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5 Largest Giants in History!

Throughout the history, people were always amazed by plethora of stories and legends about mythical giants, people or gods reaching incredible heights. While most of them were nothing more than myths, for instance Goliath, King Og or the Titans, some of these legends were based on real foundations.

We have many records of incredibly high people living in the past. Although some of them are greatly exaggerated, many are backed by solid evidence. In this article, we are going to explore the lives and feats of 5 most famous historical ”giants”, and maybe even find out how they grew to such an exceptional height.

1.Robert Wadlow

Robert Pershing Wadlow, often known as the Giant of Illinois, was the tallest man who ever lived.


Robert Pershing Wadlow, compared to his father Harold Wadlow (measuring 5 feet 11 1⁄2 inches)

Born to Addie Johnson and Harold Wadlow in Alton, Illinois on 22.nd of February, 1918, he was the oldest of five children. Few months after his birth, he was diagnosed gigantism, a rare genetic disorder that causes over-production of growth hormone. During his childhood, he was growing rapidly, reaching height of more than 3 feet 6 inches(106 cm) at the age of only 11 months, outgrowing both of his parents at the age of six and reaching 200 cm at the age of eleven.

During elementary school, he had to sit in special desk made for him, because of his exceptional heigh and weight(180 pounds). In 1936, after he graduated from Alton High School, he was 8 feet 4 inches (2.55 m) tall. His size soon began to take its tool; Robert Wadlow needed special leg braces to be able to walk, and lost feeling in his feet. However, he never used a wheelchair.


Shoe of Robert Wadlow

In 1936, Wadlow went on a U.S. Tour with the Ringling Bros. Circus, and continued to participate in various tours and public appearances, until his death in 1940, caused by parasitic infection(only 22 years old). After his death, he was buried on July 19, in a 10-feet long(3 m) long coffin, weighing more than 1,100 pounds. Thousands of people attended his funeral in Upper Alton.

Eighteen days before his death, he was measured at 8 feet 11.1 inches(2.72 m), more than any other human in history. His shoe size was 37AA, largest in the world, and at the age of 21, one year before his death, his weight was recorded as being 492 pounds.

Little known fact; Robert Wadlow was also a Freemason, and his ceremonial ring was the largest ever made.

2.Angus MacAskill

Although this Scottish-born Canadian(1825 – 1863) was not as tall as other people on this list, he was the tallest recorded ”natural giant” in history, suffering from no growth abnormalities, with perfectly normal proportions. He was also the strongest man to live in modern history, and had the largest chest circumference of any non-obese man; about 80 inches(200 cm).


Angus MacAskill

Angus MacAskill was born in the Hebrides, Scotland, in year 1825. According to historical sources, as a baby, he was not as large as the other children.During his childhood, he was also of normal stature, however, after he entered puberty, he started to grow rapidly and by his 24.th birthday he had attained about 7 feet 9 inches(2.36 cm). During much of his adulthood, he is said to weigh more than 500 pounds (230 kg). His hands were eight inches wide and more than a foot long, and his shoes 17.5 inches(44 cm) long. According to historical sources, Angus McAskill had deep-set blue eyes, curly black hair, a deep musical voice, and a pleasant personality.

McAskill was well-known for his immense strength. He allegedly managed to lift an 2,800-pound(1,300 kg) ship anchor to shoulder height, and easily carried barrels full of wine under his arms. In year 1849, he started to work for the P.T.Barnum’s circus, touring the Caribbean in 1853. He frequently appeared with Tom Thumb, a natural midget 3 feet 4 inches(102 cm) tall. In year 1854, he allegedly visited Queen Victoria in the Windsor Castle.

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Grave of Angus Macaskill

However, in 1856, during his famous anchor lifting, he accidentally broke his arm when one of his shoulders got caught under one of the anchor’s flukes, ending his circus career.

In August 8, 1863, McAskill died peacefully after a week-long ilness. Exact cause of death remains unknown, but it was probably meningitis.

