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Stone Giants: Stoneclad Eastern Bigfoot

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 19th, 2012

Patty

Grover Krantz’s quickly stated theories, sometimes, need to be called into question.

Take, for example, his notion of what was behind the sightings of “Stone Giants” or “Stone Clads” in Eastern North America.

Krantz’s bias against Eastern Bigfoot reports, in general, boils to the top in his discussion of these hominoids.

On page 143 of Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence, Krantz writes: “Native stories that can confidently be related to the Sasquatch occur throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their distribution closely corresponds with the area where White Man accounts are concentrated. Attempts have been made to relate native stories from other places to the same phenomenon, but with little success….In the eastern part of North America there are stories of the ‘stone clads’ who strike with lightening from their fingers. To me this sounds more like an exaggerated version of early encounters with armed and armored Vikings, if it has any physical referent at all.”

I frankly think Krantz is too shortsighted about this. From doing historical research on Native traditions and looking at the evolution of the motif of “stone clad” Wildmen, I came up with a different hypothesis than Krantz’s “Viking” explanation.

Within the eastern Native Americans’ folklore and stories there exists the background for understanding how Marked Hominids/Eastern Bigfoot/Windigo got from being hairy to stone covered and finally to a state where they would be called “Stone Giants.”

In Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America, (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2003) by Loren Coleman, I wrote:

In eastern North America, a specific subvariety of manlike hairy hominoid allegedly exists. It exhibits aggressive behavior, hair covering the face in a mask like fashion, occasional piebald coloring, an infrequent protruding stomach, and distinctive curved, five-toed sprayed footprints….They are inhabitants of the northern forests of the East. The local Native American, Native Canadian, and Inuit accounts discuss the ancient traditions of these hairy humanlike beings with words special for each linguistic and tribal group. Nevertheless, a casual practice has begun to develop in the East in calling these hominids “Windigo” in association with a commonly used Native regional name from long ago. The Algonquian linguistic groups of the East and upper Midwest of the United States and Lower Canada have used the terms Windigo, Wendigo, Weetigo, Wetiko, Wittiko, and other variant names for these reported giants of the bush covered in hair.
* * *
There was a free exchange of information on these manlike hairy primates among many First Nations in eastern North America. In the eastern provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia down into Maine, the Micmac tell of the Gugwes. “These cannibals have big hands, and faces like bears,” noted folklorist Elsie Clews Parsons in her 1925 paper in the Journal of American Folklore….

The cannibalism attributed to the Windigo is specific to these eastern hairy hominids. Anthropologist Grover Krantz, who seems to not have studied these traditions closely, is to be excused for falling into the usual misunderstandings of these traditions of the Windigo when he too quickly senses they all have been based on stories of cannibal Indians. The Natives clearly thought of these hairy cannibal giants as non-Indians.

The Micmac know the cannibal giant by the names of Gugwes or Koakwes and Djenu or Chenoo. However, Wilson D. WalIis and Ruth Sawtell Wallis in The Micmac Indians of Eastern Canada note that “Gugwes is a grotesque creature; in 1911-1912 he was commonly compared to a baboon; in 1950 he was described as a giant.”

In the state of Maine, the Penobscot tell of the Kiwakwe, a cannibal giant (Speck 1935b: 81). “The giants, or Strendu, the averred enemies of the Wyandot,” relates C.M. Barbeau in recording beliefs of the Huron and Wyandot in the area of Lake Huron, “were dreaded on account of their extraordinary size and powers. Some describe them as being half-a-tree tall and large in proportion. Their bodies were covered all over with flinty scales, which made them almost invulnerable.” The Strendu, too, are said to be cannibals.

