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The mystery 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.

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“A curious discovery has just been made at Vimoutiers, in the Department of the Orne, by a peasant living in the village of Cutesson. He was digging in his field when the ground suddenly gave way, and he fell into a hole 10 feet in depth.

“The peasant had accidentally lighted upon a subterranean chamber, the existence of which was not previously suspected. On examination, a number of human bones, partially petrified, were found in an adjoining vault, constructed in the form of a circle.

“The bones are of exceptionally large dimensions and appear to have belonged to a race of gigantic stature and great breadth of frame. In fact, the persons who have studied the case on the spot are of the opinion that the bodies must have been interred in this burial place at a very remote period.

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“Further researches have been temporarily interrupted by the subsidence of other plots of ground. It seems by no means improbable that some highly interesting discoveries will result from this accident.”

According to Paul Brown from Singular Discoveries, at the end of the newspaper article, it was stated that excavations at the site were eventually temporarily stopped due to subsidence.

The story immediately became widespread and was published in other British newspapers. This was written about in France itself; of course, the French press was simply not as read in the world as the British press.

In particular, in French newspapers these finds were called “ossements humains d’une taille étonnante” (“human bones of amazingly large size”) and they also indicated some details that were not written in British newspapers. For example, the underground chamber where the skeletons were located was so large that two peasant horses fell into this hole.

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An 18-meter (60-foot) tunnel was also described, which led from an underground chamber to another, even larger, underground room.

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

But then there was a deafening silence. Not a single newspaper, neither French, nor British, nor any other, wrote a single line about this sensational discovery. Researchers rummaged through all possible newspaper archives of those times and later, but nowhere else was there any mention of giant human bones from Vimoutier.

But articles were published about similar finds of giant human bones, but in other places in France.

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

Lapouge calculated that the bones belonged to a man 3.3 meters tall (11 feet) – that is, a real giant. It was also indicated that since ancient times the entire Castelnau valley was called by the villagers the place where the “cave of giants” is located.

Photo of giant human bones from Castelnau from Popular Science News. 1890

Lapouge published an article and photos of his findings in the French periodical La Nature. From there, the story of the “Giants of Castelnau” found its way into many newspapers and magazines around the world, including the New York Times and Popular Science News.

And, traditionally, this was also the last mention in the press about these strange finds. Then no one wrote or mentioned them anymore.

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In 1894, newspapers reported that workers excavating at a reservoir in Montpellier had found “a set of human skulls of gigantic proportions” that measured 28, 31 and 32 inches in girth. The circumference of the average adult male’s skull is 22.5 inches.

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

This place seemed to be close to where Monsieur Lapouge was digging. In any case, this is the same area of ​​Montpellier. Maybe both bones are connected with the very cave of the giants, about which the inhabitants of the Castelnau Valley formed legends?

As the reader can easily guess, there is currently no information about these skulls either. Did they end up in the Paris Academy and were unknowingly hidden somewhere in the storerooms? Or are they deliberately hidden forever from the eyes of all outsiders?

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Zoe Mitchell

Zoe Mitchell is an independent researcher and writer specializing in extraordinary topics. With a degree in journalism, she delves into the mysteries that lie beyond the surface of our reality.