Everyone has a blood type. Normally when asked, “what is your blood type?” we respond with a simple letter: A, B, AB, or O. But there are many more "types" of blood. One is Rh factor.
The Rh factor is a type of protein found in red blood cells. If the Rh factor is absent from your blood, you are Rh negative. The factor was discovered 60 years ago and named after the rhesus monkey. After discovering the Rh factor, scientists published a small article in the New York Times in 1944. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal, until Rh negative patients started having problems. As it turns out, the lack of the Rh factor potentially causes trouble with birth and blood transfusions. Hemolytic disease, for example, is a condition where the immune system attacks an Rh positive baby if the mother is Rh negative.
Lack of understanding about what the Rh factor is has spawned many different "popular" ideas about why it occurs.
The "Nephilim" view attributes the Rh negative blood to the Nephilim bloodline.
In Genesis 6:4, we're told about the Nephilim:
"The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.”
If we break it down, fallen angels came down, mated with humans, and had half-human, half-angel offspring. According to the Book of Enoch, these fallen angels were rebelling from God and thus were evil and had to be destroyed. God sent the Flood to destroy the Nephilim and their offspring. Somehow, some Nephilim survive and continued to reproduce. We can recognize the Nephilim bloodline by the Rh factor.
That's the Nephilim story, anyway.
So what does that view think of people with Rh negative blood? If these Nephilim were evil, doesn't that make their decedents evil as well? In a study to find genetic links to sexual orientation, scientists found a high proportion of homosexuals were Rh negative. If you think that the Bible sees homosexuality as an evil, perhaps it makes sense: the Nephilim shouldn’t have survived the Flood and now their descents are going around doing detestable things.
Another theory is that the Anunnaki, found in the Mesopotamian culture, were extra-terrestrial beings that came to earth to modify humans and create a slave race, altering our genetic structure and creating the Rh negative bloodline. Today, apparently some Rh negative people believe that they are not completely of this earth. They say that the trait causes them to have higher IQs, reddish hair, and supernatural powers, such as physic abilities and alien abductions. There is no science to back up these claims, but people have made an effort to find similar characteristics for their “race.”
Neither of these ideas about Rh negative blood hold up to scrutiny, of course.
In reality homosexuality is related to both genetic and environmental factors; nature and nurture, not just Rh negative blood.
Scientists believe that the occurrence of Rh negative blood is related to a mutation that is more likely in European populations. In people with European ancestry, there is a 40-45% frequency for the Rh negative allele, while in other peoples the frequency is much lower (only 15% of the world overall has the Rh negative trait).
But if the Rh mutation has negative effects (such as hemolytic disease), why does it survive in relatively high frequencies? It may be because it is actually beneficial under some circumstances: the Rh negative mutation has been found to protect against the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can cause damage to the eyes, brain, and other organs if left untreated.
The "mystery" of Rh negative blood has a strong appeal to those who want a supernatural story. Those who believe these stories have folded Rh negative blood into them, sometimes describing it as “the blood of the gods.” Scientists have made a great deal of progress learning about the Rh factor since it was discovered in the mid-20th century. Studies and experiments have shown that the Rh negative gene is understandable through natural science.
An article from a West Virginia newspaper (The Charleston Gazette-Mail), while ostensibly a travelogue about archaeological sight-seeing, highlights the many mound formations that have been found throughout the state in the last 153 years and the eerie, weird folklore that has sprung up around these mounds. While the article may seem like it brings some interesting information about giants and mound builder artifacts, it is actually just a tourism promotional piece that barely skims some poorly researched and previously debunked claims.
It is important to understand the Mound Builder Myth in the context of all these sites the article discusses. The Mound Builder Myth refers to “19th century interpretations of the mounds and enclosures of eastern North America as the works of a lost civilization unrelated to the American Indian cultures that inhabited this region at the time Europeans arrived on the scene.”
Basically, the Europeans who discovered these mounds did not believe that the “primitive” Native Americans could possibly have built these large, impressive structures. The Mound Builder Myth served as a justification for the genocide and displacement of the indigenous peoples of America. From the Ohio History research paper: “In most versions of the myth, the Moundbuilders were some non-Indian ‘race’ from Europe, Asia, or perhaps Atlantis that built a magnificent empire in this hemisphere only to be overrun and obliterated by the ancestors of the ‘savage’ American Indians.” If the Native Americans actually wiped out the European ancestors who were settled here, then the Europeans were completely justified in then wiping them out. It’s an ugly bit of racism and Eurocentrism that has all but disappeared from modern thinking, which is why it is so strange to find the Mound Builder Myth regurgitated in a travelogue.
The article begins at Grave Creek Mound, an earthen mound that is about 240 feet in diameter and 62 feet high. The author, Jeanne Mozier, claims that the site is 295 feet in width, which immediately should call her research into question. She then says the Indians of the area called the mound builders “the old ones” but now refer to them as the Adena. This is misleading, however. The Adena are actually a mishmash of various Native American tribes found in quite a few northern States that “probably shared a burial and ceremonial system.” Mozier mentions that while the Adena were thought by archaeologists to be relatively short, there is “evidence of 7 foot tall giants” among the burial system. She does not explain what this evidence is, who found it, where the skeletons are now, or her source for this information: she just drops the "giant" bomb and moves on!
She also references a mysterious tablet, which at first blush sounds very cool and appealing for those in search of the odd and fascinating. What she is actually referring to is the Grave Creek Stone, a small stone with markings on it that resemble a form of alphabet.
But a very quick Google search and a bit of research illuminates a few problems: first, the stone is no longer available, and there is only one known photograph of it. A plaster cast is on display in the Smithsonian, but that’s the only way to interact with this particular artifact. Second, and more importantly, this tablet is almost certainly a hoax, as it is a verbatim copy of an 18th century Spanish book about unknown letters on coins and statues in Spain. They even shared the same mistakes, meaning the tablet was likely copied rune for rune from this book. The Bureau of American Ethnology's 12th Annual report shows that even 19th century archaeologists suspected the tablet was fake, writing that “The folly of relying upon such relics as this Grave Creek tablet as evidence of written language… yet made up of several alphabets… is apparent." As Mozier’s main goal is tourism and attraction, she does not put in the time or research, so validity and specificity do not factor into her article. Like the “giant evidence” bomb she drops in the same section on Grave Creek’s mound, she simply mentions the appealing and alluring bait, provides no context or evidence, and moves on.
