Review of "Ancient Giants: History, Myth, and Scientific Evidence from Around the World" by Xaviant Haze
HISTORY, MYTH, AND SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Xaviant Haze | 192 pages | Bear & Company | 2018 | ISBN: 9781591432937 | $16.00
OK, so here we go again. There is yet another new book about the lost race of giants, and it’s… wait for it… more of the same. Regular readers will remember Xaviant Haze, a DJ and “giant” researcher who has expressed anti-Semitic views about the Rothschilds. Well, Inner Traditions, a company that has never met a bigot or lunatic they wouldn’t give a book deal to, is proudly publishing his new opus, Ancient Giants: History, Myth, and Scientific Evidence from around the World through their Bear & Company imprint. The book, a semi-sequel to his 2016 volume Ancient Giants in the Americas, is due out in June, and this is an early review.
The volume opens in ignorance born of a special breed of hubris, the kind of Dunning-Kruger effect produced by people to enamored of their own myopic worldview to consider that they may be wrong. Haze professes bafflement that large stones were used in ancient architecture, and, failing to understand them, assumes no one else has tried. “Mainstream academia pretty much glosses over these megaliths that can be found all over the world, assigning their creation to the will of the people or slaves being forced to haul gargantuan stones, weighing tons upon tons.” I’m not sure what is stranger, that he buys into the long-discredited claim that slaves hauled massive stones (where facts are known, it is usually peasants working together or providing required service to nobility) or the anti-democratic notion that “the will of the people” is a laughable concept for him. Heaven forfend that normal folk get it in their minds to do something great! If only elites had invented cheese curls and couches earlier to keep them down.
Despite his professed disbelief that ancient peoples could build megalithic structures, he trusts implicitly their ability to preserve for all time accurate records of their construction by giants. To that end, he also asserts that while he believes that mythological accounts of giants, especially those in the Bible, are true, he feels that DNA evidence that modern humans are a “hybrid species” with traces of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA suggests that giants are the “missing link” that has prevented evolutionary biologists from truly understanding where humanity came from. As he writes later in the book, DNA is the sine qua non of tracing giants, which means that mythic giants can be rationalized with appeal to Nephilim genes: “Given their role in ancient history, it seems reasonable that the Amalekites had a pure strain of Nephilim DNA running through their giant veins.” Naturally, as a fundamentalist and conservative, he prioritizes the Biblical account and frames his discussion of world mythology in terms of global peoples interpreting the Nephilim through their own cultural lenses. In so doing, Haze has announced his allegiance to a school of mythological interpretation that went out of fashion in the early 1800s, having reached its apex with Jacob Bryant’s New System in the 1700s, and which survives primarily among Biblical fundamentalists and the hucksters who write “ancient mysteries” books.
Haze’s religious allegiance manifests most clearly in his projected fantasy that academic and politics elites have a near-religious attachment to evolution, which he reads as atheism, and therefore refuse any evidence that might prove the Bible true. “Academia continues to deny the bones of ancient giants a rightful place in the annals of earth’s history while accepting no challenge that contradicts their evolutionary history of storytelling, contrary to the reports that say otherwise.” Oddly, he does not explain why scientists happily accepted other human species such as the so-called “hobbits” and the Denisovans, but would be upset by the existence of yet another human species, of larger height. Only his assumption of an anti-Christian atheist agenda can justify an otherwise inexplicable contradiction, but even here he has to assume bizarre levels of conspiracy to make a case that a “cover up” of giants has been going on for “hundreds of years”—i.e., before evolutionary theory even existed to justify such a cover-up in the first place.
