By Thomas R. Horn
’Tis Your Cue, Dr. Hrdlička
All the discoveries and old newspaper accounts in the last entry and many other discoveries have been reported across the United States and around the world, and frequently the Smithsonian was involved in some way. If the Smithsonian was going to hide all of this and dismiss what couldn’t be hidden as biological quirks, they had to do it fast.
In 1910, Aleš Hrdlička came on board with the Smithsonian as the first curator of the Division of Physical Anthropology, but he had been working for the institution as a chief of that department since 1903. Hrdlička was a Czech anthropologist heavily involved in the pre-Nazism Eugenics Movement, whose unethical work and harsh treatment of Native American cadavers under his tenure at the Smithsonian has historically drawn much attention. (Tragically, many Smithsonian cover-up “conspiracy theorists” only do themselves a disservice by attacking Hrdlička’s personal morality. The discussion in many of these books and articles continually dives into diatribes that could be summarized under the hypothetic title, “Hrdlička the Nazi: Why Should ‘We the People’ Believe Anything from the Mouth of a Known Eugenics Enthusiast?” But whether he was an immoral character or not has nothing to do with his expertise as an anthropologist, and that is why I have consciously ignored the controversy of Hrdlička’s involvement in that sphere and remained focused only upon his influence as the Smithsonian’s beloved authority. Some have found Hrdlička’s eugenics involvement and his will to hide evidence of giant bones a related issue—and their logic is persuasive at times—but the relevance of that trail has birthed more opposition than it has answers, so we will leave that one alone.) However, despite his nefarious ties to endeavors that openly bespeak his lack of respect for the value of human life, it is no secret that Hrdlička’s central driving motivation was as a devout pioneer in the studies of Homo neanderthalensis.
These Neanderthals were, as evolutionary science has shown, shorter than today’s human species. Consider the classroom and textbook charts showing the evolving man from the crouched monkey to the upright human. Some charts show the Neanderthal man in the middle, others toward the end, depending on the physical phases of man featured in each chart. Scientists say this hominin species was one of the final phases of man before transforming into today’s Homo sapiens, and that they lived amongst the Homo sapiens as recently as thirty to forty thousand years ago (though some scientists say they are not quite that recent). One interesting tidbit shared by science with the rest of the world regarding this species is that the average male height was around five and a half feet tall when standing upright, supporting the idea that humans began small and have only grown as they have evolved. (According to Rudolph Zallinger’s “March of Progress” chart of 1965, the first sequence of man had dawned from the now-extinct Pliopithecus ape, which stood at an average height of three feet when upright. Though this chart, too, has been updated, the fact still remains that evolution shows man has increased in size over time from the mysterious arrival of the very first Homo species—supposedly our earliest human form.)
So entrenched was Hrdlička in his anthropological vocation that any findings on our planet that challenged his work could have possibly been his professional undoing. Massive egg-on-face response to livelihood is a serious threat to any man’s pride and earthly stability. Unthinkable numbers of dollars from every direction (government grants, benefactors, Smithsonian employees’ personal funds, estates, etc.) had been invested into this research that any man willing to step up and unravel this “progress” would be seen as an enemy of the scientific community. Not only
would such a person destroy his or her own career, but he or she would be destroying the lives and reputations of those whose life work it was to establish the Smithsonian’s position on evolutionary law from the beginning. All the exhibits, literature, investments, and man hours would be lost if even one tiny rock were to be thrown at the foundation of evolution that the Smithsonian had built during these earlier, shakier years. So powerful was Hrdlička’s word at the Smithsonian that his sway in the exhibition and/or testing of any specimen was, in fact, the final word. Add to this the staunch adherence of the Smithsonian Institution and all its members to the Powell Doctrine, and we arrive at a wall. A natural stronghold. A sacred and garrisoned sanctuary of evolutionary canon.
