Review of "Giants on Record" by Jim Vieira and Hugh Newman (Part 3: Getting Around to Attacking Me!)
The next set of chapters of Giants on Record by Jim Vieira and Hugh Newman contain proportionally less original text and argument. These chapters primarily exist to loosely frame a collection of excerpts from books, journals, and especially newspapers, with the overarching theme that readers should give credence to the stories through their sheer volume. To illustrate the seriousness with which the authors contemplate ancient legend we need only turn to their statement in chapter 3: “Why such tales, if it was not a folk memory of some sort?” To illustrate the silliness of such a conclusion we need only remember that most folklore also includes dragons, which do not exist, and magical powers, which similarly are unreal. Oh, right: In the same chapter, the authors talk about how legends say the giants had magic powers!
As always, the authors’ sources range from untrustworthy to dubious, with only a handful of primary sources scattered among the detritus of Google searches, including Wikipedia pages and discredited nineteenth century lost white race texts. How does one review a set of reprints of Victorian versions of Native American legends? Yes, fairy tales and myths exist, but so what? They are no more reliable than the story of the Thunderbird is a literal account of giant birds or pterodactyls. The authors, in discussing the Lovelock Cave “giants” (unknown to archaeology and the product of exaggeration and sideshow promotions), reprint the infamous image of a dental cast set inside a normal human jaw and made into a comparison of modern and ancient jaws. Our authors, like Melba Ketchum and David Childress before them, aren’t able to understand that a dental impression is not, as they claim, “a cast of a modern human jaw” but only an impression of the teeth. The jaw, as you can adduce from your own face, is larger than the arc of your teeth within it.
From various legends—ranging from the Lovelock cannibal giants to the “slant-eyed” giant of Judacullah Rock—the authors follow Ross Hamilton in concluding that there was a continent-wide genocidal war in which various Native groups deployed giants as special forces. However, they differ from Hamilton in embracing old claims that the giants were either Caucasian (“pale white”) or East Asian (“slant-eyed”) and thus of a different race altogether, most being red-headed white cannibals. But because they don’t quite recognize their differences with Hamilton, they also claim when working directly from Hamilton’s book that the giants were Native Americans and selected for special positions of political authority.
The authors devote a chapter to the Mounds, which they consider to be earthworks devoted to giants and the giants’ zodiacal religion. Newman says that he experience tremendous earth energy when near to a mound, something the authors claim is common near the graves of giants. The town where I grew up, Auburn, New York, has an old Native mound at its center, in Fort Hill Cemetery, and there are folktales of ghosts and such surrounding it, but in all the years I lived there, I never felt any “energy” emanating from the mound. On the other hand, dowser David Yarrow insisted in the 1980s that he felt “high energy” coming off of it, so I imagine that the “energy” is tied to the expectations of the beholder, or else I am immune to mystic energy.
The authors present a variety of excerpts from newspapers, academic journals, and popular books, each reporting the discovery of a “giant” of around seven feet in height from within a mound. They conclude that “the sheer number of these accounts” proves “the validity of this theory” that Native Americans selectively bred giants to be their ruling class.
The following chapter is a “comprehensive selection” (whatever that oxymoron is supposed to mean) of newspaper reports and other literary excerpts about giants from New England. It contains nothing more than a couple of dozen excepts, none of which offers much by way of evidence that any of their claims are true, for the usual reasons, particularly the inaccurate height estimation formulas used in the 1800s.
The sixth chapter contains newspaper accounts of “anatomical anomalies,” again with almost nonexistent commentary and no attempt at critical analysis. These anomalies range from skulls six times (!) human size (which I’d wager, if the account has a basis in fact, is likely that of a young mastodon or mammoth) to skulls with horns.
The seventh chapter covers the infamous “double rows of teeth,” which Andy White has shown does not mean what Vieira and Newman think it does. In a blog post yesterday White broke down all of the accounts pasted into this chapter and explained how each refers either to worn front teeth that resembled molars, known as “double teeth,” or to the colloquial expression referring to the skull having a complete (and normal) set of 32 teeth, in other words, a full “double row.” Rather than repeat it, be sure to read his post. (Disclosure: Andy White lent me his copy of Giants on Record, which is what I am using for this review. Thanks to Andy, I think...!)
I will note, though, the authors mined the Talmud for references to teeth, but they missed the part (Talmud Bavli, Chullin 60b) where the ancient rabbis claimed that giants actually had sixteen rows of teeth! If they really knew their material (which of course they don’t) they’d have been better off citing folio 147 of the Book of Howth (c. 1485-1540), one of the earliest English language applications of the phrase “double row of teeth” to a giant.
Unlike previous chapters, this one includes summaries of material presented on Search for the Lost Giants, and the authors have clearly learned nothing from my extensive criticism and investigation of their “evidence” since they repeat the same misinformation and misinterpretations. My reviews are linked above, and I have no interest in repeating them again here.
The eighth chapter regurgitates Smithsonian conspiracies, which they weirdly link to the Institution’s “agenda of manifest destiny and the new theory of evolution” (emphasis in the original), and they assert that the Smithsonian controlled all mound and skeletons in America, which is patently untrue. However, since evolution became a major scientific theory after 1859 and Manifest Destiny a slogan in 1845, they instead locate the conspiracy not in the Smithsonian in general but in the Bureau of American Ethnology, founding in 1879. Of course, that leaves decades in which they Smithsonian was promoting lost white race nonsense, so the authors celebrate that early, racist era as honest and true, while blaming John Wesley Powell for ruining everything by founding the BAE in 1879 to suppress the truth. Sadly, the authors cite their conspiracy only to David Hatcher Childress, who fabricated it from lies in 1993 article (as I showed in 2013), but our authors know this and dismiss my criticism by saying that “Online skeptics [that’s me!] have ridiculed this article as the genesis of the Smithsonian conspiracy theory, but as we delved into these upcoming accounts, we quickly found it may prove to be relevant to gigantology.” Note: They seems to admit to being familiar with my website and therefore are actively choosing lies over the facts I have used to dispute those claims. What is especially sad is that the blog post they dismiss as “ridicule” was in fact based on much more solid literary analysis and research than their own fact-free insults aimed at “online skeptics” like me. I will remind you that I am an author published by Prometheus Books and McFarland, two respected houses, and who has been cited as an authority in dissertations and by major news outlets, while Vieira and Newman self-published this plagiarized monstrosity through a website affiliated with Newman.
Newman, who seems to believe the claim by Childress that the Smithsonian dumps boatloads of artifacts into the sea by night, says he knows a conspiracy is afoot because he visited the Smithsonian in 2014 and didn’t see anything ancient on display in the “cold, unwelcoming atmosphere.” He, of course, didn’t ask to see anything that isn’t currently on display. Most of the time, you can see things by making a request, and if that fails, a letter from one’s congressman’s office will usually suffice. The reason, I suspect, that news accounts say that “giant” bones were shipped to the Smithsonian but Smithsonian records found none is that the bones that were received were more accurately measured and, at times, correctly classified as animal upon receipt in Washington, as I discussed before.
The chapter then degenerates into newspaper articles and book clippings, and in places the authors’ screen grabs in the images of articles are so crude they neglected to remove the Google newspapers and/or newspapers.com highlighting on key terms and paragraphs before copying the article.
Since this chapter ends the “evidence” for giants and the remaining chapters begin a death-spiral into diffusionism, OOPARTS, and Atlantis I think I will reserve the final silliness for tomorrow, when no one will be reading my blog anyway.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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