This trend continues in the article as we move on the Charleston Mound. The author writes, “A giant skeleton surrounded by a dozen others was found along with the requisite artifacts.” What? Where are all those skeletons now? Is there a museum we can visit to see this stuff? Again, there are no sources and absolutely no indication of where this information came from.
I think my favorite part of all of it is the “requisite artifacts” phrase. It feels like she's suggesting that she knows there should be evidence of the giants’ lives and homes, and yeah they found that stuff, but whatever you think should be there is there. It’s just bizarre language.
The Bureau of American Ethnology's 12th annual report has information on the South Charleston mound as well. While it verifies her claims of being the second biggest mound in West Virginia next to Grave Creek, when it comes to giant skeletons, the only information is that of ”a decayed human skeleton… lying horizontally in a very rude box-shaped stone coffin. Beneath this were other flat stones, and under them charcoal, ashes, and baked earth, overlying the charred remains of at least three or four other skeletons.” Where are the reports of giant skeletons?
Mozier then writes about the petroglyphs found inside of various cave formations. She acknowledges that most of the markings can be identified as Native American,, but then she sneaks in another bomb: “There are several sets of controversial petroglyphs including two that some claim are runic writings of 13th century Irish monks.”
So this is two-fold interesting: one, she writes that “some claim” this wild thing (like certain political candidates we know of who like to suggest without specifically owning the claim themselves); and two, just like said candidates, she offers no proof, no specificity, and no source. It’s just a random nugget of info that has no actual basis in fact. I tried to find any other article or source that suggests this, and did not find anything concrete.
All of these places seem very intriguing. Mozier has assembled a collection of sites that appeal to an innate fascination with mysteries, paranormal, and ancient beings. With some more research or maybe any kind of sourcing at all, this could have been an interesting, Americana-influenced take on giants and mounds. As it stands, it reads as merely a travel-bait paranormal hit piece, designed to make tourists curious and interested. I feel like that’s all she was trying to accomplish, so bravo to her for succeeding there. But as far as being any kind of evidence for the existence of giants or anything other kind of strangeness, it does not pass the scientific bar.
Cross-cultural similarities in giant mythology are often cited as evidence that giants actually existed. The Comanche were included on a list of Native American societies that reportedly had "legends of a race of white giants" in a story that was reprinted by several prominent "fringe" websites in 2015 and 2016 (e.g., here, here, here, and here). Did the Comanche really have such a legend? What is the source of this claim?
The Epoch Times story printed the following "account of an ancient race of white giants in 1857:"
“Innumerable moons ago, there was a race of white men, ten feet high, and far more rich and powerful than any white people now living, who inhabited a large range of country, extending from the rising to the setting sun. Their fortifications crowned the summits of the mountains, protecting their populous cities situated in the intervening valleys. They excelled every other nation which was flourished, either before or since, in all manner of cunning handicraft—were brave and warlike—ruling over the land they had wrested from its ancient possessors with a high and haughty hand. Compared with them the palefaces of the present day were pygmies, in both art and arms."
The story gives credit to a Dr. Donald "Panther" Yates for documenting the story and provides a dead link to a blog post on the DNA Consultants website (the primary business of DNA Consultants seems to be providing genetic "ancestry" tests). A 2012 blog post on the site titled "Giants with Double-Rowed Teeth, Flattened Heads and Six Fingers" contains the passage reproduced in the Epoch Times article but does not provide a citation.
Where did this account come from?
Entering the quote into the Google search bar quickly returned an answer. It comes from an 1859 book by Nelson Lee called Three Years Among the Comanche (a pdf is available here; the account of the giant legend is on page 141).
Apparently Lee was a Texas Ranger who fought in the Indian war. He became a cowboy in 1844 and in April 1855 he was with a group of cowboys who were attacked by the Comanche. Lee was the the only survivor and was taken prisoner.
Lee's book purportedly relates his experiences following his capture. According to this summary by John Simkin,
"some historians have questioned the reliability of this book. Some writers have pointed out they have been unable to find evidence that Lee was a member of the Texas Rangers. The anthropologist, Melburn D. Thurman, has argued that some of Lee's descriptions of Comanche life appeared to contradict that of other evidence available.”
The stories that Lee relates, then, are of dubious reliability. There are no other sources that back up his accounts (he reports that he killed Rolling Thunder, the chief who told the story, to escape capture) and some of the events he describes may not have happened.
The setting of Lee's tale about "white giants" provides another dimension to the story. In the paragraph prior to the one reproduced in the recent "white giants" stories, Lee writes the following (pages 140-141 in the pdf):
"The Rolling Thunder, in order to convince me of the correctness of a belief, universal throughout the Comanche nation, conducted me to the western side of this strange valley, where I saw, with infinite astonishment and surprise, the dilapidated ruins of a large town. In the midst of the falling walls of a great number of buildings, which, in some remote age, beyond doubt, had lined spacious streets, was what appeared to have been a church or cathedral. Its walls of cut stone, two feet thick, and in some places fifteen feet high, included a space measuring two hundred feet in length, and, perhaps, one hundred in width. The inner surface of the walls in many places was adorned with elaborate carved work, evidently the labor of a master hand, and at the eastern end was a massive stone platform which seemed to have been used as a stage or pulpit. In my surprise at beholding so unexpectedly these evidences of civilization in that wild region, I turned to the Rolling Thunder and asked if he could explain it.”
