25 Real Life Giants You Won’t Believe Exist

Posted by , Updated on April 22, 2024

The average height for a person fluctuates between 5’7″ and 5’11”, which makes the idea of massive humans seem like a concept from a fantasy movie. Yet contrary to such beliefs, there are individuals who contradict these norms, with heights even nearing 9 feet. From gigantic skeletons to remarkably tall men and women, behold the 25 Real Life Giants You Would Find Hard To Believe Actually Exist.



Bernard Coyne

10BernardSource: http://listverse.com

Bernard Coyne’s WWI draft card listed his height at 8′ even, but when he died, it’s suspected he reached up to 8’4”. He was born in the late 1890’s in Iowa and is buried there as well.


Sultan Kösen

Fingerprint_Source: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com

Sultan Kösen of Turkey current holds the record as the tallest living man in the world. He reached a height of 8′ 2.8″ before having surgery to have his pituitary gland removed in 2010, when his growth stopped.


Angus Mòr MacAskill

Angus_MacAskill_in_CanadaSource: http://www.thehumanmarvels.com

MacAskill is the tallest “natural giant” ever recorded, meaning there was no known medical reason for his great height, no odd or unnatural proportions, he was just big. He was also, according to the Guinness book of world records, the strongest man who ever lived. He was able to single-handedly lift boat anchors over 2,000 lbs to chest height. He also had the largest chest circumference of any non-obese man at 80 inches. He also was supposedly very handsome and had a gentle demeanor along with a deep, soothing “musical” voice.


Yao Defen

Yao DefenSource: http://brainberries.co

Yao Defen was a Chinese woman who, like many who grow incredibly tall, had a tumor in her pituitary gland. She was 7’8” tall and lived to be 40 years old.


Zeng Jinlian

zengjinlianSource: http://www.historyrundown.com

Jinlian was the tallest female ever recorded in medical history at a height of 7′ 11″. Unfortunately, this meant that she was unable to stand up straight because of her deformed spine. She was born in China in 1964 and died at the age of 17 from complications of diabetes. Had she been able to stand up straight, she would have stood around 8′ 2″.


Ella Ewing

EllaEwingSource: http://shsmo.org/historicmissourians

Ella was born in Missouri in 1872 and was the tallest woman of her generation. She was known as the Missouri Giantess and was an only child. Though she was often hurt by people gawking at her, she choose to become a tourist attraction at a Chicago museum and later Barnum & Bailey’s in order to help her parents financially. At 8′ 4″, her regular dresses required a whopping 24 yards of fabric to make. Eventually, she used her earnings from the circus to buy a small farm and have a house built to her measurements and bought one for her parents within walking distance.


John Rogan

John-RoganSource: https://blackthen.com

Rogan is the tallest African American ever recorded. Born in 1868 in Tennessee, he was of normal height, and his growth was normal until age 13 when he hit a massive growth spurt. His recorded height at his death was 8’8″.


Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Augustus

Maximinus_Thrax_Musei_CapitoliniSource: http://www.historyrundown.com

The only Roman Emperor never to enter Rome was also a giant. Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus Augustus aka Maximinus Thrax aka emperor Maximinus I was born in Thrace, ruled 235-238, and stood at 8′ 1.7″


Shaquille O'Neal (Shaq)

Shaquille_O'Neal_Free_ThrowSource: http://www.thebrofessional.net

Basketball player and actor Shaquille O’Neal is possibly the most well know “Giant” of the century. He’s 7’1″, and also, supposedly, a really nice dude.


Sandy Allen

sandyallenSource: http://www.nytimes.com

Sandy Allen was the tallest woman in US history, at just a bit over 7’7″ tall. She was a very nice person who died in a convalescent home in her 50’s due to health problems. She told NYT writer Arianne Cohen during an interview that if she hadn’t grown so tall, “I probably would have gotten married, settled down, and had umpteen million kids.”


Rumeysa Gelgi

Rumeysa-Gelgi-TurkeySource: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com

In 2014, Guinness officially named Rumeysa Gelgi of Turkey the tallest teenager in the world at 7ft tall. It was one of her life goals to make it into the record books with her height, and she is very pleased to have done so. The reason for her height is a condition called Weaver Syndrome, which causes rapid growth, starting at birth.


Edouard Beaupré

Edouard_BeaupreSource: http://www.topmastersinhealthcare.com

Edouard Beaupré was born in Canada in 1881. He grew to 8’3″, and when he was 17, discovered he could lift an 800 lb horse. Sadly, the pituitary gland which caused his exponential growth also caused his premature death at just 23 years old.


