by Hugh Newman and Jim Vieira
The Iroquois, the Osage, the Tuscaroras, the Hurons, the Omahas, and many other North American Indians all speak of giant men who once lived and roamed in the territories of their forefathers. All over what is now the U.S. are traditions of these ancient giants. 1
Smithsonian scientists identified at least 17 skeletons that stood at over seven feet in their annual reports, including one example that was 8 feet tall, and a skull with a 36-inch circumference reported from Anna, Illinois in the Smithsonian Annual Report of 1873, (an average human skull is about 20 inches in circumference). The Smithsonian Institution is mentioned dozens more times as the recipient of enormous skeletons from across the entire United States. The skeletons mentioned no longer seem to exist regardless of their actual size, and the remaining ones that were on display were removed and repatriated by NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act). While the authors certainly support this law, it does present a moral and ethical conundrum in terms of trying to ascertain the proof everyone wants to see – physical evidence of giants.
In this unique Top Ten, we look at some examples of giant skeletons that were reported from across ancient North America (although we warn you now that Number 1 is so large, we admit it may not be authentic).
Our countdown begins at one of the most important mound sites in America, and quite possibly the world.
TOP TEN GIANTS
10. Serpent Mound, Ohio, 1890s – 7 ft tall skeleton
The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,370ft long prehistoric effigy mound located near Peebles that has been thoroughly researched by Ross Hamilton, who has written extensively about its mysteries and the giants discovered in the area. Recent radiocarbon analysis dates it to around 321 BC. This puts it in the realm of the Adena civilization who were present in the area at this time. In the 1890s, Professor Frederic Ward Putnam excavated some of the mounds next to Serpent Mound and found only 6ft tall skeletons, but a postcard showing one 7 feet in height was recently rediscovered by researcher Jeffrey Wilson. It may have been one of those excavated by Putnam, as he was the only person to dig at the site. Ross first published this in his book A Tradition of Giants , and it clearly states it was from Serpent Mound on the postcard, but there is still debate as to where this photo of a 7ft skeleton was actually taken. Notice that the legs are cut off at the knees, so is “7ft” what we actually see, or is it an estimation if he had his lower legs and feet attached? Could it have been more like 8 feet tall if the shins and feet were intact?
9. Cresap Mound, West Virginia, 1959 – 7ft 2in skeletonIn 1959, Dr. Donald Dragoo, the curator for the Section of Man at the Carnegie Museum unearthed a 7 feet 2 inch skeleton during the complete excavation of the Cresap Mound in Northern West Virginia:
“This individual was of large proportions. When measured in the tomb his length was approximately 7.04 feet. All of the long bones were heavy.” 2Dragoo published a photo of the actual skeleton in his book so there is no doubt it was authentic. Dragoo joins many other university-trained anthropologists and archaeologists who reported discovering skeletons over seven feet in length in burial mounds, often with anatomical anomalies.
A few of the professionals reporting these skeletal finds were Dr. Walter B. Jones, Moundsville Alabama (7ft 6 and many 7-footers); Dr. Forrest Clements Head of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma (six 7ft skeletons); Dr. Donald A. Cadzow Cambridge University (7ft 5in skeleton found in Pittsburgh with many other large skeletons with anatomic anomalies reported); Dr. Byron Cummings, head of the archaeology department at the University of Arizona, considered the ” Dean of Southwestern Archaeology” (several over 8-footers); Thomas Wilson, Curator of Prehistoric Anthropology at the Smithsonian (verified an 8-foot skeleton with massive jawbone); W. J. Holland, curator of the Carnegie Museum (unearthed an over 8 ft skeleton in Pennsylvania as reported in many scientific journals including Scientific American ).
8. Mounds in Iowa, 1897 – 7ft 6in skeleton.This account from The Worthington Advance (November 18, 1897) describes the ethnological work of the Smithsonian Institution’s Division of Eastern Mounds , and quoted the Director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the time, John Wesley Powell. The image below accompanied the news report.
“It is a matter of official record that in digging through a mound in Iowa the scientists found the skeleton of a giant, who, judging from actual measurement, must have stood seven feet six inches tall when alive. The bones crumbled to dust when exposed to the air.”
