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The Vast Smithsonian and NAGPRA Conspiracy to Cover Up Giants.

Many who claim to be studying the idea of giants will often suggest there is some great conspiracy to cover up the existence of said giants by the Smithsonian Institution.

As with every other conspiracy that surrounds pseudoarchaeology and pseudoscience, I always have to ask why? What purpose does covering up the existence of giants achieve? No one can ever give me an answer for this, beyond “oh scientists, are protecting their jobs,” or what have you. “Something, something, scientific dogma.”

The reality of it is that if there was a race of giants out there, and archaeologists or paleoanthropologists found them it be all over the place as soon as everything was verified. Possibly even before that.

It has been suggested by some that the reason giant theorists believe there is a conspiracy to hide the existence of giants, is linked directly to the Bible, and the belief that Nephilim in the Bible are giants. Thereby the conspiracy really is science is trying to cover up evidence for support of the biblical religions.

Again why? What possible purpose could there be in doing this?

In this vein, however, two organizations have been routinely blamed for the cover-up of giants in North America. The first is the Smithsonian Institution, which is often accused of either hiding or destroying evidence of giants.

The second, is a law known as NAGPRA, which is the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

I have some opinions here if you can’t tell.

First, let’s examine this idea that the Smithsonian is covering up the existence of giants. The Smithsonian gets blamed for a lot of things, and it’s treated as if it is some great secretive cabal, branch of the Illuminati, that is the keeper and disseminator of all approved knowledge to the people. I don’t know where this comes from, other than the whole idea of the Smithsonian and similar museums, being repositories for haunted or unusual, or cursed objects. This leads to a crossover with the Paranormal Archaeology blog, and Jeb Card’s work into the concept of haunted museums.

I’m not saying that giants are ghosts, but I suppose you could have a giant ghost, that thereby lives inside the Smithsonian, because apparently, they have giant skeletons that they’re hiding there… don’t try to think too hard on that one.

The accusations against the Smithsonian that they hide and, more recently, admitted to destroying giant remains, is one with a modern origin, so it appears.

Jim Vieira brings up this accusation in the short-lived The Search for Lost Giants television show we’ve addressed heavily on this blog. Vieira makes the accusation that the Smithsonian is suppressing evidence of a lost race. He is not the first to do so, it is just with the platform of a television show on a major network it gave him more exposure than others and possibly brought the accusation to a broader audience for the first time.

In The Search for Lost Giants, Vieira spends a lot of time trying to build his argument for the Smithsonian cover-up. He quotes several old articles from the 1920s through the 1930s, suggesting the recovery of skeletons of large-size. He uses these articles as evidence in his show and also uses other articles that claimed the remains are shipped back to the Smithsonian. Assuming both sets of articles are true, it would lead one to believe that giant skeletons were indeed found, and the Smithsonian should be in possession of them.

He even has a scapegoat for his theory. Dr. Aleš Hrdlička who was the director of anthropology for the U.S. National Museum during the time in question, and Vieira likes to blame him for suppressing the truth about Giants. Again there is no actual evidence of any of this other than Dr. Hrdlička was working there at the time. What becomes even more damning of this accusation is that Vieira never bothers to even verify any part of it. He’s never confirmed the validity of the articles he uses as evidence, and to my knowledge, he’s never called the Smithsonian to ask about the supposed shipments of giant bones. I’m sure if he had, he would be disappointed, or maybe not, but without him attempting to do so, we will never know.

But where does Vieira even get this idea from in the first place? As I said, it seems to be a very modern accusation popularized by Ross Hamilton, a well-known ‘gigantologist,’ and David Childress, who appears to have originated the idea back in 2001. Childress likes to position himself as a “rogue archaeologist,” though he is not qualified in any way to call himself an archaeologist. To my knowledge, he hasn’t even had cursory introductory courses in archaeology, and I believe it shows in the writings and ideas that he chooses to support. Not a Childress fan if you can’t tell.

One of the motivations behind Childress’ beliefs about giants is that he’s bought into the Victorian idea that there was a race of giants that built the earth mounds in North America. This is merely a repeat of the mound builder myth that was long ago disproved by both the Smithsonian and Cyrus Thomas, who was working for the Smithsonian. Other individuals who dismiss the mound builder myth as fantasy include several archaeologists of the 19th century, archaeological efforts by researchers like Alice Fletcher, Zela Nuttal, and Frederick Ward Putnam, the Peabody Museum, and Thomas Jefferson who excavated a mound on his property, and determined that it was indeed Native American in origin.

Needless to say, the mound builder myth has been dead a very long time, at least as far as the archaeology world is concerned. Clearly, it still has legs in pseudoarchaeology and pseudoscience. Hamilton has often detailed his beliefs that there was a great nation of giants that occupied the continent before Native Americans arrived. And has the idea that ancient peoples in America would have worshiped these giants and made them the royal ruling class. I have no idea where he’s getting this, or why he would think this. Other than this is Hamilton’s particular flavor of the lost race theory, which usually has dubious origins, to begin with.

