Alternate Perceptions Magazine, February 2024
Fefiphobia: Skeptics’ Irrational Fear of Giants
by: Dr. Greg Little
NOTE: This is a slightly revised article based on a 2-part article published in AP Magazine in December 2016 and January 2017. Recently there has been a focus on the Guerilla Wikipedia Skeptics role in the UFO field, so it's important to understand that the skepticism on Wiki is in many fields.
Question 1: What do all of the following Native American Indian mounds have in common? Chickasawba Mound (AR); Moundville Mounds (AL); Dover Mound (KY); Cresap Mound (WV); Welcome Mound (WV); Dunleath Mounds (IL); Great Smith Mound (WV); Poorhouse Mound (WV); Nelson Mound (NC); Jones Mound (NC); Etowah Mounds (GA); Welch Mounds (IL); Ingomar Mounds (MS); Nelson Triangle Mound (NC); Long Island Mounds (TN); Coshocton Mounds (OH); McKees Rocks Mound (PA); Spring Hill Enclosure Mound (WV); Rock Mounds (WV); McCulloch Mound (WV), and; Barboursville Mounds (WV).
Answer: All of those mounds had at least one skeleton (approaching 7-feet tall or more) found inside tombs during archaeological excavations. During the “Mound Survey Project,” conducted by the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of Ethnology in 1882-90, they reported at least 14 such skeletons that were excavated from mounds. They also reported many other skeletons that were “exceptionally large” or close to 7-feet in height. But not all of these tall skeletons were found in the 1800s. In 1950 the University of Kentucky archaeology department pulled a 7-footer from the Dover Mound. In 1957 an archaeologist from the Smithsonian pulled a 7-footer from the Welcome Mound. In 1958 a Carnegie Museum archaeologist reported that a 7 foot 1 inch tall skeleton was found in the Cresap Mound. There are more examples, but this is a good start. The tallest skeleton excavated by American archaeologists (that I can verify in published formal archaeological reports) was 7’ 6” in height.
Question 2: What significant fact links all of these mounds together on Wikipedia?
Answer: You won’t find any definitive mention of these excavated 7-foot skeletons on Wikipedia entries on these mounds. In addition, the modern excavations of mounds recovering 7-footers are curiously not even mentioned at all on Wikipedia—as if these mounds and the skeletons never existed.
Over half of the tall skeletons mentioned above were excavated from Adena-era mounds (1000 B.C. to 200 B.C.) with the remainder coming from Mississippian sites (A.D. 800 to A.D. 1700). Many of them were detailed in extensively long and formal excavation reports made by the archaeologists. Many of these excavators were prominent in their field. For example, the Cresap Mound (with a 7’1” skeleton) was excavated by Don Dragoo, then the head of the Carnegie Museum’s archaeology department. The Dover Mound (with a 7-foot skeleton) was excavated by the Chairman of the archaeology department at the University of Kentucky along with a full Professor in the department. Oddly, even on the historical signs at these sites and on most history-related web pages devoted to the sites, you will find virtually no mention of the large skeletons. There are a few exceptions, but not many. Perhaps even more oddly, on at least one Wikipedia page (“Criel Mound” in West Virginia), you will see a mention of a “single large skeleton.” However, it was not 7 feet in length. That Wikipedia page also wrongly states that Cyrus Thomas was the individual who excavated the mound. That’s wrong, of course. Thomas was then the Director of the Smithsonian’s Mound Project but he didn’t visit the Criel Mound. It was Col. Norris who performed the actual excavation. Thomas took Norris’ report on the excavations and used it for a Smithsonian report and a later paper in “Science.” But Wikipedia’s sections on such matters aren’t related to facts. Facts can’t stand in the way of an agenda. Wikipedia’s entries on such matters are controlled by an active group of “guerilla skeptics” who use that very term to describe themselves and what they do. Like the people they rigidly oppose, they perform a lot of factual omissions and outright deceptions to promote their agenda. And their factual “errors” are rampant. For example, if you looked up the “Biggs Site” on Wikipedia (until it was corrected after I mentioned it repeatedly), you would have seen a circular formation that is definitely NOT the Biggs Site. What was shown and described as the Biggs Site on Wikipedia is about a mile from the “real” Biggs Site. (The Biggs Site, located by the Ohio River in Kentucky, was investigated by the same University of Kentucky archaeologists who found a few 7-footers in other Kentucky mounds on the Ohio River.) I have found many, many more archaeological “blunders” on Wikipedia. But they are not really factual blunders, they represent the unintended results of promoting an agenda.
