They're Back! "White" Giants of North America Get Recycled Again from Nineteenth Century Texts
The copy and paste problem in fringe history has been with us mostly since the inception of low-quality popular history. Nineteenth century texts were rife with verbatim copying, often uncredited. People like Harold T. Wilkins and David Childress raised copying to an art form, but the internet has turned it into an industry. The Ancient Code website exists almost entirely to rewrite (poorly) other people’s articles, which recently included a wholesale rewrite of an Ancient Origins article on giant bones in Romania, itself an uncredited copy of still earlier Romanian articles, going back to a hoax. Granted, this isn’t much different from the Huffington Post’s business model of rewriting other news organizations’ content to build traffic, but it’s depressing to see how little original content the supposed warriors for truth actually produce.
Today’s case in point is a depressingly racist piece on giants that appeared on the Seven Tales website run by Helena Matias. This Matias is not, so far as I can tell, the scientist of the same name who works at the New University of Lisbon.
Matias begins her piece by copying from Donald N. Yates’s 2012 book on the Old World Roots of the Cherokee, which I am embarrassed to say was published by McFarland, the same company that produced most of my books. Yates, who holds a degree in Classics, is the owner of DNA Consultants, the company that uses alleged DNA evidence to “prove” that New World peoples are descendants of various Old World peoples, notably Greeks and Hebrews. (“Do not believe your government history books!” he proclaims on his website.) He also sells DNA “fingerprinting” kits to track a person’s ethnic origin for just $279. (Jewish and Native American ancestry requires an additional fee of $18 and $19 respectively.) Anyway, I’m getting a bit off topic…
Yates feels that the Cherokee are Greeks because he thinks that the name of the Cherokee warrior class is the same as the Greek term etheloikeoi, a word meaning “willing colonizers.” So far as I know the word appears only in Yates’s work, apparently back-formed from the name Eshelokee, which appears in the Cherokee Vision of Elohi, a migration myth telling of the Cherokee’s escape from a flooded land. (It’s often used as evidence for Atlantis or for Jewish contact by fringe folk on account of the flooded land and the similarity of the word Elohi, or earth, and Elohim, the Jewish plural for “gods,” respectively.)
Matias quotes Yates quoting the Christian missionary Horatio Bardwell Cushman that the first inhabitants of the United States were a “race of white giants.” Matias then follows Yates in following Cushman in declaring that the white giants were the same as a the Atlans, the imaginary Atlantean giants invented by the scientist Constantine Rafineseque, who had given himself over to outright fraud in an attempt to steal back glory (and money) from Caleb Atwater, his rival, who had gained fame and fortune by proposing a Vedic Indian origin for the Ohio mounds. Cushman’s 700-page History of the Choctaw etc. (1899) is generally held to be an unreliable source text, but it preserves some myths and legends not found elsewhere.
This is a bit ironic since Cushman was, for all his faults, an advocate of Native American rights and yet ends up entered in evidence for Native Americans being an Old World people!
Here’s the interesting thing: Yates added “white” to Cushman’s account, which did not use the phrase “race of white giants,” but did assert that large bones proved the account to be based in fact:
Also of the tradition of the Choctaws which told of a race of giants that once inhabited the now State of Tennessee, and with whom their ancestors fought when they arrived in Mississippi in their migration from the west, doubtless Old Mexico. Their tradition states the Nahullo (race of giants) was of wonderful stature; but, as their tradition of the mastodon, so this was also considered to be but a foolish fable, the creature of a wild imagination, when lo! their exhumed bones again prove the truth of the Choctaws tradition. In the fall of 1880, Mr. William Beverly, an old gentleman 84 years of age living near Piano, Collin County, Texas, and who was born in west Tennessee and there lived to manhood, stated to me that near his father’s house on a small creek were twenty-one mounds in consecutive order forming a crescent, each distant from the other about fifty feet and each with a base of seventy-five or eighty feet in diameter, and rising to an average height of forty feet; that he, when a boy twelve years of age, was present with his father, when an excavation was made in one of the mounds in which human bones of enormous size were found, the femoral bones being five inches longer than the ordinary length, and the jaw bones were so large as to slip over the face of a man with ease. This statement was confirmed by Rev. Mr. Rudolph of McKinney, Texas, and several others, all men of undoubted veracity, which places the truth of the former existence of the mounds, their excavations and results, as well as the Choctaw tradition, beyond all doubt and even controversy.
