Review of "Giants on Record" by Jim Vieira and Hugh Newman (Part 4: Psychics, Atlantis, and Earth Energy!)
Choosing Turkey Day to conclude my review of Jim Vieira’s and Hugh Newman’s turkey of a book, Giants on Record, only seems appropriate. These are the authors, after all, who admit to being familiar with my work and yet repeat the same lies about the supposed double-toothed “giant” Benjamin Bucklin that I comprehensively debunked a year ago through the extraordinary measure of reading the original sources rather than secondary retellings. Shocking, I know.
The ninth chapter of the book is given over to out-of-place artifacts, and the authors take for their sources Barry Fell and other diffusionist authors, offering little to nothing in terms of original content. As a result, they present material like the Grave Creek Stone long dismissed as hoaxes. But since the authors feel that “forces gathered” at the Smithsonian to suppress the true history of America, they feel comfortable accepting hoaxes as real because they do not trust anyone with a degree or a job to evaluate what an amateur might better declare evidence of the amazing. And amateur they are: In double-checking their transcriptions of various accounts from books (many copied secondhand from Ross Hamilton’s first copies), I found transcription errors and missing words, which doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in the “best” newspaper and curiosity-book excerpts of about copper breastplates, ceremonial axes, and other weaponry the authors feel that giants once wielded. My favorite has to be a piece they quote from the Newport Miner of March 17, 1910, but which had been circulating in other newspapers earlier. It tells of a 10-foot skeleton found in Boise with the remains of a shotgun! The authors take this seriously, but because they did not read the complete article, such as appeared in the Sunday Oregonian—only an excerpted version—they miss the paragraphs in which the journalist describes that ancient man having been sealed alive inside a volcano! Anyway, the journalist reports that the story is known only from some hunters who claimed to have seen the bones.
The tenth chapter is perhaps the weirdest of all, for in it our authors admit to consulting Theosophical literature to develop their ideas about the early history of giants. This, in turn, leads them to conclude that the giants lived on the lost continent of Atlantis, and for information about the same, they turn to “two of the most gifted clairvoyants in human history,” Edgar Cayce and Rudolf Steiner. The authors fail to recognize the Biblical and fringe history origins of the two men’s visions, and they assume that their references to the giants of Atlantis were independent of the broader fringe history world, exemplified by Ignatius Donnelly, that identified Atlantis with the “antediluvian world” of the Nephilim before Noah’s Flood. However, the authors say that they do not intend to prove whether Atlantis existed, and therefore this chapter is meant only as an entertaining amusement, “a rare glimpse into a secret world, a mystical realm where giants were once said to have existed.”
They also accuse the Rosicrucians and Freemasons of having secret knowledge of the lost race of giants and present excerpts from Rosicrucian magazines in which authors put a Rosicrucian spin on news stories from other papers. The authors feel that these societies would not have reported information that did not comport with their doctrines, and therefore (since they cannot imagine a secret society would believe a Biblical claim that isn’t literally true) the reports must be factual and Genesis 6:4 giants real. Here, though, our gigantologist friends evince an unwavering incuriosity. They write that in 1917 the Rosicrucian magazine Rays from the Rose Cross reported that Judge E. P. West discovered a giant skeleton “about 2 weeks ago,” and they blithely note that Helena Blavatsky reported the same incident in Isis Unveiled. However, they aren’t at all curious why that would be, since Blavatsky wrote 40 years earlier, in 1877. Indeed, the incident isn’t just the same, so is the wording. Even without having access to the full article, it’s clear that the 1917 account is a copy, but Blavatsky wasn’t the ultimate source. She herself wrote that she was quoting from The Kansas City Times from circa 1876 (the exact date isn’t given). This is no Rosicrucian-Theosophical mystery; it’s just a bunch of hacks repeating a newspaper story in order, as Blavatsky said, to “corroborate the statements of the […] Bible.” Our authors, through incuriosity, have turned it into a mystery at the heart of secret societies—secret societies that published it for everyone to read!
The eleventh chapter takes the mystical notion still further and halfheartedly starts to ask whether giant hunters suffer from a curse, with material drawn from S01E04 of Search for the Lost Giants about the curse imposed on those who seek giants. They use David Childress as a source, including for claims of the imaginary platinum coffins of Nan Madol, a story which I previously showed could not have occurred as Childress, following Erich von Däniken, gives it. Then they sort of drop the whole curse thing. They also accept at face value, again from Childress, the unproven claims of Beverly Hills physician Bruce Russell that he discovered the ruins of a lost civilization of giants in Death Valley in 1931. Childress assumed that there was a “cover-up” of the non-existent civilization since no trace can be found, and our authors inform us that Charles Manson was someone involved (they aren’t sure how) since he was arrested near the site in 1969. Manson, you see, felt that the nearby Devil’s Hole aquifer was a portal into the hollow earth, where he could ride out a race war. Sadly, though, Manson was not a gigantologist, and the literature on the Manson Family’s beliefs make plain that Manson believed that he was looking for the entrance to the underground civilization from which the Hopi emerged in their creation myth. Manson even claimed he had descended into this hole and found a river running underground to the north. But all this is a different species of fringe history, one tied to New Age beliefs derived from Frank Waters’s Book of the Hopi (1963) and therefore not really relevant to gigantology. Our authors might have discovered some of this had they a more generalized understanding of the fringe history milieu in which they work.