The Smithsonian, as well as most archaeologists and skeptics, relates that there was “no race of giants” in past times. A few bloggers (some of which spew hate-filled, race-baiting propaganda) continually rant that there is nothing unusual about a “few” 7-foot tall people from the Adena and Mississippian periods. They say, “Look at the NBA,” as a ploy to divert attention from facts and statistical probability. However, the same bloggers can’t keep themselves from exposing their underlying agenda by repeatedly bringing their political opinions into discussions about how they interpret archaeological findings. When this article was first issued, skeptics' feelings about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton appeared to have a lot to do whether the Smithsonian’s 1800’s excavation reports were considered accurate. But, let’s get back to the point. In its entire history, the NBA has had only 25 players who were 7’ 3” in height. Today, just one person of every 146,000 people attains 7 feet in height. In Adena times, the average height of the population was 5’ 4”, while modern populations average 5’ 8”. Statistically, the best calculated probability is that only one of every 1.4 million Adena people would have attained 7 feet in height. How do the skeptics account for the reports of so many large skeletons then? They typically deny them in one way or another: They were mismeasured, a hoax, they actually found mastodon bones, or oddly, one skeptic asserted that when bones are buried and get wet and freeze repeatedly, bones get larger and larger eventually reaching giant size! Of course, that's nonsense. But it was touted as "science."
What is the big problem about acknowledging that there was a class of Native American mound builders who were exceptionally tall? Why is it difficult to acknowledge that individuals who are 7-feet tall appear to be "giants" to average size people? Why are archaeologists and skeptics so fearful of just stating what was reported in these excavations?
What is the Fear?
In the book “Path of Souls” (2014), several Native American legends of giants were detailed. These “giants,” to use the terminology recorded in the legends, were individuals who were one to two-feet taller than the ancient peoples who inhabited the ancient American landscape. These tall members of the elite served a special purpose and probably inherited their status through heredity. One mainstream skeptical archaeologist called this the Adena Elite Hypothesis speculating that the leaders of the Adena had a hereditary predisposition to tallness. That's reasonable.
To a person standing 5’ 4”, a person who is 7-feet tall (and also proportionally larger) would seem like a giant. As a personal example, I vividly recall standing by 7’1” Wilt Chamberlain and 6’10” Bill Russell in 1966. They appeared to be imposing giants to me—I was then a high school basketball player of 5’9”. So, what is the problem with acknowledging that there was some sort of unknown hereditary group of tall people existing during mound building times?
There are actually two answers to this. First, the acknowledgement of “giants” or unusually tall individuals ruling the indigenous populations upsets the accepted “modern” archaeological view. The “giants” were very likely the elite people of the Mound Builders, and the strongest evidence is that they were especially prominent during the Adena period, although the Spanish encountered many of these tall (over 7') leaders in the 1500s and wrote about these encounters. The tall ones were the shaman, the priests, and often the chiefs. Mainstream American archaeology has no way of explaining them in their currently accepted view of ancient America—or it just chooses to ignore them. It is the same situation faced by the few archaeologists who went against the “Clovis First” tradition that dominated American archaeology for decades.
