff Giant Hoax Exposed.


The following letter appears in the Chicago Tribune:

To the Editor of the Tribune,

“That statement made in the Tribune about one week ago, that the ‘Cardiff Giant’ manufactured in Chicago, is true. One of Mr. Volk’s workmen and myself cut it out of gypsum, in a barn near Lincoln Park, during the months of July, August, September and October.

George Hull, one of the former owners of the figure, made an arrangement with Henry Salle, who was employed by Mr. Volk, and myself, to cut out a statue, and he agreed to pay us either $1,500 or to allow us a share in the money derived from exhibiting it after being dug from the earth. We concluded to take the cash, but he has never paid us. Salle received $10, but I did not get one penny – part of the agreement. I do not think it right for me to remain quiet any longer, but think the swindle should be exposed.

“When Hull came to us he said he had a block of gypsum which he said he had obtained from Fort Dodge, and that it was in a barn near the park. Salle and myself took our tools to the place and worked at it whenever we had the opportunity; sometimes two days in a week; and on Sundays. We modeled it about three feet long; beer was supplied, and there was no necessity for leaving the place while at work for a snack. The stone, I was informed, was furnished by a man named Maltin, who is at present interested in the giant. It was about 11 feet in length, 4 feet wide by 3 feet thick, and worked nicely; it did not crumble like some stone does. The figure was pronounced completed in the latter part of September.

“Hull visited us occasionally to see how the work progressed. Hair had been carved on the head and a beard on the chin. Hull did not like this when he saw it,

“He came the next time, and told us that he had consulted with a geologist and was informed that hair would not petrify. So he ordered it to be clipped off, and we shaved the giant.

Several ways were tried to make the figure look old, and at last, one was invented. Quite a number of needles were placed in lead, with their points protruding, and the figure was picked over with this. Two days were occupied in this work, as the chisel left marks on the stone which had to be effaced by this slow process of pricking. Some vitriolic sulfuric acid and English ink were next procured and rubbed, which gave the antiquated look required. Hull thought at first it would be best to put on a clay covering but concluded it had better not be done, as the clay where the statue was to be buried

might be different.

He was undecided where to bury it at first, and suggested Mexico. I told him that I thought that would be a good place but finally concluded not to take it there, as the distance was so great.

A box was obtained from a man who makes sashes and doors on North Clark street, just south of the entrance to the old city cemetery. How to get the figure into the box puzzled Hull, but we hit upon a plan which was successful. A derrick was erected, blinds were placed beneath the head, legs, and body, and when lifted to a sufficient elevation, the box was shoved underneath, and the giant was in it in a few moments.”

and said he would ‘see about it.’ When

During the course of next week, a truck was engaged and the box taken to the depot. It went over that road, so I was told, and was buried, how, or by whom, I do not know, on Newell’s farm.

“Hull at one time proposed that we should insert in the figure here and there petrified pieces of wood or stone, so that when geologists called to see it, he could clip off a piece and give it to them to examine. This, however, was not done, as he could not find the pieces.

“The figure is well proportioned in all parts except one, and that is the back. The stone was made up of layers, and while working on the back, one of them got loose and had to be taken off, leaving the thickness of the body six inches less than it should have been.

“Hull came to me two weeks ago and told me that he had sold his interest and had received notes therefor. Salle and I wrote to Martin about it, and he replied that Newell, another interested party, had the notes and had run away with them. We wrote to Hull and asked why he had deceived us, and have yet to receive an answer.

“The beams of which we made the derrick are now in the yard near the barn, and the bands are in my possession.

“If Hull, or the parties now in possession of the giant, deny the truth of what I say, Salle and myself are willing to make an affidavit that the facts given are true. Affidavits of other persons who are familiar with the circumstances connected with the making will also be procured, and the giant proven to be what it is – every intelligent person knows – a humbug and a swindle. Respectfully, MORRISON, No. 146 North Water Street, Feb. 10. 1870.”

As with any story, there are always multiple perspectives to consider. While the original account of the events involving Hull and Salle may seem convincing, it is important to also consider the possibility that Salle may not be telling the whole truth.

It is possible that Salle is motivated by financial gain, as he is now seeking money from Hull in a lawsuit. This raises questions about his credibility and the true nature of his intentions. It is also possible that Salle may have misrepresented certain details of the incident or exaggerated his version of events to strengthen his case.

Furthermore, without corroborating evidence, it is difficult to determine the veracity of Salle’s claims. While his testimony may be compelling, it is important to consider the possibility that he may be lying or manipulating the facts to suit his own agenda.

In light of these factors, it is important to approach this story with a healthy dose of skepticism and to consider all sides of the story before coming to any conclusions. While it is important to take allegations of harassment and assault seriously, it is equally important to ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly and that the truth is ultimately revealed.

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