This week, Nephilim theorist L. A. Marzulli welcomed giant hunter and frequent History Channel barnacle Hugh Newman to Acceleration Radio to talk about—what else?—giants. Newman was on to promote the book he wrote with Jim Vieira, Giants on Record, a book that he self-published in 2015. The interview got off to a bad start, half an hour into the show, which began with Marzulli’s borderline alt-right brand of conservative commentary, followed by commercials for urine stain remover. In the context of Marzulli’s idolatrous worship of Trump as God’s chosen savior of America, there is certainly some humor in his sponsor being a urine removal spray.
Anyway, Newman started his interview by announcing that the bones and teeth of a lost race of giants “have been disappeared by the Smithsonian and by NAGPRA.” He alleged that the Smithsonian collected “tens of thousands” of giants’ bones and destroyed them. That wasn’t true when he said it in 2015, and it remains untrue today. This conspiracy theory was invented by David Childress in 1990 as a result of an Indiana Jones fantasy crossed inchoate anti-government rage. Newman also finds it “bizarre” that the Smithsonian no longer displays the corpses of Native Americans for public amusement and edification.
Here’s the thing: The Smithsonian collected thousands of skeletons in the nineteenth century, but they did not collect bones of giants and then destroy them. I talk about this in the book I recently finished writing about Mound Builders, where I describe what happened at the end of the nineteenth century:
Exaggerated and absurd reports of giant skeletons seven, eight, nine feet tall or sometimes taller continued to fill the country’s newspapers, at a growing pace. Many of these reports ended with the refrain that “all the relics were carefully packed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution,” though the Smithsonian never produced a report on giants. In reality, the newsmen played on the growing prestige of the Smithsonian and sometimes exaggerated real efforts by the Bureau of Ethnology, and its Mound Exploration Division, to collect the skeletons of ancient Native Americans. All told, U.S. museums collected nearly half a million Native skeletons in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Smithsonian did indeed ask the excavators of graves and mounds to ship bones to the Institution. New boxes of bones arrived daily in the 1880s and 1890s, until the museum held 35,000 skeletons, of which 18,000 were Native American. They were not, however, the bones of giants. Once at the Smithsonian, the “giants” were reexamined and accurately measured. Most turned out to be incorrectly measured Native skeletons; others were reclassified as mammoths, mastodons, and other Ice Age fauna.
We know this because in those cases where experts were able to examine the bones of “giants” when they were uncovered, sometimes by medical professionals, they were found time and again to be the bones of mastodons and mammoths. Other museums in Europe similarly examined their “giant” bones and reclassified them as Ice Age elephants. Newman, however, refuses to believe this, even when reciting accounts of men holding “giant” jaws over their own faces, bones that were clearly those of Ice Age mammals. “It’s disconcerting and arrogant,” Newman said, to deny that these bones were those of prehistoric giant Aryan ginger cannibals.
Newman claims that all of this was an “agenda” and Marzulli claims that it was conspiracy of “Darwinists” to undercut Scripture and promote white supremacy. (Even though the giants are alleged to be red-haired and white-skinned, the new fringe line is that they are some kind of indigenous creature so the claim cannot be racist.) Newman claims that Native Americans passed on oral traditions unchanged even by “a syllable” for ten thousand years, so therefore myths of giants must be true. This is wrong on two levels, first because a story can be both old and false, and second because oral histories are not consistent over time. When the same stories have been recorded by multiple ethnographers, they don’t match, even over a few decades, let alone millennia. Some oral histories now incorporate stereotypical dinosaurs thanks to depictions of dinosaurs in early movies, as Adrienne Mayor found in writing Fossil Legends of the First Americans.
The more disturbing part of the interview is when Marzulli told Newman that he goes to Ohio to dig into Native mounds on private land, where it is legal, in the hope of finding a giant. He says that he conducts these digs with an archaeologist and a Native American present, but he is sad to have found no giants, only deer bones and “arrowheads.” Newman replies that the Mound Builders were a separate race of “elites” who were red-haired cannibal giants with double rows of teeth. He feels that the Smithsonian is trying to suppress evidence of this “lost race.”
Do you hear this, publishers? I tried to tell you these ideas are still popular and aren’t just a historical curiosity. I TOLD YOU SO!
Newman believes that burial mounds and dolmens were not actually burial sites but were “power” sites for “earth energy” in which one could place seeds to “supercharge” crops. Oddly, he has not bothered to prove this by heaping up some rocks and producing one of these super-crops.