Yates got the adjective from a later passage in the book not written by Cushman but taken from a letter sent to Cushman in 1878 by Henry Sale Halbert, a former Confederate soldier and later expert on the Choctaw, who attempted to “prove” ethnograpically that Native Americans had occupied America only from about 1300 CE and therefore were illegitimate claimants to the land:
The word Nahoolo is a corruption of the Choctaw word Nahullo and is now applied to the entire White Race, but anciently it referred to a giant race with whom they came in contact when they first crossed the Mississippi river. These giants, says their tradition, as related to the missionaries occupied the northern part of the now States of Mississippi and Alabama and the western part of Tennessee. The true signification of the word Nahullo is a superhuman or supernatural being, and the true words for white man are Hattak-tohbi. The Nahullo were of white complexion, according to Choctaw tradition, and were still an existing people at the time of the advent of the Choctaws to Mississippi; that they were a hunting people and also cannibals, who killed and ate the Indians whenever they could capture them, consequently the Nahullo were held in great dread by the Indians and were killed by them whenever an opportunity was presented; by what means they finally became extinct, tradition is silent.
Halbert declared that the Mound Builders were a separate white race, “perhaps almost, if not quite, as fair as we,” who died out due to disease, their last remnants being the “white” Mandan people. Only when the great white race had died, he said, could Asiatics move into America.
Cushman himself was uncomfortable with this conclusion, but made the best of it since it represented what he assumed to be scientific conclusions from an expert. He suggested that Allegewi (a legendary tribe of bloodthirsty giants appearing in several tribes’ myths) or even the Norse—even in 1899 acknowledged as the first Europeans to reach America—were the lost white race of giants. He supposed that the story got mixed up with one of human sacrifice, which degenerated into a tale of cannibalism.
Matias continues copying Yates verbatim. Yates goes on to quote a nineteenth century account by Nelson Lee of a Comanche legend of the same white giants, but which I think any reader will clearly see is nothing but the Biblical story of the Nephilim amalgamated to some now-lost native story. (That is, if it is even real at all: The book it is in is often considered to be a hoax.) Lee is paraphrasing Rolling Thunder:
Innumerable moons ago, a race of white men, ten feet high, and far more rich and powerful than any white people now living, here inhabited a large range of country, extending from the rising to the setting sun. Their fortifications crowned the summits of the mountains, protecting their populous cities situated in the intervening valleys. They excelled every other nation which was flourished, either before or since, in all manner of cunning handicraft — were brave and warlike — ruling over the land they had wrested from its ancient possessors with a high and haughty hand. Compared with them the palefaces of the present day were pygmies, in both art and arms. They drove the Indians from their homes, putting them to the sword, and occupying the valleys in which their fathers had dwelt before them since the world began. At length, in the height of their power and glory, when they remembered justice and mercy no more and became proud and lifted up, the Great Spirit descended from above, sweeping them with fire and deluge from the face of the earth. The mounds we had seen on the tablelands were the remnants of their fortresses, and the crumbling ruins that surrounded us all that remained of a mighty city.
If that isn’t clear enough, Rolling Thunder went on to tell Lee that the “giants” are the same as today’s white people, whom God will destroy for their overweening pride. While Lee and the modern writers seem to take Rolling Thunder for a primitive sage, it seems possible to me that he was offering a sophisticated cross-cultural metaphor that intentionally evoked Biblical stories from the missionaries to make a point, and I would be rather certain that the wealth and whiteness of the giants, regardless of their Biblical connection, were a pointed detail added to make the comparison clear—note that these “white” giants also stole the land from indigenous people. It is rather insulting to suggest Rolling Thunder was any less able to make a rhetorical point than a white man. (The Comanche had been in contact with Christianity for centuries, but actively resisted missionaries.)
But Yates cuts out the context and thus turns this interesting cross-cultural exchange into simple proof that uncreative natives were uncritical reporters of the greatness of the white race.
