McKees Rocks Indian Mound3

BELIEVE IT OR NOT — Evidence of a tiny race of archaeologists was discovered . . . What? I got what backwards? Oh, . . . yeah, well, . . . never mind. It’s probably just photoshopped photos to promote the Giants in America Myth. This post is . . .

Of Giants, Aliens, Israelites and Failed Mound Makeovers

Did they find evidence of giants when they dug up the McKees Rocks Indian Mound in 1896?

Yes, they did.

That’s if you think a six-foot, two-inch woman is a giant. Or, a man over 7-foot tall is a giant.

Many people do.

Others think they were just members of a particularly tall race. In fact, some Indian oral traditions speak of very tall people in the Ohio River valley wiped out, or otherwise absorbed, in the distant past.

Big size hurts you when arrows are in the air.

People of such height can readily be found today in Africa and northern China. You may have seen some of them on professional basketball courts.

However, any history of the McKees Rocks Indian Mound would be incomplete without delving into the persistent belief that the nephilim came to America and built the mounds that dot the landscape.

For the Biblically challenged , the nephilim were a race of giants mentioned in Genesis. They were offspring of fallen angels who mated with pretty human women. That was before the Great Flood. Presumably, they were not tall enough to survive the rising water.

There is an abundance of books, websites and Youtube videos that combine belief in ancient giants with conspiracy theories. You’ll find links below.

In a nutshell, the conspiracy theories hold that archaeologists from places like the Smithsonian Institution and the Carnegie Natural History Museum gather up giant bones, destroy them and deny they ever existed.  It’s part of a Darwinist agenda.

Local newspapers, the former Pittsburgh Press in particular, has run full-spread stories over the years on unearthed giant skeletons, 8-to-10-foot tall, in the tri-state area.

Fringe, or near-fringe archaeologists, some in official capacities, have always been willing to promote giantism. Early museums, keep in mind, patterned themselves after carnival freak shows.

Journalists, of course, readily flock to “experts” with good tales to tell.

The stories published over the past century are cited today on the Internet as proof of a Darwinist conspiracy.

The giant bones mentioned in the stories can’t be found today. The institutions that reportedly collected them deny they ever existed. Smells like a conspiracy.

Professor Frank W. Gerrodette rests at the McKees Rocks dig in 1896. The photo is among records at the Carnegie Museum. It comes via the extensive collection of John Schalcosky, founder of The Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh. He posts numerous researched photos daily on Facebook.

What has the Carnegie reported about its McKees Rocks collection?

Well, a formal report was never written, but we do have field notes of Frank W. Gerrodette, the man who directed the dig before he fled the hubbub it stirred up. Combined with what newspapers were reporting, we come up with the following: 

The most important burial was the first one. It was found at the bottom of the 15-foot tall mound.

She measured six-feet, two inches tall. Her placement 2,500 years ago, along with items buried with her, indicate to archaeologists that she was important.

New Age gurus conclude she was a shaman. A link below even includes a painted portrait of her looking like a super hero.  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

Skeletons of several other women also were removed from the mound. All were a few inches over six feet tall. 

The men, of course, towered even more.

One, who apparently was decapitated before burial, is estimated to have been over seven feet tall — with his head.

Many of the remains were so deteriorated that they could not be removed and measured. They were photographed. They were said to have been of “extraordinary size.”

This photo of the mound-topped quarry was taken some time before Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad laid tracks along river in 1879. It likely was taken as part of a smaller dig by the Smithsonian Institution in 1875. Courtesy of John Schalcosky.

Ancient Aliens

Could ancient aliens (ones from Outer Space not Europe or the Middle East) have inspired these tall people buried atop McKees Rocks to build the more elaborate mounds west of here?

Put on your aluminum foil hat and concentrate.

There are many promoters of this idea. It’s obvious to them that earthworks such as the Serpent Mound near Cincinnati can only be fully seen and appreciated from the air.

Evidently, they don’t think really tall giants lived here then.

Moreover, they have calculated that every angle and curve of these structures align perfectly with some significant astronomical body or event.

According to them, Indian oral traditions and artifacts do not show any appreciable knowledge of the heavens. So, it must have been astronauts from another planet who instructed them in the design. They did so for reasons that are not clear now.

What is clear is that these ancient alien adherents do not consider Aztec or Mayan astronomers to be Indian. Or, to be associated with Indians to the north.

But, if you want to see them make their case, see the link below.

Lost Tribe of Israel

The idea that the tall people in the McKees Rocks Indian mound were descendants of one of the tribes of Israel can get quite complex, but we’ll keep it simple.

God, in a fit of righteous indignation, scattered his people, many to places unknown to writers of the Bible.

The early pilgrims, as you know, read the Bible. They identified with being God’s people, people cast into a wilderness, people promised a Promised Land.

Many Europeans who followed the pilgrims felt likewise.

If Israelites got here first, that meant the New World is the New Jerusalem. That meant they were no longer in exile. They were in God’s kingdom. It was established just for them, and God was on their side.

To that, many say, “Narishkeit.” That’s Yiddish for “foolishness.”

Mound Makeovers All Die

Speaking of foolishness, there has been no end to that in McKees Rocks when it comes to the mound, all with good intentions.

The clipping below is an illustration. Many of the historical facts are wrong, but you can get a feel for mound concerns that surface every few years . . .

The Indian woman roaming the hilltop story stems from the 1896 dig. A woman seated in the mound had a young child in her lap. Nov. 25, 1967, Pittsburgh Press, courtesy of John Schalcosky.

The Strong Approach Was Weak

A decade ago, there was Eugene Strong. He drew media attention while beating drums and clamoring for justice for “his people” buried there, or at least, once buried there.

He didn’t do his homework before ta(l)king up the cause, and his “Strong” approach only alienated players involved.

In the end, plans loosely laid by he and his allies to get the ancient ones back in the ground and out of the museum went nowhere.

Iroquois websites labeled him a charlatan, a pretender looking to elevate himself, not the mound. A link to one such critique is at the end.

The video clip below shows him before a news camera, introduced by excited talking heads who think the site visited by George Washington was “just discovered,” or “discovered decades ago.” View with caution.

Next week: Why the AFL-CIO says industrial unionism really began at the McKees Rocks Indian Mound — what “Diamond” Jim Brady and singer/actor Lillian Russell have to do with that — and a fun quiz on what we’ve learned so far.

Links to Even More:

More on Eugene Strong — Iroquois website “Another Charlatan Exposed” (2011)

More on Ancient Aliens — Video examines all the reasons we should credit Space People for at least inspiring Indian mounds. Great aerial views.

More on Various Giant FindsVideo lists the Top 7, with photos to astonish you.

Giants at Finleyville: Video on newspaper accounts of giant skeletons found and quickly “lost.”

More on Giants at McKees Rocks: Be wary of clicking on any popup windows at this Ancient Origins website. A curse may visit you. Still, the site makes for interesting reading. It includes a painted rendition of a female shaman this site thinks was found at core of the mound.


Leon J. Pollom, writer/researcher


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