First, here is Kirby’s version, the direct source for almost ever English language account of the incident, as evidenced by later versions referencing Kirby directly or indirectly as the source:
According to the relation of Father Jerome de Monceaux, the skeleton of a giant ninety-six feet long, was found in a wall, in a village named Chailliot, six leagues from Thessalonica, in Macedonia. This fact was communicated to him by Father Jerome de Rhetel, missionary in the Levant, who in a letter written from the island of Scio, adds that this giant's skull was found entire, and was so capacious as to contain 210 pounds of corn; that a tooth belonging to the under jaw, when drawn, weighed fifteen pounds, and was seven inches two lines in length; that the smallest bone of the little toe of one of his feet was equal to it in size; that the arm bone from the elbow to the wrist, was two feet four inches, eight lines round; and that two soldiers with their jackets and coats with large sleeves, found no difficulty in running their arms thus covered through the cavity of this stupendous bone. Quenel, French Consul at Thessalonica, ordered an account of this monstrous skeleton to be drawn up and deposited among other public acts in Chancery. He received from the Pacha, the principal bones, and purchased the remainder from other persons who had taken them into their possession.
In the year 1701, in the month of January, in a village named Coloubella, six leagues from Thessalonica in Macedonia, there was discovered the body of a giant, buried near the sea in an ancient wall, long and thick. The sea has gradually eroded this wall over many centuries, and the rain finally caused it to collapse and brought to light the giant of which we speak. He was 96 royal feet long, and his skull could easily hold fifteen bushels (Paris measure) of wheat. A tooth weighed fifteen pounds, and was seven inches and two lines of royal measure in length. Another tooth, without its root, weighed two and a half French pounds. Yet another tooth weighed two pounds eleven ounces and six drachmas. A fourth tooth weighed two pounds thirteen ounces.
The smallest bone in the little toe of the foot measured seven inches and two lines by royal measure, an arm bone’s circumference was two feet four inches and two lines. One could insert one’s fist into one of the arm bones. Everyone threw themselves into getting some of the parts, and they carried the principal ones to the Pasha and Great Lord. Among those who give relations of this are Mr. Quasinet, the French consul at Thessalonica, who made an official report of this, and Father Jérôme de Rhetel, a Capuchin missionary in the Levant, who saw these bones. The aforesaid Father Jérôme sent (an account of) the thing to the reverend Capuchin Father Jérôme de Mousicaux in Paris at (the Rue de) Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and had co-sign the letter the aforesaid consul, and Constantin Peronne, Loicheta, Flot Chirurgien, and Jean Attuchi, who having said that they saw these bones, signed on as witnesses.
Now, since Kirby’s version contains some details not found in Calmet, as well as some mistranslations, it would seem that there must be an additional source, which initially I thought had been intermediary between the two. For example, in 1749 Antoine Gachet d’ Artigny repeated the story in Nouveaux memoires d’histoire, and the details changed. This time the event took place in 1691 in Colloubella, and the wording, while almost identical to Calmet’s, is closer to Kirby’s overall:
In the year 1691, in the month of January, in a village named Colloubella, six leagues from Thessalonica in Macedonia, there was found the skeleton of a giant 96 feet long, and the skull also could hold fifteen bushels (Paris measure) of wheat. A tooth weighed fifteen pounds, and an arm bone was two feet and eight lines in circumference. Two officers were able to place in the hollow of this bone their arms, covered with their jackets and sleeves. Everyone threw themselves into getting some of the parts, and they carried the principal ones to the Pasha and Great Lord. Mr. Quinet, the French consul at Thessalonica, made an official report to the King, his master. Father Jérôme de Rhetel, a Capuchin missionary in the Levant, witnessed the discovery and made (an account of) the thing to Father Jérôme de Mousicaux, his brother in Paris, at (the Rue de) Faubourg Saint-Honoré. To make it most authentic, he had co-sign the letter M. Quinet, Constantin Peronne, Loicheta, Flot Chirurgien, and Jean Attuchi, who having said that they saw these bones, signed on as witnesses.
My mistake was in assuming that Calmet was close to the origin point just because his was the oldest published version I could find. All became clear when I discovered that in 1748, François Planque, published in the Bibliothèque choisie de médecine the closest I can come to the original text of the whole mess, which was originally written and distributed in 1692, the “Histoire générale des géants” by the physician Claude Comiers d’Ambrun. This settles once and for all the issue of who screwed up what and puts the whole taxonomy of varying accounts into stark relief. Here is what he said:
I am obliged to speak of what the Father Hierome des Monceaux, Capuchin missionary of the Rue Saint Honore, just told me about the skeleton of a giant 96 feet long, which was found last September, in the wall of the village of Cailloubella, which they call Chailliot, six leagues from Thessalonica in Macedonia. Here are the other particulars, as they were written from the island of Scio by the Father Hierome de Rhetel of the same Order, a missionary in the Levant.
The skull was found whole. They filled it with wheat, and it held six quilots, which weighed 210 Parisian pounds, which is equivalent to 10 and a half bushels by Paris measure. I have here the original of the letter.
A tooth, which had come from the lower jaw, having been pulled out, weighed fifteen pounds. It was a pan in height, which is seven inches and two lines by royal measure. The last phalange, that is, the littlest bone of the smallest toe of the foot, was also a pan long.
One of the arm bones, from the elbow to the wrist, was four pans in circumference, which is two feet four inches and eight lines. Two Captains were able to place in the crux of this bone their arms wearing their jackets and “just-in-hands” with large sleeves. M. Quenet, the consul of our nation in Thessalonica, made a report on October 12 for the Authentic Acts of the Chancellery. He was awarded by the Pasha the principal pieces of the skeleton, and he accepted the other pieces, which were seized from private individuals. These he sent to His Majesty.
From the computation that was made, and by measuring the space occupied by this skeleton, it is believed that the monstrous body was 170 pans in height, that is to say, twenty-one canes of eight pans each, each pan being about ten inches.
The consul did draw up a report in good form of this discovery, which several witnesses, persons of character and reliable, with many other spectators, all signed.
Anyway, it’s likely that there are some additional seventeenth century French texts that presented either Father Jerome’s or the consul’s reports more fully, but I imagine this is close enough to let us see what happened and how the story grew and spread.