Land of the Giants?
Last week I promised to tie up some loose ends with my series on Catalina’s mines and natural caves with a bonus column on, shall we say, the astounding legends surrounding the Island’s “underworld.” And it all has to do with a hollow earth, an advanced civilization and a race of giants.
Throughout the history of North America, tales abound of the discovery of the remains of abnormally large and even “giant” pre-historic humans. While archaeologists shrug off such claims as pure fiction, Photoshop jobs, or perhaps the natural elongation of normal human skeletons as they settle over the course of centuries, this phenomenon has developed its own little cottage industry within the realm of paranormal researchers.
In 1895, a burial mound containing 20 skeletons “twice as large as those of present-day people” was discovered near Toledo, Ohio. The skeletons were reportedly all arranged in a sitting position and facing east.
In 1931, a number of large skeletons were discovered in a lake bed near Lovelock, Nevada, one of which was said to be almost 10–feet long. Another specimen measuring 8-feet in length was also discovered and appeared to be wrapped in a “gum-covered” fabric similar to Egyptian mummies.
In 1965, a skeleton measuring 8-feet 9-inches in length was reportedly discovered in Holly Creek, Kentucky, with a skull “30 inches in circumference.”
As you might have guessed by now, Catalina Island counts itself as one of the locations of these finds. Not so long ago in our history there was a fellow by the name of Ralph Glidden who took it upon himself to excavate (some would say “plunder”) the various Native American middens and burial sites around the Island.
In the days before the science of archaeology was born, men like Glidden did little more than exploit Native American artifacts and even their remains as a sort of lucrative “hobby.” He ghoulishly displayed many of these remains and even offered them up for sale in a small “museum” he operated on Hill Street on Avalon’s east side.
Among Glidden’s many claims was that he had discovered the skeletal remains of 7-foot to 8-foot tall “giants” in various places around the Island.
Okay, so what does a race of giants on Catalina have to do with the Island’s mines and natural caves? The answer, I am told, has to do with what is known as the Hollow Earth theory, or the belief that within the earth is a vast open realm inhabited by an advanced civilization.
While the Hollow Earth theory enjoyed its heyday back in the 19th century and early 20th century, it still has a number of followers. The Russian newspaper Pravda, for example, regularly features bonafied “scientific” articles on the existence of this global under-realm. As recently as June 6, 2011, that esteemed journal published an article titled “Parallel World Hidden Inside Earth” and in 2007 featured a similar article entitled “Another Human Civilization May Live Inside Earth’s Hollows.”
While the articles themselves don’t offer any proof of these claims (ahem), the authors pull no punches in espousing their own beliefs on this notion, quoting various “researchers” in the bargain.
Enter Catalina Island: Although “Hollow Earthers” believe that the major entry points into this underworld are located at the earth’s north and south poles, they claim there are numerous alternate portals (emergency exits?) located around the world, including—you guessed it—Catalina Island.
As a matter of fact, back in the 1920s a contingent from the Hollow Earth Society made a special trip out to Catalina in an effort to search for just such a portal. No word on whether or not they found anything. Okay, Jim, you say. I still don’t see where the giants come in.
It is said that these giants, including those supposedly found on Catalina, were given the task of protecting these portals. In other words, they were thought to be the “guardians” of the portals into this underworld, protecting this internal civilization from incursions from above.
Since no one has ever found any of these portals into the Hollow Earth, it appears they have done their job well.
Or perhaps these portals have been discovered. Perhaps the “mystery mine” I wrote about in last week’s column was one of these portals. Or, if you remember my column from last Halloween, perhaps the mysterious “Green Door” that appears from time to time in Toyon Bay is one of these portals.
Where’s Ralph Glidden when you need him?