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Men Over Ten Feet Tall?

I mention all of the above because I wish to discuss some of Carl Baugh's "tall tales" which are being spread by "creation evangelists" like Kent Hovind, and others. Below is a picture of some sort, perhaps an artist's creation (Baugh calls it a "Photograph") as shown in Baugh's book, Dinosaur (Promise Publishing, 1987).

Both Baugh and Hovind proudly display a slide reproduction of this picture in their "creation science" presentations. Unfortunately, Baugh, in his book, does not say where the picture came from, or give any further details concerning it, except for the caption which appears beneath it in his book: "A miner fell through a hole in a mine in Italy and found this 11' 6" skeleton." Kent Hovind, during his presentations, even adds a date ("1856," if I recall correctly) for this "discovery," though there is no mention of a specific date in Baugh's book.

Naturally, the thoughts that ran through my mind when I first saw this "photo" were...

1) If this is a "Photo" of a genuine discovery, then the skeleton in that photo is of the tallest man on record! According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world's tallest known human being was Robert Wadlow, the 'Alton giant," who was only 8' 11" tall, and who died of a septic buster caused by the way his ankle brace rubbed against his right ankle. Wadlow was so tall, he had to wear ankle braces to support himself! Baugh's "photo" is of a human being over two and a half feet taller than the tallest man on record! Why hasn't anyone else, like the folks who publish the record books, heard about this remarkable discovery?

2) Where did this "photo" originate? In what book, journal, or newspaper did it first appear? Which mine was that skeleton found in? Near what town in Italy, and in what year? And by whom? (None of these questions were ever answered by Baugh, not in his book, nor in two later telephone conversations I had with him.)

In response to the photograph above, I recently received the following letter, which I thought the readers might find interesting:

Mr. Babinski:

Although I am a creationist, I loathe the unsubstantiated claims many so called creation scientists make, without bothering to check all available evidence. I would like to add another piece of evidence which shows that the "photograph" is a fake. The man kneeling over the skeleton is lit up on the right side of his face (his perspective) and shadowed on his left. The man second from the left on the picture is lit up just the opposite of the kneeling man. Obviously a artists mistake.

Thank you.

Gene Rhea Tucker

3) How can anyone be sure this is a photograph" and not an artist's print or creation, perhaps created for some fictional novel or short story written by one of Jules Verne's early imitators, or based, perhaps on tall tales of "Atlantis" or other tales that may have been popular back then? It is known that during the 1800s, giant fossilized creatures, like dinosaurs, held the public eye, since they were being dug up for the first time and pictures of these were presented to the public in newspapers all over Europe, and people must have speculated whether human beings may not have been larger in the past. So this may be an artist's print or creation, inspired by nothing more than the imaginative speculation of people in the 1800s concerning giant animal species.

This idea that the picture was the creation of "Imaginative speculation" drawn for a newspaper or a novel or short story of that day, is an interpretation that Baugh must face up to, especially since he has nothing to corroborate his story but a picture whose origin is just as indistinct as the picture itself, and hence, which is dubious to cite as a "Photograph" of a genuine discovery at all.

Other questions also leap to mind:

4) Who determined that the skeleton was exactly 11' 6"? From the picture alone, you can't tell the exact size of the skeleton, certainly not to the "inch." 5) Where did the story about the miner "falling down a hole" come from? 6) What is the nature of the rectangular "sign" with the indistinct "letters" beside the skeleton? 7) Obviously if it was a "photo" it could not have been taken deep in a mine, because even with a dozen eighteenth-century miner's lamps, there would not have been much light, and it is unlikely that anyone would start a campfire deep down in a mine to take such a photo there, as there probably would not be enough air to support a campfire down in a mine for very long. If it was a "photo" taken inside a mine it shows remarkably all the bones of the skeleton from head to toe fully exhumed, cleaned white, fully connected to one another, and well lit, along with large portions of the foreground and background appearing bright. Nor does it seem probable that men would have descended into a mine dressed in full evening jackets with white pants and large top hats. 8) But if this war., say, a "Photo" taken above ground and outdoors, why not wait for fulfill daylight and get a good shot with fine line clarity instead of this indistinct shot? Even the earliest photographs on record displayed more clarity and were more distinct than this alleged "photo." I include some examples in a separate section below. 9) If such a skeleton had indeed been found in the rock then after the bones )were excavated they would have become disconnected and taken on the form of a random heap of bones, unlike the picture, which shows even the fingers, toes and jawbone connected together. And if the excavators boxed the bones up and dragged them up out of the mine, cleaned them thoroughly to make them appear as bright and clear as they do in the 'Photo, " and then put them together with wire and glue to look like the perfectly placed bones of a human skeleton, then why go through all that trouble, and not take a better "photo?" or at least, if you're going to go through all that trouble, leave more evidence of such an extraordinary discovery than one indistinct photo? 10) And what must the odds be of finding a whole skeleton like that, even with finger and toe bones, every rib, even the jaw, altogether in the same deposit? The chances of finding such a perfectly complete skeleton are slim, unless it was a later intrusive burial of a whole individual by his friends. Ah, but then this skeleton wasn't "buried by the Flood!"