In Upper New York State similar beings were known as Stone Giants. “The Iroquoian Stone Giants,” notes Hartley Burr Alexander in Mythology of All Races, “ as well as their congeners [a member of the same kind, class, or group] among the Algonquians (e.g. the Chenoo of the Abnaki and Micmac), belong to a widespread group of mythic beings of which the Eskimo Tornit are examples. They are. . .huge in stature, unacquainted with the bow, and employing stones for weapons. In awesome combats they fight one another, uprooting the tallest trees for weapons and rending the earth in fury . . .. Commonly they are depicted as cannibals; and it may well be that this far-remembered mythic people is a reminiscence, coloured by time, of backward tribes, unacquainted with the bow, and long since destroyed by the Indians of historic times. Of course, if there be such an historical element in these myths, it is coloured and overlaid by wholly mythic conceptions of stone- armoured Titans and demiurges.”

More of these peculiar “primitive” tribes are identified, as noted, by these First Nations as the Windigo of Algonquian origin. Knowledge of the Windigo is extensive and well documented in eastern and central Canada. The Tete-de-Boule of Quebec use different names for the same being: Witiko, Kokotshc, Atshen. The Chenoo of the Micmac seems to be similar to the Witiko of the Cree, for John Cooper in his article on the Witiko in Primitive Man observes: “Both have the same characteristics . . .. The very name Chenoo seems to be identical with the Montagnais and Tete-de-Boule (Cree) name, Atcen, for the Witiko.” According to anthropologist Frank Speck, among the Naskapi “the nearest analogy in name and character with Atcen among neighboring peoples is the Chenoo (Tcenu) of Micmac legend.”

The traits of the witiko, recorded by Rev. Joseph Guinard, in his article “Witiko Among the Tete-de-Boule,” in Primitive Man, recall traditions elsewhere: “The witiko wore no clothes. Summer and winter he went naked and never suffered cold. His skin was black like that of a negro. He used to rub himself, like the animals, against fir, spruce, and other resinous trees. When he was thus covered with gum or resin, he would go and roll in the sand, so that one would have thought that, after many operations of this kind, he was made of stone.”

A similar habit, observes John Cooper in “The Cree Witiko Psychosis,” in Primitive Man, “is ascribed to the Passamaquoddy Chenoo who used to rub themselves all over with fir balsam and then roll themselves on the ground so that everything adhered to the body. This habit is highly suggestive of the Iroquoian Stone Coats, the blood-thirsty cannibal giants, who used to cover their bodies carefully with pitch and then roll and wallow in sand and down sand banks.” ~ from Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America.

Loren Coleman – has written 5491 posts on this site.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


17 Responses to “Stone Giants: Stoneclad Eastern Bigfoot”

  1. Mandigo responds:

    Always thought the Wendigo legends set it apart from the standard hairy hominid stories that prevail on the north american land mass, whether that be bigfoot or the reported larger ‘true giant’ cousins – Thanks Loren!

  2. DWA responds:

    Grover wasn’t perfect.

    You have that nobody can walk like Patty (I never have seen anyone do it. But then I’ve never seen anyone *imitate* it, which oh yeah, we can do).

    You have “no man of any stature is built that broadly” (which Daegling shoots down with one lousy stat, encompassing maybe one or two members of the German Air Force, which the quote sort of opens the door for him to do, and gives himself a congratulatory pat on the head).

    You have his assertion that the sasquatch is less competent on two feet than we are. Um, well, all I can say is Krantz never saw one, and a lot of people who have dispute him on that.

    As I like to say: never blame the missteps of the searchers for the animal’s nonexistence. Grover’s research will stand the test of time, I think. But that doesn’t make him perfect.

    Because – as we see here pretty much every time most of them open their mouths on sasquatch – scientists in general are wrong. A lot.

  3. davidk responds:

    Loren,

    Recently you asked about whether or not you should continue blogging. At that time I was in a location that didn’t allow me to write a response.

    It is articles, like this, that provide the depth, breadth and balance that make your contributions the reason for returning everyday to Cryptomundo.

    Thank you!

  4. RandyS responds:

    DWA, it has been pretty well established that the German Air Force measurements quoted by Daegling were taken with the measuring tape laid across the subjects’ shoulders — measuring the actual curve of the back and shoulders from shoulder tip to shoulder tip. Krantz’s measurements of Patty were made using a necessarily shorter straight-line measurement from shoulder tip to shoulder tip. Had a sasquatch of Patty’s stature been available for direct measurement, she would have come up considerably larger than any of the men from the German Air Force.

