Giant Skeletons of Mound Builders in Wisconsin

In recent years, research by Jim Vieira and others into historical claims of giant human skeletons has reinvigorated the interest (and controversy) in a topic that is widely discounted as pseudoscience.

My interest in the subject began where it has for many – with the mention of giants in the ancient texts commonly referred to as the book of Genesis. It is easy to disregard these antediluvian tales of an extraordinary race of giants produced through the coupling of celestial beings with human females. When these stories were first told, humanity was still huddling in dark caves and making offerings to the various gods and spirits who governed their fates.

However, stories of giants are not exclusive to archaic origin stories fabricated by ancient cultures to make sense of a world without scientific understanding.

It seems that around the turn of the century, human skeletons measuring unnatural heights were being unearthed all over America, often from the burial mounds of an unknown people we call Effigy Mound Builders.

If the media of the time is to be believed, Wisconsin has yielded several unique and significant clues to the giant skeleton mystery. This may be due to the numerous animal effigy mounds all across the state, as well as a large population of Middle Mississippian mound builders who flourished in the area for four hundred years before they vanished.

Aztalan: Wisconsin City of the Mound Builders

Aztalan mound in Wisconsin
Photo: Joshua Mayer/Creative Commons

The remnants of a city built around a large central mound was discovered near Madison in 1835. The city, known as Aztalan, is believed to have flourished from 900-1300, possibly serving as a northern outpost for the much larger city of Cahokia in present-day Illinois.

Most of the Aztalan mounds were destroyed in the late 1800s, whatever relics to be found taken by treasure hunters. One disturbed mound was found to contain the remains of a young female now called the Princess of Aztalan. She was found to have a slight deformation in her spinal column, which may have caused her to be more highly regarded. She was wrapped in belts of seashells, some coming from as far away as the Gulf of Mexico.

Though she was of average height, the princess is one of only a few burials discovered in the area, which include a headless male and five cremated remains. There are rumors of a giant skeleton unearthed in the area, but I haven’t found any reports to corroborate it.

Aztalan Princess skeleton found in Wisconsin burial mound
Though not a giant, the Aztalan Princess is unique amongst Wisconsin mound burials.

In 1891, the New York Times reported that Smithsonian scientists excavating the Aztalan site had discovered three pyramid-shaped mounds in nearby Rock Lake, which are believed to have been built by the inhabitants of Aztalan.

Maple Creek Giant

A New York Times article published December 20, 1897 reported the discovery of a giant human skeleton in the largest of three recently discovered mounds in Maple Creek, WI. The article states the skeleton measure over nine feet from head to foot and the skull was “as large as a half bushel measure.” Tempered copper rods and other relics were found with the bones.

The two remaining mounds were going to be “excavated soon.” What was found in them, and where is the giant now?

18 Skeletons Found Near Lake Delavan

New York Times reports on 18 giant skeletons found near Lake Delavan in Wisconsin

The May 4th, 1912 edition of the New York Times reported what might be one of the strangest giant skeleton discoveries of all. An excavation of one large mound on Lake Fawn Farm near Lake Delavan revealed the skeletal remains of eighteen individuals measuring between 7.6 and 10 feet. The “heretofore unknown race of men” were found to have six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, as well as double rows of teeth in their large, elongated skulls.

“From directly over the eye sockets,” the article states, “the head slopes straight back and the nasal bones protrude far above the cheek bones. The jaw bones are long and pointed, bearing a minute resemblance to the head of the monkey. The teeth in the front of the jaw are regular molars.”

It goes on to say that other remains, presumably of women, were found with smaller heads but similar characteristics. The remains were found embedded in charcoal and covered with layers of baked clay to shed water from the sepulchre.

Lizard Mound Skeleton in West Bend

While researching his book Washington County Paranormal, author J. Nathan Couch uncovered an account of a giant skeleton discoverd right here in our backyard.

I was fascinated by Lizard Mound County Park, just outside of West Bend, WI, ever since my first visit when I was very young. At the time, an installation constructed by the Milwaukee Public Museum provided a window into one mound, showing the bones and artifacts as they were originally buried.

Though those bones were of normal size, larger bones were accidentally unearthed by farmers in another nearby mound. Read the account of that find: Giant Skeleton Unearthed by Wisconsin Farmers in 1912

Giant Indian Bones Found Near Fond Du Lac

Giant human bones found near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

This snippet of a newspaper so far is the only thing I have found on the topic of a giant skeleton being found near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Have you heard any stories of strange giant skeletons being found in Wisconsin?
Tell me about it in the comments below.