Just to give you a taste of the quality of Haze’s book, consider the last line of his introduction: “Keep in mind the discovery of pits of giant severed hands that were discovered in what was believed to be Joseph’s palace in Egypt: a recent find that sheds a new light on both biblical history and the lore of ancient giants.” This claim occurred last fall in Breaking Israel News, a clickbait website full of religious fundamentalist material, interpreting Biblically a real archaeological find from the summer of 2012. The project director had said that 16 severed right hands had been found in the ruins of a palace at Tell el-Dab’a (identified as Avaris), Egypt, trophies of war. He added that many hands were quite large, as one would expect from elite soldiers, who were often chosen for physical size and strength. Somehow, for Haze, this becomes “giants.” There is no evidence that Avaris contains Joseph’s palace, but Christians identify ruins there with him anyway, based on the claim that Avaris was named for Joseph, under the Egyptian word for Hebrew, Ivri. It’s a stretch, but popular among certain religious fringe folk.
I have devoted so much time to the introduction to the book because it is one of the rare places where Haze engages in anything resembling a sustained discussion. The majority of the book is, like most of its ilk, a geographically arranged digest of newspaper and magazine reports of various giant skeletons, larded with unconvincing accusations that academia, government, the Smithsonian, or various and sundry other enemies of fundamentalism have suppressed the truth. Oddly, the media, who are on the fundamentalist hit list, somehow escaped the all-pervasive conspiracy since they wrote tirelessly on this subject. The articles, book excerpts, and other references themselves are a mixture of the usual: Some are hoaxes, some refer to misidentified megafauna bones, some refer to mis-measured human bones, and some are simply humans on the larger side of the normal range. There is little point in going through all of the accounts, few of which are discussed in anything more than superficial list fashion. This is doubly true since Haze has not bothered to trace back any particular account to its source; instead, Haze cites his accounts to fundamentalist websites like Greater Ancestors, blogs like Rephaim 23, and other online fringe sites.
To give an example: Haze cites an account of a six-foot-long femur uncovered along the Cor in northern England in 1660. This he cites to a blog post at Greater Ancestors from 2011, where the account is different and states that a skull and teeth were also found, supposedly representing a monstrous giant 21 feet long. This page, in turn, cites no source. However, I happen to know the source. The blog post plagiarizes heavily, often verbatim, from an 1891 article in the Monthly Chronicle of North-Country Lore and Legend, discussing the supposed remains of the giant Cor:
The etymon or genuine sense of Cor is the Celtic Curaidh, pronounced koorey, signifying a hero, a champion, a great warrior. In or about the year 1660 it was, when the banks of the Cor Burn had been worn away near the old Roman station by an impetuous land-flood, that a skeleton was brought to light, supposed to be that of a man of prodigious size. The length of the thighbone was nearly six feet, and the skull, teeth, and other parts were proportionally monstrous, so that the length of the whole body was computed at twenty-one feet. The wiseacres of the day were clearly of opinion that the remains were those of a giant, who had possibly flourished before the Flood, or had perhaps been contemporary with the Emim, the Zamzummim, the Zuzlin, the Anakim, and other giants who flourished about the time of the Hebrew Exodus. Some portions of the skeleton of this supposititious Tyneside giant were in the possession of the Earl of Derwentwater at Dilston in 1695; but what became of them after the ruin of the Radcliffes will probably never be known.
It should be rather evident that the original author treated this folklore as contemptable local superstition, and it should also be clear from the description that the actual bones that inspired the story, if there is any foundation to the tale, belonged to an Ice Age mammal, such as a mammoth, though the account above seems likely to have been greatly exaggerated.
To his credit, Haze tried to cite this in his notes, having done basic Google research, but his citation is so muddled (basically copied from the Google Books data, without any understanding of how a citation is formed or what the elements of it are) as to be practically useless. For example, he cites half of the magazine’s title as the article title, half as the magazine title, and the editor as the author.
I will confess that I have never before read a printed book that included virtually no books in the endnotes, only blogs and websites. About 95% of the citations are to websites, about 90% of those to just two or three creationist sites. Given that the book is Haze’s summary of other people’s websites, I am rather at a loss as to why anyone would choose to read the secondhand version of what is already available for free online. The chapters between the introduction and conclusion contain virtually nothing original, merely summary, usually without discussion or analysis, of old news accounts, accepting them at face value.