Having struck my curiosity with his indistinct "photo" (originally published in God-knows-what newspaper or book), I phoned Carl Baugh, the author of the book in which the picture appeared. He said that he obtained the picture from another creationist, Clifford Burdick. Baugh was visiting Burdick's home one day and Burdick told Baugh, "You want this?" (meaning, the picture in question) and added the little story that it was of a skeleton found in a mine in Italy in the "19th century," i.e., in the 1800s. No more verification was apparently asked for or added by Burdick, who died soon after turning over the picture to Baugh. So, the story begins and ends with Burdick and with what Baugh says Burdick said, which is precious little in the way of corroboration.

Clifford Burdick, of course, once argued for "The Discovery of Human Skeletons in Cretaceous Formation" (Creation Research Society Quarterly, Vol. 10, Sept. 1973) or, as the skeletons were nicknamed, "Moab Man." Human skeletons found in rock from the Cretaceous era? According to the geologic time scale, not even humanity's earliest human-like ancestors appeared until well after the Cretaceous. However, this case turned into yet another instance in which creationists had to recant due to the evidence pointed out by mainstream scientists. For instance, a professor of anthropology examined the "Moab Man" skeletons as soon as they were first uncovered (when some ground was being bulldozed). The professor agreed that these were indeed human skeletons, but that they were just Indian skeletons that had been buried in a rock crevice, the surrounding rocks dating back to the Cretaceous, but not the buried skeletons, which were merely slid in between the rocks, and which were later covered by sand, etc.

In two letters that I possess, dated, Nov. 13, 1973, and, June 1976, John P. Marwitt (the anthropologist on the scene when the skeletons were originally uncovered by bulldozing), wrote: "I took some pains to point out to all concerned, including the 'Creation Research Society,' that in no sense could the human remains be seen as contemporary with the [Cretaceous] sandstone deposits [surrounding them]. There was consolidated [Cretaceous] sandstone in the area of the burials, at the same elevation. But the buried [human skeletons] were surrounded and covered with loose blowsand and rotted sandstone spalls, not consolidated or semiconsolidated [Cretaceous] rock. I explained to everyone present that the burials had apparently been placed in a crack/crevice in the rock and were covered by blowsand and spalling of the sandstone caused by weathering. Placement of burials in crevices and niches was frequently practiced in the Southwest, both prehistorically and historically. [In short,] the [human skeletons] were not a part of or included in the [Cretaceous] sandstone formation, they were not found in a rock matrix as implied by Burdick. The bones themselves were not fossilized and there had been no replacement of bone calcium by mineralization. They were soft, friable and partly decayed -- in short, of rather recent vintage, probably historic Paiute or Ute, or possibly of Euro-American origin, since no associated artifacts were found." Later, a femur from one of the skeletons was carbon dated to around 210 years ago +/- 70 years. A few other such skeletons have also been found -- the same story applies, as outlined above.

So Burdick, being wrong about "Moab Man" as a "disproof of modern geology," isn't exactly a fountain of truth. Still, after my phone call with Baugh, I checked every article Clifford Burdick had published in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, trying to dig up some precise information on the origin of the picture of the 11' 6" human skeleton "found in the mine in Italy." And I found nothing. Not a peep from Clifford Burdick concerning this record breaking giant human skeleton!

Suffice it to say that although Clifford Burdick was noted for publicizing phony claims of "fossil men that contradicted evolutionary theory," I could not find any mention of the record breaking 11' 6" skeleton in any of Burdick's books that I consulted at Bob Jones, nor in any of Burdick's articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly, all of which I checked scrupulously, issue by issue. So, Burdick himself did not think highly enough of the picture of this record breaking skeleton to publicize it in the least (perhaps it was just sent to Burdick in the mail by another creationist who photographed the original print or artist's creation, thinking it odd, but without really noticing Its source, or what it represented). So, even Burdick felt it was not worth publicizing such an indistinct picture of unknown origin. Burdick handed it to Baugh as a trifle, saying, "You want this?" But Baugh and Hovind have declared this picture to represent a true and scientifically verified discovery! They tote out this picture in their debates with mainstream scientists, and say, "Explain that!" But Baugh and Hovind have to explain it first! Doesn't it seem strange to either Baugh or Hovind that they are both acting more rashly than Burdick, who didn't even discuss the picture (below) in his creationist publications?

