Giant Human Skeletons

Subfossil bones, skulls, and skeletons of humans or Giant Hominids of North America and Europe.

Physical description: Height, 8 feet or more. Variant name: Tallegwi. Distribution: Paleo-Indian mounds in the eastern United States and other sites in North America; scattered sites in Europe.

A partial list of places where Giant human skeletons have been reported follows: Arizona—Fort Crittenden, Winslow. British Columbia, Canada—Neskain Island. California—Cascade Mountains, Lompoc, Minarets Wilderness, Santa Rosa Island.

England—Gateshead, Durham; Repton, Derbyshire; Rotherhithe, Greater London; St. Bees, Cumbria.

France—Angers, Rouen, Soyons. Greece—Alea.

Indiana—Brewersville, Potato Creek, Walkerton.

Ireland—Donadea, Leixlip. Italy—Mazzarino.

Kentucky—Allen County, Carroll County, Christian County, Holly Creek.

Mexico—Rio Baluarte in Sinaloa State. Minnesota—Chatfield, Clearwater, Dresbach, Koronis Lake, LaCrescent, McKinstry Mounds, Moose Island, Pine City, Rainy River, Sauk Rapids, Warren.

Montana—Fish Creek.

Nevada—Spring Valley.

New York—East Randolph, Tug Hill Plateau.

Ohio—Zanesville.

Pennsylvania—Bedford County, Bradford, Ellisburg, Gastonville, Greensburg, Hanover, Sayre, Sterling Run, West Hickory. Switzerland—Luzern. Tennessee—White County.

West Virginia—Salem.

Significant sightings: The earliest known discovery of giant's bones was near Aléa, Arcadia, Greece, about 560 b.c, when a blacksmith uncovered a 10-foot-long coffin containing a huge skeleton. Hailed as the bones of the Spartan hero Orestes, they were reburied in that city with great honor. Some scholars think they were the fossil remains of large animals, discovered and interred in a coffin at a much earlier time. Adrienne Major calls Herodotus's account of this event the earliest fossil measurement ever recorded.

In 1509, some workers digging ditches near Rouen, France, uncovered a stone tomb that contained the skeleton of a man of enormous size. The skull was large enough to hold a bushel of corn, and the shinbone measured 4 feet in length; from this, the full height was estimated at 17 feet. On the tomb was a copper plate that identified the body as Chevalier Ricon de Valle-mont.

From the 1860s to the 1880s, settlers in Minnesota digging into Indian mounds excavated human skeletons 7—8 feet tall. In December 1868, quarry workers at Sauk Rapids found a petrified skeleton 10 feet 9.5 inches tall in a grave chamber capped by a limestone slab about 7 feet below the surface. The skull was flat on the top and measured 31.5 inches in circumference. The femur was 26.25 inches long, and the fibula was 25.5 inches.

A skeleton measuring 8 feet in length was discovered by George B. Dresbach Jr. while leveling an earthwork near Dresbach, Minnesota, in the nineteenth century.

Four skeletons of men 7—9 feet tall were unearthed in two mounds near Salem, West Virginia, in 1930. However, by the time anthropologist D. T. Stewart reached the site, most of the bones had disintegrated or become lost. The few remaining bones were considered to be only average size.

In 1965, Kenneth White dug up a perfectly preserved skeleton under a rock ledge near Holly Creek, Kentucky, that was 8 feet 9 inches tall when reassembled. Its arms were relatively long, its hands large, and its feet relatively small. The skull was 30 inches in circumference. The eye and nose sockets were slits instead of cavities. The jawbone was solidly fused to the skull. Folklorist Michael Henson was able to examine the skeleton before it was reburied by White.

In August 1965, physician Robert W. Denton discovered the top portion of an unusual skull in a boggy area in the Minarets Wilderness in northern California. It was examined by Gerald K. Ridge, a pathologist at the Ventura County General Hospital, and by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) archaeologists Herman Bleibtreul and Jack Prost. The nuchal ridge was unusally developed, leading Ridge to think it was not human. The specimen has since been misplaced, although, according to Matt Moneymaker, it may be languishing unidentified in UCLA's off-campus museum annex in Chatsworth.