  5. DWA responds:

    RandyS: which was essentially my point.

    You don’t think Krantz’s statement has as much traction as Daegling’s, right?

    The status of the sasquatch answers that question in spades:

    Of course it doesn’t! Because we ALL know the sasquatch isn’t real, and that’s a guy in a suit.

    Scientists need to be very careful with absolutes, because this is how they get used.

    Daegling used two of Krantz’s misstatements against him. He had a couple guys walk around with water bags strapped to their legs. See? ANYONE can walk like that!

    That no one you, or I, know has ever seen a person actually walk exactly like that who was just walking, like a human walks, suddenly doesn’t mean anything to people who would say the same, if they thought about it. But they don’t. They just laugh along with Daegling at this funny ape suit business.

  6. RandyS responds:

    DWA, respectfully, you’ll notice that I did not address Krantz’s statement about the Patterson/Gimlin figure’s gait. I spoke strictly about Daegling’s statement that there were living men (specifically members of the German Air Force) who had wider shoulder measurements than Patty. But it has been shown that Daegling was not comparing the same kind of measurements that Krantz was using. Therefore, Daegling’s statement regarding the shoulder measurements was in error.

    I’m happy to concede that Krantz was wrong about the sasquatch gait being impossible for a human to duplicate. But him being wrong about one point doesn’t make him wrong about both. You would be correct in saying that Daegling used a misstatement against Krantz, but Daegling’s other claim is just flat out wrong.

  7. DWA responds:

    RandyS: I think you are still missing my point.

    Which is:

    BOTH OF DAEGLING’S STATEMENTS WERE WRONG.

    But because Krantz stated two absolutes allowing somebody who doesn’t know, or maybe doesn’t care, how the game is played (yes, that would be Daegling) to cheat and get away with it, cheat he did.

    We can do a bad sasquatch walk imitation. But I can state with confidence that I have never seen anyone who was just human walking walk like Patty. Not that I never will. But that I never have. And that’s a lot of people.

    The peanut gallery reflexively believes the “skeptics.” Better to not give them the ammunition to say wrong things that everyone thinks are right.

  8. watn6789 responds:

    some of those apparent difficult walking tasks are found easier when a person is turning as does the subject of the video

    there are often times room for waggle on any so called story

    not all stories just referring to the subhect matter

  9. Loren Coleman responds:

    Humm, watn, what?

    Have some respect for the readers here and please write in complete sentences (spellcheck is nice too) that make sense. Thank you.

  10. diogenes responds:

    That was worth reading, footnote the references cited and submit to the Relict Homind Inquiry, seriously.
    You also might help me with re-locating a reference, somewhere on a website, of the specific story of the “war between the Red and Black” giants of the Ohio Mound culture…..or have you heard this story? The website was actually pretty deep on oral traditions of many NA tribes, and for those I knew spot on, so I am hoping it is something I can rediscover. I think I also vaguely associated large skeletons being removed from the Ohio Mounds, in excess of 7 feet?
    I do think Euro-Americans have done more than just ignore NA traditions, and so I find this kind of research lacking as well as illuminating – within it’s cultural context. I am not sure we can import all the characteristics attributed to the Stone Giants, such as species-cannabilism, given the vulnerable position NA peoples were in at that time, themselves hunter/gatherer with stone points. Archeological evidence seems to show that almost all prehistoric hominids (and even historically) have engaged in cannabilism. So, I am pushing back just a bit on that. However it is interesting that there is the possibility that within the “bigfoot/hominid race” there are significant differences, perhaps culturally and physically. Anyway, enjoyed this.

  11. Hapa responds:

    Interesting:

    “Were dreaded on account of their extraordinary size and powers. Some describe them as being half a tree tall and large in proportion. Their bodies where covered all over with flinty scales, which made them almost invulnerable.”

    Compare with this…

    “Trolls were twice the height and bulk of the greatest men, and they had a skin of green scales like armor. As Ents where to the substance of wood, so trolls where to stone; though not so strong as Ents who could crush stone, Trolls where rock hard and powerful…the spell of their creation had been cast in darkness and if light did fall on them it was as if that spell were broken and the armor of their skin grew inwards. Their evil soulless beings where crushed as they became lifeless stone.