I hasten to add that the arms on the man shown pointing at the skeleton (in Baugh's alleged "photograph") seem abnormally long.

Compare the photos below, taken in Italy during the same period. Note the fine line clarity of such photos in the mid-1800s even when photographing objects in shadowy light! Surely anyone who took the time and effort to excavate, clean, have the bones reattached (and have gentlemen dressed in fine clothes pose beside) such a gargantuan discovery - would have taken more care in having a decent "photograph" taken of it, seeing how clear and distinct photos were, even at that time period. Even the "earliest known photo" that I found published in a book of early photos, preserved more fine line details than Baugh's alleged 'photo!"

Photos from 1846

The "photograph" of the giant human skeleton thus raises more questions than it answers. But this "tall tale" doesn't end here! Compare the tale behind the "Freiberg skull," the "human skull" of coal, the coal dating back to the Carboniferous Age, long before human beings ever appeared on earth. This find was touted by Henry Morris in The Genesis Flood as tolling the death knell for modern (old-earth) geology. The "Freiberg Skull" was discovered around the SAME time as Baugh's "giant human skeleton" was supposedly "photographed," but this "skull" was later shown to be a fabrication molded out of bits of soft brown coal to superficially resemble a human skull with no true skeletal features, the hoax being carried out to promote belief in the Biblical Flood. Young-earth creationists eventually gave up the ghost of arguing for the authenticity of the "Freiberg skull." Two articles in the Creation Research Society Quarterly admitted the truth of the original reports, namely, that the skull was nothing but a fake (see, Dr. Wayne Frair, "The Human Skull Composed of Coal," CRSQ, v. 5, March 1969; and, Dr. Wayne Frair, 'Additional Information on the Freiberg Human Skull Composed of Coal," CRSQ, v. 20, June 1993). Yet Baugh clings to his indistinct picture he calls a "photo," a photo that dates back to the same time period as the "Freiberg skull" hoax!

But back to Baugh's picture of the giant human skeleton. The story gets curiouser and curiouser. Not content with Baugh's ignorance concerning the origin of the picture, I set about to search for its origin myself, something that Baugh apparently doesn't have the genuinely scientific inclination to do. I wrote four of the largest museums of natural history in Italy and received a reply from one of the largest, a copy of which appears below:

My search for the truth did not end there. I wrote a researcher who owns hundreds of books by creationists, books that were published both in this century and the previous one, and I asked him if this "discovery" was mentioned in any of them. The closest thing he could come up with was a book written in 1926, The Biblical Story of Creation by Giorgio Bartolli, a famous Italian creationist. Bartolli mentioned a number of "fossils of giant creatures," but no giant men, nor any mention of the picture of the record breaking giant human skeleton found in Baugh's book. This Italian creationist was also a professor of geology and a former director of a mine in Sardinia, Italy. So, again, I drew a blank. A copy of this researcher's letter appears below:

Dear Ed:

I didn't find anything about the 11-foot human skeleton. Giorgio Bartoli is the Italian mine director (a Sardinian mine); his 1926 book doesn't mention it. This makes me suspect no evidence exists outside the picture Baugh has in his book (I have Baugh's book too).

Best Wishes,

Tom McIver

The "Cardiff Giant": One of the "many hoaxes" that Corliss was alluding to

So I contacted William Corliss, the fellow who specializes in cataloging scientific anomalies, including keeping track of accounts of human "giants." And Corliss told me he had never heard of any evidence of a human being as tall as 11' 6", and added that there were "a lot of hoaxes" in that field, like the Cardiff Giant (a 10' 4.5" tall statue of a human being carved out of gypsum, and displayed as if it were a fossilized giant human being, all done to make money!). A copy of Corliss' reply appears below, along with pictures of the Cardiff giant:

Dear Ed:

I just returned from a short vacation and found your letter waiting.

Although I have collected a number of reports of large skeletons, none of them even approaches the 11'6" skeleton you mention. You should ask for some sort of reference from the scientific literature. Lots of hoaxes in this field.