Matias, who is actually plagiarizing verbatim from this blog post by Yates, makes them into Nephilim, with (sigh) double rows of teeth, adding that “the double row of teeth probably was selected as an evolutionary advantage in their beachcomber origin out of Africa” because giants, as all good gigantologists know, love shellfish, being evil and an abomination to God, that well-known hater of shellfish. Our authors know that the giants are Nephilim because they speak a “Semitic” language!
2/8/2016 01:42:07 pm
It never ceases to amaze me how these gigantologists know so much about a race of giants that have never been proven to exist.
2/8/2016 02:12:20 pm
Those who believe in giants seem to me to fall into line with those who believe in Bigfoot and alien visitation. They believe so because of shoddy second hand evidence, but never on hard scientific proof. Then, when asked to prove their beliefs, fall back with the old line "Well, science hasn't proven they don't exist, so they must exist because the people who believe in them certainly wouldn't lie."
2/8/2016 02:48:34 pm
The Nephilim of the Bible !
2/8/2016 02:53:16 pm
I sometimes think a lot of these fringy ideas find acceptance out of insecurity on the part of the believers. They see scientists and scholars as smarter than they are (some are, but others just have a better education). Being able to say, "There! These so-called geniuses don't know it all. They can't accept evidence when placed before them." makes them feel better about themselves.
2/9/2016 04:03:10 pm
Time Machine -- The Nephilim were just a tall tale. Get it, tall?
2/9/2016 04:07:55 pm
I don't know, Tony, I think that might have fallen a little short.
2/9/2016 04:35:37 pm
Tony - take the high way, its faster.
2/8/2016 01:45:10 pm
"Halbert declared that the Mound Builders were a separate white race, “perhaps almost, if not quite, as fair as we...”"
2/8/2016 02:25:10 pm
2nd to last line, 1st par, the a before depressing
2/8/2016 03:31:43 pm
Again with words that sound like other words? That doesn't make them the same word. For instance, anos (with that ene mark) and anus are two very different words. One means 'years' and the other 'butt'.
2/8/2016 03:40:43 pm
Well, of course the giants have to be white. Giants of color simply would not have the advanced mathematical and architectural skills necessary to build these great structures around the world.
2/9/2016 02:37:40 am
Please, don't let the Vieira brothers get wind of any of this! They'll be recruiting Scott Wolter to go on a giant hunt with them. Then the History channel will jump in with both feet and slap together a new series; "The Hunt for Lost Templar Giants in the Minoan Mines of Northern Michigan".
2/9/2016 07:36:22 am
How about "The Hunt for Nazi Giants in the SS?"
2/8/2016 08:30:14 pm
Considering the older sources for its contents I'd say that cut & paste fringe history dates back to at least the OT.
2/8/2016 10:43:53 pm
The problem is that there was a very tall and robust people, who called themselves the Andaste.
2/9/2016 08:26:02 am
I hate to say this but where are the bones? Seriously if "giants" existed on the north american continent don't you think entraprenuars would have been showing them for decades to make a few bucks? End of story.
2/9/2016 12:15:28 pm
Where are the bones? The bones in the Smithsonian collection were
2/9/2016 08:43:13 am
An odd note.
2/9/2016 12:38:05 pm
"living near Piano, Collin County, Texas,"
2/12/2016 12:05:47 pm
I want to commend Jason on his work to expose the hoaxsters, but I have also found some serious errors in his overall perspective on this topic. Moreover, I find the majority of the comments on this page to be woefully ignorant of historic fact, which is as bad a travesty as the disinformation spread by pseudoscientists. . Here's why, using quotes from valid publications as they appeared on February 12th of 2016:
2/12/2016 12:11:27 pm
2/12/2016 01:12:18 pm
This is well and good, but, we're talking about gigantologists insisting a distinct race of giants, usually white, was traipsing about North America...and the "evidence" is tribal lore and newspaper articles written during the days of yellow journalism.
2/12/2016 01:58:27 pm
Ploydactyly is a trait shared among all homo sapiens, tall or short.
2/12/2016 02:31:08 pm
I know about polydactyly and the meaning behind "doubles rows of teeth" and "double teeth all around". We agree this is poorly understood terminology, but there are gigantologists who still persist in misrepresenting both characteristics to claim proof of giants.
