The Red Headed Giants of Lovelock

While thumbing through an old Nevada history book, I happened on a story called “Washoe Giant Killer.” It brought back to mind the time when, with a TV news reporter friend, we started looking into the Redheaded Giants of Lovelock, Nevada. She and I were both intrigued by the remains of giant’s found around the world and especially how they might tie into our local ‘giants’ tales.

My intrigue was further fed by the surfacing of a colored photograph of what’s thought to be a gigantic hand print left embedded in a rock within on of the area caves. This picture shows someone hold an oversized knife next to the imprint and I wanted to learn who took it along with where and when.


As for the article, “Washoe Giant Killers,” the claim’s made that an Indian was fishing along the Truckee River between Vista and Wadsworth when confronted by a giant wanting the all the fish he’d speared. Members of the tribe eventually ran the giant off.

Later the tribe members decided to track the giant, eventually locating several camps and attacking them. Apparently the giants didn’t have weapons like bows and arrows, spears or flint knives and used large rocks instead to fend off their attackers.

To this day, both Washoe and Paiute elders can still point out large piles of rocks they say the giants amassed to defend themselves with. These piles can be found near Pyramid Lake, around Nixon, Nevada – but only with tribal permission.

While the Washoe say they vanquished the Giants, the Paiute say these Giants, whom they call the Si-Te-Cah or ‘tule-eaters’ were cannibals. Paiute legend also says these giants came from a distant island by crossing the ocean on rafts built from the tule plant.

The Paiute also say the Si-Te-Cah waged war on the tribe as well as their neighboring tribes and finally, after years of warring, the tribes united against the giants and began to hunt and kill them. They chased the last remaining giants into a cave and once cornered, the various tribes took turns manning a fire at the cave entrance, suffocating and burning alive the Si-Te-Cah.

The tribes then sealed off the mouth of the cave. They were all but forgotten about until 1886, when a mining engineer named John T. Reid heard the tale from the Paiutes while prospecting near Lovelock. They eventually took him to see the cave.

Reid was unable to begin digging himself, but in 1911 a company started by miners David Pugh and James Hart began excavating the cave’s guano deposits. A year later, an official excavation began through the University of California, with another taking place in 1924.


Reading through the expeditions notes from both digs, they recovered thousands of artifacts including the mummified remains of ‘several red-haired giants’ and a pair of 15 inch-long well-worn leather moccasins. In a 1931 article, with an accompanying photograph, published in the Nevada Review-Miner, a couple of giant skeletons were found buried in a dry lake bed close to Lovelock.

The notes describe the remains as measuring eight-and-a-half and 10 feet in height,  and mummified in a way similar to those of the ancient Egyptians. This brought me to think that these remains could be Nephilim – the offspring of the ‘Sons of God’ with the ‘daughters of men,’ as spoken of in Genesis.


Three days before being told to ‘drop it,’ I found myself standing in a private home of a woman who had some of the most unusual artifacts I’ve ever seen in my life. A skull, larger than a basketball and a mandible so big that it literally fit around my jaw, with the mandibular joints extending beyond the back of my head.

The woman, a caretaker of these items, had been given permission to show me them as long as I didn’t disclose where they were being kept and didn’t try and take photographs of them. I immediately agreed to both conditions, knowing that it had to be a tribal elder with some formidable clout who gave the caretaker permission.

Following my person viewing, I was standing in the checkout line of the Spanish Springs Walmart, when an extremely large man, obviously Native American in origin, quietly stepped behind me a whispered, “Drop it or else.” As I turned to look at him, he walked away and out of the store without even looking back.

Instantly, I knew he was talking about the Red Headed Giants of Lovelock. And while I can’t state for a certain fact that her departure was part of all this, a short while after I was warned-off, my friend left her job as a TV news reporter.

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