And then Rolling Thunder explains that the ruined city was built by "white giants" (i.e., the part that is quoted in the recent "white giants" articles). This is followed by Rolling Thunder's explanation of what happened to the builders of the city:
". . . At length, in the height of their power and glory, when they remembered justice and mercy no more and became proud and lifted up, the Great Spirit descended from above, sweeping them with fire and deluge from the face of the earth. The mounds we had seen on the tablelands were the remnants of their fortresses, and the crumbling ruins that surrounded us all that remained of a mighty city.
In like manner, continued the Rolling Thunder, the day will surely come when the present white race, which is driving the Indians before it, and despoiling them of their inheritance, and which, in the confidence of its strength, has become arrogant and boastful and forgotten God, will be swept from existence."
The whole point this story, if really told to Lee by a Comanche chief, could be to illustrate the belief that the material power of white invaders/occupiers will be transitory.
If Lee made up the story, he could have been doing it in the context of a claim for an earlier European ownership of the land. Remember that in this story, these giants are white. He also implies that these giants had “church or cathedral” which would give the impression that these giants were Christian.
Lee's book was written during a time when the United States was expanding westward. Lee's story about Rolling Thunder's "white giants" can be read in a number of ways related to expansion and the resistance to it.
Lee's book was written at a time where people could not just go on the internet to fact check. To check if what Lee was saying was true one would have to go to the exact spot he was referring to. Is there anywhere in region ruins with "walls of cut stone, two feet thick, and in some places fifteen feet high"?One would think that if these ruins were real we would have heard of them by 2016.
So can we say that this was a myth that was actually told by the Comanche? It's possible, but seems unlikely. The source (Nelson Lee) doesn't seem reliable. His story reads more like an adventure novel more than a documentary. If Lee's account is the basis of the claim, this is not a myth that we can say definitely existed among the Comanche. The evidence suggests that this "myth" was just completely made up.
Image source here.
Many people insist that ancient megalithic construction can best be explained by appeals to giants, aliens, or other supernatural phenomena. It is an old claim. A poem from around AD 960, The Ruin, tells of the “battlements broken, giant’s work shattered”. European traditions were known to attribute constructions like Stonehenge and Roman ruins to giants.
The idea is still out there. In April of this year, the The Huffington Post published an article about one creationist’s claim that Satan created a race of giants to build Stonehenge. He makes an illogical connection to the stones' alignment with the sun on the solstice in England and giants being created to destroy Israel and contaminate the human race. There is no other plausible explanation according to this individual. He stated;
“Why and what is the evidence for giants being on this Earth? We all know about Stonehenge, right? And that’s just one out of hundreds and hundreds of gigantic places around the world that testify that some sort of supernatural power or giants were involved in its construction”
The rock slabs at Stonehenge are big, weighing anywhere from four to fifty tons, and were moved from hundreds of miles away. Are supernatural giants required to explain how it was built?
A new hypothesis by Dr. Andrew Young reveals prehistoric people or oxen could have dragged the slabs along wooden tracks lined with carved wooden roller balls. With only a team of six or seven people, they were able to move the same four-ton bluestones found at Stonehenge. Ox bones were found at Stonehenge and appear to have been burned in some kind of ritual, maybe a sacrifice. The carved balls are not at Stonehenge because wood artifacts cannot survive in English climate for thousands of years. Hence, the idea that only giants could have created these structures because there is not “obvious” evidence of these wooden balls lying around for people to find.
Another piece of evidence that giantologists can use is the supposed discovery near Durrington Walls, where people believe the builders of Stonehenge resided, of human remains between 6 to 8 feet tall. Upon investigation of the cracked bones and smashed skulls, the team concluded they suffered violent deaths possibly because they were outsiders to the settlement because they were so tall. Still . . . how would an 8' person be able to move a fifty ton rock when a 5'11" person could not?
Experimental evidence has also shown that the large stones of Rapa Nui (better known as Easter Island) could have been moved by normal-sized people. In 2012, Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo, and archaeologist Sergio Rapu developed the idea that Rapa Nui’s Moai, the roughly 14 ton statues, were moved upright in a rocking motion. The bellies of the statues allowed them to be titled forward easily and their D-shaped bases helped them to move from side to side. An average of 18 people with only the help of some ropes could move a five-ton Moai replica a few hundred yards. The answer from indigenous peoples as to how the stones were moved is very clever: “the statues walked”.
There's no evidence that giants were required to move the Moai. That hasn't stopped the speculation, however. This article written in 2014 tells of tall, seafaring people with elongated skulls, red hair, white skin, and advanced technology and skills came to Rapa Nui and the indigenous people created the Moai in reflection of those giants. A 1830’s ship’s captain describes that these men were all above five feet, even some six footers. According to another article, the giants were 12 feet in height. Also, other reasons why schools and the “elite” deny the existence of giants on Easter Island and other places in the world is to ridicule those who follow Biblical teachings and to “suppress real history in order to manufacture a false history to deceive and control the regular state controlled populations.”
In addition to experimental evidence, there are ethnographic accounts showing that normal-sized people, not giants, construct megalithic monuments with just ropes, wooden rollers, and a lot of person power. The West Sumba peoples of Indonesia are a perfect example of present day, normal-sized people moving these monuments with only the help of simple technology and a lot of people. Other examples of normal-sized present-day people capable of constructing these megaliths are the people of Nias, Indonesia and the Naga, India.
Ron L. Adams worked among the peoples of West Suma from late 1990s to early 2000s. He explains in his paper the main reason why these people build these megalithic tombs is to display power and social standing. The Anakalang and Kodi areas are where most of these tombs show up. They are roughly 1.5- 3 meters high and some stone slabs can weigh over 30 tons. The size of a tomb is related to social standing of the tomb builder and construction is tied with accessing power within clan groups. The traditional method for transporting megalithic stones is to haul them from a quarry on wooden sledges attached with ropes, requiring 100-1000 people. This can take up to a few months to finish. The video below shows a stone in Sumba being prepared for moving.
The activities of Wally Wallington provide another example of how it's possible to move large rocks with little technology. Wallington is a retired construction worker who is interested in building heavy rock structures with simple devices. In a video (embedded below) he demonstrates that he can lift a Stonehenge-sized pillar weighing 22,000 lbs. He moves all kinds of heavy structures just to prove that it can be done with simple technology. Wally is no giant from what I can tell.
