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The Solid Muldoon was a "prehistoric human body" unearthed in 1877, near Beulah, Colorado. Named after either the legendary wrestler William Muldoon or the location of its discovery, Muldoon Hill,[1] the figure enjoyed a brief tour of the United States before it was revealed to be a hoax.

The Solid Muldoon was created by George Hull, seven years after his infamous Cardiff Giant hoax. The figure was made of mortar, rock dust, clay, plaster, ground bones, blood and meat, kiln-fired for several days, and buried near Mace's Hole in Beulah, Colorado.[2]

Three months later, it was "discovered" by William Conant, an associate of P.T. Barnum and was displayed around the state. Soapy Smith, an infamous huckster of the era, then brought it to downtown Denver, billing it as the missing link between man and apes and charged ten cents per person to see the seven foot stone body. The Denver Daily Times claimed that "there can be no question about the genuineness of this piece of statuary".[2][1]

Following the successful Colorado exhibition, the Solid Muldoon went on the road, attracting crowds all the way to New York City. 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 "with a knowing smile on his face as if enjoying the joke," one reporter noted.[2][1] Following the lack of visitors, the Solid Muldoon disappeared from public attention.

Legacy

The Solid Muldoon was a local newspaper in Ouray, Colorado, named after either the hoax (which was recent and local) or William Muldoon directly. The newspaper was founded on September 5, 1879, and through a series of name changes and merges, eventually became the present-day Durango Herald.[2][3][4]

In 1976, a century later, an art student recreated the Solid Muldoon out of an iron beam, molded stucco wire, and plaster to celebrate the centennial of Colorado's statehood. The new Solid Muldoon was displayed in the El Pueblo Museum after a brief local tour. In 1984, it was buried in a marked plot near Highway 78 between Pueblo, Colorado and Beulah, Colorado.[5][6]

References

  1. ^ a b c Calhoun, Patricia. Go Figure. Denver Westword. Published May 8, 2003.
  2. ^ a b c d Shackle, Eric. Letter to Walt Whitman: Jimplecute, Tombstone Epitaph, Flume and the Solid Muldoon. Published May 2000.
  3. ^ Colorado newspapers in Special Collections, Colorado College. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  4. ^ Courtney, Gary. "The Solid Muldoon" Newspaper of Ouray, Blackhawk Publishing. Published 2005-11-13.
  5. ^ Beulah, Colorado - Grave of Solid Muldoon. RoadsideAmerica.com. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
  6. ^ Colorado Trivia & Tidbits, AmericanProfile.com. Published 2007-8-26.
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