3.John Rogan

John Rogan, the second tallest person to ever live, was born in Tennessee, between years 1865 and 1868(exact year unknown). During his childhood, he was of normal stature, however, only until his 13.th birthday, when he started to grow rapidly.


John Rogan

However, his growth soon led to the development of severe ankylosis(stifness of joints), leaving him completely unable to stand or walk. He then used a goat cart to get around. By year 1899, he had already reached a height of 8 feet 6 inches(2.59), and became a local celebrity, often known as the ”Negro giant”. Known for his friendly personality and exceptionally deep voice, he earned for a living by selling portraits and postcards at local train station.

His hands were 11 inches(28 cm) long and his feet 13 inches(33 cm) long. At the time he died in September 1905, he was measured at 8 feet 9 inches(2.67), however, he weighed only 175 pounds. That makes him the second tallest person in history, and also the tallest African American ever recorded.

His body was buried in Sumner County, Tennessee, under concrete panels, preventing anyone to exhume and further examine his remains.

4.Zeng Jinlian

Zeng Jinlian(1964-1982) was the tallest female ever measured in medical history, surpassing the historical world record 7 feet 11 inches, previously set by English woman Jane Bunford(1895-1922). She is also the only woman who has reached verified height of 8 feet or more.


Zeng Jinlian

She was born on June 26 1964 in Yuian, China. 4 months after her birth, she started growing rapidly, and at age 4 ,she had already reached height of more than five feet. Her growth patterns exhibited exceptional similarity to these of Robert Wadlow. On average, she grew 5 inches every year, was able to lift a 110 pound(50 kg) stone at the age of 5, and slept in specially made bed, 8 feet long.

Zheng Jinlian was later diagnosed pituitary tumor, which caused her gigantism, and she was also suffering from diabetes, disease that also caused her death at the age of 17 in Hunan. Few days before her death, she would have been 8 feet 1.75 inches tall, but she could not stand straight because of her severely deformed spine.

5.Maximinus Thrax

However, reports about people of immense stature are not limited to modern times.

Maximinus Thrax(Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Augustus), also known as emperor Maximinus I, was an Emperor of Rome in years 235-238. Born in Thrace, hence the name Thrax, he was the first emperor never to enter the Rome.


Bust of Emperor Maximinus Thrax

Contemporary sources, most prominent being Historia Augusta depicted Maximinus Thrax as a man of immense size, exhibiting large eyebrows, nose and jaw(symptom of acromegaly). His thumb was allegedly so large, that he often wore a bracelet of his wife as a ring on it. Famous historian Herodian noted:

“He was definitely a man of such frightening appearance and colossal size, that there is no possible comparison at all with any of the best-trained Greek athletes or the most fierce of all barbarians.”

According to historian Cordus, he was approximately 8 foot 6 inches(2.5 m) tall, but exhibiting normal proportions(similar to Angus McAskill). In his works, Cordus notes, that Maximinus was so strong that he could pull an fully loaded ox cart on his own.

While the exact size of Maximinus will be never known, he was likely to be a man of immense size and significantly taller than than the average Roman citizen of his time.



10 Most Cruel Execution Methods of All Time!

Throughout the history, people have devised a wide variety of ingeniously hideous methods of execution. Here is a quick rundown of 10 most cruel and hideous ways to die, originating in the darkest corners of the human history.

10.Death by a Thousand Cuts(Ling Chi)

Originally from China, this was one of the most brutal execution methods ever fashioned. It was in use roughly from the year 900, until it was banned in 1905. It was a punishment reserved only for the harshest of crimes, such as treason and fratricide. During this procedure, sharp knife was used to kill the criminal, gradually removing portions of his flesh over a long period of time.


Death by a thousand cuts(1910, Bibliothèque nationale de France)

The victim was tied to a wooden frame, usually in a public place.. The flesh was then sliced from the body, at first only from victim’s breasts and thigs. Then his limbs were gradually amputated, followed by ears, nose and genitals. After 10-20 minutes, victim was decapitated or stabbed to the heart. During the execution, opium was sometimes administered as an act of mercy.


