Ralph Glidden find bones of giants
on Catalina Island?
Glidden was digging on Catalina Island in the Gulf of California
between 1919 and 1928. He found, according to newspaper
articles, numerous skeletons 7 to 9 foot tall. But where
are those skeletons today? Was it just a publicity stunt
- or did he find the remains of a lost race of human giants?
Catalina Island, most often just called Catalina Island, is
one of the
Islands off the
coast of California in USA, just an hour by ferry from Long
Beach in Los Angeles city. It is 22 miles (35 kilometres)
miles long and 8 miles (13 km) across at it widest. The island
is quite rocky and the highest point is 2,097 feet (639 m).
The Channel Islands has the earliest evidence for seafaring
in the Americas, and also earliest evidence of humans in North
on the pictures
for more information:
Glidden and skulls
cemetry, Santa Rosa Island, containing abalone shells
dated at 7,070 years. Tops of skulls were painted
red, several skeletons measured over seven feet tall."
Photo: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Ancient burial sites
Ralph Glidden was an amateur archaeologist who uncovered ancient
burial sites on Catalina Island from 1919 to 1928: it is said
that he excavated more than 800 grave-sites from about 100
individual locations around the island. In addition to finding
thousands of artefacts he also dug up almost 4000 human skeletons.
He claimed that there once had lived
an ancient race of tall and fair haired Indians on Catalina
Island and the adjacent islands. Most of all the male adults
were around 7 feet (2.20 m) in hight, and largest skeleton
he found was 9 feet 2 inches (2.80 m) tall.
Glidden lost his sponsor after digging
for almost 10 years and the general opinion today is that
he then was bluffing about finding giant skeletons to create
interest and make money.
Well, might be, but I'm not so sure!
was not the first
Glidden was not the first to find a giant skeleton
on Catalina Island. According to Pittsburgh Press July 20,
1913 and also Daily Telegraph on July 26; a German naturalist
named Dr. A.W Furstenan unearthed an 8 foot skeleton on the
island. The skeleton was found with artefacts such as mortars,
pestles and arrowheads; all different from ordinary Indian
relics. Plus a strange, flat stone, bearing unknown symbols.
Furstenan had while in in Mexico
heard a legend of a noble race of giants that had lived on
Catalina Island long before the white man had arrived - and
travelled to the island to investigate.
He found the skeleton along Avalon
Bay, in black, hard sand showing signs of burning. Most of
the bones crumbled to dust when they came up in the air; only
the skull, jawbone and bones of one foot remained.
the other islands
is not only on Catalina Island it seems to have
found giants skeletons, there
are reports of findings also on other of the Channel Islands.
According to newspaper articles Santa Rosa Island was the
site of a dig in 1959, and they discovered several skeletons
more than 7 feet tall. The tops of the skulls were painted
red. The skulls were said to be of "primitive",
"otamid" type; most often described as having sloped
forehead, pronounced brow, robust bones, powerful jaw, and
a so called "inca bone" at the back of the skull.
They were also said to have double rows of teeth.
skeletons were found at an Indian cemetery that contained
abalone shells that were dated to be more than 7.000 years
old. According to the book "The Native Races of the Pacific
States of North America" (a five-volume description of
indigenous ethnic groups) by Hubert Howe Bancroft a Mr. Taylor
from San Buenaventura stayed at Santa Rosa Island in 1861
and he often came across skeletons of Indians in caves with
double rows of teeth.
Santa Rosa Island is the second largest of the Channel Islands
of California, about 150 km northwest of Catalina Island.
Also on San Nicolas Island west of
Catalina there shall have been found large skeletons. In 1897
a party of relic hunters stayed three weeks on the barren
island and Newark Daily Advocate tells about "Bones of
a Giant Race on San Nicolas Island". The party found
87 skulls buried in the sand but only three were secured entirely.
They found evidence that the island had been inhabited of
two or more different races; "one of which was of great
size". The newspaper writes that one of the most interesting
relics was part of a skeleton of a large man with a long bone
spear point sticking in his bones. In the shattered skull
was a stone that been used as a war implement.
In 1960, archaeologists discovered
the remains of 13,000 year-old Arlington
Springs Man, among the oldest human remains in the
Americas, on Santa Rosa Island.
interest in Indian artifacts
Arthur Glidden was born in Massachusetts in 1881 but 15 years
old he moved to Santa Catalina Island with his parents. He
worked first as a carpenter but took early an interest in
Indian artifacts. The story is that he was searching for pearls
of barren San Nicolas Island when he happened to stump his
toe on a skull: "I became so fascinated by my find that
I have devoted my life to this work ever since".