Giant Skeleton Unearthed By Wisconsin Farmers in 1912

The following is an excerpt from J. Nathan Couch’s book Washington County Paranormal, which details the local history and legends of West Bend, WI and surrounding areas. While researching Lizard Mound County Park, he uncovered a report of a giant human skeleton found in one of the burial mounds.
A burial mound at Wisconsin's Lizard Mound park, where a giant skeleton was reportedly found.

Lizard Mound County Park is a cluster of mounds, many of them burial mounds, located in Hagner’s Woods. They range in shape from simple linear and conical mounds to effigies of birds, panthers—now thought to be depictions of water spirits—and one particularly unique “lizard,” though experts now largely agree it’s actually a turtle.

The people who built these mounds are as mysterious as the mounds themselves. Commonly referred to as the “Effigy Mound Builders,” they lived in Wisconsin and neighboring states between 700 CE and 1200 CE.

Today, the debate over the identity of these mound builders focuses on determining which of the modern-day Native American tribes’ ancestors constructed these beautiful earthen works. However, there was a time when some doubted that the mounds were built by Native Americans at all. Since the natives who lived in the area of the mounds were no longer building them when Europeans first arrived in Wisconsin, it was assumed that some lost culture, or “race,” had to have been responsible. Naturally, this “lost race” must have been eradicated by the current native population. I can’t help but notice this theory of an established culture being displaced by a newer, more aggressive culture mirrored exactly what was happening as Europeans conquered North America.

Posited identities of the “lost race” ranged from the slightly plausible Aztecs to the nearly impossible lost tribe of Israel or the Atlanteans. Early twentieth-century West Bend writer and Washington County historian Carl Quickert subscribed to the “lost race” theory.

In the first volume of Washington County, Wisconsin Past and Present (1912), Quickert writes about the extraordinary discovery of enormous human bones near what is now Lizard Mound County Park. While collecting gravel for road construction, farmers uncovered a cache of bones that, when assembled, formed a skeleton eight feet in height. The skull’s lack of “protruding cheekbones” suggested that it belonged to “a different race of men” than the Native Americans.

As is usually the way when the bones of a giant are discovered, when exposed to air, they quickly disintegrated. Only the skull, which Quickert reports had teeth measuring a full one-inch in length, remained intact. Quickert doesn’t reveal the fate of the giant’s skull, so keep your eyes open next rummage sale season.

Since the skeleton was assembled by farmers instead of archeologists, it seems wrong to take their estimation of size as accurate. It also seems unlikely that the bones could survive being assembled by laymen but soon after be destroyed by contact with the air. It’s much more likely that this was a tall tale Quickert erroneously took as fact.

Quickert supposes the skeleton may have belonged to a people who inhabited “New Iceland” according to the Icelandic sagas. Quickert puts forth the idea that a war erupted between these legendary “Germanic people” and a “Mongolian people”—the Native Americans—which ended in the total destruction of these ancient European giants.

Is this hard to believe? Yes, a bit.

Washington County Paranormal is currently available from Amazon right here.

Washington County Paranormal: A Wisconsin Legend Trip by J. Nathan Couch
Washington County Paranormal


Review: Search for the Lost Giants

Unraveling the Mystery: Jim Vieira sets out to find evidence of the existence of an ancient race of giants in the debut episode of Search for the Lost Giants.
Search for the Lost Giants on History channel

Despite the recent ridicule of researchers such as Jim Vieira and the idea in general, the theory that giant humans once roamed the earth has been around for a very long time. I am interested in the subject not because I believe it is scientific fact, but because it is an intriguing story.

I’ve been formulating wild fiction in my head for years around ancient astronauts, giant mound builders, and the cosmic origins of consciousness and life on Earth. By nature, however, I tend to be a skeptic of everything. Beliefs held as scientific fact by our ancestors are now regarded as nothing more than hokey superstition today. The reality is that science is little more than a record of what we think we know right now.

From that perspective, even fact becomes relative.

Whether giant human skeletons were being unearthed around the turn of the century and subsequently vanished, as the news and Smithsonian ethnology reports would suggest, or it was all just a fantastic hoax, I am always fascinated by the possibility.

Jim Vieira is not a scientist, nor does he claim to be. He is an average guy with an interest in what seems to be compelling evidence of giant skeletons measuring seven feet tall and above, often with bizarre double rows of teeth. As a stone mason, he took particular interest in the unusual stone constructions found at the burial sites of these remains.