7. Steelville, Missouri, 1933 – 8ft skeleton.As part of the Search for the Lost Giants show, Jim and fellow researcher James Clary investigated the following account that had this heading:
“An Ancient Ozark Giant Dug Up Near Steelville: Strange discovery made by a boy looking for arrowheads, gives this Missouri Town an absorbing mystery to ponder.”From The Steelville Ledger (June 11, 1933):
“…he turned up the complete skeleton of an 8 foot giant. The grisly find was brought to Dr. R. C. Parker here and stretched out to its enormous length in a hallway of his office where it has since remained the most startling exhibit Steelville has ever had on public view.”While reading through the microfilm at the Steelville library three reports of the find where uncovered including the photo that shows Les Eaton, a 6-foot man, laid out next to the 8-foot skeleton in Dr. Parkers office.
The Steelville Ledger reported that the skeleton was packed up and shipped to the Smithsonian, never to be heard of again.
6. Miamisburg, Montgomery County, Ohio – 8ft 1.5 inch skeleton.Miamisburg Mound is believed to have been built by the Adena Culture, anywhere between 1000 to 200 BC. It is the largest conical burial mound in Ohio, once nearly 70 feet tall (the height of a seven-story building) and 877 feet in circumference. Hugh investigated this site in September 2012 and after talking to some researchers at the local historical society, he found there were other skeletal remains reported in the nearby area.
Numerous skeletal remains were uncovered from the mound, including a giant jawbone and “ bones of unusual size ,” but it was the discovery half-a-mile away that became a national sensation and was reported in The Middletown Signal, January 17, 1899 with the headline: “ Bones of Prehistoric Giant Found Near Miamisburg ”:
“The skeleton of a giant found near Miamisburg is the cause of much discussion not only among the curious and illiterate but among the learned scientists of the world. The body of a man more gigantic than any ever recorded in human history, has been found in the Miami Valley, in Ohio. The skeleton it is calculated must have belonged to a man 8 feet 1.5 inches in height.”Professor Thomas Wilson curator of prehistoric anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution, said the following after examining the find: “The authenticity of the skull is beyond any doubt. Its antiquity unquestionably great, to my own personal knowledge several such crania were discovered in the Hopewell group of mounds in Ohio. The jaws were prognathus (projecting beyond the face) and the facial index remarkably low.”
5. The San Diego Giant, 1895 – 8ft 4 inch mummy.This fascinating discovery reports on a giant mummy found in San Diego (that is currently believed to be a hoax). However, let’s take a closer look, as there is some intrigue and inconsistency with this popular story. This first report appeared in 1895 with the sub-headings “ Nine Feet High and Probably a California Indian. Measurement Well Authenticated. Other Big Men and Women of Fact and Fable Who Are Famous Types if Gigantism. ” When accurately measured it turned out to be 8ft 4 inches and was “ carefully inspected and measured by Prof. Thomas Wilson, Curator of the Department of Prehistoric Anthropology in the Smithsonian Institution, and by other scientists.” 3
Thirteen years later—in 1908—when the mummy was being exhibited, the Smithsonian ran some tests and suddenly dismissed it as a hoax, saying it was made from “gelatin.” The fact that it took that long, and after spending $500 to acquire it, plus the fact that it was “ carefully inspected ” by experts thirteen years earlier does suggest there may be more to this story than meets the eye.
Interestingly, Aleš Hrdlička, joined the Smithsonian in 1903, right in between the discovery and the final debunking. He was not interested in giants and made a concerted effort to eradicate them from the historical record. It is also interesting to note that the Director of Prehistoric Anthropology, Thomas Wilson, and the ethnologist in charge. W. J. McGee were both involved in this story, and were obviously keen to make sure the Smithsonian got it back to their headquarters at an immense cost ($500 in 1895 equates to $14,285 today). But why would they bother doing that if it was simply a sideshow hoax?
The strange twists, and Smithsonian involvement, and the immense amount of money spent on this makes this worthy of inclusion in this Top Ten.