Arguably, Haze’s accounts are worse than those available online in that he sometimes gets wrong his transcriptions of material or omits key details. He accepts claims from known fabricators like Peter Kolosimo, and he also has a disturbing tendency to accept Russian propaganda at face value, happily transcribing outrageous lies from Pravda and propagandistic speculation (such as the claim that giants’ bones turn to energy “blobs” upon a giant’s death, thus vanishing) designed to delegitimize Western faith in science, a key focus of Russia for decades now. When Haze acknowledges that certain giant bones belonged to paleomegafauna, as in the case of Teutobochus, he does so in a backhanded way, implying that scientists for the past 400 years or so have been using mastodons and mammoths to hide Nephilim.
The conclusion returns to the theme of the introduction, speculating without investigation or fact about academic efforts to destroy the remains of the giants for dark, hidden purposes.
Despite the all-too-common “habit” of academia to “lose” or rebury those remains in museum catacombs, the documentation of their discoveries in the popular press is widespread. One wonders at the academic resistance to acknowledging the existence of our larger forebears: is it because modern egos recoil from the idea that anything bigger or better could have come before? Is this a form of species arrogance: not allowing any disturbance to the storyline that current humans are the victorious culmination of “survival of the fittest”? Or is it due to a fundamental dis-ease (sic) with visions of humanity too unlike what we know?
No, I didn’t understand the last sentence either. Perhaps he meant “unease”? Sometimes reading uncorrected galley proofs can be a bit confusing. But whatever the last line means, the acceptance of contemporary species or subspecies of human other than Homo sapiens sapiens, such as Neanderthals, Denisovans, “hobbits,” etc., proves Haze wrong. The simpler answer is the truer one: There are no giants.
Haze wraps up his condition by asking readers to use his work as a guide to help them hunt for giants themselves, which makes plain that the point of the exercise is not to discover facts or to learn real history but rather to engage with Biblical paradigms and live the Bible. I would think fundamentalists might want to live the Bible by caring for the poor and loving their neighbors, but apparently the cruelty and violence of the giants is a more visceral way of embracing the Word.
I will conclude with a word of anger. Haze ends his book by reprinting an academic journal article from 1943 that offered the first translation of the remains of the Manichaean Book of Giants. While the Sacred Texts website, from which he copied it, asserts that the article is in the public domain, I have been unable to confirm this. The journal’s copyright was not registered or renewed in the United States, which in theory would have made it public domain (again, depending on whether the journal or author owned the rights in 1943), but the journal is actually from Britain, which means that it seems to fall under a provision of American copyright law that restored copyright for foreign publications for a century within the United States, even if it is public domain elsewhere. (It depends on whether it was jointly published in the U.S., but it does not seem to have been.) Haze’s book contains no permission from the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies to do so, and the publisher appears to have made no effort to obtain permission or to assert public domain status. This angers me because I did try to obtain permission from the proper channels, requesting it from Cambridge University Press, the current owner of the journal. Cambridge refused to respond to my permission requests over the past year. It seems terribly unfair to punish me for trying to do things the right way while unscrupulous publishers make money off other peoples’ work.
2/14/2018 08:56:26 am
I'm going to make a sign for my office that reads "The fringe has gone ____ months without producing an original idea about giants." I'm not sure how far back we need to go to find the last original idea, but it has to be at least a couple of years.
The arbitrary behaviour of academic publication institutions is known very well to me. I even experienced this:
2/14/2018 11:50:47 am
Yet no anger at the person who decided a book should cost $226. You're an idiot.
2/14/2018 04:11:13 pm
Simply pointing out that you're an idiot.
