Giant Hominids of West Asia.

Etymology: From the Hebrew (Semitic) root nfl ("to fall"), so it could mean "those who fell or were cast down." Traditionally translated as "giants" because the adjacent text mentions men of great stature.

Variant name: Nephilim.

Significant sighting: According to the Bible, the Nefilim were on Earth when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.

Possible explanations: Despite much speculation, no one really knows what the name Ne filim refers to. Among the guesses are: the aboriginal inhabitants of Palestine, mysterious heroes or princes of old, men of great size, fallen angels, the sons of Seth who sinned by marrying pagan women, and extraterrestrials who "fell" from the sky in a spacecraft.

Sources: Bible, Old Testament (Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:32-33; Deut.1:28); Karl Shuker, Mysteries of Planet Earth (London: Carlton, 1999), pp. 126-131.

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