You read about Major William Martin, the soldier who did not exist, in a recent Neatorama feature article about wartime fakery. Did you know you can visit his grave in Spain? You can also visit the Museum of Art Fakes, and even the Cardiff Giant.
It’s called one of the greatest hoaxes in American history, and you can still see the Cardiff Giant on display at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The Giant was the work of a cigar maker named George Hull. Hull’s plan was to get very rich very quickly, starting his scheme in Iowa with an order for a five-ton hunk of gypsum. He had it shipped to Chicago, where he hired a stonecutter to carve it into the shape of a 10-foot-long giant. It was then shipped to the small town of Cardiff in Central New York and buried, where it would be discovered only a year later by the landowner as he attempted to dig a well.