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PolitiFact found no corroborated evidence suggesting that ancient, giant human skeletons were found in Ohio.
Historical claims that giant skeletons were unearthed in Ohio have been fueled by tall tales that were later contradicted.
Researchers haven’t discovered remains of ancient, giant human beings in Ohio.
But just in time for spooky season, a popular Instagram post is reviving the long-debunked claim that they did.
"When you ask a historian why there are giant human caucasian skeletons in Ohio that predate any known civilizations," read words that hover over a video showing a person mumbling, "I don’t even know. Like, I couldn’t even tell you that."
The Sept 26 post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
(Screenshot from Instagram.)
Unproven myths that giant human beings once lived in Ohio have circulated for nearly 200 years. Stories of discoveries of giant skeletons date back to at least 1845, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
These baseless claims that giant skeletons were discovered aren’t limited to Ohio, either. They’ve been said to have been found in India, Saudi Arabia and New York. In each case, fact-checkers have debunked the supposed discoveries.
Some of the claims were traced back to doctored images spread by social media users. One such image that features researchers unearthing what appears to be a massive human skeleton was a Photoshop contest entry, Reuters reported.
Another image held up as evidence of giants also resulted from Photoshop magic. The artist, a Canada-based illustrator who uses the name IronKite online, told National Geographic that he digitally superimposed a human skeleton over the remains of a mastodon that was excavated in Hyde Park, New York, in 2004.
Ohio-focused claims about giants appear to have a very particular origin, though.
In the late 1800s, a man named John Everhart excavated Brush Creek Mound, a landmark in Muskingum County, Ohio.
Everhart claimed he’d recovered a sandstone slab inscribed with hieroglyphics and several skeletons each more than 8 feet tall, according to a Columbus Dispatch report.
His account later crumbled: A worker who once worked for Everhart testified in court that he’d been promised $15 to carve the "ancient" hieroglyphics into the slab. Similarly, a member of Everhart’s excavation crew acknowledged that "all the skeletons were so much crumbled that it was difficult to make accurate measurements," The Dispatch said.
An Instagram post said "there are giant human caucasian skeletons in Ohio that predate any known civilizations."
This claim traces back to decades-old myths and rumors — some of which stem from photo-editing contests. PolitiFact found no corroborated evidence suggesting that ancient, giant human skeletons were found in Ohio.
We rate these claims False.
Correction, Oct. 3, 2022: This fact-check has been corrected to reflect that Brush Creek Mound in Muskingum County, Ohio, is a separate, distinct landmark from Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio. The rating is unchanged.
Instagram post, Sept. 26, 2022
National Geographic, ‘Skeleton of giant’ is internet photo hoax, Dec. 14, 2007
USA Today, Fact check: Online post showing giant human skeletons is an old hoax, Sept. 8, 2020
The Columbus Dispatch, Archaeology: Newspapers have been debunking giant hoaxes for a long time, Dec. 27, 2020
The Columbus Dispatch, Archaeology: Were ancient writings, giants pulled from Ohio burial mounds? Ummm, no, Jan. 27, 2019
The New York Times, Giants of other days, March 5, 1894
How Stuff Works, Ohio's Serpent Mound is an archaeological mystery, March 16, 2022
History Naked, The great Serpent Mound, Jan. 9, 2017
Reuters, Fact check: Images of alleged giant human skeletons are altered, March 3, 2021
Design Crowd, Photoshop Submission for ‘Size Matters 4’ Contest, Design 8854061, accessed Sept. 30, 2022
Smithsonian Magazine, The Cardiff Giant was just a big hoax, Oct. 16, 2017
History, Explosive discovery in Ohio Cave | Search for the Lost Giants (S1, E5) | Full Episode, accessed Nov. 22, 2021
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