Glidden with the "princess urn" found on
In 1915 he started to excavate Indian
sites on San Miguel and San Nicolas Islands together with
A. Taschenberger and Captain A. P. Chappel. Three years later
Glidden sold his collection to the Heye Foundation of the
Museum of the American Indian in New York.
The chewing gum magnate William Wrigley,
Jr. bought a controlling interest in the Santa Catalina Island
Company in 1919. He improved the island with public utilities,
new steamships, a hotel, the Casino building, and extensive
plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Wrigley also wanted
to ensure that all artifacts found or excavated on the island
should belong to museums, and in 1919 he granted the Field
Museum of Natural History of Chicago exclusive rights to all
artifacts gathered on the island. The museum contracted Heye
Foundation to do all digs and Ralph Glidden was chosen to
conduct all excavations.
in his museum
Indians Are Rising Out of Legends
This Skeleton of a Man Who was 7 Feet 8 Inches Tall
Reposed Below the Tomb in which the Remains of 64 Children
the expedition to the interior of Catalina Professor
Glidden collcted the skeletons of 3,781 Indians. The
largest he found was a man 9 feet 2 iches tall. Practically
all the male aldults were of gigantic stature, averagig
7 feet in hight.
Path Magazine, January, 1930
Skeleton 7 feet 2 1/4 inches high, with hands
crossed and fingers over right eye
Giant Humans Remains Discovered on Catalina Island,
A report just published in the San Diego
Union gives some details of an announcement by professor
Ralph Glidden, curator of the Catalina Museum. He claims
overwhelming proof that a fair skinned, fair haired,
highly intelligent race of great stature lived on Catalina
Island, off the southwestern coast of California, perhaps
three thousand years ago, and that his excavation of
a huge cache of skeletons, domestic utensils, urns,
wampum, etc., is quite out of the ordinary class of
skeleton of a young girl, evidently of high rank, within
a large funeral urn, was surrounded by those of sixty
four children, and in various parts of the island more
than three thousand other skeletons were found, practically
all the males averaging around seven feet in height,
one being seven feet eight inches from the top of his
head to the ankle, and another being 9 feet 2 inches
Ogden Standard-Examiner, Nov. 10, 1929
stones, scratched with the sign of the cross, show
Spanish influence. Skull of a giant Indian who was
seven feet tall.
Popular Science October 1932
Ralph Glidden was digging on Catalina Island between 1919
and 1928. He found, according to newspaper articles, numerous
skeletons 7 to 9 foot tall.
In 1922, the Heye Foundation reduced
it's funding to Glidden and in April of 1924 cut all money
for excavation of the islands burial sites.
In resent articles about Glidden we
can read the following: "Desperate for money, public
attention and respectability, he later opened a "museum"
dedicated to his research. Utilizing skeletal remains as a
macabre form of decoration, the museum's unsettling interior
attracted hundreds of tourists and was, in Glidden`s own words,
"unlike anything else anywhere in this country."
Well, "Catalina Museum of Island
Indians" overlooking Avalon's harbour was definitely
something else. It was a makeshift museum, basically a large
tent - filled with bones and artefact. It was based on the
famous bone chapel in Malta, using the bones he had dug up
as decorative elements. Long bones were shelving support and
brackets to display skulls and objects like ceramics, rugs
and native jewellery, while window frames were decorated with
toe and finger bones. It cost 35 cents to get inside.
But what should he do? Even if the
discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1923 gave Glidden a boost
of interest and visitors he had not enough income in the long
run to keep on doing what he really wanted to do: Excavate
The decorations might have been grizzly,
macabre and unsettling to many but it was different times.
Today it would not be allowed to display native bones. The
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of
1990 even demands the return of human remains and cultural
objects obtained from prehistoric, historic, former, and current
Native American homelands
Today many people are shocked over
Ralph Glidden's lack of respect for the dead, but it was not
so shocking then. He was far from the only person digging
up ancient bones, often hoping to find valuable artefacts.
And as we understand from Malta and simular chapels in Italy,
even the church accepted the use of bones as decorations!
Ralph Glidden claimed that he had uncovered a secret history
of Catalina Island, that he had found evidence of a race of
giants; a prehistoric race of blue-eyed and blond haired native
In 1930 he announced that he had found
the skeleton of a royal princess. She was buried in a large
urn and around the urn 64 children was buried in four tiers.