Sawing in the half was an incredibly cruel execution method, used mostly in the Medieval Europe.

During the process, the criminal would be hung upside-down from a tree or gallows, and a large saw would be then used to slice his or her body in half, starting with the crotch, all the way to the chest and head. While some victims were cut completely in half, most of them were only sliced up to their abdomen, prolonging their agony.


Depiction of the execution by sawing(Germany, date unknown)

Because the victims were hung upside-down, the brain was receiving sufficient bloodflow to keep them alive and concious until the saw finally reached the main arteries in the abdomen. In extreme cases, the execution could last several hours


Execution by sawing in China(18.th century)

In the Chinese version of this execution method, the sawing would begin at the top of the head, with the victim standing upward, causing immediate death after few seconds.


The Crucifixion was an ancient execution method, in which the criminal’s hands and feet were bound or nailed to a wooden, cross-like structure. It was a capital punishment reserved for slaves, traitors, ”heretics”, and usually the worst of criminals. It became widespread during the reign of Alexander the Great, but it still remains in occasional use in some countries.


Crucifixion of Jesus(Pietro Perugino,1487)

There were various methods of performing the crucifixion. Usually, the prisoner had to drag the crossbeam of his cross, weighing around 100 pounds, to the place of execution. Subsequently, his outstretched arms were bound to the crossbeam, or sometimes nailed through the wrists, and the crossbeam was raised and fixed to the already standing upright post.

Death was usually caused by overall exhaustion or by heart failure. Sometimes, to shorten the victim’s suffering, his legs were shattered using an iron club, so that subsequent asphyxiation soon ended his life.


In execution by boiling, the criminal was stripped naked and then thrown into a cauldron full of boiling liquid, or cold liquid which was then heated to the point of boiling. Sometimes, the executioner controlled the speed of boiling by raising and lowering the victim to the cauldron using a system of ropes.


Boiling of Japanese bandit Goemon Ishikawa

The liquid used could be water, oil, tar, acid, wax, wine or even molten lead. While not as common as many previous methods of execution, in the past, boiling to death has been practised in many parts of Europe and Asia. Death was caused by severe scalding caused by the boiling liquid, gradually destroying the skin, fatty tissues, exposed muscles and eventually forming breaches in major arteries and veins.

An alternative to boiling was performed using a large shallow pan, containing boiling oil, tar or lead, effectively frying the person to death. During the reign of King Henry VIII, this was a punishment especially reserved for poisoners.

6.The Catherine Wheel

The Catherine wheel, also known as the Breaking wheel, was a medieval torture and execution device. The criminal was tied to a large cartwheel, with his arms and legs stretched out. The wheel was then slowly revolved while the executioner smashed his limbs with an iron hammer, heavy metal bar, or even using another cartwheel, breaking the bones in many places.

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Breaking wheel execution(Augsburg, 1586)

After the bone shattering process was complete, severed limbs of the person were woved between the wheel spokes. If a merciful execution had been ordered, after all the bones were shattered, fatal blow, known as blow of mercy(coup de grâce), was then delivered, breaking the person’s chest and neck and causing immediate death.

After the execution, the wheel was often placed on a tall pole so that birds could eat the body of the sometimes still-living criminal. If he survived the initial blows,it could take up to two or three days for him to die of shock and dehydration.


Impalement on a pole was one of the most gruesome methods of execution, often used during the Middle Ages. Criminal was be forced to sit on a thick, sharpened wooden pole. The pole was then slowly raised upright and the criminal was left to gradually slide further down the pole only by his or her own weight. The pole then emerged through victim’s chest, shoulder or neck. Sometimes, it could take more than three days for a person to finally die, in slow and painful way.


Woodcut depicting vertical impalement(Bordeaux, 1593)

Impalement was especially prevalent in 15.th century Romania, during the reign of Vlad Dracula, commonly known as Vlad the Impaler. He reportedly executed more than 80,000 people this way, and often enjoyed having a meal while watching them die.

