Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute

P.T. Barnum has taught me some very interesting lessons recently.
One very interesting one is that P.T. Barnum has been wrongly credited with claiming "There's a sucker born every minute".  In reality this phrase was made famous when a competitor of his stated it after Barnum outfoxed this scoundrel. 
A man named George Hull, in 1869 had devised a hoax that would convince people that there were giant humans roaming the Earth millions of years ago.  Once he had crafted this “giant prehistoric human” fossil he sought funding.  A group of investors headed by a banker named David Hannum provided two-thirds of the necessary capital.  While Hull was getting all of this lined up, Barnum created a fake prehistoric giant of his own and put out the word that he had bought the original from Hannum and that Hannum's giant was a fake.  When Hannum filed a lawsuit against P.T. Barnum Hull stepped forward and admitted that it all was a hoax.  "The judge ruled that Barnum could not be sued for calling Hannum's giant a fake since it was a fake after all. Thereafter, Hannum's name was lost to history while Barnum was left with the misplaced stigma of being the one to say "There's a sucker born every minute." David Hannum
And the rest is history. I thought this was very interesting and if you do too, I'd encourage you to read for yourself the account (here) as written by R.J. Brown who serves as the Editor-in-Chief at  It is a fascinating site with tons of interesting information.  I'm losing myself in the presidents section right now.  I'm reading Abraham Lincoln's First inaugural Address. This site has the inaugural address of every single president.  That's just awesome. 

Edit:  I've just found a blog where the writer shows photos of the cardiff giant and also tells a bit more about Harrum. It appears there was a movie made about Harrum starring Will Rogers.   Here's the URL:


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