A similar mummified giant also turned up at Spiro Mounds, Oklahoma. It measured 8ft 5 in and was on display for a few months, where it was seen by several people before it disappeared. 4
4. Catalina Island, California – 9 ft 2 inch skeleton (and other 7ft – 8ft examples).The Channel Islands off the coast of California have turned up numerous oversized skeletons. The story is intriguing and controversial, and it stars amateur archaeologist Ralph Glidden and his bizarre museum, but before the main act, a German naturalist got the story going in 1913. Dr. A. W. Furstenan reported unearthing an 8 ft tall skeleton with artifacts such as mortar, pestles and arrowheads on Catalina. He was told of a legend while in Mexico of a giant and noble race that lived on the Island, who existed long before the white man and had since vanished. 5
Amateur archaeologist Ralph Glidden unearthed and collected a total of 3,781 skeletons on the Channel Islands between 1919 and 1930. Working for the Heye Foundation of New York he unearthed a 9ft 2 in skeleton and several measuring over 7 feet:
“A skeleton of a young girl, evidently of high rank, within a large funeral urn, was surrounded by those of sixty-four children, and in various parts of the island more than three thousand other skeletons were found, practically all the males averaging around seven feet in height, one being seven feet eight inches from the top of his head to the ankle, and another being 9 feet 2 inches tall.” 6
As part of Search for the Lost Giants , Jim and Bill Vieira visited Catalina to investigate the contents of the box, and indeed there were photos of hundreds of skeletons and skulls, excavations, artifacts, and burials. They also uncovered an account of a 28-inch femur unearthed by Glidden on San Nicolas Island reported by the judge of Avalon, Earnest Windle. This would make the skeleton over 8 feet tall.
3. Beaver Lake, Ozark Caves, Arkansas, 1913 – Nearly 10 ft skeleton and huge skulls.This account from an Ozark cave in Arkansas is found in The New Age Magazine (Volume 18, 1913) given by the highly regarded reporter Victor Schoffelmeyer.
During the filming of Search for the Lost Giants , the site of the cave was investigated. It had been flooded with the damming and creation of Beaver Lake between 1960-1966. Bill Vieira and professional scuba diver Mike Young dived into the lake and found a huge shelter cave believed to be the site of the skeletal finds. While a 70ft stone wall was found at the entrance of the cave, showing likely human habitation, no more clues were forthcoming. Text from the original article reads as follows:
“While the historical features of the Ozarks held our attention, by far the most fascinating discovery was one made by an aged recluse and naturalist who for ten years had lived in a shelter cave near where we camped. “Dad” Riggins spent much of his time digging in the ashes which form the floor of many of these caves. At a depth of more than three feet he found the remains of several giant human skeletons, including an almost perfect skull which differed in many particulars from a modern specimen. When partly joined the largest skeleton was almost ten feet tall. “Dad” Riggins showed us hieroglyphics covering the Palisades thought to be thousands of years old.” 7
2. Lompock Rancho, California, 1819 – 12 ft skeleton.Hugh investigated this famous report back in November 2008, by visiting the area of the ranch it was discovered on.
“In 1819 an old lady saw a gigantic skeleton dug up by soldiers at Purisima on the Lompock Rancho. The natives deemed it a god, and it was reburied by direction of the padre.” 8This short report re-emerged with a broader range of details in 1833 and now various authors and websites repeat the same story. It goes something like this: Soldiers digging a pit for a powder magazine at Lompock Rancho, California, hacked their way through a layer of cemented gravel and found a 12ft sarcophagus. The skeleton of a giant man about twelve feet tall was found inside. The grave was surrounded by carved shells, huge stone axes, two spears and thin sheets of porphyry (purple mineral with quartz) covering the skeleton. These were covered with unintelligible symbols. He had a double row of teeth, both upper and lower. The soldiers consulted a local tribe of Indians, who after going into trance, exclaimed they were geographically displaced Allegewi Indians from the Ohio Valley area. When the natives began to attach some religious significance to the find, authorities ordered the skeleton and all the artifacts secretly reburied.
No further information is available so it is impossible to verify this information, but numerous other skeletons of this height have been reported in such newspapers at The New York Times . Two further 12ft examples were reported in Jeffersonville, Kentucky ( The New York Times , May 22, 1871) and Barnard, Missouri ( The Providence Evening Press , September 13, 1883). Furthermore, a 13ft example was said to have been unearthed in Janesville, Wisconsin ( The Public Ledger , August 25, 1870) and even bones that were estimated to be from a skeleton 14ft tall at Etowah Mounds ( The New York Times , April 5, 1886). These are all well out of the normal range for humans but are worth noting here as these immense sizes pop up again and again in well-respected newspapers.
1. West Hickory, Pennsylvania, 1870 – 18ft skeleton.The headline of this chart-topper reads: “ The Cardiff Giant Outdone: Alleged Discovery of a Giant in The Oil Regions .” This report originally came from the Oil City Times in 1870 and underneath the immense armor, it revealed some startling anatomic oddities, and a skeleton that reached a staggering height (the tallest example we have come across):
“They exhumed an enormous helmet of iron, which was corroded with rust. Further digging brought to light a sword which measured nine feet in length.”The report continued that they had discovered:
“…a well-preserved skeleton of an enormous giant…The bones of the skeleton are remarkably white. The teeth are all in their places, and all of them are double, and of extraordinary size.”It was estimated to be 18 feet tall, and the bones were being prepared to be sent to New York. Clearly, however, this could be an exaggeration, as 18ft is unheard of in the historical record, but the matter-of-fact description is intriguing. Interestingly the discovery was reported to be buried 12 feet below a mound, so it could suggest a deep antiquity, however tall he was.
