Stories of mysterious gigantic skeletons found in several places in West Virginia have been circulating since the arrival of white settlers to the area. These "giant" skeletons were discovered not only in burial mounds but also while excavating the ground in the early days of coal mining.
When the Grave Creek Mound was dug up in 1838, it led to the discovery of giant skeletons that were claimed to be 8 feet long. According to reports, these burial mounds were built by a race that lived in the area before the Native Americans and the human remains found within are thought to be those of chiefs or shamans.
One of the first sightings of these giant skeletons was made by a man named Jack Parsons who noticed a bone sticking out of the recently flooded Cheat River. Upon further examination, he discovered that the bone, a femur, was seven inches longer than his as described in this excerpt: "One of the first reports of a giant occurred in 1774 when Jack Parsons was walking along the recently flooded Cheat River. When he noticed some bones protruding from the ground, he pulled a femur from the soil, and when he compared it to his own, it was seven inches longer. He then removed the rest of the bones and laid them out, estimating that it would have stood about eight feet tall." Later on, settlers in the area would discover more of the mysterious "giant" skeletons which resulted in the name "Giant Town."
In other reports, some skeletons that were uncovered were said to be over 10 feet in length as this excerpt from the Western Literary Messenger explains: “A day or two since, some workman engaged in subsoiling the grounds of Sheriff Wickham, at his vineyard in East Wheeling, came across a human skeleton. Although much decayed, there was little difficulty in identifying it by placing the bones, which could not have had belonged to other than a human body, in their original position. The impression made from the skeleton itself was measured by the Sheriff and a brother in the craft locale, both of whom were prepared to swear that it was 10 feet, 9 inches in length. Its jaws and teeth were almost as large as those of a horse. The bones are to be seen at the Sheriff’s office.”
Despite these claims, scholars are not fully convinced that a race of giants predating the Native Americans existed but instead attribute it to inaccurate measurements and misidentification due to the lack of proper scientific training.