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What about the giant skull found in Meade County? A theory to add to others

Submitted by Dr. Marshall Myers


 In Meade County in the 1840s, a farmer near Peckinpaugh’s Landing, close to Big Bend, found an unusually large skull in a cave. The skull was twice the size of an ordinary human skull. In fact, it was so large that an ordinary skull could fit inside the gigantic one.  Whom did the gigantic skull belong to? What was it doing in the cave?  This gigantic skull has been referred to in a number of places. Collin’s “Historical Sketches of Kentucky” and “The Meade County Magazine” are just two authoritative publications that also refer to the giant skull. In other words, the skull does exist.  Where it is at present is unknown.  But two main theories have floated about for years to explain the skull. The First Theory of the Skull’s Origin  One theory is that the skull represents the handiwork of an Indian tribe who left it in the cave on purpose. Just as primitive people who can “shrink” heads, some trick of amateur chemistry did just the opposite from “shrinking” heads, and instead greatly enlarged the size of the skull. In other words, the gigantic skull was purposely enlarged and left in the cave, designed to “scare off” the enemy by convincing the enemy that a race of giants would easily defeat them if the enemy didn’t heed the warning the enormous skull represented. The Second Theory of the Skull’s Origin  A second theory has also emerged that says that the skull is that of an individual who suffered from an overly active pituitary gland, a part of the brain that controls growth. Fortunately, the conditions that lead to giantism happen very infrequently. But it did happen to a modern human being, Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was a whopping eight feet eleven inches and weighed 490 pounds. Living only from Feb. 22, 1918, until July 15, 1940, his condition was also traced to an overly active pituitary gland. But the condition Wadlow suffered from rarely happens.  A team of archaeologists, headed by Olivia Jones, at Grave Creek Mound in West Virginia as recently as the 2019 re-classified the large leg bones found there as from someone who also had an overly active pituitary gland, not those of a race of giants, countering the work of an earlier archaeologist who in 1963 declared the artifacts found the bones of a giant race.  The revised assessment disputes the results of an earlier examination by Sam Dragg that lacked, they say, scientific validity. The Third Theory of the Origin of the Skull  But other skulls and lengthy bones have been found in various places in the United States: Maryland, Vermont, Tennessee, off the coast of California, Missouri, Texas, and near the Potomac River, and other places in Kentucky. Farmers ploughing an unbroken field or people exploring caves in the 19th and 20th centuries have turned up the same enormous bones in unexplained places, leading to a third theory for the origin of the skull found at Peckinpaugh’s Landing in the 1840s in Meade County.  Did all these bones come from a race of giants?  Or, are they just the bones of earlier people like Robert Pershing Wadlow who also suffered from overly active pituitary glands?  The proposed third theory is that the skull is not that of an individual with an overly active pituitary gland, but that of a person who was a member of a race of giants that occupied North America long before the Native Americans by several thousand years, despite the theory of the former director of the Smithsonian who popularized the later Siberian crossing theory so popular today.  This is not to say that the skull is definitely from a member of a giant race. That determination is in the eyes of trained archaeologists, examining the extant skull and who believe it to be from a race of giants. The third theory is only a theory. But, it is alluring.

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