2/12/2016 02:18:24 pm
As far as 10 foot tall giants go...you are right that there is no evidence of this in the neolithic period. Meganthropus robustus (a rare form of erectus)and gigantopithecus blacki were around that height, but the former is a million years old and giganto supposedly died out 50 to 250 thousand years ago. However, if modern humans who average 5'8 can produce a nearly 9 foot tall specimen due to gigantiusm or another genetic disorder...isn't it probable that an ethnic group that averages 6'5 would likewise produce a 10' specimen via the same disorders?
2/12/2016 03:34:16 pm
My main beef with pseudo-scientists is that they read a term like "double rows of teeth" and immediately accept the idea that ancient tall people had shark-like Alien teeth.
2/12/2016 04:56:00 pm
"why does this happen so much with both your factions?"
2/12/2016 04:04:07 pm
".. does not prove that a race/culture of giants inhabited North America in great numbers...while simultaneously failing to leave behind any archaeological evidence."
2/12/2016 05:00:34 pm
When it comes to the skeletal measurements, it needs to be said that the method of determining height from the remains was inconsistent and has been found to be inaccurate when previously measured remains were reexamined. This doesn't mean all measurements were wrong, just that enough of them were to warrant further analysis to verify the initial reports.
2/12/2016 04:23:11 pm
"...failing to leave behind any archaeological evidence."
2/12/2016 05:12:29 pm
The archaeological evidence I'm looking for is the same evidence that normal-sized peoples have left behind. If giants existed in sufficiently high numbers to have their own communities, then there should be physical remains of those communities. Where are the giant-size tools, everyday items, buildings, midden pits, art/religious objects, etc.? Where are the communal graves, as opposed to individuals found in a handful of mounds?
2/16/2016 03:47:07 pm
"mississippian cultuers" were still active at European arrival.
J. Lyon Layden
2/12/2016 07:26:29 pm
The only reason that we do not have that evidence is because we no longer have access to it, due to Native American rights. We are not even allowed to extract the DNA of the Kennewick Man, which would do so much for Paleoanthropology. They are not excavating any new mounds, and the only money granted is for preserving mounds near highway sites. Their are mounds in the woods down the street from my house and they are likely full of the 7' skeletons of Mississipian "nobles" but I can't touch them either. Unless I spent my life savings on the proper methods, doing so would not result in "proof" no matter what I found. The current peer review method is too finance intensive, and any remains would get claimed by the Cherokee as soon as they were out of the ground.
2/12/2016 08:05:02 pm
Actually, the DNA of Kennewick Man has been extracted and sequenced. That happened in July 2015.
J. Lyon Layden
2/13/2016 09:17:50 am
I must have missed it. Did they only extract the mtDNA?
J. Lyon Layden
2/13/2016 09:35:02 am
OK I found it:
J. Lyon Layden
2/13/2016 10:09:32 am
If he has the LM3 insert at as high a percentage as the Ainu and the Indigenous tribes of the Amazon, that would tell us a great deal.
2/13/2016 01:50:12 pm
They didn't put KM back in the ground. He's still in custody of the Burke Museum and under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. For now, he is not subject to NAGPRA.
2/12/2016 07:35:49 pm
Why does a tribe with an average of 6'5 need a larger tool? Do basketball players get special tools at Home Depot?
2/12/2016 08:15:35 pm
This is where my point about gigantologists not agreeing on what constitutes a giant come in. You're going by realistic standards; most of the "evidence" for giants comes from articles claiming skeletons of 8' and above. I can assure you, someone at that size can't use normal-sized implements easily.
2/12/2016 08:35:58 pm
Well yes it gets tricky. A recent paper shows an extreme bottleneck of Y haplogroups during the neolithic all over the world. There is NOT a coinciding mtDNA bottleneck evidenced.
2/13/2016 02:27:03 pm
Hi J. -
2/13/2016 04:18:38 pm
Eating the human pituitary gland? Are you serious?
2/16/2016 01:56:34 pm
Hi J. -
2/12/2016 07:56:41 pm
"...We also have to remember that gigantologists have been inconsistent when it comes to defining what they consider a giant."
4/10/2016 07:35:39 pm
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