Newman concluded by telling Marzulli that he and Vieira are working on a sequel about giants in Great Britain and Europe, and he will claim that the Denisovans—known only from a finger bone, two teeth, and a toe!—were giants and that Stonehenge had been built by giants nine feet or taller in height. The myth that Stonehenge was the work of giants is an old one, from medieval times at least, when the site was called the Giants’ Dance. Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain (8.11) that the “giants of old” had brought the stones from Africa to Ireland, where they built Stonehenge as a magic bath bomb (running bath water over the stones prior to a bath) before Merlin caused them to fly to Salisbury Plain. The trouble, of course, is that a medieval myth recorded thousands of years after Stonehenge’s erection doesn’t make it true. The story is part of a global folklore trend to attribute ancient wonders—even those whose construction has been documented by actual people and cultures—to giants and superhuman monsters. Thus, the Mycenaean ruins of Greece became associated with Cyclopes and Roman walls in Germany were said to be the work of the Devil.
7/6/2018 09:57:24 am
Jason Colavito: How is "worship of Trump as God’s chosen savior of America" idolatrous? Many religions are all about venerating certain people as chosen by gods (or avatars of gods) sent to save regions or people or the world - including Christianity, with Jesus and saints such as Mary Jesus's Mother. I think that such veneration is misguided (since Buddhas are superior to gods, who are often foolish and capricious when not violent), especially when applied to Trump (who deserves no special praise), but it seems not idolatrous to me.
7/6/2018 11:13:22 am
Jason Colavito: My previous comments were based upon the assumption that calling a practice idolatrous was meant to be a criticism of it as a deviation from Christian ideas that would be inappropriate for a Christian such as Marzulli. But I say that such veneration of a person for being a chosen savior is not so problematic as to be criticized as idolatrous by some Christians. Or are you trying to say that you can define what true Christian practises are?
7/6/2018 11:24:00 am
Have you ever thought about just starting your own blog, rather than leaving these "comments" on someone else's articles that somehow manage to be off-topic, passive-aggressive, and way too transparent in their real intent, all at the same time?
7/6/2018 12:04:31 pm
Scott Hamilton: I do not understand how my comment was "off-topic, passive-aggressive, and way too transparent in their real intent".
7/7/2018 02:43:39 am
He won’t start a blog. That is to much like work. It is more fun to burn down a barn than build one.
7/7/2018 03:02:13 pm
Riley V: Why do you think that I have no blog? What leads you to this conclusion?
7/6/2018 01:48:18 pm
Since there are no Buddhas, no gods, no God, no Son of God, no Mahdi (can't forget the Religion of Peace), etc. I don't see a problem.
7/6/2018 04:34:46 pm
Funny that you should mention reports of Indians 7 feet tall. I was reading today and yesterday the book "A History and Ethnography of the Beothuk", wherein were reported allegations that at least one Beothuk whom settlers killed was 7 feet tall. There were, it seems, general beliefs that the Beothuk were of exceptionally large size, wherefore those who took time to record their contact with them (the Beothuk being notably reclusive) had to mention that they were in fact of average size.
7/7/2018 02:45:41 am
Are they Golden State Warriors?
7/8/2018 09:07:20 pm
7/7/2018 10:02:51 am
Giants? I've shit 'em!
7/12/2018 01:43:40 am
Sweetie, "idolatrous" does not have to mean "a deviation from Christian ideas." In this context, it means "blindly, slavishly adoring without question." Veneration does not have the same implication of "without thought/question." Literally, the problem with Marzulli is that he is completely and utterly blind to ANY problems with Trump or the Trump administration, no matter how blatant or in your face they are.
7/6/2018 11:31:32 am
I wonder if Newman and Viera will try to incorporate Mark Hall's cryptozoological "true giants" theory. In North America they could work with 19th century newspapers' obsession with (human) giants for material, but I don't think Europe has that tradition. I'm not sure how excited even their most ardent believers will be in just a collection of medieval legends.
7/6/2018 12:10:33 pm
Given that all religions (including Buddhism) are based upon stories that could fairly (although inaccurately) be called legends, some of which are from the Medieval period, I would not be surprized if such a book might be able to be sold to followers (whose fascination with more recent American Newspaper accounts reveals their interest in collections of allegedly true stories about giants).
7/6/2018 12:55:35 pm
I believe there are Giants in the world. They reside in San Francisco with occasional trips to visit Dodgers, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Padres and others. They throw small balls, run on carefully laid out fields and attempt to hit small, round balls with clubs. When one of the hits a small, round ball out of the field, they all raise palms and slap hands when he returns to his carefully constructed tribal lair.