The default hypothesis is that all ancient megalithic structures were made with the hands of human beings and relatively simple human technology. There is no evidence that the Sumba people and Wally Wallington are giants or need help from giants and and their supposed advanced technology. If people of the present can move and build these structures, it seems that people of the past were fully capable as well. Or, to believers of giants, am I just giving them too much credit?
The people who believe in giants don't actually try to falsify their theories but demand time and time again that people of the mainstream academia are just lying to us and keeping secrets from the world. And yet there is no real evidence that people in the past were giants or were using any kind of "advanced" technology and plenty of evidence that normal-sized people in the present can build megalithic structures.
I’m not here to tell you whether giants are real or not real. Rather I'm going to discuss a single piece of evidence related to claims about giants: the suit of armor on display at Schloss Ambras.
The picture posted above is presented as evidence of the existence on sites like this one. The giant suit of armor dwarfs those around it. The caption says:
"2.6m armor suit created for giant Bartlmä Bon
Real armor made for a real man in the 15th century"
There is little information about Bartlmä Bon online. I found that he was from Riva del Garda in Trenten, Italy. He served as the archduke of Tirol Ferdinand II., who served Rudolf at Ambras Castle near Innsbruck, located in present day Austria. He accompanied Ferdinand’s nephews at the royal tournament in Vienna in 1560. His armor is indeed housed in the Ambras Castle museum (Austria) and is on display for anyone visiting the castle to see. Bartlmä Bon was the tallest man known to exist during the 16th century; however, this does not mean he was a giant.
Typical of many pictures online claiming something about giants, there is no scale next to the giant suit of armor. I searched online and found someone who had actually been to the Ambras Castle and asked her about the armor. She was glad to help in my search for the truth. She sent me the picture you see below with a person standing next to the armor. She said that her friend is 1.65 m tall (about 5'4").
With a normal-sized person for scale, it's obvious that the impression of Bartlmä Bon's armor as "giant" is enhanced because the museum has surrounded it with suits of armor made to fit children and (perhaps) very small adults.
My informant confirmed that the armored mannequin is indeed 2.60 m tall (about 8'5"). Some sources put Bartlmä Bon's height at about 2.35 m (about 7'9"). Why the discrepancy? Perhaps the armor in the 16th century was not yet advanced for a perfect fit and had to be bigger than the person wearing it. And perhaps the mannequin is just too tall: you can see that there are no lower leg components to the armor and the helmet seems to be perched off the shoulders.
At 7'9", Bartlmä Bon was a big man, but not some kind of supernatural giant. The tallest man living today, according to the Guinness Book of World Records is Sultan Kosen who lives in Turkey and measures 2.51 cm (about 8'2"). The tallest man in medical history, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is Robert Pershing Wadlow, born in Alton, Illinois, USA in 1918. When last measured in 1940, Wadlow was found to be 2.72 m (8'11"). These people, and dozens more, have been recorded by a reliable source in the last 100 years. If a reliable source like the Guinness book of world records can find people this tall in the last 100 years, then this shows us that there are people in the world today that are this tall and there were probably people in the past measuring these heights, like Bartlmä Bon.
The Schloss Ambras castle giant is not really a "giant." Bartlma was just a tall man compared to the average height of a person at that time. The average person’s height in Austria is 5'10".
People believe in giants for a variety of reasons. Some think that the existence of giants would prove the Bible to be true. Others believe that the government is covering up evidence of the giant bones to protect evolution theories. One of the most fantastic tales that I’ve heard is that the military is covering up evidence of giants because they are developing and testing giant super soldiers in secret underground facilities.
Bartlmä Bon is not good evidence for any of those claims.
Giants, now a popular topic in books, films and television shows, and conspiracy theories, have been a part of many cultures since at least the beginning of writing. In many mythological tales, giants are obstacles that represent evil that the hero has to overcome.
Interestingly, giants are often associated with cannibalism. Cannibalism is derived from "Carib," the natives that Columbus discovered in Cuba who were thought to be "man-eater" (Lukaschek 2001:3). Stories of cannibalistic giants are known from Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Giants and cannibalism are entangled in Greek, Jewish, and Native American mythologies, possibly telling us something about how people viewed cannibalism.
Greek mythology is filled with stories about giant creatures that are defeated by heroes. There are many stories about cannibalism as well. According to the creation stories, the beings who ruled the world before the Olympians were giants known as Titans. Cronus was the leader of the titans and one of the more powerful of his siblings. Cronus was warned by his parents that he would likely be overthrown by one of his children and resorted to devouring his offspring. When his wife bore Zeus, she hid him away and tricked Cronus by giving him a stone to eat. When Zeus became a man, he freed his siblings from his father’s stomach and overthrew him and the Titans. In this story, Cronus was an evil cannibal that the hero Zeus had to overcome. In the end, Cronus was punished with castration and was thrown into the deepest pit of the underworld called Tarturus.
Another famous example of a giant cannibal in Greek mythology is found in The Odyssey. On his journey, Odysseus and his men come across a cave filled with sheep and food. As his men linger, a giant Cyclops named Polyphemus traps them in his cave. Although the giant seems hospitable in the beginning, he starts to eat Odysseus' men. In order to escape, Odysseus has to blind the Cyclops with a large olive branch.
According to these stories, cannibalism was seen as evil to the ancient Greeks because of the punishment these two villains received. Cronus suffers a fate worse than death, and Polyphemus is blinded and humiliated.
The Book of Enoch
Cannibalistic giants are also plentiful in The Book of Enoch. The ancient text mentions that the giants were the offspring of angels and human women. They were reported to be three thousand cubits tall and were infamous for devouring men (see Goff and Grossman 2010:20). Although The Book of Enoch is rejected by many Christians and Jews, the taboo of cannibalism is regarded as a vile practice in the Old Testament. The Book of Enoch describes the giants as a threat to all mankind because they were cannibals. According the book, the giants are wiped out by the Flood for the evil they committed.