A thirty-foot, giant man with a crown, chiseled jawline, four legs, six wings, and an axe in his hand could be found, and if Hrdlička said it was a donkey, then doctrine would be built around it by the powers-that-be to prove that it was a donkey. Far be it for any ignorant or uneducated scoundrel to oppose the rules of the establishment. It really didn’t matter what proof would ever be unearthed once the weight of Hrdlička’s voice was added to the fortress of the Powell Doctrine. Had any one man or woman the intention to disprove the Powell Doctrine up to this point, the window of opportunity was now closed.
Because if man has only grown larger in size over time, then we couldn’t possibly allow evidence of ancient humans who tower over us…Hrdlička wouldn’t allow it. Powell wouldn’t allow it.
The Smithsonian wouldn’t allow it.
That is one possible explanation behind why our Neanderthal-faced “California Indian…biggest man that ever lived” standing at “about nine feet high” (prior to mummification) was examined by “Prof. Thomas Wilson, Curator of the Department of Prehistoric Anthropology in the Smithsonian Institution, and by other scientists,”[i] was accepted as a genuine giant specimen, bought for a substantial amount of money by the Smithsonian, placed on display…and then suddenly dismissed as a hoax in 1908 when Hrdlička’s authority grew to its zenith[ii]—from whence it also suddenly disappeared as an exhibit. The story goes that a piece of the giant’s skin was removed and tested in the Smithsonian laboratory, where it was discovered to be none other than “gelatin.”
No explanation was ever given as to why a giant supposedly made of glorified Jell-O was buried in a cave in San Diego in the first place, or how the Smithsonian’s most trusted men were so duped by the gelatin giant that they were willing to pay top dollar to bring it back to the museum, or—and most importantly—why the lab work that disproved the authenticity of the giant was only carried out under the supervision of Smithsonian scientists and never validated by external sources whose opinion might be less biased.
Perhaps it was crafted and planted by the “prospectors” who were credited as discovering it in order to make a quick buck. If that were true, these prospectors would have to have been very well educated. How someone could construct such an evolutionarily accurate piece of Homo sapiens mummy-art out of gelatin (unless it was constructed by a biologist or scientist with much knowledge of human evolutionary anatomy) is its own question that leads to many others. This debunking very well may have been legitimate, and the giant may have actually been a hoax, but the timing of its withdrawal from the museum is interesting. It was at the pinnacle of the Smithsonian’s hammering away any alternative origin-of-man theories that this exhibit abruptly departed the museum.
And this is merely one example of the evidence-covering that became the norm for the Smithsonian around this time. One cradle-boarded (elongated), massive skull of an Indian giant, “Flathead Chief,” was stolen by explorer Captain Newton H. Chittenden from an Indian grave in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in 1910,[iii] the same year Hrdlička was fitted with the illustrious title as the Smithsonian’s first curator of the Division of Physical Anthropology. The skull was given directly to Hrdlička, and the receipt of it is documented in the Smithsonian’s Annual Report of 1911, page 82. Yet not surprisingly, Hrdlička no doubt tucked the specimen away, as it, too, challenged his work on Homo neanderthalensis. In 1914, it was reported that Professor J. H. Pratt of Southland Seminary uncovered human thigh bones in the “Burial Mound of [a] Giant Race” in St. Petersburg, Florida, that would have likely belonged to a man of nine feet. These, along with enormous skulls also found at the site, were “sent to the Smithsonian.”[iv] Evidently Hrdlička wanted that hidden as well. Another full skeleton with an oversized skull standing over seven feet tall was discovered nearby in Boca Grande, Florida, and then sent to the Smithsonian.[v] Select bones from a dig that produced forty-nine full “prehistoric” skeletons from a mound “Near Finleyville and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania,” the largest of which was “of a giant nearly eight foot tall,” were sent to the Smithsonian.[vi]
What is with all this evidence being sent to the Smithsonian, and where did it all go? The trail continues…
In 1933, while Hrdlička was still on the anthropological throne, an eight-foot giant was discovered by a young boy searching the floors of Steelville, Missouri, for arrowheads. The report stated that “Dr. Aleš Hrdlička, anthropologist of the National [Smithsonian] Museum in Washington and celebrated authority on primitive races is expected to help.”[vii] (You can see by the verbiage used by the print media at this time that Hrdlička was indeed, in the minds of the surrounding world, the ultimate and “celebrated” authority.) The skeleton was subsequently shipped to the Smithsonian. (Of interesting note, this report also speaks of the findings by Smithsonian’s own BAE field explorer Gorard Fowke years prior. According to this Steelville Ledger article, Fowke had investigated the cave-dweller remains at the same site where there lay “human bones, which had been cracked for the extraction of the marrow they contained” nearby a giant’s tomb, indicating that the site was at one point home to cannibals. If this is an accurate hypothesis, then some very large humans [or something else] on the earth were eating smaller humans in those days.)