All of that said, this leads us to the second part of the cover-up, which is the NAGPRA law. Among the many things that NAGPRA tries to regulate, one is the repatriation of sacred objects, and human remains to the tribes to which they belong. When NAGPRA went into action, it cleared out or significantly reduced several collections around the country, including the Smithsonian.

My personal opinion on the NAGPRA Law is that it was a good first step, it was made with the best intentions, it is not perfect, and it needs to be updated and enforced with more vigor. Repatriation is the least that can be done for Native American groups around the country, and interestingly it is this repatriation that bothers Vieira, Childress, and Hamilton the most.

Vieira even laments in his show several times about the lost information about giants because of this repatriation law. He believes that giant remains have been given back to native tribes for reburial, and thus has removed their ability to be studied by the public. He does try to do a little song and dance about how he respects Native American rights, and I don’t doubt that he thinks that he does, but I also don’t think he understands NAGPRA and what the law is meant to do.

NAGPRA is a law meant to give rights and power back to the Native American tribes that have been marginalized throughout America’s history. As I said earlier, it’s a good start, it’s not perfect, but repatriation is one of the cornerstones of the law. It’s not a way to cover up the existence of giants, it’s the least we can do as a country. The fact that Vieira chooses to use repatriation as an excuse for why he can’t find evidence of giants I feel is very self-serving, and also a clear indicator that he is unaware of why NAGPRA exists in the first place.

I’ll leave links in the resources section below for people to further explore NAGPRA on their own. We’ve covered it on the podcast and in the blog.

Vieira further got himself in trouble when he took these claims of the Smithsonian cover-up and the use of the NAGPRA law to facilitate this cover-up to the TEDx stage. He gave a talk about his work trying to prove Giants and brought up his thoughts on this conspiracy to hide them. It was not received well. His talk was removed from the TEDx website for “failure to meet minimal standards for scientific proof.” Sadly this rejection by the ‘establishment’ only made Vieira more popular among the pseudoscientific community. Honestly, should we have expected anything less?

So again, looking over what evidence there is for a Smithsonian cover-up of the existence of giants.

Well, there is none.

The Smithsonian themselves have, of course, come out and stated that they did not destroy giant skeletons or human remains. But those who are determined to believe that there is a conspiracy chose not to believe the Smithsonian’s word. They’ve also explained one of the reasons that it may appear that giant skeletons vanish in their possession is that once remains are sent to them and examined, it is found that they are not human but are indeed mammoth and other large mammals bones. Again this mundane explanation falls on deaf ears when it comes to those determined to believe in the conspiracy.

So what can we say here? I can repeat myself that there is no conspiracy, with the full knowledge that those who are determined to believe will continue to do so. What I will say, however, is those who choose to use the NAGPRA law as evidence of a cover-up do so out of ignorance and show a very problematic side to their beliefs.

It’s bad enough that ‘giantology’ relies on dehumanizing Native Americans, the appropriation of their ancestors’ achievements, and the denial of Native American’s rightful place as the first peoples of the Americas. It’s made worse by the use of one of the few laws specifically designed to protect Native American burial grounds and history as evidence of this supposed cover-up. Some might want to re-examine the core of their beliefs in this area.

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Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

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Hi! I’m an archaeologist who likes games, video games, gaming, horror, the supernatural, and debunking pseudoarchaeology. Check out my vids for more on the above topics, and toss us a coin if you like what I do.

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Giants, and Atlantis, and Aliens Oh My!

Gians, Atlantis, and Aliens

We’ve talked about Atlantis on the podcast and the blog before. We’re not here to rehash any of that, the long and short is,

“So, where is Atlantis? It’s in two books called Critias and Timaeus and nowhere else.”

We’re not changing our opinion, so no worries.

Recently I’ve been watching a new YouTube channel called Mysterious Middle East. I’m not sure what the angle for this channel is, in that I can’t tell if it’s a fringe belief channel or fringe debunking channel. However, their videos are visually beautiful, the narrators are quite well done, and let’s face it the topics are interesting too. This particular channel covers a variety of topics, but they all circle back to the Middle East and pseudoscience, the paranormal, and pseudoarchaeology. What I like most about the channel is that this is all being told from a Middle Eastern perspective as the author of these videos is from Syria.

One of the topics that keeps coming up over and over again is the idea of giants in the Middle East. Which of course, giants are one of our perpetual topics here and on our sub-blog The Archaeology of Giants. What I’ve also started to notice is the amount of overlap between the idea of Middle Eastern giants and Atlantis. Which, of course, then leads to an overlap of giants and Atlantis and aliens.

You can’t have Atlantis without aliens, it seems.

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Photo by Pixabay on

So I’ve decided to reinvigorate this topic here on the blog and possibly podcast. Not in that we’re going to go try and find Atlantis or work from the idea that there is any physical evidence whatsoever that Atlantis ever actually existed. If you go to the above links when we visited this topic before you’ll see that our opinion is quite solidly in the ‘Atlantis isn’t real’ category.