    Vast size and strength, evil, tough scales, associations with stone (one race of Tolkien trolls where known as “Stone Trolls”), and the unusual magical ability to turn to stone when exposed to sunlight…odd connection here, ain’t it? I wonder if Tolkien was influenced by Iroquois Stone Giants tales.

  12. Hapa responds:

    BTW: for the quote about Tolkien Trolls, see “Guide to Tolkien’s World: A Bestiary” by David Day, page 249. Notice the pic on that page and preceding it of a Troll from Middle Earth, and compare to the Stone Giant stories. It could fit for both.

  13. Hapa responds:

    two more things to keep in mind:

    1. There are giant humanoid monsters seen in North America that, like the stone giants, did have scales: The Lake Worth Monster (a 7 feet tall Satyr with scales as well as hair) and giant reptoids (including one seen in New Jersey. See “Unexplained” by Jerome Clark, pages 271-273, 497-500. Check the earlier book he c-authored with Lore Coleman, “The Unidentified”, to see if the original article is in there.)

    2. One prehistoric animal of large size, native to North America, was, like the stone giants of myth, covered in “scales”. These scales were no doubt grey like stone. Although not a primate, perhaps garbled tales of the beast (which was located in the south, not New York) traveled north among the Paleo-indians, and perhaps helped to give rise to the myth.

    Glyptotherium, the American Glyptodont

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glyptotherium_texanum

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Glyptotheriumm.jpg

    That LOOKS like a stone coated monster!

    If anybody knows of another North American Glyptodont, please let me know.

  14. watn6789 responds:

    Posting on cryptomundo is sometimes like working with wikipedia. You are posting on a site with lots of its own reference and on one where your posts ‘sometimes’ get edited (put together like those two, etc). I apologize for any haste.

    I was referring to the body movement pattern of a leg and arm on the same side moving in conjunction. It can be fun to try that walking straight and see how hard it is. The motion, however, can be done easily if a body turn is incorporated.

    I do find evidence for North American viking exploration compelling and see arguments not fully disputed by the citations in this post. The beard is much more prevalent in Europeans than in ‘First Nations’, etc. I got a laugh at the ‘infrequent protruding stomach’.

    If there wasn’t waggle, there might not be analysis or cryptozoology! God works all things for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose…

    Thanks for the reply!

  15. Andrew D Gable via Facebook responds:

    The Iroquois also have stories of giant spirit bears that are similarly stone-clad. Also even as far off as Alaska there’s tales of ice-clad bears similar to this.

  16. sschaper responds:

    I don’t have much knowledge of Algonquian and other story-telling traditions, so I don’t know if they are very accurate and conserved like Irish history, or very flexible like English folktales (for instance). But the Norse presence on the NE fringe of North America lasted about 500 years, with evidence of trade (we shouldn’t think of them as Vikings after about 1100 AD, but as medieval Europeans)

    Could there be enough flexibility for characteristics of Norse males to be combined with other folk tale elements such as cannibals and apes over 500-1000 years?

  17. Hapa responds:

    @Andrew D Gable via facebook

    Hello :)

    The fact that you mentioned the ice-clad bears of Alaska is very interesting, because they have been proven to exist: Sometimes Grizzlies don’t have sufficient body fat for hibernation, and will therefore wake up way before spring. Some of these bears will encounter unfrozen water and slush and either roll or go through it. This coats their hair with ice: thus an ice-clad bear, a very hard kill. These bears are called by the Inuit both Ice Bears and Winter Bears (not to be confused with Polar Bears, which have also been called “Ice Bears”).

    See “The Grizzly Almanac” by Robert H. Busch, page 55

    Such early rising, ice coated bears are no doubt not restricted to northern Canada and Alaska, and a Sasquatch, due to either having not enough fat for hibernation or just simply going through the winter like an elk or wolf, being exposed to slush and water during the winter, could begin to answer the question of where the “Stone-clad Giants” originated.



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