We hope this tiny selection of accounts leaves one realizing there may be some truth to these reports (although numbers 9 and 10 cannot be verified, and they are well beyond the established scope of human height). We do not believe they are all authentic, but what you have read here constitutes only 1% of what we have in our archive. We include 250 of these accounts in our book Giants On Record: America’s Hidden History, Secrets in the Mounds and the Smithsonian Files .
The genesis of the North American giants is shrouded in mystery, but we believe that they were involved in the sophisticated Mound Building cultures of the Mid-West, as royal tombs with reported enormous skeletons were often found within them. There are many Native legends that place them in the era of the Megafauna (mammoths, mastodons, sabre-tooth tigers etc.) at around 13,000 years ago. There are dozens of oral histories that revere them as gods, and sometimes as fearsome cannibalistic warriors. Great wars were said to have taken place between these titans, and prehistoric battlefields with oversized bones and weapons were frequently reported by early colonial farmers. Eyewitness accounts of live giant giants were reported by English and Spanish explorers and even some of the early presidents. Mystics such as Edgar Cayce, Rudolph Steiner, Madame Blavatsky as well as the Rosicrucians and Freemasons all regarded giants as a reality.
The origins of the North American giants are hotly debated by independent researchers, academics and skeptics, but there is now enough data to begin serious research into the subject. We cover all the theories of their origins in our new book, ranging from the Denisovans of Siberia to the Nephilim of the Bible Lands. There is also compelling evidence that the giants may have originated within the Americas.11 Hundreds of Native American creation myths and oral histories attest to this, with the giants being mentioned in the stories from remote times. One example can be found in the writings of Tuscarora Indian David Cusick in his book Six Nations (1825). He states that when the Great Spirit made the people, some of them became giants.
However, most people don’t believe in giants, but rather scoff at the idea, saying it’s all just folklore that got mixed up and sensationalized by newspaper journalists. We disagree, as there is ample evidence within Native American mythology, genetic data, ethnological studies, scientific reports, early excavation records, first-hand accounts, and discoveries featured in newspapers and town history books to suggest otherwise. Now is the time for academia to take a look at this data, and to investigate what really happened at the Smithsonian, as an important chapter in human history is on the verge of being lost forever.
About the authors: Jim Vieira and Hugh Newman have been working together investigating Native American stone and earthen constructions, Native oral history and the giant skeletons of North America for nearly ten years. They starred together on the History Channel TV show Search for the Lost Giants (2014) and have recently co-authored Giants on Record: America’s Hidden History, Secrets in the Mounds and the Smithsonian Files (2015). Jim and his brother Bill also starred on the recently aired History Channel special Roanoke: Search for the Lost Colony (2015). Jim is a stonemason and lives in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Hugh is an explorer, antiquarian and author of Earth Grids: The Secret Patterns of Gaia’s Sacred Sites (Wooden Books 2008). He has several articles published on Ancient Origins website and has been a regular guest on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens. He lives in Glastonbury, England. His websites are www.megalithomania.co.uk and www.hughnewman.co.uk
Giants on Record is published by Avalon Rising Publications (UK) and has a foreword by Ross Hamilton, and is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle. http://amzn.to/1MrVH5L – US Amazon – http://amzn.to/1OxghHM – UK Amazon
1. Wilkins, Fate Magazine , January, 1952.
2. Don W. Dragoo . Mounds for the dead. Annals of Carnegie Museum, Vol. 37. McDonald and Woodward / Carnegie Museum.1963. p.72.
3. The World , October 7, 1895.
4. Giants On Record: p.128.
5. The Pittsburgh Press , July 20, 1913 .
6. Ogden Standard Examiner , Sunday, November 10, 1929, pg.32.
7. The New Age Magazine, Volume 18, 1913, pg.207
8. Hubert Howe. The Native Races of the Pacific states of North America . 1875.
9. Jeffrey Goodman Ph.D. American Genesis: The American Indian and the origins of modern man. Summit Books. 1981.