William R. Corliss

P.S. As for my compilation UNKNOWN EARTH, I can't see how it supports creationism. Anyway, it is simply a collection of reports from the literature--primarily the scientific literature. Some of these reports may question dating methods and/or the claimed ages of certain formations.

The Cardiff Giant on display at the Farmer's Museum, Cooperstown, New York

I phoned Carl Baugh a second time, but he could tell me nothing more about the picture of the 11' 6" skeleton. Then he added that the picture was "beside the point, since some fellow" had told Baugh "about a front page full color story in the Denver Post around 1991, that told of a 10' tall woman in Mozambique who just showed up one day at the local village since that village was giving out free vaccinations." Baugh added that this ten foot tall woman was not suffering from a pituitary deficiency (which causes gigantism along with weakness and lack of coordination) because she could bench press 300 pounds!

Wow! What a lead! A recent front page news story! And such detail! Maybe there is evidence of human beings ten foot tall or taller! I told Baugh "Thank you very much," and I set about trying to track down this new evidence. I phoned the Denver Post and spoke to the lady in charge of the front page for the past five or ten years. And she didn't recall any such story. Indeed, wouldn't Guinness have picked up on such a report if it had been front page news in a major American newspaper? I checked the 1995 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, and found that Robert Wadlow, the "Alton giant" (8' 11" tall) was still listed as the world's tallest human being on record. The lady at the Denver Post then gave me the number of a company that specializes in subject-title-word searches in major American newspapers (not including the tabloids which mix fact and totally fabricated articles together). But after an exhausting computerized search, using all the key words at our disposal, like Africa, Mozambique, giant, large, tall, woman, lady, immunization, vaccination, etc., we came up a complete blank!

I also phoned Colorado State Univ., which had the Denver Post Index, and checked key words, and again drew a blank. And I conducted a search via the Furman University Library's computerized magazine and newspaper search facilities. All to no avail. The closest I came was an article about an African nation in The Economist (v.328, no.7825, Aug. 21, 1993, p.Nl(2)), titled, 'Anybody Seen a Giant?' I read that article. It did not mention "giant , human beings." It dealt solely with economic growth. The lady at the Denver Post with whom I had spoken earlier, told me that the "giant woman" story sounded more like something published in a supermarket tabloid than in a newspaper. By this time I had to agree with her.

GIANT FRAUD being laid to rest at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York in 1948. Thousands had paid to see the fake "petrified man" that had supposedly been plowed up on a Cardiff farm

Baugh had wished me well in my search for this info, and said he wanted to hear what I'd found, but he didn't express any interest in researching things himself. Apparently he already knew that humans over ten feet tall were a fact. I suppose he bases this "fact" on the carved "footprints" in his possession. After my exhaustive search I let Baugh know how fruitless it had been. I await the day when less astute creationists like Baugh begin doing their own research of each specific "tall tale" before piling gossip upon gossip and calling it all "scientific evidence." These people spread the most gullible "tall tales" and display the most spurious "evidence" to hundreds of church audiences each year, and they always claim they are "more right" than the evolutionists they misquote and misinterpret!

To recap my conclusion: During the 1800s, giant fossilized creatures, like dinosaurs, held the public eye, since they were being dug up for the first time and pictures of these creatures flooded newspapers all over Europe. People must have speculated whether human beings may not have been larger in the past. So Baugh's "photo" is most likely an artist's print or creation, inspired by nothing more than the imaginative speculation of people in the 1800s concerning giant animal species.

That the picture was originally created to accompany a fictitious newspaper article, or for a novel or short story of that day, is an interpretation that Baugh must face up to. It's up to Baugh or other creationists to tell us exactly where this "discovery" was first publicized, and show that the picture he's displaying is indeed a "photograph." An indistinct picture Of unknown origin with no other records to back it up, coming from that time period, proves nothing.

Baugh's enthusiasm for spreading creationist tall tales has made him a sort of creationist folk hero, as he goes about prying up limestone slabs in Texas, leaving large numbers of scientifically significant dinosaur tracks to decay away uncataloged as he chips his way through them, vainly searching for any markings even vaguely human, around which he can then build another tall tale interpretation.

