Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/209

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THE CARDIFF GIANT, AND OTHER FRAUDS.

gap in some series of observations, let him point out how easily it might be filled. By instruction of this kind the scientific spirit is awakened, and given food for growth. In the selection of text-books, great care must be exercised. On this point many and many a college catalogue unconsciously betrays the incapacity of certain teachers. A bad book on a college list indicates poor judgment and slight knowledge on the part of the professor who chose it. If a college were to announce as its text-book in German, "German in Six Lessons without a Master," we should all be skeptical as to the quality of its teaching. What, then, shall we think of the institution in which science is taught upon the basis of the well-known "Fourteen Weeks Series?"

Now, to sum up. It seems plain that our scientific courses of study need to be remodeled. We should demand more for admission, and make them equivalent to the courses in classics. Before receiving a degree, a student should know some one science fairly well, understand the bearings of the others, have a good training in mathematics, literature, and logic, and be able to read easy French and German prose at sight. Are these demands extravagant? Are they not rather moderate and within bounds?

 
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THE CARDIFF GIANT, AND OTHER FRAUDS.
By G. A. STOCKWELL, M. D.

THAT great hoax, the Cardiff giant, was conceived by one George Hull, a tobacconist of Binghamton, New York. It was the out-growth of a controversy held one evening in 1866 between Hull and a Rev. Mr. Turk, of Ackley, Iowa, regarding the former existence of giants in the earth, in which the latter proved victorious, his ready tongue and loud voice easily bearing down and overwhelming his opponent. Hull retired at a late hour, and, being chagrined with his defeat, lay awake the greater portion of the night, thinking of the extreme gullibility of the world in matters where the Bible could be cited as evidence, and in planning how to turn this peculiarity to his advantage. The result was, that he decided upon producing an image which should, after being buried and exhumed, pass muster as a fossil man of unusual size, being assured that such men as his late opponent in argument would aid not a little in contributing to the final success of the undertaking.

In 1868, having studied the subject carefully and completed his arrangements, Hull associated himself with one Martin, and proceeded to Fort Dodge, Iowa, to procure a suitable block from which to carve his image. An acre of quarry-land was purchased, and work commenced, but only to be soon abandoned, owing to the extreme friability of the stone, and the persistent annoyance of the curious and inquisi-