I do want to look at all the fascinating ways that Atlantis gets interwoven into other pseudo-topics like giants and aliens and the Nephilim. I’m finding it fascinating that all these things are dependent on each other to be accurate, and all built around an idea that has never been proven correct. It leaves a lot of room for speculation across-the-board when it comes to Atlantis theorists and giant hunters, and it’s really just intriguing to me the leaps and jumps and connections that are made.

So when our next few blog posts and crossovers were going to be examining the intersection of Atlantis, giants, and aliens. At times these things being the same, at times than being completely separate. I don’t think I’m necessarily presenting any new information here, I also don’t think I’m introducing new connections, what I am hoping to do is pull everything together in one place as completely as I am capable of doing. Sometimes understanding the thought process behind an idea, and seeing all of the connections laid out in a line, can help us understand the overall argument and the reasons behind that argument.

What we’re striving for here is a better understanding of the fringe and fringe beliefs.
And it’s also fun to look at giant aliens from Atlantis, oh yeah and Lovecraft, Lovecraft is involved.

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Hi! I’m an archaeologist who likes games, video games, gaming, horror, the supernatural, and debunking pseudoarchaeology. Check out my vids for more on the above topics, and toss us a coin if you like what I do.
Twitter – @ArchyFantasies
IG – @ArchyFantasies
Emai – 
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Atlantis at Last! In Search of Aliens S01, E01

Atlantis – Episode 17

Remix – Atlantis in Sardinia with Dr. Emily Holt – Archaeological Fantasies ep 107

Are Nephilim and Giants Related?

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Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on

I wanted to do a little bit here on the Nephilim, and the reason for that is because later we will be connecting them with the Denisovan. What Nephilim and the Denisovan have in common, as far as giant hunters are concerned, is that they are both pure giant.

Many people who believe in the reality of a giant race will usually point to the Bible and the mentions in Genesis about how Giants were real. Now, of course, the problem with using the Bible as empirical proof is that most scholars will agree that the Bible is a collection of legends and myths that are used as a holy book for various religions. It’s not a factual book. There may be overlaps between the Bible and actual factual things in the world, but that does not make the Bible proof.

That being said, Nephilim are mentioned in the Bible. Particularly in the Old Testament, and I know that the translation version of the Old Testament will give you different results. Now the word Nephilim doesn’t necessarily translate to giant, but it has traditionally been done so and is used frequently by believers of Giants as historical proof that Giants existed.

***Update 3/4/20 *** Jason provided me with more context to the above statement. 

So what were the Nephilim?

According to the biblical sources I have access to, Nephilim are often referred to as the children of angels and the daughters of man. I think sometimes the Angels are referred to as the sons of God. Interestingly enough, to overlap with our ancient aliens’ blog, Von Danekin likes to use this particular biblical passage as proof that aliens interbred with humans. So you see, depending on what you’re trying to prove here, your mileage may vary.

Beyond biblical sources and the Old Testament, there aren’t many mentions of Nephilim until the modern era. Only a few obscure passages, and again most of those are in Genesis, there is a mention of Goliath being a giant, but it’s my understanding that in the traditional language of the Bible, he’s not really referred to directly as a giant. It’s just a translation thing that’s held on throughout the years.

So what can we really say about biblical mentions of actual giants?

While there aren’t any, not really. Anytime we see the word giant, it’s usually a mistranslation of the original language or alliteration of the actual word being used. Does this necessarily mean people were trying to say ‘giant’? No, people describe things in all kinds of various ways, and there’s usually more than one way to describe the same thing. I’m willing to believe that Goliath was meant to be understood as a giant of a man. Regardless of the exact words being used to describe him. Do I then also believe that any mention of Nephilim is reliably translated into the word giant? No, I don’t think so, I think the Nephilim are meant to be a separate entity from humanity, and there’s never been a description of the Nephilim in the actual Bible that I’m aware of.

So setting aside biblical sources as proof of Nephilim, what do we have then?

We don’t really have anything. This whole idea that Nephilim are giants is a mistranslation, the entire notion that “there were giants in those times,” can also be translated from “there were Nephilim at the time,” is pretty much all we have.

Sometimes people like to turn to the book of Enoch and point at Enoch’s description of the angelic war in heaven. I think there’s one actual mention of this war in the canonical Bible when it’s describing the fall of Lucifer. Beyond that, I don’t believe this angelic war is mentioned in the formal Bible. Enoch describes it a little bit more in detail, gives us a breakdown of who was on what side, and tells us that the angelic host was cast out of heaven. I believe it is Enoch who also gives us the idea that specifically named angels came to earth and took wives and had children with them.

I will say that I don’t often see giant enthusiasts turning to the Book of Enoch. That’s mostly in ancient aliens thing, but, as we’ve seen earlier, the same support used for ancient aliens can be used for the idea of giants.

Again, outside of these sources, we don’t have many historical mentions of Nephilim.
So then we jump to modern-day, and we look toward pseudo-archaeology shows like The Search for Lost Giants, and Megan Fox’s show, Legends of the Lost, from 2018. Both of these shows use the idea of giant interbreeding with humans as a way of explaining why we don’t have giants anymore. Fox’s show also does something rather insidious and claims that the Nephilim interbred with Native Americans, thereby making Native Americans giant-human hybrids.

