I know that many of you are waiting for the next part of my review of Graham Robb’s Discovery of Middle Earth, but it’s a slow, dense read, and it’s going to take extra time for me to read far enough ahead for the next part—unless you really want a 15 part series, which I imagine would get old fairly fast. I hope to have the next part for tomorrow.
You will, I trust, remember Doug Woodward, a Christian apologist who criticized me for criticizing the “Nephilim theorist community” over claims that sin is transmitted through deoxyribonucleic acid. Woodward contacted me privately to inform me that he would be publishing another rebuttal and asked me to refrain from criticizing it lest he feel compelled to respond in an infinite spiral of mutual criticism.
For interested parties, Woodward’s re-rebuttal is here.
Unbeknownst to me, my discussion of the Nephilim has apparently provoked discussion among Christian Nephilim theorists, with new criticism from Diana Learn that I am engaging in “scurrilous accusations.” She asks whether I can “fully understand the nuances of the alternative claims of Bible-believing Christians.” Learn agrees, however, that regardless of the factual arguments, all of our disagreements reduce to whether we believe Genesis to be inerrant.
Both Woodward and Learn attribute to me naturalist, materialist, and atheist beliefs (religiously held beliefs, Woodward says), which they derive from the fact that I ask for evidence of the supernatural before endorsing its reality. Woodward, however, criticizes Learn for failure to endorse Christian supernaturalism as thoroughly as he would like. However, both Learn and Woodward would like me to correct the following errors, which I will relate with minimal comment:
With those corrections in the interest of fairness, I will now say a word about Woodward’s final objection, in which he took me to task for dismissing his claims of copper-armor giants without sufficient warrant, arguing that my “disdain” for his evidence was not proof of its failure. He’s right. He provided a citation to the story, claiming that eight armor-covered giants were found in Walkerton, Indiana in 1925, as reported in his book The Final Babylon (2013). Since this is a testable claim for the depth and persuasiveness of Woodward’s Nephilim research, it deserves careful and thorough treatment to show just how sloppy Nephilim scholarship is.
Let’s dispense with the simplest part of the claim first. The photograph Woodward identifies as the “giant” burial from 1925 is almost certainly a modern photograph, as indicated by the black-and-white measuring reference seen in the photo, not exactly standard equipment for 1920s amateur diggers; he was probably confused by this website which uses it as an illustration and labels it an Adena burial. The photograph does not, as he asserts, depict copper armor.
The story of the giants was first reported in the South Bend Tribune for October 4, 1925 under the headline “Skeleton in Armor Found in Indian Burial Mound.” Although I do not have access to this article, the story was then picked up and summarized by national media. Here is an original Time magazine report from November 16, 1925:
At Walkerton, Ind., a farmer opened a mound, disclosed eight skeletons, one of them clad in copper armor, lying feet together like spokes in a wheel. A giant for stature had a flint arrow head embedded in his skull. The bones appeared to be of Mound Builders.
The report says only one wore copper armor, most likely a copper breastplate like those known from ancient Native burials, and the report said nothing about the skeletons being nine feet tall. The media reports found nothing especially unusual about the size of the bones, which were in keeping with the slightly larger than average size for pre-Columbian Native peoples, who routinely were several inches to a foot taller than Europeans.
The secretary of the Northern Indiana Historical Society investigated and reported the results in in the Indiana History Bulletin for 1926. No surprise, but there is no mention of “giants.”
Carl Litchfield of Teegarden, and Jesse Lichtfield, who lives just north of Teegarden, recently excavated a mound on the farm of Grove Vosburg, some three miles north of Walkerton. The mound is reputed to be of great antiquity and this seems to be confirmed by the memory the owner of the farm has of an oak tree a yard in diameter formerly growing on top, which fell down about twenty years ago. The mound was at one time about twenty-five feet high but in recent years its height has been decreased. At a depth of about twelve feet, the Litchfields found eight skeletons in an arrangement somewhat like the spokes of a wheel with their heads toward the center. In the skull of one of the skeletons, said to be of large size, a fine flint arrow was embedded. With this same skeleton several plates of copper were found. The excavation also brought to light a number of other articles, bands, beads, etc., and two pipe bowls, one smooth, and the other elaborately carved.
It wasn’t even armor! Just copper plates, like the artifacts known from the same period, particularly the Mississippian copper chest plates, many of which were elaborately shaped into bird-men motifs. The earlier Hopewell culture made use of similar copper plates, including large copper head plates for a headdress, which could resemble sheets of armor and were probably what were found in the mound in question. No one claimed the skeletons were supernatural, only that one skull was “large.” Even if it were unusually large, it is only one of eight. The artifacts buried with the skeletons are typical of the area’s native populations.
From these reports, the myth of “giants” emerged.
By 1965, the Rosicrucian Digest had made them into “eight giants,” though recognizing that only one wore armor. As the story grew, the “eight giants” became “eight-foot giants,” almost as if the number of giants became confused with their size. Suddenly, they all started to sport armor. The key transformation took place with Jim Brandon’s Weird America (1978) where the skeletons were claimed to be giants and “all were wearing heavy copper armor.” Charles DeLoach in his Giants: A Reference Guide from History, the Bible, and Recorded Legend (1995), altered this, probably by mistake, to (in quotation marks) “substantial copper armor”—still a far cry from the “copper plates” associated with just one of them. From Weird America and from Giants, everyone from David Childress to Wayne May to Doug Woodward takes his information. And they all claim the giants and armor “disappeared,” with Childress suggesting a Smithsonian conspiracy. But there aren’t any giants or suits of armor to hide! None of these recycling authors went looking for normal-sized skeletons with typical Hopewell copper artifacts, which the original reports were very clear about.
And thus the modern myth of eight armor-clad giants, recently identified as Nephilim. You’re welcome.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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