Passing “The Wadlow Test”: Questions and Criticisms of Giant Conspiracies

Following my recent appearance on the late night radio program Coast to Coast AM, where I discussed purported instances involving the discovery of human skeletons of abnormally large size, I have received a lot of feedback from listeners. With the good responses, there have been negative ones too, which highlight the divisive nature of the discussion regarding “giants” in North America and other parts of the world, and whether or not a wide-reaching conspiracy may be at play (an idea which, based on the evidence before me, I personally do not advocate).

Many of the responses I’ve gotten have praised the “level-headed” approach I attempted to present on the show, while some others have launched criticisms that include me being part of the alleged “conspiracy.” Some have even tried to assert that I’m working to aid in a “scam of disinformation,” as one listener put it in an email, while others still have reported that I’ve intentionally overlooked discussion of skeletons that exceed nine feet in height, perhaps as part of some personal agenda I’m withholding from the public.

As one correspondence alleged, in relation to my discussion of seven and eight-foot-tall bodies:

“[Y]ou know and so does most who find giants to be interesting, that 8 foot in size is small! When there are reports of skeletons of over 9 feet to 18 felt in length. Even Catalina Island had skeletons over 10 foot in size.”

The statement above interested me; unlike a lot of “skeptical” researchers today who would simply dismiss such a claim, the thought actually crossed my mind as to whether I may have missed something: what if there had been 10-foot-tall skeletons found on Catalina Island? Furthermore, even if this weren’t the case, might there be verifiable cases where skeletons exceeding 9 feet in length (or height, in relation to the living individual when standing) had indeed been found?

In a follow-up email, the author of the original angry email, toning down his criticisms a bit, only offered the following statement as further support of his claims: “As for the 10 footers on Catalina Island, it is well documented.” 

Well, after much searching online, in addition to correspondence with a fellow researcher who has amassed an impressive collection of similar reports, no such evidence of “well documented” discoveries on Catalina Island that involved 10-foot-tall “giants” turn up. There are reports, however, of an amateur archaeologist in the early part of the last century named Ralph Glidden, who had claimed on at least one occasion to have unearthed a 7.5 foot skeleton on Catalina Island with a spearhead lodged in its side; even still, Glidden was known to exaggerate many of his discoveries, hoping to maximize profit potentials and garner attention from wealthy investors he hoped might support his work. (For more on Glidden and his work, take a look at this article on the Catalina Island official website, which features a good summary of Glidden’s involvement in the discovery of skeletal remains on the island).

I noted while on Coast to Coast that photo records do seem to account for numerous skeletons exceeding seven feet in height were discovered on Santa Rosa Island; however, this still doesn’t quite hit the mark in relation to our long-sought “nine footers”.

This brings up an interesting question: What would make a nine-foot skeleton so important, and would such a find be any more significant than the numerous seven or eight-foot-tall skeletons already known to have been recovered?

I agree, skeletons within the range of six and eight feet aren’t really “giants” by today’s standards. I focus on a few of these reports, however, because they are some of the most reliable reports that display humans of larger stature that may have existed in greater numbers in pre-Columbian America than would be statistically high by today’s standards. I realize that there are other anecdotal reports of taller giants; in fact, during another correspondence that followed my Coast to Coast appearance last month, I was in fact sent some decent photos of a purported 9-foot skeleton. However, there were absolutely no measurements or other references included that reliably showed this body was the size that had been claimed at the time the photo was taken.

If a genuine, well documented length of nine feet or greater were discovered, I think this would be significant, as I described on the program, because it would pass what I call “The Wadlow Test”. This is a reference to Robert Wadlow, the tallest man ever recorded in modern times, who stood 8 feet, 11 inches. One inch taller than this would be nine feet, and that would be significant as it would be a clear “record-breaker,” though presumably a nine-foot-tall human could exist (and in likelihood, at some point they no doubt have; but again, we simply don’t have any reliable records for a “giant”of such size). Plenty of anecdotal reports do exist claiming nine, ten, and even twelve foot “giants” have been unearthed; but as always, there is no reliable scientific data that backs up any of these claims, a few of which I’ll list here for good measure:

1931: Skeletons from 8.5 to as much as 10 feet long were recovered from the bed of Humbolt Lake in California.

1879: A 9-foot, 8-inch skeleton was excavated from a mount near Brewersville, Indiana.

1833: Soldiers at Lompock Rancho, California, purportedly uncovered a male skeleton that measured 12 feet in length. Stone weapons and other artifacts were said to have surrounded the skeleton, which also possessed double rows of teeth. It is said that the body was reburied after its discovery began causing unrest among local Indian residents.

For some, the fact that my presentation of data on this subject does not include many of the unverified, anecdotal reports of “giants” such as those listed above (the likes of which make up the majority of author Richard Dewhurst’s recent book The Ancient Giants Who Ruled America: The Missing Skeletons and the Great Smithsonian Cover-Up) constitutes a “scam of disinformation,” as one gentleman put it.

