Last evening I received a series of emails from a Canadian gigantologist who accused me of stealing my page of newspaper articles about the discovery of alleged giant skeletons from his website and his unpublished archive of newspaper articles. The gigantologist, Scott Reaney of Canada, claimed that in 2010 he invented the idea of compiling newspaper accounts of giants, that my list of articles was suspiciously similar to his own, and that—worst of all—I was using these articles for an “agenda.” That agenda apparently included using the list of entries for keyword searches (an invalid methodology, he claimed) and statistical analysis, a blasphemous violation of the sanctity of the original texts, which must be read individually as discrete units; hence the reason they should not be digitized in a keyword searchable format instead of being presented as scanned pictures of the articles, as most gigantologists prefer. He was particularly incensed that I wrote that newspaper accounts of giants were comparatively rare before the Cardiff Giant hoax.
Reaney immediately published statements on his website accusing me of being a liar for taking a skeptical view of newspaper reports of giants and applying critical thinking to the newspaper stories. He also asked for his readers to send me hate mail: “I encourage you to contact Colavito to make him aware of the fact that he is completely full of crap... and it is clear that his sole purpose is to push his personal agenda.”
Frankly, it pissed me off that Reaney berated me for judging, following Andy White’s statistical analysis, that newspaper stories of giant skeletons were less frequent before the Cardiff Giant hoax than afterward, when on his own website he writes that “these stories were so common prior to WW2... then abruptly taper off.” Really? And how might you have come to that conclusion without statistical analysis of some sort, even a rough one?
I informed Reaney that not only had I never heard of him or his website, but that my list of articles was significantly different from his own. I emphasized that chronological order is not a copyrightable organizational framework, and I did nothing to hide the fact that many of the sources from which I compiled my collection of public domain material were his fellow gigantologists, whom he immediately accused of stealing from him to further their agendas. I make no bones about the fact that I am a skeptic; it’s on my homepage, and I can’t imagine how anyone could be shocked and offended to discover it.
I thought you might enjoy a taste of this fellow’s hate mail, from one of his missives:
It was not an issue of chronological order (proving once again that you are a total idiot); it was about the fact that you are a liar with an agenda, and you have been caught lying on your own website.
Now why would Reaney be so upset about a webpage that puts together a bunch of newspaper articles all in one place in an easy-to-read format? Oh, right: He and his co-author, Mike Marshall, were hoping to turn their collection of newspaper articles into a book called Chronologies: Book of Giants. In 2014 they asked for $10,000 from supporters for the effort, of which they raised $202. A free resource is competition.
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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