Baugh's tall tale reminds me of Kent Hovind's, that I heard Kent repeat at one of his lectures: "Someone in the audience at one of my creation seminars came up to me and told how they (or someone they knew) was working in a mine (in West Virginia or Kentucky) and they found a 'giant human skeleton' in the mine, but no one was interested enough to excavate the bones or investigate further, and the whole area was then covered beneath water because they built a damn in that region." If Kent believes that story to be true then why don't some "creation scientists" take the names of the people telling the tale, and try to trace this news back to its source(s)? Why not visit that town or surrounding area and interview lots of people till you find the ones with matching stories, or put an ad in the local paper or on the local radio, asking about the story? If that checks out, get a map of the mine, and, if it's not too filled with silt, dredge an opening to the shaft, and send down one of those swimming robots with a light and a camera on one end and with mechanical claws to bring something back, just a piece of bone to check out the story. Why? Because this could provide the first, corroborated evidence of giant human beings "buried by the Flood." If such a story were true, "creation scientists" would have hard skeletal evidence. Instead, creationists like Baugh and Hovind do not adequately pursue the origins of the "tallest tales" they hear, even when they supposedly have "dates, places, and human contactees" to begin their search. They merely take delight in spreading such tales ... in the name of the "Lord of Truth."

Kent Hovind's gossip about the discovery of "giant human skeletons" in a mine in West Virginia reminds me of a similar claim that was made by a creationist over a hundred years ago, namely, that they had found a fossilized human skull and part of the backbone of someone who had drowned in the Biblical Flood and in whose eyeless sockets could still be seen the terror of that all-destructive Deluge. The creationist who found the fossil named it, Homo diluvii testis ['Homo" means "man," and "diluvii" means "Deluge."] Cuvier, the French scientist, took a closer look at the Homo diluvii testis fossil, cleaned the excess rock and dirt off the fossil, and lo and behold, it turned out not to be human at all, but was the skull and part of the backbone of a large salamander from an Oligocene lake bed. (See picture below.)

Homo diluvii testis.
Skull and part of the backbone of a large salamander from the Oligocene lake beds at Oeningen, Switzerland, mistaken by Scheuchzer for the remains of a human drowned during the Biblical Flood.

Speaking of the way that a misidentified fossil can generate a "tall tale," some historians have suggested that the tale of the one-eyed giant, the "Cyclops" of ancient Greek storytellers, may have originated from someone who ran across the skull of an extinct mammoth. The large hole in the middle of the "forehead" of the gigantic mammoth skull would have seemed like an "eyesocket of a one-eyed human of gigantic proportions" (especially since mammoths became extinct thousands of years, prior to the rise of Greek civilization). But in reality the hole was where the trunk was attached, i.e., the mammoth's nasal passageway.

I'd be remiss if I did not mention some other "tall tales" spread by Carl Baugh. For instance, when the skeleton of a buried Indian was uncovered near Glen Rose, Texas, Baugh said that this skeleton was "gigantic." It turns out that ft was not. Baugh also claimed to have discovered an incredibly enormous footprint, which he called "Max." What Baugh actually had found was merely * some vague marking in unconsolidated earth (i.e., in 'marl," a mixture of sand, clay and limestone fragments) that he kept carving picking and poking at, until he'd "unearthed" a grotesquely large "footprint" formed more by his own hand and imagination than anything else. The limestone layer that preserves genuine dinosaur tracks lay beneath the loose marl in which Baugh had carved the "Max footprint." So, Baugh hadn't even reached the track layer of the limestone rock! He was just carving and playing in the marl above the limestone layer. See my hand drawn pen sketch of what Baugh "found" (my . sketch is based on a color slide of the "Max print" that I have in my personal collection -- the slide says it all, far better than my hand drawn pen sketch):

Baugh's most prized possession, apparently, is a metal hammer with a wooden handle, the head of which is partially "encased in stone", Baugh purchased the "hammer in stone" from someone who found it lying near the top of the ground in a little crevice. All indications have led experts to conclude that it is merely a nineteenth-century miner's hammer with a bit of stone concretion that consolidated around the hammer's head as it lay in a crevice in the earth (a phenomenon that can happen in a short period of time). It was also found near some old mine! So far as I know, Baugh has not yet had the hammer" wooden handle (which was not fossilized) carbon-dated, though a lab has offered to do so for free.

GIANT FRAUD being laid to rest at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, New York in 1948. Thousands had paid to see the fake "petrified man" that had supposedly been plowed up on a Cardiff farm

Exactly what the hammer was doing so near the surface of the earth is anyone's guess. Heavy and sleek objects, like an iron-headed slender-handled hammer, would descend faster than most other objects in water. So if this hammer was "buried during Noah's Flood" it should have sunk quicker than a stone to the bottom-most sediments, hundreds to thousands of feet bellow the level at which it was found (unless it was first-cousin to that miraculous "floating iron axe-head" mentioned in the Bible in 2 Kings 6:5-6)! What's really interesting about this is that the hammer is not made for the hand of a "giant," but fits nicely in the hand of an ordinary-sized human being. Perhaps Baugh misses the irony of that fact.