The second reason is more important and relevant. It explains why there is virtually no acknowledgement of the “giants” excavated from mounds on Wikipedia. The answer is embodied in one word: “Creationism.” Skeptics detest the biblical quote, “there were giants in the earth.” Skeptics hate creationism. Skeptics detest people who see a deeper meaning and a deeper purpose to life. However, the hate and venom spewed from them is derived from something primal, something lurking deep inside their dark mental recesses. That something is fear.
Both the alleged “science of archaeology” and the small but active group of guerilla skeptics supporting the mainstream are afflicted with a diagnosable disorder. At the root of the disorder is an irrational fear—a phobia. Skeptics are afflicted with the disorder known as “fefiphobia.” They fear that an lineage of 7-foot-tall people existing a couple thousand years ago somehow supports creationism. One of the primary goals of skeptics is to forward their beliefs about what they call “rational thinking.” For example, some skeptics argue that telling children fairy tale stories is wrong because it fosters irrational beliefs. Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, giants, and religious ideas are all irrational and simply wrong to them. So wrong that they want people to stop telling such tales to children. Also wrong is the idea of a mythological afterlife and all of the religious groups who believe in it. To skeptics, the idea of giants seemingly supports the Bible—so it has to be denied in every way possible. Skeptics will bring up “false” newspaper articles telling of supposed 20-foot-tall giants and use these articles to ridicule the fact that many 7-foot tall skeletons were actually found. It is a ploy. As I mentioned previously, the "tallest" skeleton excavated from American mounds that was "verified" (meaning found by archaeologists, was 7'6" in height. Back in 2014 Andrew Collins and I ran down several of the newspaper articles claiming 9-to-20' "giants" found in mounds, but every one of those accounts fell apart when we "dug" each story to its source.
Skeptics are well organized and have a special team of Wikipedia Administrators devoted to making sure that anything they deem to be “irrational” is either deleted from Wikipedia or ridiculed through the use of terms such as “claimed,” “self-professed,” “alleged,” or similar terms. Perhaps more importantly, most of the Wiki-guerrilla skeptics are not even qualified in the fields in which they edit or “pontificate”. Paradoxically, these same skeptics ridicule those they deem to be irrational as “unqualified.” There is a Wiki page and Facebook page devoted to Guerrilla Skeptics. In brief, they have managed to “sanitize” Wikipedia to suit their purpose. And Wikipedia allows it—making it an unreliable source for information.
Skeptics typically don’t like creationism or religion of any kind and live in their own type of “fairy tale” world. They are often bullies on the internet, usually hiding behind anonymous names and monikers like “666” and “.” Yes, just “.”, maybe this person’s name is “dot” or “period.” It actually reveals a lot. Personally, I fully accept evolution, but I prefer to allow people the freedom to decide for themselves. Should creationism be taught in public schools? I don’t think so. Parents, religious organizations, and perhaps religious schools should be allowed to do so if they wish. Most adult skeptics grew up with Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, but that didn’t stop them from adapting skeptical views. So why won’t they allow others the same freedom?