True or not, there are innumerable claims of these discoveries all over the US. Some of them even come from my backyard here in Wisconsin. Why not visit the locations of these supposed finds and poke around in the dirt a bit? Giant or not, something was found there.

Searching for Giant Skeletons

In the debut episode of History’s new series Search for the Lost Giants, brothers Jim and Bill Vieira examine two such locations in Massachusetts. The episode opens as they use ground-penetrating radar to examine a protected site on Native American land in Deerfield, MA. It is here that local historian George Sheldon documented the discovery of a eight foot skeleton in 1895. Though they cannot disturb the soil, the radar seems to indicate the existence of a stone slab as found in other burial sites. Typically, the stone is similar in height to the body it is covering. The measurements from the radar show a massive slab roughly twelve feet long and four or five feet wide.

The Vieira brothers then move to another location not far from Deerfield, to a strange stone structure known as the Goshen Mystery Tunnel. While local legend says the tunnels were created by a gang of counterfeiters or grave robbers to access their hideout beneath the nearby cemetery, some believe the tunnels may have pre-colonial origins. Jim is intrigued by another legend, that there is a hidden chamber in the tunnels that has never been opened. Since the structure is similar to other sites where giant skeletons were reportedly found, Jim wants to find that hidden chamber.

Opening the mysterious Goshen Tunnel on Search for the Lost Giants
Opening the Goshen Mystery Tunnel in search of giant skeletons

Following drawings made during an excavation in 1980 by Jim Whitall, the last person to explore the tunnels, Bill and Jim descend into the darkness where they find what may be evidence of the existence of the hidden chamber.

Rock with strange inscription near the Goshen Mystery Tunnel
Jim Vieira examines a rock with mysterious inscriptions near the Goshen Mystery Tunnel

But it’s the History channel, so we’ll have to wait until next week to discover there was nothing conclusive at the site.

Due to the controversy surrounding Jim’s research, this first episode put a great deal of effort into rationalizing his work. It was probably a necessary introduction to research at the center of such intense outrage. I am really not interested in Jim’s justifications, though. He has a right to draw his own conclusions without ridicule.

Besides, getting to explore ancient burial sites in the backwoods of America vicariously through my television has given my life new meaning. Or at least killing enough brain cells to induce trance and euphoric states.

Either way, what bliss.


History Series Goes in Search of the Lost Giants

New History Channel series Search for the Lost Giants follows Jim and Bill Vieira as they explore the existence of giants in the ancient world.
New History Channel series follows the search for the lost skeletons of ancient giants

In the early 20th century, there was a bizarre wave of articles sweeping the news about the discovery of giant skeletons all over America. If the newspapers are to be believed, remains of humans seven feet tall or more, often described as having double rows of teeth and other abnormalities, were unearthed in large numbers during this time.

But if these numerous accounts are true, where are these giant skeletons now?

It is commonly believed that they were nothing more than fantastic stories devised to sell newspapers. Some, however, believe these were the remains of the Nephilim, the mysterious race of giants discussed in the book of Genesis who inhabited the antediluvian world. They were the offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men.”

Another interesting aspect of this perspective is the theory that the Smithsonian is responsible for the missing giant skeletons, hiding them away to cover up their existence.

Whatever the truth may be, it’s a fascinating topic that is finally going to be explored the way it deserves by way of an entertaining, maybe even somewhat scientific new series from the History channel.

Search for the Lost Giants will follow researchers Jim and Bill Vieira on a quest to find evidence of ancient giants, which promises to be a great watch. Even if they find nothing because the Smithsonian has conspired to censor their evidence.

Search for the Lost Giants premiers November 4th at 10/9C.


Smithsonian Giant Skeleton Conspiracy

Giant human skeletons: Newspaper hoaxes or Smithsonian conspiracy?

Newspapers of the 19th century reported many discoveries of giant human skeletons, which have since seemingly vanished without a trace. Is the lack of evidence proof of a Smithsonian conspiracy to cover up their existence, or proof of the rampant hoaxes running amok in journalism at the time?

Micah Hanks explores the evidence a little deeper, uncovering reliable stories and eyewitness accounts detailing the discovery of large skeletons reported by the Smithsonian itself, with clues as to the fate of these bizarre and mysterious remains.

Read the article: Big Buried Secrets: Giant Skeletons and the Smithsonian