We will pause from the plethora of discoveries in the interest of following Hrdlička’s authority in the chronological order in which it occurred. In 1934, Hrdlička decided to make one of the most absurd proclamations of his career during an interview with The United Press. A portion of the report reads as follows:
Giants Are No More, Declares Hrdlicka
By United Press
WASHINGTON, March 12 —The Smithsonian Institution is “fed up” on human skeletons of “human prehistoric giants,” and Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, curator of anthropology, makes no bones about it.
Dr. Hrdlicka blames the “will to believe” of amateur anthropologists for many reports of “discoveries” which find their way to his office with monotonous frequency. The fact that the bones aren’t even interesting adds to his consternation.…
According to the Institution, the purported “finds” describe “an ancient race of giants between 7 and 8 feet tall, with bones and jaws considerably larger than those of men living today. The finder makes a hurried comparison of the length of the fossil thigh bone with his own, and from this calculates the size of the hypothetical ‘ancient giant.’”
However, it was explained, “the person unfamiliar with human anatomy does not know that the upper joint of the femul [sic] is several inches higher than would appear from superficial examination of the living body.”
Hence, the “discovery” and consequent disillusion.
Next to “giants,” Dr. Hrdlicka reports, fancy finds its sway with human “dwarfs.”[viii]
See, the misleading drive behind this article is that it might be based on a partial truth. At best, however, it remains a half-truth, as it willfully deters from giving the whole truth. Let us follow his claims for a moment in the following example: An average American career man who works as the foreman of a shoe factory is wandering about the forest with his dog on his day off and stumbles upon what is clearly a human femur. Because his expertise is in making shoes, and not in human anatomy, he holds the bone at the top of his thigh, not at the appropriate connecting joint a femur would always connect to—and he holds it straight, not at the diagonal angle a femur always curves. The bone then naturally extends several inches past his knee cap, and the conclusion is obviously, as Hrdlička stated, an amateurish one. The foreman of the shoe factory thinks he’s found the bone of an ancient giant that couldn’t possibly have stood less than seven or eight feet tall. He then immediately follows up by calling Hrdlička’s office at the Smithsonian and announcing his discovery. Hrdlička receives the remains of a regular-sized human, and subsequently dismisses the entire thing as a painstakingly redundant misunderstanding.
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With all the talk of a giant race sweeping the nation around this time, there is no doubt that Hrdlička was probably swamped with these false findings. To that extent, this United Press interview might have been spot-on.