The twelfth chapter focuses on Sonora in Mexico, where a lost city of giants supposedly exists, based on a single 1930 report of a single skeleton measuring a whopping 6’8” found by Byron Cummings, one of the most important early archaeologists of the American desert southwest. The chapter, though, descends into a continued recap of Search for the Lost Giants episode S01E04 (linked above) about the alleged discoveries of Paxson Hayes, and they provide no additional evidence in favor of the lost city of giants in print that they did not provide on the show, which is to say, they have a sum total of a few inconsistent anecdotes that changed markedly over decades of telling. Hayes, for example, originally claimed to have found Asiatic mummies with slanting eyes, bushy beards, and tiny feet, before changing his story to make them blond Near Easterners who built mosque-like homes of cement! A great deal of space is given over to obsessing over the Smithsonian’s noninterest in these “discoveries,” not a single one of which was ever photographed or presented to the public.
The thirteenth chapter contains newspaper clippings from Alaska, Hawaii, and California, and a recap of the same material presented in the remainder of episode S01E04 in regard to the “giants” of Catalina Island, California. Again, the authors add nothing new.
The fourteenth and final chapter claims to seek the “origins of the tall ones” of America which the authors attribute to a mixture of “enigmatic Denisovians, Nephilim, and visitors from other ancient cultures.” It is an iron rule of fringe history that Nephilim-Watchers must always be involved somehow. Anyhow, the authors follow Ross Hamilton in arguing that Native Americans had “protocols” for selectively breeding giants as their leaders They say the first giants in America may have Denisovians.
This chapter is long, and throws a lot of bad science at the reader. Frankly, my eyes glazed over at all the faulty logic and bad assumptions, and I can only touch on some of the major problems. We begin with the fact that the authors rely on Andrew Collins, Michael Tellinger, Michael Cremo, and Graham Hancock for their information—all of whom have credibility issues in terms of their shaky relationship with facts. That said, they present Tellinger’s interview with Francis Thackeray, a South African anthropologist who claims that a fragment of femur found in 1960 is anatomically modern and larger than any he had ever seen. The bone is quite a bit more robust, but there is no indication in the video whether it represents a pathological individual (such as one suffering from gigantism) or something else entirely. I have no idea what to make of it.
The authors next identify giants as carrying specific traits: red hair and “European” haplogroup X, but they seem unable to identify this as separating their conclusions from those of Ross Hamilton, their mentor, who had taken pains to play down the Caucasian traits of the giants in order to cast the Smithsonian scientists as the real racists. They freely mix fragments of science (haplogroup X, while a real scientific thing, doesn’t necessarily imply a European connection) with outright mysticism and propose, based on the work of a Lemuria believer (!), that Edgar Cayce was correct to place the origins of the red-headed super-giants on lost Atlantis. They argue, after Greg Little, that the Portsmouth Works, a circular earthen set of concentric mounds, is meant to be a model of the rings of Plato’s Atlantis because they find it hard to believe Native Americans could draw circles for any other reason.
They claim that these giants, once living in America, maintained the “purity of their bloodlines by interbreeding only with others in the elite royal class.” They feel that inbreeding would produce stronger and more robust red-haired European-derived giants who would have ruled over normal Natives as supermen, übermenschen if you will.
It’s clear that the authors are more comfortable with Atlantean supermen than Biblical Nephilim, for their section on the latter is more confused than usual and emphasizes the differences that various Nephilim theorists like L. A. Marzulli and Steve Quayles have with one another. Unlike previous sections, this one doesn’t seem to endorse the Nephilim theory, and the authors criticize Nephilim authors for looking for Biblical monsters in any unusual bones, giant or not.
They are much more excited by Jeffrey Goodman’s 1981 claim that human beings actually evolved in America. Goodman, who has a Ph.D. in anthropology, was a longtime advocate of psychic archaeology before embracing creationism and biblical archaeology. He has recently advocated the idea that comets prove the existence of God because God used a comet to create Noah’s Flood. Our authors see Goodman as evidence that Caucasians, giant and regular-sized, are indigenous to America. They also collect what they read as skeletal evidence for Caucasians in America going back to the Stone Age, either indigenous or diffused from Europe. I guess that would make white people the true Native Americans and thus reconcile our authors with Ross Hamilton, albeit in a more racist way than Hamilton would have liked. They do take pains, however, to note that Caucasians don’t have to be pale white, essentially begging readers not to see this as racist.
As the chapter comes to a close, they speculate on whether the alleged Younger Dryas comet killed the giants (based on Graham Hancock’s Magicians of the Gods), whether the giants mastered advanced technology, and whether electromagnetic frequencies made dinosaurs and humans grow to enormous heights by altering their DNA. “Could this have somehow been known by the ancient shamans? Were mounds deliberately designed and constructed to replicate or enhanced these energies—and even create an artificial ‘growth’ environment for the elite to live within?” Since we don’t have any giants popping up among those who continued to live and work on and among the mounds in modern times, I will say no. A group of monks lived on top of Monk’s Mound at Cahokia for generations and somehow failed to see their DNA change. Oh, wait, I’m sorry: The authors specify that the energy is “spiritual” so only believers will have their DNA altered with appropriate shamanic rituals that were lost over time.
The authors eventually throw up their hands at such a range of ideas, some of which they concede are “bizarre,” and conclude that America was home to multiple races of giants, drawn like a magnet to America from all of the world’s giant populations, hybridizing with indigenous giants until a comet killed most of them, leaving only a few to inbreed as the ruling elite of Native Americans. They claim that increased carbon dioxide levels produce more robust and larger humans (a claim they cite to Vine Deloria, but which the National Center for Science Education called “pseudoscience”), so climate change is ultimately going to lead to the return of the giants as humans grow taller and rediscover “earth energies.”
So, in sum, this “book” is a hybrid, luring readers in with the promise of documentary accounts of giants but tricking them into reading a New Age confabulation of crazy ideas revolving around mysticism and “energy.” On the plus side, this reveals some of the motives hiding behind an interest in archaeological “mysteries.”
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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