Sadly, in my opinion many Americans are riddled with a variety of pathological thinking that caters to learning what we want to hear, rather than what the facts entail… and this leads to conspiracy theories (like the idea that the Smithsonian is “covering up” these discoveries). There are indeed genuine conspiracies, but we must be careful, as researchers, to not allow a perceived “cover up” to lead us away from REAL facts. I have, along with a few in the scientific community (who, unfortunately, cannot openly express interest in these subjects without harming their professional reputations) have managed to find records for large skeletons in the Smithsonian archives, that corresponded with newspaper reports which many skeptics have called “hoaxes.” Why weren’t those records found earlier? In likelihood, it’s because others didn’t know how (or where) to look, or just perhaps, they were so blinded by the idea of a “cover-up” that they would never have gone to the Smithsonian in the first place looking for those kinds of things, and hence, they stick to their 19th century newspaper reports, which by themselves only help us little in the long run.

Still, there is no reliable evidence, to my knowledge, that has ever come to light that offers definitive proof of a “race” of giants that once existed. Large bodies have been discovered, and record of them can still be found in various places, including the Smithsonian’s own archives. These, however, only offer us examples of what were, obviously, large humans; not a separate race, and there are almost certainly clear, discernible causes for the size of these individuals (such as growth hormone imbalances, etc, as still seen in the modern world). 

Anecdotes are not facts; they are anecdotes. And while I am not a professional scientist, I am a serious researcher who attempts to go about my research scientifically, and who seeks to understand these sorts of mysteries in verifiable ways that actually support my case, rather than merely writing stories about folklore and supposed “mysteries” that some writers, in truth, probably would hope that they simply remain mysteries. The discussion of such cases in a rather ambiguous fashion does, admittedly, leave more room for speculation, and hence, sensational offerings on half-truths and pseudoscientific presentations on the study of so-called “giants.”

To me, human remains of larger than average stature are evidence of large humans, not a “race” of giants that once existed, as was suggested by the likes of Ralph Glidden in his attempts to sell the idea of a “lost history of Catalina Island” to investors who would thus cover his expenses, and allow him to pursue what was, in likelihood, a genuine interest in the ancient history of the island. We can see why he would have said this, of course; whether or not doing so was ethical on his part is another matter altogether. But look around you today; how often do researchers of the unexplained offer pseudoscientific “theories” about any number of things, with little or no real evidence to support their claims? Sensation sells, and while genuine anomalies do exist, their stories are seldom ever told in their most honest and pure essence.

At the heart of the debate over “giants,” I think there still could be an example of one of these “genuine anomalies” I’ve mentioned. However, I think that the way the story has been sensationalized over the decades has done little to instill genuine interest among members of the scientific community who, if confronted with a reasonable case for the existence of humans of large stature that once existed in greater numbers than today (however unlikely that is), might condone the pursuit of such claims. On the other hand, it does seem that, perhaps rather than a conspiracy, there has at least been a very dismissive attitude many in academia have adopted when this subject arises. Somewhere between the apathy, and the allegations of conspiracy, there may be a genuine story hidden away here, waiting to be told… if anybody is willing to listen.

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  1. Sharon Day

    I’m very impressed with your ethics and your work, Micah. I have to say we get distracted by height and that is a good indicator, but I’m more interested in the otamid skull shapes that are found on these tall boys – os inca bone, prominent brown, sloping forehead, powerful jaw, mental foramens before the first molars. These don’t show singular oddities but signs of characteristics of a race. I personally believe it’s a race developed hundreds of thousands of years before homo sapiens emerged from Africa 60,000 to 100,000 years ago. This gave way to modern man supposedly having “lost” his prior ancient technology, because he was not the race that mastered it. It is also why parents elongated childrens’ heads and tribes sacrificed to the gods in the form of flesh (otamid skull shapes are carnivore and stories of giants agreed that they were cannibals). This is an exciting field of study. Don’t let naysayers discourage you because you are on a good path. There are more of these “tall boys” in the ground still than have been uncovered.

  2. MS

    It would be nice to have a skeleton. I have no problem believing that a lot more happened on this planet than we currently know. But I think people like Steven Qualye have made it almost impossible for most people to take this seriously. Find a skeleton.

  3. Terje Dahl

    My pages about giants here:
    Professor Lee Berger is a renowned paleoanthropologist from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. He believes that the humans could have been through a period of gigantism that lasted a couple of hundred thousand years, about 350,000-400,000 years ago. The question is why we have so many legends and scriptures telling that these giants lived to much more reset times!

  4. Pingback: Indian Mounds, 7 foot skeletons, horns & extra teeth — Nephilim Giants, or Shamans? | rephaim23

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