If I recall correctly, Baugh's "fossilized human tooth" (the fish tooth, mentioned above), also does not appear to have belonged to a "giant" creature.

Even more ironic is the fact of all the jokes about "things being bigger in Texas." The American Journalism Review (15:4, May 1993, p. 11(l)) published, "A Long, Tall Texas Tale," that told about the hoax published in the Laredo Morning Times about a giant earthworm! No wonder Baugh is able to raise support for his museum which attempts to demonstrate the existence of "giant human beings" that once lived in Texas! Things are always "bigger" in Texas!

Perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on Baugh's search for "human giants" in Glen Rose, Texas. He's merely picked up where earlier, less astute, creationists left off. It was those earlier creationists in Texas who imagined that some of the dinosaur trails were made by giant human beings. According to Cecil Dougherty, author of Valley of the Giants (Valley of the Giants Publishers, first edition, 1971), Adam (the first man) was 16 feet tall! King Og (whose bed according to the Bible was 14 ft. by 6 ft.) was 14 feet tall! Noah was 12 feet tall, Goliath was over 9 feet tall, and modern man is 6 feet tall.

Please note that the mere mention in the Bible that "King Og's bed" was "14 ft. long and 6 feet wide," even if the story is true, is not the same as saying that King Og was exactly that tall and that wide! It only says that his bed was. (Maybe he had a lot of wives, like Solomon!?)

As for Noah's height of "12 ft. tall, and Adam's height of "16 ft. tall," I know of no references to either Noah's or Adam's "height" in the Bible.

Perhaps Dougherty, like many Bible believing creationists before him, obtained the idea of "giants in those days" from Genesis 6:4, which reads: "The Nephilim (which many Bibles translate as 'giants' or cite in a footnote at the bottom of the page as 'giants') were on the earth in those days ...

The trouble is that the Bible does not depict Adam as one of the "Nephilim" (or giants). It just depicts Adam as an average-sized human for his day and age. So if Adam and his descendants were "on average" "16 foot tall" as Dougherty believes, then how tall was a "Nephilim/giant" back then? Whew! "Giant " must have been unbelievably tall if the first average-sized human was created 16 feet tall!

Of course, the 'Book of Enoch, verses, 7:1-4 (in a section of the Book of Enoch dated to about 250 B.C.B.) explains that the "giants" mentioned in Genesis 6:4 were 300 cubits (or about 450 feet) tall! So I guess the ancient authors of the Book of Enoch answered my question regarding how tall a giant" must have been back then!

Of course, Bible believers have believed in the existence of "giants" for a long time, since the Bible tells them so.

In 1663 a French Academy paper by, a noted scholar of the Ancient Near East argued that Adam was 140 feet tall, Noah was 50 feet tall, Abraham was 40 feet tall, and Moses was 25 feet tall! (from The Best Worst & Most Unusual by Felton & Fowler, Gallahad Books, 1994)

And, Cotton Mather (1663-1728), an early American clergyman and writer, seems to have been enamoured of the idea. See the article, "Giants in the Earth: Science and the Occult in Cotton Mather's Letters to the Royal Society" by David Levin (William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 45, Oct. 1988, p. 751-770).

I end with a "tall tale" by a master of the genre, Mark Twain. In his book, The Innocents Abroad, Twain tells the true story of his trip to Europe and the Holy Land, a trip he took with a group of pious Christian sightseers. Together, they visited numerous holy sites in the Near East, including, "an Arab village ... where Noah's tomb lies under lock and key." As Dave Barry says, "I'm not making this up." According to Twain's description, "Noah's tomb is built of stone and is covered with a long stone building. The building had to be long because the grave of the honored old navigator is two hundred and ten feet long! It is only about four feet high, though. He must have cast a shadow like a lightning rod. The proof that this is the genuine spot where Noah was buried can only be doubted by uncommonly incredulous people. The evidence is pretty straight. Shem, the son of Noah, was present at the burial, and showed the place to his descendants, who transmitted the knowledge to their descendants, and the lineal descendants of these introduced themselves to us today. It was pleasant to make the acquaintance of members of so respectable a family. It was a thing to be proud of. It was the next best thing to being acquainted with Noah himself."


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