It’s essential to understand the idea of hybridization here, mainly because it’s being targeted at a group of people that are being “othered” by people who could best be described as belonging to a Westernized Culture. It is effectively what Edward Said calls Orientalism; only this time, it’s being directed at Native Americans.

The claim, when you really look at it, is that Native Americans are not wholly human because they are the descendent’s of Nephilim, who are pure giants.

Now let’s step outside of the obvious social implications of this claim and address it as if there was some validity to it. (there isn’t btw)

What evidence is being put forward to suggest that Native Americans are not wholly modern humans?

There is an exciting thing happening in archaeology recently, the introduction of genetics and the study of ancient DNA. Dr. Jennifer Raff frequently comes on the show to talk to us about ancient DNA and what we can and can’t learn from it. The reality of what we can get from ancient DNA and the advertising that is out there about DNA, like in those little DNA kits where you spit into a test tube, and then they tell you who you are, are often very different.

Those little DNA kits are selling you an idea, and it’s a very problematic idea, about how ethnicity is decided.

A lot of times, any advertisements for these kits claim that they can tell you if you belong to a certain cultural group, for example, if are you, German,  Canadian, Mongolian, etc. These are cultural and ethnic groups, and neither culture or ethnicity can be determined via your DNA. So the DNA kit cannot tell you if you are German, what it can tell you is that you have a particular genetic marker for a large group of people who are often found in a large area of continental Europe. Does that mean you are then European if you have spent all of your life in America? No. Because again, you’re talking about cultural groups, which are not determined by genetics.

Culture and ethnicity are determined by how you were raised and into what group you were born. Culture and ethnicity are both social constructs that are fluid and change with time. For example, there is no rock-solid “white” culture, regardless of what people want you to believe. The idea of what makes someone “white” has altered throughout time, and will continue to change throughout time. The idea of what makes someone “white” will probably look quite different a hundred years from now than it looks today. Just as the concept of whiteness in the past does not look like what whiteness looks like today.

Sorry if you don’t like that, no wait, no, I’m not.

So coming back to DNA evidence for the Nephilim. This is actually where we start to overlap with Denisovan.

Ancient DNA has been able to isolate a genetic group that is called the Denisovan. The reason for the name is the discovery location of the first set of remains that tested for this ancient DNA group. I believe the cave was on someone’s property whose name was Denny. It really is that simple. For some reason, certain groups of people have latched onto the idea that the amount of Denisovan DNA in your genetic history determines how human you are.

This is an incredibly flawed idea. Because it comes with the concept of distinct species. The concept of a distinct species, when we’re talking anthropologically and genetically, used to be that you could not have viable offspring between two members of two distinct species. We often look at the mixing of horses and donkeys, they can produce offspring, that offspring is infertile or nonviable. It cannot produce offspring of itself. This was, in a nutshell, what the concept of speciation was meant to represent. To take it to an extreme, you can’t combine the sperm of a bat, with the egg of a bird, and get anything. They are two distinct species, they cannot interbreed.

When we look at Denisovan DNA, and before that, Neanderthal DNA, and its mixing with anatomically modern human DNA, we see that not only can these individuals interbreed but that they also produce viable offspring. This particular detail tells us one significant thing; Neanderthals, Denisovan, and anatomically modern humans are not separate species.

So what does this mean for the use of Denisovan DNA as proof of Nephilim interbreeding with humans?

Well, it’s pretty crappy evidence, actually. First off, not only are Denisovans not nonhuman, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that they were any larger or smaller than the Neanderthals or humans of their time. Thereby they are not giants.

So are Nephilim then Denisovans? There’s no reason to connect the two. Are Denisovan giants? No, not by any definition of the term.

But why are Nephilim and Denisovans often connected? And why are Denisovans claimed to be giants by so many outside of archaeology and paleoanthropology?
We will look at these questions in the next post where I will talk much more in-depth about Denisovans.

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Cthulhu, Lovecraft, and Giants in the Mysterious Middle East.


Cthulhu, Lovecraft, and Giants in the Mysterious Middle East.

I like it when I read blogs by people who don’t debunk pseudoarchaeology all the time, and they express wonderment a the strange ideas that the fringe seems to come up with. What someone like me, who spends far to much time doing this, understands is that these tidbits are often just the tips of more gigantic icebergs that are of then connected together below the surface. Those connections often don’t appear obvious at first.

For example, Nephilim-Giants-Lovecraft. 

Oh yeah, let’s do this. 

We’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things here at Archy Fantasies HQ, and one of the things we like to do is troll around on YouTube for cat vids…and drama.

Recently, we discovered the channel Mysterious Middle East (MME). They have several excellent and in-depth videos about all kinds of pseudoarchaeology topics dealing mostly with the Middle East. Which is great, because I can always use information about this area. 

Happily, MME has several videos that cover Lovecraft and the Middle East, and I really appreciate it. Yes, Lovecraft is incredibly problematic, but his writing is also very influential, and a good chunk of that influence is in the fringe world. 

