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Episode Notes for
Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum!

Kenneth Feder

The Cardiff Giant, one of the most celebrated hoaxes in American history, on display at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
(Photo by John and Keturah. Used under a Creative Commons license.)

There were Giants in the earth
in those days… —Genesis 6:1

Giants appear in cultures around the world: Biblical tales of giants more than ten feet tall; Roman and Greek stories of titans and heroes; European stories of giants of mountain and hill. They all have one thing in common: enormous monsters.

On this episode of MonsterTalk we chat with archeologist Dr. Ken Feder about giants, biblical archeology — and one of the biggest hoaxes in American history.

In this episode

  • The bible has stories of races of giants (but also people who lived to be several hundred years old!); Is there any reason to think that people who lived in ancient times were any larger than modern man?
  • Are humans generally growing shorter or taller over milliennia?
  • Why do ancient cultures postulate giants?
  • What evidence would we expect to see if such creatures existed?
  • From a physiological point of view, what are the advantages and detriments to gigantism?
  • Gigantism often is implicit in the term “monster,” — almost all monsters are large (Bigfoot, Nessie, etc.) — you don’t really hear about many “monsters” that are only a few feet tall; what do you see as the link between gigantism and monsters?
  • One of the most famous hoaxes in American history is The Cardiff Giant. Can you give us an overview of that?
  • Were most scientists fooled by the giant?
  • Why were so many people treating the Biblical giant-tales as literal truth?
  • Are there other examples where people have misinterpreted archeological data to infer that it implied Giants?
  • Does giant architecture imply giant builders?

Interesting links

A site that seems to promote credulous acceptance of retouched photographic evidence.

Music

Episode Transcript

Read a complete transcript of this episode.

The views expressed on this program are not necessarily the views of the Skeptics Society or Skeptic magazine.

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