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Legends of Mammoth Men Linger in the Desert

Legends of Mammoth Men Linger in the Desert

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Published by Joe Durwin
Legends of Mammoth Men Linger in the Desert
Joe Durwin

in: Weird Arizona: Your Travel Guide to Arizona's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets (Sterling Publishing, 2007)
Legends of Mammoth Men Linger in the Desert
Joe Durwin

in: Weird Arizona: Your Travel Guide to Arizona's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets (Sterling Publishing, 2007)

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Published by: Joe Durwin on Jan 02, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Legends of Mammoth Men Linger in the DesertLegends of Mammoth Men Linger in the Desert
Joe DurwinJoe Durwinin:in:
Weird Arizona:Weird Arizona: Your Travel Guide to Arizona's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
(Sterling Publishing, 2007)(Sterling Publishing, 2007)
When Captain Juan Mateo Manje and Father Francisco Kino explored parts of modern day Arizona in the late 1600s, Pima Indians told them stories of giants who hadmenaced their ancestors in the distant past. In some cases the stories were gruesomeaccounts of the ways in which the giants were burned alive in their caves. Later, in thelate 19
and early 20
centuries, Arizona was once again abuzz with talk of an ancientrace of giant men who had once inhabited the area, traces of whom seemed to be poppingup every few years.In early February, 1884, newspapers around the country carried reports of mammoth human footprints found by silver prospectors within the Grand Canyon.Deeply indented in rock, these tracks were said to be twelve inches wide, and twenty-sixinches long. According to the account of the two prospectors, Mr. Ridenour and Mr.Spencer, each impression appeared to represent a complete bare foot, including toes andheel. They were sunk deep into the rock, and spaced about eighteen feet apart,suggesting something with a massive step. The tracks, if that is what they are, can still beviewed in Great Thumb which divides the main Canyon from Havasupai.In 1891, a scattering of western newspapers carried a story claiming that workersdigging a basement at Crittenden (now abandoned) unearthed a massive claysarcophagus. According to the original report appearing in the Salt Lake City
 Deseret Weekly
, the container was opened to reveal a mummy case apparently built to house acorpse about twelve feet tall. Its discoverers found no trace of the giant’s bones, andconcluded that they must have turned to dust over time. From the markings on the coffinthey ascertained that the body must have had six toes, something it shared in commonwith other giant remains alleged to have been discovered in North America.The same year, one John Wymer is said to have discovered an enormous humanskull in a cliff-dwelling 30 miles south of Winslow. In the book 
Cow by the Tail 
, JesseJames Benton described it as “so big that my hat, size seven and three-eighths, set upontop of it and looked like one of those toy hats you buy at a carnival.” The most peculiar thing, as Benton pointed out, was that the skull had one gold tooth set in its jaw. Theskull was supposed to have been on display in Winslow for a while, but investigation hasfailed to turn up any information on where it could have ended up. Likewise, anexhaustive check by the Arizona Historical Society was unable to find any gooddocumentation of a giant sarcophagus dug up at Crittenden. Therefore it’s unclear whether or not these artifacts ever actually existed outside the imaginations of some 19
 century newspapermen.To one scholar from California, though, the existence of a race of prehistoricgiants in the western America was more than just legend. Samuel Hubbard, Curator of Archaeology at the Oakland Museum, believed that Arizona’s Havasupai Canyon offereda wealth of evidence in support of the giant theory. His attention was first caught whenhe visited the area in 1894, and was told of an 18 foot petrified giant in the canyon.Unfortunately, the spot where it was supposed to be had been completely buried by amassive landslide from the cliff above. Hubbard did make other important discoveries inthe canyon, including some curious petroglyphs carved into the canyon rock, and what he believed to be another petrified giant on a virtually inaccessible ledge. The carvingsinclude a variety of animals, including one that bears more than a passing resemblance toa dinosaur, and one that shows a man being attacked by an ancient elephant. If the latter was drawn to scale, Hubbard pointed out, it would seem to indicate the man’s height

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