One particular video caught my attention right away. MME’s “Irem: A Lost City of Giants, Djinn or Nephilim? (Documentary).” It’s a beautiful video that is the second part of their Lovecraft two-parter. 

I’ve enjoyed watching it several times now. The narrator is A+, as are the graphics and the sound. What I’m really enjoying most, though, is all the interesting connections between the mythical city of Irem, Lovecraft’s fictional Cult of Cthulu, and modern-day belief in Giants. (spoiler, it’s all religious)

Irem has the fun nick-name of “The Atlantis of the Sand,” referring to the cataclysm that God used to wipe the city off the face of the earth. So much like Atlantis, Irem is a city only spoken of in ancient texts, filled with evil people of superior technology and society (Giants), and was destroyed because of its wickedness. This time God himself wiped the city out with a massive sandstorm, rather than sinking it below the sea. 

Like Atlantis, Irem has been sought after by amateur archaeologists for decades. Most famously Laurence of Arabia. Some have even claimed to have found Irem, though nothing is conclusive. 

Also of interest is that in the same area that Irem is supposed to lay, there are large geoglyphs that are visible at high altitudes. They date back thousands of years, and their exact use is unknown, therefore they must be for alien contact. The other possible use of these strange structures is, of course, pre-human giants. Nothing else like agriculture, animal pens, or even astrology could be possible. 

And what would fringe theory on a lost city of giants be without a connection to Egypt? Some suggest that the same giants who built Irem also built the pyramids at Giza. 

What’s best about these videos is the acknowledgment that folklore and modern myth (read pop-culture) will continue to blur the lines between fantasy and actual history. And yes, Lovecraft plays heavily into it. Both Jason Colavito and Jeb Card have talked about the connection between the fringe and Lovecraft. MME goes just a bit further, spending time focused on specifically Lovecraft and the Middle East. Granted, it’s only these two videos so far that I’ve had the chance to watch. Still, from the library, it looks like there are many more connecting Lovecraft Ian ideas with pseudo-beliefs about the Middle East.

I found this to be a refreshing break from what I had been watching up to this point. Nice to have a skeptic’s look at the claims for Giants, especially biblically linked ones, to counter the arguments for Giants that I’ve been getting out of the Search for Lost Giants TV show.

The next post will be delving back into the different ideas and arguments brought up in Search for Lost Giants, but I thought it would be nice to have a little break for the new year. Please go check out Mme’s YouTube site and give them a thumbs up on the comment. I let me know below what you think Lovecraft’s impact on pseudoarchaeology has been.

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The Goshen Stone, the Search for Lost Giants, and Non-Evidence

The Goshen Stone

Inscribed stones of mysterious origins are not a new thing in pseudoarchaeology or the archaeology of giants.

It should be no surprise to us then that in the ill-fated Search for Lost Giants, there was, of course, a mysterious inscribe stone. No name was ever given to the stone, like many others have, so I guess we’re just going to call it the Goshen Stone since it was supposedly found not far from the Goshen tunnel that was the focus of the first and only season of Search for Lost Giants.

Not a lot was really done with the stone during the season, and that’s probably because the stone itself is not terribly mysterious. If the stone is actually located where the show leads us to believe it is, it seems to me like it is a boundary marker of some variety. I’m basing that purely on my personal experience dealing with post-contact sites. I don’t claim to be able to translate it, but no one has provided me with a clear picture of it either, so it’s impossible to see the writing on it clearly. The show also does a good job of obfuscating the letters, and I assume that’s because it’s clear from the get-go there’s really nothing mysterious here.

The story about the Goshen stone begins in the first episode of season one of Search for Lost Giants. It’s one of the side quests that are unveiled during the initial excavation of the Goshen tunnel. What exactly it has to do with the tunnel is never made clear. All we know is that some stone with unknown writing is supposedly located not far from the tunnel. These two things do not necessarily mean that there is a correlation between these two objects. The show never provides any reason to connect the stone or the tunnel to each other. And there’s absolutely no reasons ever given to connect the stone with giants, which is, of course, the main thesis of the show.

Our first glimpse of the stone is when one of the former excavators of the Goshen tunnel mentions it to Jim and Bill. They are lead up to where the stone lays and are presented it with much fanfare from the show.

The first problem with the stone here is that’s we the audience are never shown any locational information about either the tunnel or this inscribe stone. Now from the aerial shots of the show, I was able to locate the site of the tunnel using Goggle Earth. However, a singular stone is far too small of a thing to see with Goggle, so the location of it is still unclear to me. The way the show presents the stone, it could be anywhere in any location related or unrelated to the Goshen tunnel. And there is absolutely no attempts to rectify this in the show.

Now the cynical part of me says this is because none of these things actually correlate and this is the shoe’s way of covering the fact that’s these things are truly random the less cynical part of me could kindly argue that’s perhaps the show was trying to protect the site will but that would explain the long aerial shots that again allowed me to locate the site.

But for a moment, let’s assume that we have not been misled and that the stone and the tunnel are connected.

Our first glimpse of the stone shows that the writing on it is fairly modern. Jason Colavito attempted to transcribe what he saw on the stone from the images the television show provided.