But the article diverts two powerfully important issues…
- Hrdlička is not grumbling about the findings of shoe factory foremen (or the equivalent). He specifically stated that the error was from “anthropologists.” In so doing, he makes it sound like any anthropologist might be so lacking in the anatomical familiarity their field of research demands that they would find a bone and get overly excited. Sure, anthropologists aren’t necessarily final experts in anatomy, but their affiliation with archaeological discovery places them in a position to stop and maturely assess the situation before flooding Hrdlička’s office with tall tales, lest they heap embarrassment upon themselves. Could one or two of Hrdlička’s anthropological associates lose their heads over a discovery and jump the gun on reporting it to him before the bone was deemed authentically oversized, despite the damage this would inflict upon their reputation as a professional anthropologist? Yes. Could five of Hrdlička’s associates be guilty of this? Absolutely. It wouldn’t speak very highly of the “professionals” the Smithsonian prizes if this happened as often as Hrdlička said, but yes, it is certainly possible. Could many of his fellow anthropologists repeatedly make this same mistake over and over again at dig sites in front of many Smithsonian-celebrated professional witnesses over the period of several decades? That’s absurd! It’s the Smithsonian, is it not? Surely someone in that department checks the facts before shipping materials to the almighty Hrdlička. (In fact, many of the discoveries had been announced by personalities belonging to the Smithsonian whose credibility within their field was never questioned and whose findings were considered authentic enough to be included in the annual reports.) Yet, by conducting his end of the biased interview the way he did, Hrdlička grouped all of these “finders” in a single category of bumbling, country-dolt amateurs. He insinuated that all previous discoveries were faulty because they were assessed by faulty men. As such, the article is plainly biased, does not dare to list any names of these finders whose professionalism Hrdlička is attacking, and steers well clear of listing the whole truth, which involves many verified discoveries that have been archived in Smithsonian literature as well as countless reports outside.
- By giving his femur analogy, Hrdlička is choosing to use the one analogy that the public will read and respond to with newfound confidence—that elusive “aha” moment—in the grand debunking of giant theories everywhere, and to accomplish this, he uses a simple science that anyone can follow: the misplacement of the “giant’s” femur against the finder’s. Why did he choose this analogy? Because it can’t be contested, and it feeds his “giants never existed” doctrine, while avoiding any more baffling comparisons that science cannot These articles listed prior (and oh-so-many others) use size comparisons that openly defy all we know of modern man, such as brawny archaeologists with full beards easily slipping an unearthed giant jawbone around their entire face and girth of their whiskers. Hrdlička never mentioned that when he was guided to the floor of the United Press platform. What about all those skulls that, even without flesh or hair, measure so large that they could be used as a helmet by modern man? What about all those skeletons that were found apart from Smithsonian supervision, taken from their dig, and examined by medical/anatomical doctors who then sent the bones to Hrdlička…after they had placed the towering, thirty-inch femur at the proper joint and concluded the man would have been over eight feet tall? Why wouldn’t Hrdlička mention this? There is zero scientific objectivity in this interview.
It all points back to this: There were thousands of discoveries of skeletons, bones, skulls, tools, weapons, jewelry, etc., that pointed to the proof that giants “walked the earth in those days” (cf. Genesis 6), and Hrdlička was well aware of it. His career and livelihood would naturally be threatened by the acknowledgment of it, so he jumped upon the opportunity the Powell Doctrine provided to perpetuate the dismissal of anything his own personal science could not explain. And, when given the platform, he used narrow-minded and half-truth science to “prove” to the anxious public that all these discoveries were merely a chain of amateurish oversights.
Hrdlička can “declare” anything he wants about discovery, but it doesn’t make it true, despite the existent sovereignty his Smithsonian position lends.
Sadly, however, Hrdlička can “declare” something, and because of the existent sovereignty his Smithsonian position lends, he becomes that benevolent “they” that the world respects, believing that it is only for their protection as herd-mentality lemmings that would otherwise explode into mass hysteria over the most preposterously false theories declared within that largely useless and archaic “Holy Bible” upon which the great and worthy “science” no longer needs to rely. It’s condescension and hubris to the highest degree that this man would “dispel” ancient giant races on a public media platform without allowing his listeners to learn of the real proof hidden in the small print—including Smithsonian archives. One simply cannot erase all the results of hundreds of years of archaeological investigation because Hrdlička wants to talk about amateurs who hold a bone the wrong way.