Stories of cannibalistic have also made an appearance in Native American mythology through the story of Si-Te-Cah. The Si-Te- Cah comes from the oral histories passed down by the Paiute Indians. A Paiute activist named Sarah Winnemucca, who lived during the mid to late nineteenth century, wrote in Life Among the Piutes (1882) about a race of red haired cannibals that were wiped out by her people. According to Winnemucca, the Si-Te-Cah dug holes for traps and waited till night time for victims to fall in. Theses cannibals would also dig up the dead and feast on them. The story goes that there was a three-year-long war between these two tribes and the Paiutes won. The Paiutes pleaded with the remaining Si-Te-Cah to stop feeding on people like “coyotes or beasts.” In the end the Paiutes trapped the Si-Te-Cah in a cave, blocked the entrance with wood, and burned them to death.
After Winnemucca’s death, mummies with red hair were discovered in a Lovelock Cave, Nevada. A lot of evidence has been lost has been lost over the years and it is unclear whether these mummies were the Si-Te-Cah or not. Although many people today say that the S-Te-Cah were giants, Winnemucca never actually uses the word. She actually calls them barbarians because they were cannibals. Even though this story is not necessarily about giants, it is important because it feeds on to the myth of cannibalistic giants. This is another story about how certain native tribes viewed cannibalism.
Cannibalism has been seen all over the world in places such as India, places in Africa, New Guinea, the Fiji islands, New Zealand, North, and South America. Explorers and travelers of some of these places reported cannibalism as far back as the 1500's. The people in these cultures usually practiced cannibalism through ritual or warfare (Lukaschek 2001:8). It appears as through the mythologies that connect giants and cannibalism are primarily found in North America, the Middle East, and Europe. Places where cannibalism existed in history tended to be part of tribal tradition. This is why there are more stories about cannibalism being taboo in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Karoline Lukaschek’s research shows that cannibalism is more taboo in places such as North America, Europe, and the Middle East. You tend to find more stories about giant cannibals within their mythologies.
In conclusion, many different mythologies portray giants as the enemies of mankind. Most of the time the hero valiantly slays the beast like David and Goliath. These mythologies also appear to teach that cannibalism was a vile practice in many ancient cultures. So it is not a surprise that giants are often associated with cannibalism. These mythologies show that all of these monstrous giants were punished for their crimes. Polyphemus was blinded, Cronus was sent to the underworld, the sons of the angels and the red haired giants were wiped out. Many conspiracy theorists believe that these stories have some truth to them. The truth is these stories give us a look into ancient cultures and show us their values.
Goff, Matthew, and Maxine L. Grossman. 2010. "Monstrous Appetites: Giants, Cannibalism, and Insatiable Eating in Enochic Literature," Journal of Ancient Judaism 1(1).
Lukaschek, Karoline. 2001. The History of Cannibalism, Master's thesis, Lucy Cavendish College.
It is likely that the answer is "no."
North Salem Balanced Rock is a strange geological feature in the Hudson Valley of New York, a sixty-ton boulder supported by five smaller stones. As an unknowing visitor to the site, it might appear to be a momentous feat, potentially put there by aliens or even giants. It is hard to believe that the structure could be man-made, or even that it has occurred naturally.
Hugh Newman, an author, researcher, and public speaker, paid a visit to Balanced Rock and produced a video. Newman is convinced that this particular structure was built for a specific purpose, noting that the rock is not native to the surrounding area. He suggests the rocks might have been placed for a specific purpose as a megalithic dolmen. By dolmen, he means an ancient burial site. He comments on the "negative energy" from the magnetic field surrounding the rocks and claims that there is a negative magnetic anomaly below the site and a higher than usual magnetic field around it. This is called “conductivity discontinuity.” It has been said that storms avoid the spot and that accidents are known to happen around it. Newman claims that the site has a “profound energy,” all 90 tons of it. When photographed, orbs have been known to appear around the structure which presents even more mystery.
What is North Salem Balanced Rock? Boiled down, the argument is really whether the structure is man made or whether it occurred naturally.
One idea is that it's a human-made structure, possibly built by ancient Celts who traveled to the New World before Columbus. In America B.C., Barry Fell called Balanced Rock “…the largest Celtiberian dolmen yet discovered in North America…" Fell believed that it is likely the memorial of a Celtiberian king and adds that it parallels a monument in Dublin. Fell also notes that, nearby in Connecticut, are six supposedly Celtiberian megalithic chambers, associated with Ogam and Iberian dedications to the sun god Bel.
Men moving rocks of the size of Balanced Rock is a feat in itself, but not unknown. The largest man-made dolmen is the Brownshill Dolmen in County Carlow, Ireland. Its capstone weighs 100 metric tons. It was built between 4000 and 3000 BC by the earliest farmers to inhabit the land. Another example of a large megalithic burial mound is the Dolmen of Menga. This dolmen was built in the third millennium BCE. The largest stone in this structure weighs two hundred tons.
A simpler idea is that the Balanced Rock could be a glacial erratic from the Ice Age. A glacial erratic is “a piece of rock that differs from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it rests.” In my opinion, this seems to be the most likely geological explanation considering the material. It is also noted that there are glacial striations present on the structure. It is true that humans could have moved this massive glacial rock, but unlikely. Steven Schimmrich mentions on his blog, Hudson Valley Geologist, that dolmens “typically were a large flat rock supported by three or more uprights.” Strange things often occur in nature and something like this appearing would not surprise me at all.
It's possible that Balanced Rock is a natural formation that was used by Native Americans for rituals or even as a trading post. The biggest mystery to me about the site are the claims of abnormal magnetism. I only wish that I knew more about physics, so that I could come up with my own possible explanation for the phenomenon. A possible explanation could be the iron content in the rock.