In an East Asian variant of this execution method, victim was securely tied in place above a young bamboo shoot.Over the course of several days, the sharp, rapidly growing bamboo shoot would puncture and completely penetrate the victim’s body, eventually emerging throughthe other side. This method of execution was allegedly practised in 19.th century China and Malaysia, and even during the WWII by Japanese soldiers.


Skinning alive, also known as flaying, was one of the most gruesome execution methods ever conceived, especially prevalent during the classical antiquity. It was used mostly on captured soldiers and dangerous criminals.


Flaying of a corrupt judge(Italy, 1657)

The Aztecs of Mexico often flayed their war prisoners during ritual human sacrifices. There are also many indications of ancient Assyrians flaying the defeated rulers of their enemies and nailing their skin to the city walls, as a warning to all potential rebels.

In most used method of flaying, person’s hands were tied above his or her head, while the executioner gradually cut off all the skin using a very knife, starting at the face. Often, attempts were made to keep the skin intact. Another method involved severely burning the victim, and then gradually peeling his or her skin off.

In the year 415, Hypatia of Alexandria, famous female mathematician and philosopher, was allegedly flayed alive by a enraged Christian mob, using sharp oyster shells.

3.Rat Torture

Often known simply as ‘‘the Rat”, this was especially cruel and gruesome method of execution, originally used in the medieval China. Described as ”the most brutal torture technique ever devised”, it employed live rats eating through the victim’s flesh.


Rat torture(Torture Museum, Amsterdam)

At the beginning, large pottery bowl filled with a couple of rats was placed open side down on the naked prisoner’s body. Large amount of red-hot charcoal was then piled on the top of the bowl, gradually heating the air inside. Rats, terrified of the heat, then slowly gnawed their way outside through the victim’s flesh.

Only a small percentage of victims survived this gruesome procedure. Most of them died due to intense internal bleeding and septic shock from severely infected wounds.

2.Brazen Bull

The brazen bull, sometimes called sicilian bull, was a execution device designed by Perilaus of Athens in year 560 BC. The bull was hollow, crafted entirely from bronze, and it had a door in one side. The criminals were locked inside the bull, and a fire was set under the statue. The fire heated the metal until the criminal inside died from severe burns. The scorched bones were then often made into bracelets and sold at market.


Perilaus being forced into brazen bull that he made for Phalaris

The bull’s head was constructed with a system of tubes and pipes, to convert the screams of the prisoner to sounds similar to the bellowing of an infuriated bull. Perilaus once said; ”The horrendous screams will come to you through the tubes as the tendderest, most melodious, most pathetic of bellowings.”

Its inventor, blacksmith Perilaus of Athens, proposed the brazen bull to Phalaris, the tyrant of Agrigentum, Sicily, as a new means of executing criminals. However, after he showed him the bull, Phalaris, disgusted by the brutality of this invention, ordered to put Perilaus inside the bull and to roast him alive. By some reports, Phalaris himself eventually became a victim of the bull, after he was overthrown by Telemachus in 570.

1.The Boats

This incredibly cruel method of execution originates from the ancient Persia. Sometimes also called ”scaphism”, criminal was contained inside a pair of narrow rowboats (or in some variations in a large wooden tub), with his head, hands, and feet protruding outside from this container.

The person was then forced to ingest large amounts of milk and honey until developing a severe diarrhea, and mixture of milk and honey was also rubbed on the exposed parts of his body, attracting flies and other insect species. Then he was left afloat on a still pond or a lake.

The defenseless person’s fecal matter slowly accumulated within the container, attracting more flies, which ate and bred within his or her exposed and increasingly gangrenous flesh. Person was then repeatedly fed each day to prevent fatal dehydration and starvation, often prolonging the torture to several days or even weeks

Death, when it eventually occurred, was caused by a combination of various factors, most often bceause of septic shock, starvation or dehydration.