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.
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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