Nevertheless, the discoveries continued, and the cover-up goes deeper.
In the summer of 1936, a dig began under the supervision of the Smithsonian exploration team and sponsors, referred to as the “Sea Island Mound Dig at Sea Island, Georgia.” As the reader has likely suspected, giant skeletons were found. The lead archaeologist was Dr. Preston Holder of the Smithsonian National Museum, who, after taking several photographs of the evidence, took the bones to Hrdlička. An initial report was published in the Portsmouth Times on July 28, 1936, in an article titled: “Georgia’s Sand-Dunes Yield Startling Proof of a Prehistoric Race of Giants.” After this, however, the trail cuts off because “the foremost archeologist of the coast, Preston Holder, was not permitted to publish the major result of his excavations. His superiors at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. [read: Hrdlička and his pals]…did not allow him to publish his highly detailed progress reports.”[ix] According to the Society for American Archeology in their SAA Archeological Record:
For reasons that remain obscure, his WPA [Works Progress Association] supervisors in Washington (Smithsonian Institution) [again, Hrdlička] and Georgia did not permit Holder to publish his work-in-progress, discouraged the use of his results for his Columbia doctorate, and effectively hid his formal unpublished reports and relevant papers from scrutiny. In some cases, the supervisors expunged the reports and papers. Under his name, only one meager, two-page note, which was never intended for print publication, briefly describes five of the sites that he excavated in 1936 and 1937 [which likely refers to the initial article in The Portsmouth Times].[x]
At this point, I would like to remind the reader that we have not only uncovered scores of evidence that the Smithsonian is aware of bones, has (or had) bones in their possession, and will not allow the public to know about it—we also have evidence now that the Smithsonian is methodically preventing/destroying/expunging paper trails that detail the archaeological proof of them.
The following October, Hrdlička was on site with his team at the “mummy caves” of Kagamil Island, Alaska (one of the Aleutian Islands), when he personally unearthed a giant skull. Since Hrdlička was responsible for the find, and since it occurred in front of witnesses, he wasn’t able to cancel out the discovery by making dismissive claims that “amateur anthropologists” bungled a femur comparison, so he was left with little choice but to follow through with protocol and have the skull documented. However, this did not stop him from attributing the find to simply a mysteriously large-brained Indian, as opposed to a giant. Rochester Journal ran the following small blip:
Smithsonian Gets Huge Indian Skull
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 —After a Summer spent nosing around the Aleutian Islands, Dr. Alex [sic] Hrdlicka is home with a big head. In fact, the skull, which the Smithsonian Institution anthropologist picked up, once contained the largest human brain of record in the Western Hemisphere, Institution scientists say.
The skull, believed to have belonged to an Aleut who lived hundreds of years ago, had a brain capacity of 2,005 cubic centimeters. The average man has about 1,450 cubic centimeters and the average woman 1,300.[xi]
Not surprisingly, there is not a word about giants, and one reading this article in 1936 was led to believe the skull was a unique fluke. The official Smithsonian U.S. National Museum catalogue card (Cat. No. 377,860; Acc. No. 138,127) lists on the “How acquired” line: “Coll. for Museum.” Yet, despite the “collected for museum” indicator, the oversized skull thereafter fell into obscurity.
More and more giant discoveries were found in the following years, including, but certainly not limited to, the seven-foot mummies of Sonora, Mexico, in 1937 and the largest skull ever recorded found in Potomac Creek, Virginia, in 1937 (cranial capacity of 2100cc). If we were to cover all of the findings herein, this chapter would be, well, GIANT, in overwhelming size. Suffice it to say that despite the mounting list of unexplainable discoveries, the Smithsonian continued to proselytize the Powell Doctrine and Hrdlička’s policies of exclusion.