Five feet below the urn and children he found a skeleton of
a 7 feet 8 inches (2.34 m) tall man.
Glidden was now ready to sell his
collection and also the whole secret of the island. We can
read that he required an annual annuity for life, funding
for five expeditions, and the necessary financing for various
planned publications that included a large monograph chronicling
all of his excavations.
But nobody wanted to buy and in 1962,
81 years old, he sold his collection for $5,000.
Ralph Glidden was of course not digging all alone on the islands.
He had a crew of workers and now and then he was working together
with other archaeologists. Well, he had no education as an
archaeologist himself, and even if he sometimes was called
Professor or Dr. Glidden, he himself seems to have used the
titles Collector and Curator.
unearthed a giant skeleton on Catalina Island
was working together with Ernest Windle. He was the judge
on the island, so it is hard to believe that he was lying
when he wrote that the giant was seven feet two and one-half
inches tall and must have weighed in the neighbourhood of
Kay Brown, a young odontologist, was
Glidden's assistant in many of the digs. In her collection
of 35,000 teeth from the sites on the Channel Islands there
were only 12 teeth that were unsound and may have caused pain.
We have mentioned A. Taschenberger
and Captain A. P. Chappel; they spent four month with Glidden
on remote San Nicolas searching for Indian artefacts. A collection
of some 900 pieces, including skulls, mortars, pestles, arrowheads,
war clubs, knives, spears, smoking pipes, a whalebone idol,
a tombstone, a treasure box, and a decorated flute was later
sent to the Heye Foundation.
Mrs. George Heye, visited Catalina
Island in 1920 with her husband, George Heye, founder and
president of the Museum of the American Indian in New York,
and also Harmon W. Hendricks, vice-president of the museum.
Mrs. Heye helped in the excavations and found two perfect
skulls on the island's isthmus.
Arthur Taschenberger also accompanied
Glidden to the desert island of San Miguel Island and they
stayed for three months without finding anything besides 343
skeltons. He also followed Glidden to Santa Rosa Island.
Glidden did not exactly dig in secrecy,
so I am quite sure that the interested people could have a
look at his findings in situ. His findings were published
in the local newspaper, and since Glidden often is in the
picture himself somebody must have taken the pictures. This
also goes for the pictures of Glidden and large skeletons.
And remember that this was a time without digital photo editing!
Where are the bones?
Where are the bones of the giants that Glidden should have
found? I have not been able to get the answers yet, but I
am not at all sure he was lying or exaggerating to get money.
For why should he want fundings for five expeditions and publications
about his findings if he was lying; he would have been content
with the annuity for his artefacts and secret!
Some bones from Catalina and the other
islands might in fact have been in museums but after the Protection
and Repatriation Act they will have been removed and reburied.
It is not that many years ago in historical
perspective since Glidden according to the newspapers of the
time sent hundreds of skeletons to the Haye Foundation and
the Museum of the American Indian in New York. But the museums
do not always have proper catalogues from that period: They
will not be able to give a proper answer if they received
artefacts and skeletons from Ralph Glidden. And if you send
them an e-mail asking if they have any of Glidden's skeletons
the easiest thing for them to do is just to ignore your e-mail.
Especially if you ask about skeletons of giants!
is of course better to ask about large human bones because
museums will not use the term giants but even then I believe
that you will have a hard time getting a proper answer. I
have read archaeological reports and newspaper articles telling
that large bones has been sent to the Smithsonian - even from
their own field agents. But if you ask if they have any information
about them you will just get the answer that they are not
in their catalogues.
12th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology
to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
"Near the original surface, 10 or 12 feet
from the center, on the lower side, lying at full
length on its back, was one of the largest skeletons
discovered by the Bureau agents, the length as
proved by actual measurement being between 7 and
The 10.000 dollar question is of course
if Glidden sent the skeleton of the 9 footer he said he found
to the Heyes Foundation. Might be not! His situation was not
easy when it came to the economy and might be he chose to
keep the cards close to his chest? Might be the skeleton is
hidden someplace on the island? Might be he dug it down again
to do further investigations?
Well, the most plausible explanation
might be that the skeleton crumbled to dust when taking the
measurements. It seems that the largest skeletons found are
the oldest - and reports of giant skeletons found all over
the world tells that they disintegrated when exposed to air.