The reasons are complicated but understandable. If you follow the rants of any individual skeptic for a period of time, eventually all of their political views will be expressed as factually-based. They can’t help but issue their political feelings. Now I am NOT a Republican or Democrat, but professionally I keep my political views to myself. Nor do I issue my political views in articles about archaeology, psychology, or any other academic area of interest. It’s not professional. I learned long, long ago that when you mix politics and religion with professional or academic pursuits, you have entered the realm of your beliefs—not facts. I think it’s important for professionals to separate what they see as real science from their beliefs. And it just seems silly and illogical to mix politics with carbon date disputes, skepticism about skeletal size, and ancient history. Understand however that there is a background agenda at work on Wikipedia, motivated and energized by what Carl Jung would call ego “inflation.” Skeptics are certain that they are the holders of truth. Their “truth” might start with science and what is broadly accepted at any given time, but with ego “inflation” they come to believe that everything they believe and feel is scientific truth and fact. They become convinced that you are too stupid to discern truth, so they want to control what passes for truth, sometimes cited under the aura of “scientific fact.” But it’s only their “truth.” The real bottom line is that skeptics will use whatever they can grab to make you believe that they are both smarter and better than everyone else. They want to control all messages and want to take the freedom you have to look at the world and judge for yourself. In essence, they say that those of you who watch television for entertainment are stupid. You can’t discern scientific fact from fantasy. So anything on television that doesn’t fit their ideas of truth has to be removed. Or so they say. One result from the skeptic’s control is that a lot of the hidden history of the ancient world is kept a mystery. And that’s a real shame. There are many of us who would donate to archaeology if they weren’t seemingly just intent on finding only what supports their current beliefs. So what we have instead is that many archaeologists rant about shows like “Ancient Aliens.” Most people see Ancient Aliens as entertainment—that’s what it is. Is any of the stuff it shows true? Sure. But certainly some is just entertaining speculation. For many people, shows like “Ancient Aliens” and the “Curse of Oak Island” are the only ways they get exposed to the ancient world and the marvels that have been uncovered. But both shows engage archaeologists. There are a lot of possibilities in the world of the unknown. Most people can see that the theme of ancient aliens goes way, way too far, yet skeptics would have you believe that everything that is an “alternative” to their accepted beliefs is irrational and somehow destructive. I believe that people can decide for themselves. The public can also choose to buy 300-page books by archaeologists for $80 if they wish. And no one is stopping skeptics and archaeologists from joining hands and starting their own cable network. Quit complaining and do it. One brief story I’ll relate is that back a year ago, Andrew Collins visited us during his birthday. It was on a Friday and a lot of people showed up to meet him. Ancient Aliens was also on, and Andrew related that it was the first time he’d seen so many of the shows. (He lives in the UK and does not get the History Channel.) A couple attorneys (friends) showed up at our house for his birthday. One of them was a state criminal prosecutor and the other in private criminal practice. Both of them watched Ancient Aliens regularly and found it entertaining and thought-provoking. They didn’t believe everything on the show but liked seeing the many sites shown. What’s it all mean? First, they know it’s just entertainment. Second, they know that it’s filled with rampant speculation. Finally, they like seeing the archaeology sites. I believe that people need to have the freedom to choose for themselves what they want to believe. One thing I’ve learned over 74 years is that people change over the course of their life. People need the freedom to learn, grow, and change. Hopefully for the better, but we all know that isn’t always the outcome.
A Message To All “Alternative” Researchers
The best way for the alternate community to deal with the Wikipedia mess is to avoid it altogether. Get your pages on Wikipedia deleted. Don’t reference Wikipedia, but do use its “Commons” photos to your advantage. Don’t allow your photos to be used on Wikipedia or quotes from your written material to be used there. Use X (twitter) to promote your material. One last note here. Wikipedia will eventually likely cease to exist. How can I say this with such certainty? Everything eventually fades away, either through becoming obsolete, or merging, or just ceasing due to lack of funds. It was a good idea gone bad.
Last, here is a simple opinion. No matter how hard you try, and no matter what you do, no matter what evidence you have, you cannot get acceptance and recognition in the community of skeptics. If you are an alternative writer—or a member of the "fringe" pseudoscience as the skeptics will refer to you—nothing you do will get you access to the mainstream. Trying to do so is a mistake and the motive about trying goes back to ego and inflation.
The Skeptic’s World
There have been a lot of negative articles issued about skeptics and their organizations, and these articles tend to get buried on search engines when you try to find them. The skeptical organizations are devoted to making skeptics look as good as possible and those they loathe as bad as possible. In the future, you’ll see papers that analyze some of the charges made against skeptics. But for the moment, if you are interested in reviewing some of the articles others have put out, click on the links below. They describe the skeptics’ world in ways I can’t. Some of the articles I agree with, some I don’t. And there are others I just don’t know enough about to comment. Perhaps the main thing to keep in mind with this is how angry people have become with skeptics’ attacks.