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The Riddle of Giant Human Bones Found in France

In 1889, the London newspaper “Pall Mall Gazette” published a sensational article about the discovery of giant human bones in neighboring France.

“Just recently in Vimoutiers, in the department of Orne, a peasant living in the village of Cuyteson made an intriguing discovery. He was digging in his field when the ground suddenly collapsed, and he fell into a hole ten feet deep. The peasant accidentally stumbled upon an underground chamber, the existence of which he had previously been unaware. Upon inspection of the circular crypt, several human bones partially petrified were discovered. These bones were exceptionally large and apparently belonged to a race of giant stature and broad build. Those who examined the findings on-site believed that the bodies must have been buried there in a very distant period.”

The note concluded that excavations at the site were temporarily halted due to ground settling.

The story immediately gained widespread attention and was published in other British newspapers. It was also covered in France, although the French press was not as widely read worldwide as the British.

In French newspapers, these findings were referred to as “ossements humains d’une taille étonnante” (“human bones of astonishing size”), and some details not mentioned in British newspapers were provided. For example, it was noted that the underground chamber where the skeletons were found was so large that two peasant horses fell into the pit.

Additionally, an 18-meter tunnel leading from the underground chamber to another, even larger underground space, was described.

One article about this discovery, written in the French newspaper La Petit Presse, ended with the message: “We are pleased to provide archaeologists and antiquarians with a new opportunity to demonstrate their insight and expand their specialized knowledge. The floor is given to the scientists!”

But then there was deafening silence. No newspaper, French or British, or any other, wrote a single line about this sensational find again. Researchers combed through all possible newspaper archives of that time and later, but there were no further mentions of giant human bones from Vimoutiers.

However, articles about similar discoveries of giant human bones in other parts of France were published.

According to the London Globe, in June 1890, a certain Monsieur Lapouge discovered fragments of human bones “of the most abnormal size” at a prehistoric cemetery in Castelnau, near Montpellier, in southern France.

Lapouge estimated that the bones belonged to a person who was 3.3 meters tall – a true giant. It was also noted that the Castelnau Valley had long been called by locals the place where the “cave of giants” was located.

Lapouge published an article and photos of his findings in the French periodical La Nature. From there, the story of the “Giants of Castelnau” made its way into numerous world newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times and Scientific News.

And, traditionally, this was also the last mention in the press of these strange finds. After that, no one wrote or mentioned them again.

Moving on, in 1894, newspapers reported that workers conducting excavations at a reservoir in Montpellier found “a set of human skulls of gigantic proportions,” measuring 28, 31, and 32 inches in circumference. The average circumference of an adult male skull is 22.5 inches.

“These relics were sent to the Paris Academy, and one scientist said they belonged to a race of people ranging from 3 to 4.5 meters in height,” the newspapers wrote.

This location seemed to be near where Mr. Lapouge was digging. In any case, it was the same area of Montpellier. Perhaps both sets of bones are connected to the same cave of giants that valley residents have been talking about for centuries?

As the reader can easily guess, there is currently no information available about these skulls either. Did they end up in the Paris Academy and get inadvertently stored away in some storage room? Or were they intentionally hidden from the eyes of outsiders forever?

By the way, in the 19th century, disproportionately large human remains were also found in other countries, especially in the United States.

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