It would be great if we could find
the 9-footer but I believe that the chance is much bigger
to find one of the 7-feet skeletons!
Look at the photos
the moment we do not have any bones of the large skeletons
that Ralph Glidden said that he found so the next best will
be to take a look at the photos the exist.
died in 1968, 87 years old. In Mach 2012 an unlabeled box
was discovered in the Catalina
Island Museum's archive. Here were many of the documents
that Glidden had collected and kept - including heaps of photos.
he had not at all been a methodical man so the photos were
not marked and there were no information on where they were
from and when they were taken. Nor were there any proper records
of his excavations.
and 8 1/2 feet skeleton
fingers at statue
on Easter Island
and Jim in the TV-show
with the tooth in the show.
some of the pictures have been uploaded to the internet and
the most interesting is a photo showing Glidden digging up
a very large skeleton. If this picture is a realistic and
true verification of Glidden's finding it definitely shows
that the man was not a bluff, even if his findings were sometimes
Researcher and author L.A.
Marzulli, who travelled to Catalina Island to take
a closer look at the pictures says that he has had four people
with forensic software to examine the photo and that they
all conclude that the skeleton must have been 8 1/2 feet (2.60
m) in life.
Marzulli also discovered that one
of the skeletons on the on Glidden's photos had six fingers.
This is very interesting because many of giants were said
to have six fingers. Goliath from the Bible might be the best
known, but I got into my
10 year long research on giants because I discovered that
ancient stone statues on the island in the Pacific had six
fingers. And that the same was to be found on ancient statues
all over the world! Most often the depicted local gods that
also were very tall; giants.
"Search for the Lost Giants"
I was supposed to go to Catalina Island to be part of History
Channel's new series called "Search for the Lost Giants",
in an episode that ended up being called "The Giant Curse".
I was supposed to be with the main-characters Jim and Bill
Vieira to Catalina Island but ended up being filmed in the
When I went out of the plane after
the long flight from Australia I could not breathe and was
rushed to the nearest hospital. Blood clots had moved from
my legs to my lungs. The doctors told me that I was lucky
Bill and Jim plus the film crew came
to the hospital and we were making jokes about what the brothers
called the "giant hunters curse". Well, it was only
clever editing that made is seem like I thought it was something
supernatural about giants and that a curse had made me collapse!
I do not believe in curses and my point of view is that what
we call giants was a species of Homo sapiens that were very
tall, a race that died out.
Many people seem to believe that I
was cheating when I showed a tooth in the hospital bed; that
it is a tooth from an animal and not a human. Well, the producer
gave me the tooth just before the camera started rolling and
told me it was a replica of the Denisova tooth. I am not a
vet or a doctor, and I had no chance to check. I remember
I thought it looked a bit different from the Denisova tooth
I had seen picture of, but it was found two teeth in the Denisova
cave and it might be a replica of the other one!
I was very sceptical to be part of
the series. I was afraid that they would dramatize too much
and ridicule my research! But Jim Vieira is very serous about
finding the truth about what we call giants, and I was hoping
that the show could get the publics attention to what seems
to be a not very known part of human history - and that I
could be able to get the Denisovans into the picture.
was in 2008 that Russian archaeologists found a small bone
fragment from a pinkie finger in the Denisova cave of southern
Siberia. The finger bone was unusually broad and robust, well
outside what is seen in modern people. They also found a tooth
that was so large that the archaeologist at first mistook
it for a cave bear tooth (and they found another tooth later)!
Artefacts, including a bracelet, excavated at the same level
were carbon dated to around 40.000 BP.
It seems that in modern humans the
frequency of Denisova DNA is the highest among North American
Indians followed by Europeans. So I was very interested to
go to Catalina Island to learn more about what Ralph Glidden
had found there!
What I am hoping now is that descendants
of the first settlers to the USA after seeing the show will
come forwards with old large bone that was found in Indian
mounds or on the Channel Islands, so that they can be sequenced
for DNA and dated before they are repatriated.
Do you know something - or know somebody that might know
Is there anybody out there that has personal knowledge of
Ralph Glidden and/or his findings of large skeletons? Do you
Glidden died in 1968 and there should
be people around that spoke to him about his findings on the
Channel Islands. Was he bitter that he never could continue
his excavations? Did he talk about his secret - about the
blue-eyed giants and their lost temples on the islands?