I do not think that we will ever know the truth of the North Salem Balanced Rock. As a skeptic, I think that the accidents and ghostly sightings reported near the site could be exaggerated, and the resemblance to man-made dolmens could be simply coincidental. It reminds me of the well known mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. A common explanation for it is that there are magnetic anomalies in the area that cause compass problems. This led to many strange incidents of planes and ships disappearing without a trace causing the area to become notorious. As far as it being a Celtic dolmen, there are known dolmens all over the world throughout history that are likely man-made. I do not think that this theory is completely preposterous, but it still seems like a stretch. I would be interested to know if radiocarbon dating could be done on the site or maybe if someone could dig underneath the site. I feel that it could clear up a lot of questions.
For now, Balanced Rock will remain a tourist attraction bringing visitors to a small, quiet town.
Genesis 6.4 briefly mentions the Nephilim. Among the many ideas about what or who the Nephilim were, one in particular struck me as different from the rest: that the Nephilim were really what we know as Neanderthals.
The "Neanderthals = Nephilim" idea stands out from the rest of the Nephilim theories because instead of claiming that the Nephilim were beings of immense size and power (something supernatural, more akin to a demon), the Nephilim would have actually been much more “realistic” if you will.
But what evidence is there to support this claim?
I’ll start with what we know about Neanderthals. Neanderthals were a subspecies in the genus Homo, sharing nearly our entire DNA makeup, meaning they were a very close relative to modern humans. The earliest we can place their existence through evidence is 160,000 years ago, though they may have existed long before that. Neanderthals disappeared around 40,000 years ago. This time frame would have them coexisting with modern humans (at least in Europe) for approximately 5,000 years.
The reason for the disappearance of Neanderthals is unclear. One hypothesis is they did not adapt to climate change. Another is that they were wiped out by the appearance of Homo sapiens.
The physical appearance of Neanderthals differed from modern humans in several ways. They were slightly shorter on average than we are today, the proportion of their limbs was shorter than ours, their rib cage was more barrel-like, they had a much larger nose and eye sockets, and their cranial capacity was larger than ours. Their physique suggests that they were stronger than modern humans, especially in their arms and hands. They may have also had better eyesight. Also, the size of their skulls shows us that not only were their brains the same size as ours, they may have even been bigger by the time they reached adulthood.
Understanding their physiology and combining that with the discovery of sites that were used by the Neanderthals shows that not only were they hardy, but they were social creatures with the capacity to craft tools and weapons and make fire. Far from mere scavengers, these beings most likely hunted large game as well as engaged in physical conflict among themselves and possibly others.
Science has given us a good grasp on who the Neanderthals were and what they were like. How do they compare to the Nephilim?
Information about the Nephilim comes from biblical texts, the bulk of it coming from non-canonical books. Despite how short it is, the most commonly cited source when referring to the Nephilim is Genesis 6:4. Each translation varies slightly in wording, some use the word “giant” instead of “Nephilim”, but the NIV text is as follows,
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
This does not tell us much. The Book of Enoch, chapters 6-10, provides a much longer description of where these beings came from and what they were doing on Earth. It tells us that the Nephilim were not benevolent, rather they were responsible for spreading evil on the Earth and corrupting humanity, leading to God’s desire to eradicate them. They were created when fallen angels mated with human women. Described as having colossal size, they had an insatiable hunger that led them to devour all that man produced, man himself, and all manner of creatures that inhabited the world.
What the "Neanderthal = Nephilim" theories have proposed is that the otherworldly malicious beings known as the Nephilim were actually what we believe to be our closest relations in human evolutionary history.
Contradictions are apparent in the simple information I have already provided, such as the glaring fact that Neanderthals were not "giants" as the Nephilim were claimed to be.
But let's start with the chronological issues.
How can the existence of Neanderthals be reconciled with a short biblical timeline? The author of the article “Neanderthal = Nephilim?” spells it out for us: because modern science’s use of radiocarbon dating is entirely wrong.
Here's his argument. In order for carbon dating to be effective, the world has to have reached a “saturation point” of carbon. Scientists have determined that this point of saturation would be reached after 30,000 years of living organisms being on Earth. With our understanding that the Earth is millions of years old, naturally this point is well behind us, but what if the point of carbon saturation somehow has NOT been reached? The author names several scientists who have disagreed with the idea that the saturation point has been reached, based on their own evaluations of the matter, and he cites Melvin Cook, a professor from Utah University who came to the conclusion that the Earth’s atmosphere was only 10,000 years old. This would completely disrupt all estimations made from carbon dating and would place the existence of Neanderthal at around 4,000 years ago, a time when the the Bible says the Nephilim existed.
Let's presume for a moment that he's right and throw out all scientifically accepted ideas regarding the history of the Earth: the Earth is 10,000 years old and that the existence of Neanderthal lines up with the existence of Nephilim. To show how they really are the same the author provides a nice bullet point list of comparisons. Several of his comparisons can be effectively rebutted. I’d like to look at a few that are definitely in the realm of “reaching.”
“Neanderthals were skilled in tool and weapon making. Nephilim learnt physical skills and human culture from human mothers.”
We know the Neanderthals had tools and weapons, and we know the Nephilim brought from their otherworldly fathers knowledge of crafting tools and weapons. But what this fails to mention is that there is a stark difference between the tools of a Neanderthal and the tools of a Nephilim. Neanderthal had basic tools of wood and stone, tools we would consider simple. The Nephilim, meanwhile, supposedly brought to the world tools that required more advanced engineering to make. The Book of Enoch 8:1 says
"Moreover Azazyel taught men to make swords, knives, shields, breastplates, the fabrication of mirrors, and the workmanship of bracelets and ornaments, the use of paint, the beautifying of the eyebrows, the use of stones of every valuable and select kind, and all sorts of dyes, so that the world became altered.”
If Neanderthals were making advanced war equipment and trinkets and body adornments so sophisticated, somehow not a single trace of any of them has been left. Neanderthals were using tools and weapons, but nowhere near to the degree that the Nephilim would have.
“Neanderthals were skilled in language, spoken and written. Nephilim communicated freely with the human populus.”