Present status: Most reports are old, unconfirmed, and of dubious provenance, but they are nonetheless intriguing as possible physical evidence for blgfoo tor other GiANTHominiDS. Possible explanations:

(1) Two diseases caused by oversecretion of the human growth hormone (HGH) by the pituitary gland can result in enlarged body size. Acromegaly, a disorder usually caused by a benign pituitary tumor, is marked by gradual and permanent enlargement of the jaw, hands, feet, internal organs, nose, lips, and tongue. In most cases, onset occurs between the ages of thirty and fifty after normal bone growth has stopped, resulting in bones that become deformed rather than elongated. Overgrowth in the jaw causes it to protrude, and the ribs thicken, creating a barrel chest. Much rarer is gigantism, which begins abruptly in childhood before the end plates of the long bones have closed. The condition leads to exaggerated bone growth and abnormal height (with a growth rate of as much as 6 inches per year). Afflicted adults may reach a height of more than 6 feet 8 inches.

(2) The unearthing of mastodon bones and other megafaunal remains undoubtedly contributed to many of these accounts. Sources: Herodotus, The Histories, trans.

Aubrey de Selincourt (New York: Penguin,

1996), pp. 26-28 (i. 67-68); Philostratus of Lemnos, On Heroes, vii. 9, viii. 3-14; Phlegon of Tralles, Phlegon of Tralles' Book of Marvels, trans. William Hansen (Exeter, England: University of Exeter Press, 1996); Lewis Collins, Historical Sketches ofKentucky (Maysville, Ky.: Lewis Collins, 1848), pp. 168, 229; Edward J. Wood, Giants and Dwarfs (London: R. Bentley, 1868); "Giant Skeleton," New York Times, December 25, 1868; "Ancient American Giants," Scientific American 43 (1880): 106; History ofBedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago: Waterman, Watkins, 1884); St. Paul PioneerPress, June 29 and July 1, 1888; George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle, Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1897), chap. 7; Newton H. Winchell, The Aborigines of Minnesota (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1911), pp. 80, 89-90, 301, 341, 372-373; "A Nine-Foot Skeleton," Scientific American 124 (1921): 203; "Archaeological No-Man's-Land," Science News-Letter 18 (1930): 6; Jesse James Benton, Cow by the Tail (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1943), p. 170; Phyla Phillips, "Giants in Ancient America," Fate 1 (Spring 1948): 126-127; Jack Clayton, "The Giants of Minnesota," Doubt, no. 35 (1952): 120-122; Henry Winfred Splitter, "The Impossible Fossils," Fate 7 (January 1954): 65-66; Leland Lovelace, Lost Mines and Hidden Treasure (New York: Ace, 1956), pp. 57-67; Ivan T. Sanderson, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1961), pp. 36-37; Hanover (Pa.) Sun, June 22, 1963; H. E. Krueger, "The Lesser Wilderness: Tug Hill," The Conservationist 21 (December 1966-January 1967): 12-16, 38; Robert R. Lyman, Amazing Indeed! (Coudersport, Pa.: Potter Enterprise, 1971), pp. 6-10; "Giant Skeletons," Pursuit, no. 23 (July 1973): 69-70; Dorothy P. Dansie, "John T. Reid's Case for the Redheaded Giants," Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 18 (1975): 152-167; B. Ann Slate and Alan Berry, Bifoot (New York: Bantam, 1976), pp. 160-165; Michael Paul Henson, Tragedy at Devil's Hollow, and Other Haunting Tales from Kentucky (Bowling Green,

Ky.: Cockrel, 1984); Mark A. Hall, "Giant Bones," Wonders 2, no. 1 (March 1993): 3-13; William R. Corliss, ed., Biological Anomalies: Humans III (Glen Arm, Md.: Sourcebook Project, 1994), pp. 43-46; Charles DeLoach, Giants: A Reference Guide from History, the Bible, and Recorded Legend (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1995); Adrienne Mayor, The First Fossil Hunters: P^aleontology in Greek and Roman Times (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000), pp. 104-156; Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason, "A Tradition of Giants and Ancient North American Warfare," Ancient American, no. 36 (December 2000): 6-13; Matt Moneymaker, Buried Treasure: The Minaret Skull, http://www.bfro.net/ref/ theories/mjm/minaret.htm.

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