2/14/2018 10:00:27 am
"The majority of the book is, like most of its ilk, a geographically arranged digest of newspaper and magazine reports of various giant skeletons"
2/14/2018 11:32:52 am
“Given their role in ancient history, it seems reasonable that the Amalekites had a pure strain of Nephilim DNA running through their giant veins.”
2/14/2018 12:06:37 pm
No mention! Surely you jest. They won the Super Bowl IX is 1198 BCE. They trounced the Super Giant Knights Templar One Hundred and six to seven.
2/14/2018 12:13:13 pm
The Bible is an unreliable narrator. Remember it took the Hebrews 40 years to get from Egypt to Israel, which is literally walking distance. And instead of sticking to the coast where the fish are they decided to walk around in the desert for a couple decades. Then, eventually, they came to the Promised Land and slaughtered TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO WERE ALREADY LIVING THERE. That's why I don't buy the modern claim of "Israel as the ancestral homeland of the Jews". And when I say "modern" I mean pre-WWI. Not WWII, WWI.
2/15/2018 05:41:04 am
The Amalekites are one of several ancient tribes known only from the Bible.
2/15/2018 11:57:43 am
"the geographic context of the Bible" extends from what is today Iraq to Egypt and what is today Saudi Arabia. Excuuuuuuse me for pointing out that a lot of stuff in the Bible is fiction.
2/15/2018 03:35:05 pm
2/14/2018 12:01:22 pm
The last paragraph is unbecoming, especially in light of the key phrase "I have been unable to confirm this." It sounds like Jason (like myself) knows enough about international copyright treaties and law "to be dangerous" i.e. "to be wrong". Many countries (Taiwan is the classic example) simply don't care.
2/14/2018 12:17:05 pm
U.S. copyright law is impossibly complex; determining public domain status after 1923 is a crapshoot, especially since records are spotty. The only way to do so with absolute certainty is to get a legal judgment, and that is cost prohibitive. It's not that I don't know the basics of the law (I took a semester of media law in college); it's that I do not have the publication records to make a case, nor information from the journal (which did not publish such information) about rights issues for each article in 1943. The best advice, as always, is to assume copyright until proved otherwise.
2/14/2018 01:39:26 pm
It's most certainly not a crapshoot when it comes to photographs; the crucial date is 1976. It is literally black and white.
2/14/2018 01:47:35 pm
Here's a chart: https://copyright.cornell.edu/publicdomain
2/14/2018 02:56:52 pm
I don't think the dead can currently sue for libel in England, and I don't think the issue with an article published in England in 1943 is that it would be in the public domain there but not in the USA.
2/14/2018 04:08:41 pm
"I don't think" is not much of an argument. I don't know what you mean by "only as an import from England".
2/14/2018 04:12:10 pm
A.N., my point is that I am angry that I have tried to follow the law and request appropriate permissions, but the publishers refused to respond. Meanwhile, those who don't care about the law do whatever they want without consequence. It is not "tilting at windmills" to express regret that the appropriate rights-holders are being uncooperative.
2/14/2018 06:52:07 pm
"I don't think" because, although I too have had some formal training in copyright law, I am not a lawyer.
2/14/2018 06:58:27 pm
"I am angry that I have tried to follow the law and request appropriate permissions, but the publishers refused to respond."
2/14/2018 10:15:05 pm
When I was an Acquisitions Editor, up to his armpits in Rights and Permissions I never did not get a reply to an inquiry, whether it involved journals or books, large, small or university publishing concerns. Your experience with SOAS is quite different from mine. Might I suggest you send a followup inquiry in case your first was not received or was misrouted?
2/14/2018 10:18:57 pm
"I too have had some formal training in copyright law"
2/15/2018 03:58:54 am
We're discussing a pre-1978 work ...
2/15/2018 11:46:36 am
"I too have had some formal training in copyright law"
2/15/2018 04:34:15 pm
Oops- I should have put 1963, not 1978
2/14/2018 12:08:08 pm
I'm not sure if you meant "loaded" or what you printed; "Larded." I like larded better. Kinda fits somehow. lol. There are lots of accounts of people of unusual size in recorded history. That is likely what has led to all of this. Most of them I have noted were Knights and were simply 6' to 6'7" in height "giant" in proportion to the average height at that time possibly.