This claim is a big one. The author asserts that not only did Neanderthals have language, but it was both spoken and written. The scientific world has recently come to the conclusion that Neanderthals most likely could communicate verbally, though it was very unlike our own languages. There is no evidence that they had any form of written language (which doesn't appear in the archaeological record until many thousands of years after the disappearance of the Neanderthals).
And then there's the Neanderthal doctors and pharmacists:
“Neanderthal possibly possessed medical skills, practicing apothecary and, aromatherapy. Nephilim were intelligent, able to develop advanced skills.”
This claim exaggerates the evidence that Neanderthals used plants and herbs in some fashion, possibly as a very early form of aromatherapy. To describe their ability to use plants and wrap a wound as “medical skills” is reaching in my book, however. The Nephilim were claimed to be of very high intellect to add to their repertoire of damning skills, presumably, any medical skills they had knowledge of when therefore be derived from a devilishly high intelligence. I would not consider scents and wraps as highly skilled medical care.
And, then, of course there's the central problem that Neanderthals were not of "giant" height in any sense of the word.
Could the Neanderthals have actually been the biblical Nephilim? No. When comparing the two, it is easy to stretch a little if you separate individual aspects and look for specific qualities out of context. But the time frames don't line up, their physical characteristics do not match, and their behavior and culture do not compare well. There are too many discrepancies for this theory to be true.
Self-described "spiritual archaeologist" Klaus Dona presents himself as the original skeptic. In interviews (such as this one) he outlines a narrative of himself as a wide-eyed innocent, constantly beset by the amazing discoveries and earth-shattering revelations that rain down upon him. What he has to tell us will forever alter history . . . if only the government of (insert chosen artifact’s country of origin here) would stop its close-minded disbelief and/or active suppression.
Dona claims to have examined over 3,000 ancient artifacts that mainstream academia rejects. He briefly displays several hundred in his traveling exhibit titled "Unsolved Mysteries” (part 1 can be seen here). Among other things, Dona has cobbled together a version of human history that incorporates an ancient, global race of high tech giants that created sophisticated structures, tools, and technology more advanced than today.
Throughout Dona's presentation (there are several versions that are very similar - e.g., here and here), he makes a jumble of vague claims to attempt to link together his collection of artifacts. The slideshow jumps around a bit and his artifact dating can fluctuate from show to show ranging from an off the cuff “15-20 million years old” to 17th century C.E. His typical claims related to giants include reference to oddly shaped skulls, photos taken of a grouping of "giant bones" from Ecuador, a bit about a 3-meter-long red-haired skeleton in Utah, and representations of "giants" in art.
The skulls shown by Dona, unfortunately, aren't attached to any information about where they come from: where were they were found? who excavated them? where are they located now?
Dona claims that numerous doctors and scientists have studied these skulls, but he neglects to mention them by name. He tells us the skulls are from Malta, but does not reveal a region or site name. He can provide no archaeological context for the skulls, there are no pictures or records of how they were found or by what process they were excavated. In short, he provides no relevant information regarding these skulls or their origins. What we are offered instead is Dona’s description and hypothesis including his statement that “The picture on the top shows you the skull of one of these skeletons and it looks like it is deformed. But definitely these skulls are not deformed, they are naturally styled like an egg.” In the absence of any additional information, the claim is simply an unsupported assertion.
Another of Dona’s keystone pieces of his case for giants begins with a photo of several bones on a table. There isn’t much to glean from the pictures: the image quality is poor and there is no scale to indicate size. Dona begins by sketching the background of the "discovery:"
'I got this information, I got another information, and finally, in Ecuador, I got from the family of Father Carlos Vaca, who found 1964 the broken bones of a 7.6 meter giant”.
The story goes that the townspeople who found the bones called their local priest, Father Carlos, to come to examine the bones. Dona tells us that because Father Carlos had spent some time working in a hospital, he is qualified to identify human remains. Dona then claims he conducted unspecified research with an unnamed specialist and they subsequently confirmed these to be giant bones because they were “at least exactly five times bigger.” Dona tells us the bones are from Ecuador, but neglects to identify the region or site.
Dona’s story raises more questions than it answers. In what capacity did Father Carlos work within the hospital that he was able to correctly identify a series of bone fragments? Who conducted the research? The bones are five times bigger than whose bones? What tests were performed to verify their authenticity? In an interview Dona stated:
“I have a friend who is the only archeological DNA specialist in Austria. And he checked these bones, but he could not find any any DNA and he said, up to 10,000 years there might be a chance to find DNA, but if bones are older than 10,000 years, you can forget, you cannot find any DNA anymore.”
The ability to extract DNA, of course, depends on a number of factors and there is no magical cut-off at 10,000 years.
While these bones from Ecuador are touted as Klaus Dona’s definitive proof of South American giants, there just isn’t enough information to confirm the remains are even human, much less confirm that they belonged to a 7.6-meter giant.
We run into the same issue again with his claim of a red-bearded giant in Utah. This time Dona offers even less information. Dona clicks a photo of a carved stone on the screen and goes on to state that a 3-meter skeleton of a red haired man with a sword and armor was found in Utah. I could not find any further information about this claim: it appears to be merely an anecdote. It is a story he tosses into his show without a shred of evidence to prove it, seemingly banking on an image overload for his audience. If you’ve made it this far into his presentation maybe you're satisfied by the sheer number of claims rather than the quality of those claims.
Dona also uses art to bolster his case. He presents a photo of a sculpture he claims is from somewhere in west Africa. The sculpture features an oversized man riding what looks to be an elephant and from this he states that “even in Africa, every tribe has legends of giants.” No additional information is provided about the statue: we know nothing about its origin or how it came to be in Dona’s collection. Without context, provenience, or even basic information about its composition, viewers are left with little more than Dona’s word that the photo is of an archaeologically significant object. He seems to be claiming that because this one statue was found somewhere on the continent of Africa, every tribe that ever lived in that vast and diverse continent has a shared legend of a race of giants. To base such a sweeping claim on nothing more than a single carved statue is an insulting oversimplification. Regardless, he recycles this logic later on and eventually states that every culture around the world has a legend of giants.
