Dumb it down
Did the 'jolly green giant' really exist?
There have been reports today that a 200-year old book featuring various illustrations shows an eight foot 1 inch tall Irishman called Patrick O'Brien. So did this green giant really exist?
So what’s this old book everyone is talking about?
Well, the book in question - or magazine to be more precise - is part of a series called “The New Wonderful Museum and Extraordinary Magazine”. It was written back 1802 by William Granger and James Caulfield and one of the originals is to be sold at auction for €500. However, the good folks at Google uploaded a copy to Google Books so you can check it out there for free.
Cool. So what’s in it?
It features “wonders, curiosities and rarities of nature” which they also called ‘freak shows’ back in the day. As you can see for yourself from the link above the book features illustrations of the various ‘freaks’ along with a short biography about them and what their ailment was.
But why is there such an Irish interest in it?
That’s because it features Patrick O’Brien, also known as “The Irish Giant”. Patrick measured 8’1” in height and in 1972 his remains were exhumed and his height verified. So it wasn’t as if Patrick was just a massive hoax.
8’1”? Seriously? He must have been fecking massive!
Well he was massive. Sure, 8’1” in new money is roughly 264cm. That’s why he was such a popular attraction among the public because back then he would have been the tallest person alive at the time. Below you'll find his illustration:
He was one big b*stard...
Wow, so the ‘green giant’ did exist? Do we know anything about his personal life?
Yes, lots actually. Patrick O’Brien was born in Kinsale, Co. Cork back in 1760 and he died in September of 1806 – four years after “The New Wonderful Museum and Extraordinary Magazine” was published. O’Brien was actually his stage name and his real name was Patrick Cotter. Apparently he was the first of only thirteen people in medical history to stand at a verified height of eight feet or more.
According to Irish Central, he was also commonly known as on the ‘freak’ show circuit as “Bristol Giant” and “The Irish Giant”. As we already said, his remains were examined in the early 70’s and it’s believed his gigantism caused his death. In fairness, living with gigantism until the age of 46 back in those days was pretty good going.
So is that where the sweetcorn company got their name?
We highly, highly doubt it.