Si-Te-Cah: The Lovelock Giants

The Paiute lengend

Many Native American tribes tell stories about the long-forgotten existence of a population of barbarians, much taller and stronger than ordinary men, real giants with a fearless disposition, featured in numerous legends for their cruelty.
Among these, one in particular is handed down by the Paiute tribe, an Uto-Aztec-speaking people native to North America, starring the Si-Te-Cah, a race of wild and inhospitable giants with red hair (similar to the giant sighted in Kandahar).
According to the legend, the giants who came from a distant island, would have arrived in Nevada crossing the ocean on rafts built using the "Tule Fibroso" (Typha Dominguensis), an aquatic plant useful for building objects of common use but also carpets and boats, not by chance in the de paiute language of the North, 'Si-Te-Cah' literally means 'eaters of rushes'.

Si-Te-Cah-Tule weavers

The giants were in constant conflict with the native tribes, who banded together to exterminate them. The last survivors managed to entrench themselves in the cave of Lovelock (Nevada), but the Indians piled up some brush in front of the opening and set them on fire.
Those who did not asphyxiate by the smoke were killed with a shower of arrows, the tribes then sealed the cave entrance so that no one would ever see those who once plagued their land again.
Thus these ancient and mysterious inhabitants of American soil would have become extinct.

Sarah Winnemucca (1844-1891), native writer and daughter of a tribal chief, in her book "Life among the Paiutes: their wrongs and claims" corroborated this legend: although she did not openly refer to the stature of these ancient adversaries of her people confirmed the unusual hair color, revealing that he was in possession of a lock of hair that belonged to one of the gigantic creatures.

The story is widespread and narrated in an almost identical way in all the Americas, so much so as to lead one to think that it could be an incomplete chronicle of an event that really happened a long time ago.
The Spanish conquistador of the sixteenth century, Pedro Cieza de León in "Crónicas del Perú", reported an ancient Peruvian tale concerning the very origin of the South American giants "who came by sea in rafts of reeds": some of them would have been so tall that a normal man of decent size would have reached the level of their knee.

Excavations and finds

The red-haired giants fell into oblivion for many years until in 1886, a mining engineer named John T. Reid who was near Lovelock learned of the legend from a group of Paiutes: the Indians told him that the legend was real and the cave was nearby, therefore he decided to go there and explore it.

Si-Te-Cah_Lovelock_Cave

Deposits of guano were found inside which were sold by a mining company headed by David Pugh and James Hart to a fertilizer company in San Francisco.
After the superficial layer of guano was eliminated, strange objects began to emerge: as many as ten thousand artifacts including baskets, vases, tools, weapons, bones, duck baits.
This led to an official excavation being carried out in 1912 by the University of California, followed by another in 1924.
Although many things have not been verified, sources seem to have reported the discovery of the mummified remains of several ancient red-haired giants, buried in the cave. These mummies called the Lovelock Giants, would be between 8 and 10 feet tall. Another unusual find was a pair of 15-inch long sandals that showed signs of use. Further evidence currently visible on a boulder inside Lovelock Cave is the imprint of a giant hand, almost twice the size of a "normal" hand and some human bones, fractured in order to facilitate the sucking of the marrow.
The aforementioned finds are visible in various museums while no trace remains of the remains of the giants: according to some, they were damaged and lost during inaccurate excavations, others even claim that one of the specimens was put to boil and destroyed by a Masonic lodge local that intended to use the skeleton for unspecified initiatory purposes (see also Skull and Bones Society. Almost contemporary with these finds, another excavation has unearthed a number of equally interesting finds: according to a 1931 article published in the Nevada Review-Miner, two gigantic skeletons were found buried in a dry lake bed near Lovelock, Nevada. The remains, mummified with a technique similar to that employed by the ancient Egyptians, were over-measured in size 8.5 respectively 10 feet in height.

The rational explanation

The anthropologist Adrienne Meyer believes that such remains never existed, downgrades the issue of giants with a publicity stunt invented in order to attract tourists to Nevada and that the skeletons found were all medium-sized or that there was confusion with fossil remains of mammoths or cave bears in the region, whose pelvis bones could mislead an inexperienced observer. Not only that: the tawny color of the mummies' hair would be attributable to a process of oxidation of the pigment (originally of a raven color like those of all Native Americans) after hundreds of years of burial in a soil with particular climatic and chemical conditions, as has been found in many specimens from all over the world and also on some ancient scalps.

The red haired giants of Nevada-The Wendigo

Alternative theories

However, the myth of Si-Te-Cah is not the only one that speaks to us of ancient inhabitants of the American continent of gigantic proportions: it is enough to recall among others the Stone Coats of the Iroquois tradition, the Windigo, the "White Giants" of the Great Plains... according to some unconventional thinkers, too many to speak only of coincidence or simple folklore. So, if someone identifies them with the biblical Nephilm other questions emerge: what if the giants of the Americas were the survivors of an ancient people who a mass cataclysm prompted them to seek refuge on the American continent? What if they were the last inhabitants of Lemuria, whose well-known nature of fierce and bloodthirsty brutality predicted their disappearance?


“Laistrygonians. Cannibals. Northern Giants. Sasquatch legend. Yep, yep. They are not birds. Not birds of North America.”
― Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune


Resources related to Si-Te-Cah: The Lovelock Giants


Cover image by Arthur Rackham

Article image by Delacruz Marco

Article image2 by BLM Nevada

Article image by Lolpeor


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