Klaus Dona doesn’t explain, just shows; his magpie collection speaks for itself. This is not archaeology. It’s not science. It doesn't even qualify as pseudo-science. This is an unsubstantiated theory posited by one who believes that imagination holds the key to explaining all of human history. It’s one short leap of faith to the next. He tells the audience that he doesn’t have all the answers, but if they would like to purchase some, his DVD presentation of his travelling giant show is available
In his 1948 monograph A Study of the Glacial Kame Culture in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, Wilbur Cunningham accidentally set up a honey trap for future giantologists when he described some skeletal remains excavated in Branch County, Michigan, in 1906 (page 4):
“Mr. Burch insisted that at least one of the adult skeletons was equipped with two rows of teeth!”
A fantastic claim!
Cunningham (1948:3) also notes that
"The physician who measured the bones is said to have made the statement that two of the skeletons were of unusually large persons."
There's not much discussion of the Branch County giants on the internet, which is understandable since there's not much to go on. One of the few posts referencing the remains, titled “Large Skull Branch County, Michigan,” but the URL refers to Indiana and they cite a book focusing on the Ohio Valley. It’s nothing more than a short re-hashing of Wilbur Cunningham’s (1948) research on the 1906 incident with a few vaguely related pictures, none pertaining to the incident itself.
This post presents information from a "new" source (a 1906 local newspaper article) and compares it to Cunningham’s (1948) report.
The year 1906 falls towards the end of a giant craze within the United States and yet there seems to still be quite a few discoveries from this period. In Omaha, for example, they discovered a skull that a Professor Henry Osborn of Columbian University believed to predate the Lansing skull, meaning that the Omaha skull would have been over 150,000 years old. In the same year as these discoveries, Clark L. Burch discovered multiple skeletons in a mound on his property, some of which were declared to be the remains of giants (or at least very large men).
The Burch Farm was situated between the town line for the Coldwater and Batavia townships in southern Michigan. The mound in which Clark Burch located the remains (either two or five sets, depending on which source you follow), was regularly used by several local residents as a source of sand or gravel. A November 14, 1906 article in The Courier Newspaper (Coldwater, Michigan) described the discovery of the skeletons. Burch mentioned that this incident in 1906 wasn’t the first time that they had removed skeletons from the mound on his property. Roughly three decades prior, the brother of Ezra Shoecraft stumbled upon several skeletons that Burch described as gigantic. (I haven’t had any success with finding any mention of these skeletons outside of the newspaper article.) In the case of the skeletons Burch dug up in 1906, the two of them were reported to have been complete and buried in an upright sitting position while facing each other with artifacts in their laps. (Thanks to Dave McDonald, President of the Branch County Historical Society, for locating and supplying the 1906 newspaper article.)
After carefully unearthing the skeletons, Burch roughly estimated the height of one of the skeletons by comparing the length of, (presumably) the femur and the tibia on top of each other against his body. Burch reported to The Courier that the femur reached his vest pocket. Based on this exercise, Burch estimated that the two skeletons must be around nine feet tall each.
At some point, the remains were moved into Burch’s house and examined by a Dr. Gamble who thought of himself as “something of an archaeologist.” Dr. Gamble proceeded to announce that the remains were several thousand years old. Beyond the estimated age, the newspaper article gives sparse details of the two skeletons in question. One of them is reported as missing several teeth. In contrast to that, the other is reported as having thirty-two perfect teeth and a larger-than-average jaw.
The article goes on to mention that the skeletons were buried with several different types of artifacts, including beads and sandal-sole gorgets.
While in Coldwater in the 1940's, Wilbur Cunningham tried to trace the history of the 1906 discovery (the keyword here being "tried"). The doctor who examined the bodies, Dr. Gamble, was dead. The photographer who accompanied Dr. Gamble? He told Cunningham that although he remembered documenting the remains, the photographic plates were destroyed and he didn’t believe that there were any remaining copies. The real kicker is this: after Dr. Gamble examined the skeletons, they were, for the most part, dropped in a corn crib and left there. Sometime between 1906 and when Cunningham visited the Burch farm, the building burned down. Of the skeletons dug up from Burch’s mound, Cunningham was able to get one of the skulls examined. The skull in question was recorded as missing its lower jaw. It's unknown whether or not this was one of the "giant" skulls.
Along with having the remaining skull that could be located examined, Cunningham also interviewed Clark Burch about the 1906 discovery. For the most part, his account matches up with the account that he gave in 1906. There is a section in Cunningham’s summary of his interview with Burch that stands out as odd, however: Burch while discussing the skeletons mentioned that one of them happened to have a "double row of teeth" (taken as evidence by today's giantologists). Cunningham dismisses this as a similar thread in many other accounts of giants and theorizes that the double row of teeth may have just been irregular spacing.
Although Cunningham’s explanation is a neat one, the 1906 article shows that it isn't correct. Within that account, the author mentions that one of the skulls (the one with the abnormally large jaw) has "32 perfect teeth, not one of which shows a sign of decay." That’s exactly the right number of teeth to make two perfect rows of teeth, or a "double row of teeth" (see this post). It’s very likely that Burch was using an old idiom that Cunningham was unfamiliar with, simply describing that the skeleton had two healthy rows of teeth. Cunningham didn't understand the meaning of idiom, which had fallen out of use by the 1940's, and took "double row of teeth" to mean an irregular placement of teeth.
At the end of things, here is what we have in relation to the Burch giant skeletons: a newspaper account, Cunningham’s survey of the site, a skull that may or may not be from one of the reported "giants," and a few artifacts that remained in the mound after the skeletons were removed.
What we don’t have: definitive proof of giants in Branch county, Michigan. Unless someone can dig up the photos that were taken in 1906, I don’t believe we will be seeing anything that could definitely show that the skeletons Clark Burch dug up were in fact giants.
These blog posts were written by students in Forbidden Archaeology (Fall 2016)