7/6/2018 01:46:03 pm
There seems to be some arcane history about these giants residing in northern California in the coastal village call San Francisco. According to the Elders, this tribe once resided totally across the continent in a compound called the Polo Grounds on the island of Manhattan. Some histories place them there as early as 1885.
7/6/2018 02:34:55 pm
I would only add to your list:
7/6/2018 02:14:33 pm
So a bunch of poncy George Wills and no one follows America's Game?
7/6/2018 02:50:14 pm
Actually, dimwit, my sign on name is related to a Baseball Player you probably never heard of, Clete Boyer, played with the Kansas City Athletics (who relocated from Philadelphia) the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. He also played in Japan. I more than likely have been following professional Baseball longer than you have been alive.
7/6/2018 03:12:22 pm
I don't give a fu about your sign-on name ck. America's Pastime (and I do mean "past") is baseball but America's Game is football. Similarly to the difference between chess and horse-racing.
7/6/2018 03:15:43 pm
7/6/2018 05:41:10 pm
Dear Americanegro. I, along with most other posters to this blog, ignore your comments as you come across as a total moron.
Albedo, the Nigredo Alchemist
7/7/2018 04:54:15 pm
7/12/2018 01:53:11 am
Albedo, the Nigredo Alchemist, it's only racism if you're calling someone a moron BEFORE they repeatedly prove it to you.
7/6/2018 06:10:29 pm
In the early 18th century one of the German states had a large military unit (maybe battalion size) comprised entirely of "giants." If one didnt know the back story they might jump to the conclusion it was because there was an unusually large number of giants roaming about that area. Turns out that the King liked to collect unusually tall men from throughout Europe and dress them up in fancy uniforms and parade them around like his own collection of toy soldiers. Men were often happy to sign up because the king didnt want to risk using them in combat and they apparently led a pretty nice life.
An Over-Educated Grunt
7/6/2018 07:26:09 pm
Prussia. The Potsdam Giants, or Infanterieregiment Nr. 6 of the Prussian army, Friedrich Wilhelm I's pet project. At its peak it numbered a little over 3,000. One of Frederick the Great's first acts was to disperse the regiment of giants, backfill with regulars, and subordinate it to another unit as a grenadier battalion of the Garde. Other European monarchs would send giants to Friedrich Wilhelm to gain his favor, including apparently in a trade for the Russian Amber Room.
7/6/2018 08:49:48 pm
Yep, that's it. A much bigger unit than I thought, though. I think there may have been other examples of monarchs doing this, but the Prussians took it to an extreme. Think that some of the unwilling recruits were even kidnapped.
7/6/2018 07:43:55 pm
Certainly Russian Tsar Peter the Great who ruled from 1682 - 1725 was a giant by the standards of his day, At 203 cm, ( 6' 8" ) he towered over his subjects and most people of his day. The average height for a European male in those days was 5' 5" so the Russian was looked up to in more ways than one.
7/6/2018 11:29:42 pm
Welcome to the Jerk Store hate blog. What tripe! Tonight’s new episode of Ancient Aliens Declassified is fantastic. But you won’t cover it! Jerk. I forgot to mention your cadre of fools, Gomers, Goobers, fake blacks, fellow closet gays, and sociopaths. Living in the closet is the sad part making you angry, old, and failures. Pathetic. Just pathetic. Bye!
7/7/2018 11:25:01 am
[SIGH!] You are my new hero, Hal. I love you. If I were a man, you would give me a boner. As it is, my wussy oozes for you, which is no small feat, given how close to menopause I am.
7/8/2018 07:46:07 pm
"... fellow closet gays..."
7/7/2018 10:08:21 am
I laid a giant stool earlier.
7/7/2018 12:12:29 pm
Well, quiver me sphincter, Hugh’s Poo! Thank you for your prodigious anal retentive collective memory! You’ve finally begun to answer the most important question that Ancient Alien Theorists never touch with a 10 foot anal probe, namely: do Ancient Astronauts have to poop? And if so, where do they make their deposits? Giorgio ought to know this!
HUGH'S POO (reprise)
7/8/2018 05:51:46 pm
Magnificent creative fecal fecundity!
7/7/2018 02:11:25 pm
The dude digs around in Indian burial sites? Has he not seen the film, Poltergeist? Anyway, that is pretty messed up and ghoulish. Usually when grave robbers go about in cemeteries, it's not legal. Or does he think he's Lara Croft in Tomb Raider?
7/7/2018 05:29:12 pm
"This has nothing to do with baseball, unless there is some weak analogy about the Giants. But really, there is a football team called that also."
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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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