If that looks like gibberish, it’s because the images are impossible to transcribe. The date, however, is clearly 1792, and that’s enough for me to think that this is some kind of boundary marker and that a clear look at these letters possibly even the location of the stone itself, comparing that to plot maps that would exist for the time, we could probably figure out what the stone is for.

The show does none of that.

The show instead tries to hype up the angle that this is strange writing, mysterious in nature, and that deciphering it might unravel the mystery of the Goshen tunnel. It is entirely possible that the writing and the tunnel could be related. And I’ll get to that more when I discuss the Goshen tunnel itself, but briefly, there is the idea that the Goshen tunnel was actually used for illegal purposes like smuggling and that’s why the well has a false bottom. It’s entirely possible that the stone might be marking the tunnel itself in some kind of coded language.

Now all of that is me speculating, so don’t anybody go running off the bat is of the fact.

The show decides to take the stance that the writing is code and related. To build the mystery around the stone, they bring in an expert to look at the stone.

David S. Brody is an author of several fiction novels and has frequent appearances on Scott Wolter’s Unearthed America show. He also was a co-author with Wolter on one of his more recent books discussing the Hooked X and the Templars connection to Akhenaton.

Despite the clearly visible date of 1792, Brody tries to make a connection between the Goshen stone, and a stone that was brought up in his co-authored book. The stone in question was an apparent fraud put on by a couple hucksters trying to pull one over on Wolter. It is my understanding that Wolter was not fooled, so why Brody was trying to use it in the show as evidence of anything is beyond me. My best guess is that’s at the time of in Search of Lost Giants first season Scott Wolter’s Unearthed America was still on the air. They were probably trying to make a crossover connection, much like they’re doing when they bring in Hugh Newman from Ancient Aliens.

From roughly this point forward, Jim and Bill don’t have much to do with the Goshen stone. Their focus seems to be on the tunnel and traveling around, trying to find connections and evidence of giants. The task force for translating the stone becomes Newman and Brody. Neither of these two men are trained archaeologists or philologists, so any interpretations they make of the stone are at best good guesses. That’s not to say that either man came up with a reasonable theory for the Goshen stone.

They do try to make several strange connections with the ancient world, however. Newman tries to convince us that the circle symbol on the rock is not an ‘O’ but is actually an ancient sun worshiping symbol, and tries to connect it to the “mound builders.”

This unfortunate hypothesis brings up the thoroughly debunked mound builder myth that was very popular during the Victorian era until Cyrus Thomas put the final nail in the coffin of that idea. Literally, it’s been hundreds of years since any academic has entertained the idea of a lost race of mound builders, versus Native Americans constructing the earthworks found in the Americas.

It must be understood that this lost race is intricate to the hypothesis of Giants in America. To have the show bringing it up so casually like this is merely a reminder that when people are talking about Giants, they’re not truly talking about large humans; they’re talking about a Pre-existing race of non-humans that were displaced or destroyed by Native Americans. I cannot express to you how toxic this idea is, or that there is absolutely no evidence ever to support it. Those that continue to search for this lost race are knowingly or unknowingly championing what is basically a racist idea. And I’m very sorry to pull the R-word out on people, but it’s the truth.

Back to the television show, Newman and Brody continued to look over the Goshen stone, trying to decipher any little mark on its surface as some kind of form of communication. At one point, Newman tries to insist that there are lines on the stone that point towards various cardinal points. Again the surface of the stone is never shown to the audience clearly, so it’s almost impossible to see what Newman is talking about whether or not those marks are natural or man-made in nature.

The final arc in the Goshen stones story sends Brody and Newman back to the location of the stone where they start to walk off in a direction dictated by the slash of the Z where it intercepts with the circular sun symbol. Newman has decided that this is an astronomical marker, and they began to walk in that direction, examining every rock they come across. I don’t see them using a compass at any point, but that could just be me missing it, or perhaps those scenes were cut, so we’re not even positive the men are walking in a straight line. But the show does lead us to believe that the two men find several rocks in alignment with the Z line through the O. One of the rocks they find clearly has a drill mark and it, which could be any number of things including testing of the material to see if it’s quarry grade.

Brody and Newman decide that these rocks couldn’t possibly be in alignment for any other reason than Archaeoastronomy, which is another buzzword that is thrown around quite often by the fringed.

Archaeoastronomy is a real thing, just not in the way that pseudoarchaeology shows like Search for Lost Giants or Unearthed America try to use it. More often, it’s a catchall term used to explain what the hosts or the show wants you to think is an unusual alignment of ofttimes natural features. This is most definitely the case here. As usual, the show gives us no reason to believe that these rocks are actually in a straight line, and not just rocks in space somewhere. We must take it on faith that what the show is telling us is accurate.
When Newman and Brody finally run out of discernible large enough rocks on their line, they decide to start measuring for astronomical alignments. Again I don’t see them taking hard data in the field, this could be something that was cut out, or I’m just not remembering it. But it is a failure of the show to have the two men actually collecting data.