Of course, one has to wonder what happened to the remains of these giants and where the Smithsonian Institution may actually still possess their hidden remains today. The late Vine Deloria, a Native American author and professor of law, sounded suspicious of their concealed location when he wrote:
Modern day archaeology and anthropology have nearly sealed the door on our imaginations, broadly interpreting the North American past as devoid of anything unusual in the way of great cultures characterized by a people of unusual demeanor [giants].
The great interloper of ancient burial grounds, the nineteenth century Smithsonian Institution, created a one-way portal, through which uncounted bones have been spirited.
This door and the contents of its vault are virtually sealed off to anyone, but government officials. Among these bones may lay answers not even sought by these officials concerning the deep past.[xii]
So does the Smithsonian Institution have an Indiana Jones-like, large warehouse somewhere with aisles of American giants’ remains locked away? We now know this is more than possible. And in case the reader might be wondering why independent archaeologists or researchers aren’t simply reacting to the scandal with their own digs today in order to get the real story, in 1990, U.S. federal law enacted the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Under this law, any federal agencies or institutions that receive federal funding are to release all bones and artifacts related to their culture back to the Native Americans. Failure to comply with the rules of the NAGPRA law results in imprisonment and/or a hefty fine. Thus, not only are we no longer allowed to traipse across any property that promises answers for a lost race of giants and start digging, many of the bones known to be hidden away by the Smithsonian were likely commandeered and returned to the people who inhabit the land from which it was unearthed. However, that the Smithsonian holds interest in shepherding its flock away from truth I have no doubt, and as long as the very likely cover-up continues, so, too, will the worldview that anything outside our educated and scientific knowledge base is purely “mythological.”
So long as the world has its Powells, its Walcotts, and its Hrdličkas to continue mortaring the wall, all the while condescendingly presenting alternative theorists as uneducated fools, we the people will—as Powell prophesied—continue to be “subjective philosophers.” If only the “theys” of this equation let the evidence speak for itself…
But some evidence can no longer be hidden, as we will see in the next entry.
Up Next: Before the Smithsonian, Something Legendary This Way Came
[i] “Biggest Giant Ever Known,” The World, October 7, 1895. Full article appears in many places online. No author listed.
[ii] “Tallest Human Giant Who Ever Lived,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 1908.
[iii] “Skull Given Museum: Archeologist Presents Indian Relic to Smithsonian; Bones of Flathead Chief,” The Washington Post, January 16, 1910.
[iv] “Burial Mound of Giant Race Holds Secret: Thighs and Skulls Sent [to the] Smithsonian,” St. Petersburg Daily Times, March 17, 1914, 38.
[v] “Skull Found Indicates Previous Floridians were Sizeable,” Evening Independent, February 14, 1925.
[vi] “Prehistoric Giants Taken from Mound,” Pittsburg Press, September 13, 1932.
[vii] “An Ancient Ozark Giant Dug Up Near Steelville,” The Steelville Ledger, June 11, 1933.
[viii] “Giants Are No More, Declares Hrdlicka,” United Press. Interview conducted in early March of 1934. Subsequently reproduced in several papers. See: Berkeley Daily Gazette, March 12, 1934. Article available in full online at the following link, last accessed November 29, 2016 (parent site is in German, but the article is a scan of the original English): http://atlantisforschung.de/images/Berkeley_Daily_Gazette_-_Mar_12%2C_1934.jpg.
[ix] Bernard K. Means, Shovel Ready: Archaeology and Roosevelt’s New Deal for America (Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2013), 202; emphasis added.
[x] Kevin Kiernan, “Preston Holder on the Georgia Coast, 1936–1938,” SAA Archeological Record, November 2011, Volume 11, No. 5, 30, last accessed November 29, 2016, http://www.saa.org/Portals/0/SAA/Publications/thesaaarchrec/Nov_2011.pdf; emphasis added.
[xi] “Smithsonian Gets Huge Indian Skull,” Rochester Journal, October 5, 1936.
[xii] Wayne N. May, This Land: America 2,000 B. C. to 500 A. D. (Google eBook, Hayriver Press, June 18, 2012) 220.