Might be it even might be somebody
around who remembers seeing large bones in his tent-museum
(even if it was closed for the public since the 1950s)? Are
there clues where Glidden found the urn with the "princess"?
What happened to Kay Brown; the young
odontologist who was Glidden's assistant? Did Ralph Glidden
have any children?
Did Judge Ernest Windle leave any
clues where he and Glidden found the almost 8 feet skeleton
or did he write anything about Glidden and his secret? Does
anybody know where Glidden found his largest skeletons?
Yes, there are many questions but
it might be important to find the answers. As Thor Heyerdahl
of the Kon-Tiki fame said: "To say something about the
future you must know the past"
© Terje Dahl
do you think?
Send your comments on the article about Ralph Glidden and
his findings of giant skeletons to firstname.lastname@example.org
are the ideas, thoughts and facts our readers have sent in:
About a decade ago I was teaching
my eight-year-old son to skip rocks in the creek near
our house in the Silicon Valley in California and he
said "what's this" as he was holding up a
what appeared to be a tomahawk head with braided rope
marks embedded into it. At that point I inherited the
ability to see the tools of the ancients all around
us. A few years later we went to Catalina Island and
I are starting to see many quartz points on the beach
and some of the big triangular stones that are two handed
axes over there. I couldn't believe the island very
few trees very little water and almost no large animals
could support Indians and then I read about the first
European explorers to come to Catalina. I think it was
Vasco de Gamma who said these tall blonde or red haired
light-skinned people from Catalina came in their canoes
lashed together like a barrel with 20 men rowing so
fast they rode circles around the Spaniards ship while
they were at full speed (Viking stunt). The technique
of lashing together boards like a barrel to make a ship
this way gave the Vikings dominance for 500 years because
they didn't need harbors to go on to land, so I guess
that the Catalinans could have descendants of ocean
going Nordic people. De Gamma says they spoke to the
birds, dolphins and seals to live in harmony.
My theory is that these
were the people the Aztecs called Quetzelquatl (lashed
together planks on the ship sides would be described
as the scales of a serpent as they slithered through
the swells, and sails would be described as wings of
a bird by the ancient mind: snake-bird gods that brought
civilizing knowledge). Also, the Channel Islands are
a good candidate for Lemuria, since there was a tribe
known as the Lemurs on one of those islands.
Absolutely. What a find. The Smithsonian.
Hide. All. These from the public they don't want Us
knowing the TRUTH!!!
Very interesting. I always thought
that giants had six fingers in their hands and feet.
It made sense if you think of the size of their feet
and hands. The Sumerians used the 12 as a measure. We
presently buy a dozen eggs in the stores. Why not 10
eggs? We have 5 fingers in each hand and feet. One foot
equals 12 inches. Why not 10? My hypothesis is based
on what we take for granted. The bible talks about the
Nephelin and the Sumerians made reference in their clay
tablets of Giants too. Makes you think that what we
call history is quite skewed.
The pic of our intrepid hero is
s fake. The original is available in the SB Museum site:
he's not in it.
(You are wrong, Bruce. Terje)
Absolutely believe! The Mounds
Old Copper Culture! IsleRoyale! Now Catalina Island
An entire Civilization!
A forensic expert on the "Search
for the Lost Giants" made a facial composit of
the descriptions of giant skulls found in the US. It
reminded me a bit of the stone statues on Easter Island;
big jaw, short forehead. A dance at the internet by
the native Tongva -people on Catalina reminded quite
a lot of local, ancient dances in the outer island of
Solomon Islands, and also of Tuvalu dances (singing,
rythm and dance moves): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmLDT64-gN4
All shells were from middens
22) with the exception of a sample which the Indians
had placed in a cemetery containing over 100 skeletons.
These skeletons had been buried in sitting positions
with knees drawn up under their chins. Each skull had
been painted a brilliant red which gradually faded on
exposure to the air. Three of the skeletons were from
strong people over 7 feet tall (Figure
abalones, family Haliotidae
A party of seventy-five boys
and men will leave Los Angeles Harbor next Saturday
at 5 A.M. for a weeks outing on San Clemente Island.
C. R. Fischer of the Y.M.C.A. is leader, but the trip
will be taken under the auspices of the First English
Lutheran Church of this city. An exploring party will
go ashore at Nicolas and try its luck at digging up
the remains of prehistoric peoples. April
Mexican Joe Presido
[sic] used to tell the story that when he was a boy
he would dig up mortars and skulls and shoot at them
just for the fun of the thing