When next we see them, they are in a computer lab using a simulation to draw lines between rocks supposedly that could be random points. Again no real reason is given to connect any of these things. What’s even worse is when the graphics on-screen are shown; however, briefly, it’s apparent that the alignment of the stones is not exact. No explanation for this is given.

With these imprecise measurements and the nonalignment with the solstice, Newman decides that this is all too close to dismiss as sheer randomness. I need not repeat myself over and over that this is clearly not related to anything.

Like many of the other bits of evidence that Search for Lost Giants tries to provide to us as viewers, the Goshen stone ends up being a dead end. It could be argued the Goshen stone was a dead end from the beginning. There is no reason to connect it to anything in the area, except for possibly a boundary marker. But that possibility is dismissed without even being mentioned. Instead, the show ops to try to make a treasure map out of the markings on the stone. The story they weave for it isn’t even a strong one, there are no details, there is no reasoning, and more importantly, the stone itself does not appear to align with the Goshen tunnel in any way. So how is it related to the tunnel?

This, like many other pieces of evidence, is an instance where the show is either using these things as filler or as a way to artificially create drama. They chop the story of the inscribed stone off and sprinkle it through six different episodes. Making it almost impossible to follow the full story unless you’re taking notes, or binge-watch the season in one sitting. (I’m not saying I did that but, you’re welcome.)

My final point here is that I’m confused. I’m confused as to why this stone was even used in the show in the first place. It has a clear date on it, the shape and form of the letters are enough to market as a modern inscription, there’s no reason to connect it to the tunnel given in the show, and further investigation provides no reason to make that connection either.

The show really doesn’t seem that interested in the story of the stone, squeezing it in occasionally, I think more to keep Brody and Newman in the show as personalities then as evidence. I really can’t figure out what the purpose of the stone was, even now after mind-mapping this whole thing out, rereading my notes, and re-watching several clips, I have no idea what was going on here.

But honestly, that’s my opinion of the whole season.


giants line

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Archaeological Fantasies Topic on Giants

Jason Colavito Topics on Giants

Andrew White Topics on Giants

Those Mysterious Mound Builders – Episode 4

The Deerfield Giant and What the GPR Didn’t Find.

The Deerfield Giant

Ah, you poor souls. Pulled into this world of thesis research with me.

As part of my research into pseudoarchaeology tv and streaming shows, I felt looking at some of the unsuccessful shows along with the successful ones would be valuable. For my thesis, I am looking at the overall production and sensory impact of the shows, but I can’t watch these and not see the content.

So here we are, a new sub-blog keeping track of Giants.

I wrapped up watching Search for Lost Giants this past week while I recovered from a cold. I was confused by the whole show, I even went as far as to mindmap the season out and still am not 100% sure what is supposed to be going on. It’s definitely one of those things that you have to dig under the skin for, and once you find it, you see it for what it is.

The mindmap did help organize the show’s claims and major lines of ‘evidence’, so I figured, instead of doing my usual episode-by-episode breakdown, I’d do it by topic. If you’d rather see them by episode, I recommend going to Jason Colavito’s blog and reading his reviews.

In the first episode of the season, we’re introduced to the Vieira brothers, Jim and Bill. They are looking for giants, mainly in the North-East. Which is a little different than what I’m used to, which puts giants in the Midwest mostly. The Vieiras are stonemasons who happen to believe in giants as well. They are not formally educated in archaeology, biology, DNA, or history. What does this mean for us? Effectively, and respectfully, they are not qualified to talk about the subjects they present themselves with.

We’re not going to see any professional papers by the Vieiras in any academic journals, but what everyone can find, is Jim’s books, published in the popular press, and affordably priced for everyday consumption. (hint hint academia)

Episode one is used to set up the rest of the season, and it’s here that we’re introduced to the main focus of the season, the Goshen Mystery Tunnel. But before that, we see the Vieira brothers and GPR expert Jim James rolling a GPR unit over a patch of ground in the woods.

sflg 1

We find out the brothers are looking for what they hope is the empty burial of the Deerfield Giant. Now there’s a lot going here, and this simple teasing intro has a lot of moving parts, the least of which is locating this empty grave.

Jim Vieira is basing his search for the Deerfield giant off an 1895 document of George Sheldon’s, The Town History of Deerfield, Ma. Volume 1. Sheldon is quoted as saying he located a skeleton of a large individual with “- double teeth all around.” Jim marks this as his ah-ha moment, and from here he launched into his search of ancient giants in North America. I mean, we all have a moment somewhere in our past that launches us. The problem is, Sheldon’s description of the Deerfield giant isn’t what J. Vieira wants it to be.

The Vieiras, and the show, spend a great deal of time focused on a particular giant trait, Double Rows of Teeth. They never define what that is exactly, and never present a representation of what it’s supposed to look like.

Andrew White, on his Argumentive Archaeologist site, takes this phrase to task twice. Once in the post, Words Matter: “Double Rows of Teeth,” Jim Vieira, and the Deerfield Skeleton where he explains that ‘double rows of teeth’ is not the same statement as ‘double teeth all around.’ He addresses it again in The Modern Mythology of Giants: “Double Rows of Teeth”, where he explains the origins of the terms ‘double rows of teeth’ and ‘double teeth.’ Both of these terms were in common use 100 years ago and were used to describe common dentation.

