Our first piece of testimony comes from Constantine Samuel Rafineseque, who was for a long period of his life a respected if impecunious scientist. But Rafinesque fell on hard times and he started presenting increasingly unhinged claims about ancient history in a desperate bid for cash. A couple of months ago, I mentioned that Rafinesque invented a lost race of white giants called the Atlans (or Atlantes), but it turns out that he had some choice ideas about how these giants got to America. In his book The American Nations (1836), Rafinesque proposed that the Atlantes were the descendants of Cain and populated the Americas when they were sent there after Noah’s Flood:
The Cainites or Cabils have been deemed parents of the Atlantes and Africans. They were skilful, powerful and wicked, inventing agriculture and arts, building cities &c.: while the Sethites invented astronomy, letters and dwelt in tents. If the American Atlantes were antidiluvian, they must have sprung from the Atlantes Cainites, KIN of Moses.
In 1170 years after Adam, the Egregori angels of Mt. Ima, came to Mt. Hermon, in 20 tribes, under their king Semi-Azar, and uniting with the Cainites, gave birth to the Rephaim, Nephilim and Eliud, tribes of Giants, tyrants and Canibals: who made war on the angels and men. They are said in the Bible to have gone to Sheol (the lower world or South America) with their king Belial: where they were drowned by the flood. See Universal History.
The Giants dwelt in Talo-tolo, the world Tolo of the Hindus, where we find the Tol-tecas (Tol-people:) therefore America: called also Atala and once sunk in the waves; like the Atlantis of the Greek, whose Atlantes were also Giants or powerful men. The Egregori have been deemed the Titans of the Greeks, and Atlas was a Titan. Although Gigantic Nations existed in America, the Talegas, Toltecas, Caribs, Chilians, &c. being often such: the term Giant must always be understood to refer to powerful perverse men.
But Rafinesque merely applied to America a claim that was already circulating among scholars and pseudo-scholars that identified Atlanteans with the Nephilim and Atlas with Noah. Ten years earlier, in the fringe mythology tract Nimrod: A Discourse upon Certain Passages of History and Fable, the author, Algernon Herbert, asserted that “the far-flamed Atlantis” was “the residence of the Nephilim or Titans.”
If you want to go all the way down the rabbit hole, it turns out that Algernon Herbert was a crank of the first order. He was also the author of a book called Cyclops Christianus in which he tried to prove that Stonehenge and other megalithic remains were not ancient but rather medieval constructions in Germanic style, built for King Arthur. In that same book he endorsed the view that Native Americans were actually the product of Kublai Khan’s Mongol fleets, and therefore earlier ruins could not be theirs.
Herbert was a younger son of the second Earl of Carnarvon. His brother, Henry, who inherited the earldom, was the grandfather of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon, who financed the excavation of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 and accidentally sparked the legend of the Mummy’s Curse when he died of blood poisoning. It can be weird how these things connect.