The Stonish Giants

Sketch of the Stonish giants

The Stonish giants were a supposed ancient tribe of the wilderness that was giant and rolled in mud to make a crackling skin over their bodies. They went to war with the original nations and were driven back to the wilderness.

In Ancient History of the Six Nations, David Cusick tells of the legend of the stonish giants - ("a tribe of the wilderness") came from the woods and attacked the tribes and war began. They were ravenous and devoured people. They were driven back into the wilderness.

Source of Iroquois Legend:  "I have alluded to the Ot-ne-yar-hed or Stonish Giants, who overran the country, fought a great battle, and held the people in subjection for a long time.The Stonish Giants were so ravenous that they devoured the people of almost every town in the country. At the Mississippi they had seperated from all others and gone to the northwest." The family was was left to seek its habitation, and the rules of humanity were forgotten, and afterwards eat raw flesh of the animals. At length they practiced rolling themselves on the sand, by this means their bodies were covered with hard skin; these people became giants and were dreadful invaders of the country."

So said David Cusick. According to him, the Holder of the Heavens led the giants into a deep ravine near Onondaga, and (the tribes) rolled great stones on them in the night. But one escaped, and since then "the Stonish Giants left the country and seeks an asylum in the regions of the north."

The Onondagas have a local but different story. They say that a Stone Giant lived near Cardiff, a little south of their reservation, which is by no means their early home. He was once like other men, but was a great eater, becoming a cannibal, and increased in size. His skin became hard and changed into scales, which alone would turn an arrow. Every day he came through the valley, caught and devouted an Onondaga, a fearful toll. The people were dismayed but formed a plan. They made a road in the marsh witha covered pitfall, decoyed the giant through the path and down he went and was killed.Of course when the Cardiff Giant was "found" it did not astonish the Onondagas that he was of stone.

The Onondagas have also a story of a Stone Giant's race with a man near Jamesville. He ran the man into the hollow at Green Pond, west of that village, where the rocks rise 200 feet above the water on three sides. On the south side the precipice can be ascended by a natural stairway at one spot, and the man was far enough ahead to reach the top before the other. He lay down and looked from the rocks to see what the other would do. The latter came and looked around. Not seeing the man he took out of his pouch what seemed a finger, but was really a pointer of bone. By means of this he could find any object he wished, and so it was always useful in hunting. As he climbed the rocks the man reached down and took away the pointer before the other saw him. The giant begged him to restore it. If he would do this he was promised good luck and long life for himself and friends. Though he begged so piteously the man ran home with it to show his friends, leaving him there helpless, unable to find his way. His friends interceded, telling him to accept the giant's good offer and not incur his enmity. So they went back and found him still at the lake. He received his pointer, promising to eat men no more, and good luck followed the man. This is one of the oldest Stone Giant stories, closely resembling one told by David Cusick.

Hmmm...Do the Sasquatch roll in the mud, having it adhere to their hair and then hide more readily?

The Stonish Giants are an interesting legend, told by several tribes. Who were these wild people that attacked and ate the tribesmen and were driven back into the wilds or tricked into death by the quick-thinking Natives? There are legends of hairy men, red-haired giants, the Allegwi, and many more giants who were wild, hard to deal with, and menacing. 

Source:  The aboriginal tribe who dwelt on the shores of the Allegheny were the Allegwi, a people of gigantic stature who inhabited fortified towns. The Lenni Lenape, or Delawares, in navigating from the West sought a residence with them, but this was refused; the Allegwi only granting them leave to cross the river and proceed eastward. While they were doing this the Allegwi, alarmed at their numbers and strength, fell on those who had reached the eastern bank and destroyed many of them. Eager for revenge the Lenni Lenape entered into an alliance with the Mengwe, or Iroquois, a nation lying south of Lakes Erie and Ontario, and engaged in a war with the Allegwi, which, after a desperate struggle of many years, ended in the defeat of the latter, who retired down the Ohio and Mississippi, never to return. (interestingly, a very active area of today's "Bigfoot" is down the Southern Mississippi into East Texas and Oklahoma)


Who were the Stonish Giants? Did they exist? Well, a few different tribes reporting very similar opponents, it would seem there was something to it. They also all describe similar themes of; cannibalism, living in the wild, and being duped by the Native People. 

The question remains - do they still exist? 


  1. I was recently reading abut the Cardiff Giant - or rather the statue which was carved and then passed off as a petrified human.

  2. The Holy Bible tells of giants that were not all destroyed. They were the offspring of Satan's fallen angel and human's. I can't remember if they were called the Nephalim or if the fallen angels were called that.. Goliath of David and Goliath was one of those giants. In the Bible the Giants are described as having two rows of teeth and six digits on each foot and each hand. National Geographic explorers have investigated the skeletons of two giants that were found in the New York area. They each had two rows of teeth and six digits on each hand and foot.


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