2/14/2018 12:31:06 pm
However poorly argued Haze's book may be, giant skeletons have been found in sufficient quantity to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that giants must have existed. Even if the Bible had never mentioned them, we would still know that giants existed, just as we know that dinosaurs existed because we have found fossilized evidence of their remains.
2/14/2018 12:37:18 pm
I deny the existence "of a giant human race" because there is no evidence for it.
2/14/2018 12:59:13 pm
2/14/2018 01:22:37 pm
BY seems to think that quoting newspapers is the same as providing actual physical evidence.
2/14/2018 01:39:12 pm
The Delavan skeletons . . . yawn. Where do the height estimates come from? Go back to the original stories. https://www.andywhiteanthropology.com/blog/502-reward-for-photographs-of-lost-giants-the-skeletons-from-delavan-wisconsin
2/14/2018 01:41:37 pm
Brady, you're making the same mistake as Haze. You're accepting a newspaper article at face value and presenting it as evidence.
2/14/2018 03:07:58 pm
"First reported in the 4 May 1912 issue of the New York Times the 18 skeletons found by the Peterson brothers on Lake Lawn Farm in southwest Wisconsin exhibited several strange and freakish features."
2/14/2018 12:43:49 pm
So where have all these giant skeletons gone to? Other than the ones that still exist and have been identified as belonging to mammoths, mastodons and such?
2/14/2018 12:46:00 pm
You just wandered into the wrong corral there cowboy. Why not show us some links to pictures of the giant skeletons or your sources for such a wide ranging claim. Making popcorn now...
2/14/2018 12:50:10 pm
"Some are hoaxes, some refer to misidentified megafauna bones, some refer to mis-measured human bones, and some are simply humans on the larger side of the normal range."
2/14/2018 01:03:07 pm
Bone have been incorrectly measured when an amateur measures them in a way that is not standard. This can produce a small but noticeable difference if the correct reference points are not used. More frequently, a set of bones is incorrectly measured when disarticulation is not accounted for, creating larger than life results. More importantly, the size of the skeleton was often incorrectly computed when a thigh bone or other such bone was entered into old, incorrect formulas for calculating height. This can produce results off by 10% or even 20% depending on which older, incorrect formula was applied.
2/27/2018 04:50:12 am
To illustrate how easy it is to mismeasure a body part - where does a gentleman measure his "member" from? Is there a clearly defined point on the body? Can it be done in more than one way?
2/14/2018 01:44:21 pm
I may have to redo my occasional sig line:
2/15/2018 08:35:23 pm
2/14/2018 03:19:53 pm
The alleged bones of Wisconsin are nothing more than an elaborate but not too well orchestrated Interment hoax started in 2012, not 1912.
2/14/2018 03:22:53 pm
The Mejer museum near Grand Rapids has some interesting oddities including a similar 'skeleton' to the one standing, and it is about 6 foot 5 feet tall. You'd think if he wanted to prove there was a modern giant somewhere, he would go there at least and make a current picture in front of that giant.
2/14/2018 05:54:55 pm
I think where he says, "Or is it due to a fundamental dis-ease with visions of humanity too unlike what we know?" that he means 'unease'. Some sort of attempt to be clever, I suppose.
2/15/2018 07:28:23 pm
"Dis-ease" is a New Age-ism, where energy blockages caused by your dis-ease manifest in the body as disease (get it? dis-ease / disease!)
2/18/2018 05:03:43 pm
Ah my favorite quote:
2/27/2018 04:51:01 am
"One wonders at the academic resistance to acknowledging the existence of our larger forebears: is it because modern egos recoil from the idea that anything bigger or better could have come before?"
2/28/2018 05:35:32 pm
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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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