So, if we take all that and loop back to Sheldon’s description of someone else’s account of this now missing giant, Sheldon really only describes a person who is very tall. I will say this now, and over and over, one person’s deviation from the average doesn’t make them a representative of an entire other species.

Alright, last little bit about the physical remains of the Deerfield giant is their supposed disappearance.

During the first half of the show, J. Vieira begins the idea of two conspiracies. The first is that the Smithsonian is actively collecting and destroying giant remains. This is part of a debunked ongoing story. Snopes addressed this idea and the claims of National Geographic hiding giant discoveries, but again, this is Snopes, so I’m sure they’re really just part of the conspiracy.

The second one is new to me, and frankly just sad. The show; the Vieiras; and several other giant enthusiasts make the veiled claim the NAGPRA law is actually a way to hide and remove giant remains from the public. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was created to return to indigenous and native peoples, their looted history. To hear, grown men, accusing a marginalized culture group of being part of a governmental conspiracy to obfuscate giants, is just…well it’s infuriating. I’m not going to get on my soap-box right now, there’s plenty of chances later, but this NAGPRA Conspericy BS is just…BS.

Alright, so far, we’ve discussed teeth and conspiracies, let’s talk about the actual show material picking up from where Jim James reports to the Vieiras that he’s found “flat characteristics” under the ground.

Now a GPR, or ground-penetrating radar, is actually pretty good at locating sub-surface features. What are those features? Well, we can guess, but until the feature has been ‘ground-truthed’ ie dug up, it’s impossible to know for sure. What looks like a buried slab might just be bed-rock, and there’s no real way to tell without seeing it first hand.

The most telling part of this the language Jim James uses as the brothers begin to get excited. “It might be, could be, maybe.” They asked him very specific questions, like “does it look like a slab?” How would he know? and “is it an excavation?” again, how would he know? You need to verify these things with, unfortunately, digging…Unlessssss

Unless you already know something is there. Which moves us on to my next point here, why the hell are these people out where they are in the first place?

We find out that we won’t be ground-truthing the GPR reading (thankfully) because the brothers had James survey Native American land…Which I’m like, 70% sure isn’t legal without permission from whatever tribe owns the land. The brothers never mention that they have it, and actually say they *can’t* dig, because they don’t have permission.

Please also note, for the brothers, this lack of permission also feeds into the NAGPRA Conspericy mentioned earlier where the Native Americans are helping cover up giants by protecting their sovereign land rights.

They also don’t mention 1) where they are in space and time, 2) why they’re there exactly (do they have documents showing the Deerfield burial was here?) and 3) what they hoped to gain from this basically useless exercise of GPR-ing a random plot of ground. There is literally no given reason for them to be where they are. And more damaging, no reason for us to believe they are where they say they are, and not in their own back yards.

The last little thing I want to explain is how the show creates this awesome 3d looking diagram of a stone-lined tomb, with no evidence to support it.

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First, they give is the above image, and it’s only helpful in that we now know about how deep the “flat characteristics” where and how long and wide they appeared to be. This is a fun graphic and I’m sure it took someone’s time and energy to make it. But there is absolutely no reason to believe this is what is below the ground.

(top) example of raw GPR data; (bottom) after processing. 
(top) example of raw GPR data; (bottom) after processing. image via Warden 2013

This is what GPR data looks like. ^^^

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Not this. ^^^

This image is unexplainable. We have no idea where they got the data for this image. Is it from a report they didn’t mention? Is it from their imagination? Could it be some very heavy post-processing of the GPR data? (the answer to the last one is no.)

This image is from the same report on Alcatraz as above;

Recreation Yard Scan 
 image via Warden 2013

It was made using photogrammetry and laser scanning to provide the detailed dimensional information needed to re-create a 3D image of a site. As far as we know this wasn’t done at the Deerfield site. So unless they’re using some unmentioned and uncited diagram from a past report they didn’t have a hand in (ahem), we can only conclude they made their stone-lined tomb image up completely from whole cloth.

And this is how Search for Lost Giants opens their show, with debunked conspiracy theories, misinterpretation of 100+-year-old second-hand accounts, useless GPR data, fake pictures made up from a whim, and absolutely no physical evidence for anything.

It really sets the tone of the show and was only the first 20 minutes or so of the first episode.

I am left at this point wondering why? Why are we looking for Giants? Why here? Why are we assuming giants and not, anything else? How do you even make the leap to giants?

Jason Colavito has some insights into these questions in his post about this first episode. I will address these later as well. Suffice to say, it’s disturbing, and actually not aliens…so…that’s nice at least?

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Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

Warden, R. & Toz, T. & Everett, M. & DeSmet, T. & Billingsley, A. & Hagin, J.

2013    Recording and analysis of the rec yard at Alcatraz Island. ISPRS – International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. XL-5/W2. 679-684. 10.5194/isprsarchives-XL-5-W2-679-2013. accessed 11/22/19