Anton de Franckenpoint

tall skeletonSource: http://www.thetallestman.com

Anton de Franckenpoint was the first person in recorded history to reach 8′ in height. He was a personal guard to the Duke of Braunschweig in the early 1600’s, and his skeleton currently belongs to Museum Anatomicum in Marburg where it is on display. That just doesn’t seem very nice, to gawk at people in death for things they couldn’t help. Jeez Germany…


Don Koehler

Don KoehlerSource: http://www.topmastersinhealthcare.com

Koehler was born in Montana in 1925. He reached a high of 8′ 2″ before his spine started to curve from disease, making him shorter. He had a twin sister, who was a normal height of 5′ 9″. He died at 55 years old, reportedly of a heart condition.


Matthew McGroy

MatthewMcgorySource: http://www.al.com/

Matthew was the world’s tallest actor when he played in Tim Burton’s masterpiece “Big Fish” as Karl the Giant. He also had roles in the movies “Bubble Boy,” “MIB II,” and “The Devil’s Rejects.” He was 7′ 6″ tall, and died of natural causes in 2005. He was only 32.


John Carroll

GiantofSouthBuffaloSource: http://buffalonews.com

John Carroll was known as The Giant of South Buffalo, measuring in at just over 8 feet tall. When you took into account his curved spine, he was over 8’7″ tall. He also had a pituitary gland disorder, and was known as a “wonderful, happy person” despite his handicaps. He worked as a park superintendent, and due to his red hair, his local nickname was Big Red. It was said of him, “He should be remembered for the way he handled his challenging medical condition with dignity.”


Vikas Uppal

vikasuppalSource: http://www.thetallestman.com

Vikas Uppal was the tallest man in India. He was still growing through his adult years, and his last reported height in 2005 was 8′ 9″. He was not measured by the Guinness Book of World Records. He died in 2007 during a failed brain tumor operation.


Yao Ming

Yao_MingSource: http://www.thebrofessional.net

Yao Ming is a professional basketball player from China who’s actually taller than Shaq at 7′ 6″. He retired in 2011 due to joint and foot injuries. In the US, he played for the Houston Rockets, and in Shanghai, he played for the Shanghai Sharks.


Hafþór Júlíus “Thor” Björnsson

Björnsson_Arnold_Classic_2017Source: http://www.thebrofessional.net

“Thor” plays The Mountain on Game of Thrones and is 6’9″, weighing over 400lbs. He’s a Strongman and can dead-lift nearly 1,000 pounds.


Väinö Myllyrinne

Väinö_Myllyrinne_kättelemässäSource: http://listverse.com/

Väinö Myllyrinne was 8′ 4″ tall at the time of his death in 1963 and at one point was considered the world’s tallest man. He was in the Finnish army for a time and is still considered to be the tallest solider in recorded history.


Margo Dydek

Margo_DydekSource: http://brainberries.co

Polish basketball player Margo Dydek was the tallest female basketball player in history at 7’2” before she suffered a heart attack and died in 2011.


Robert Pershing Wadlow

roberwadlowSource: http://www.historyrundown.com

Known as the Giant of Illinois, the tallest man who ever lived was born in 1918, and died at only 22 years old. His name was Robert Pershing Wadlow, and he was diagnosed with gigantism just a few months after his birth. He was taller than both of his parents by the time he was six. In 1936, he went on tour with Ringling Brothers Circus. By the time he died, he needed special leg braces just to walk and had lost all feeling in his feet. His final height was 8’11”.


Broc Brown

broc brownSource: https://www.facebook.com/brocdbrown

Broc is a Michigan teenager with a rare genetic disorder called Sotos Syndrome, which causes him to grow six inches a year. He’s currently 7′ 8” and still growing. Clothing and shoes for Broc have actually become a serious financial strain on the family since everything has to be custom made.


Brahim Takioullah

brahimtakyallahSource: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com

Brahim Takioullah of Morocco is the second tallest person in the world at 8’1″, but he has the LARGEST feet in the world – his shoe size is a European size 58, which no shoe store actually stocks. He, like many on this list, has a pituitary gland disorder called acromegaly.


Andre the Giant

Andre_in_the_late_'80sSource: http://www.andrethegiant.com

Andre the Giant was perhaps known to most for his role in The Princess Bride; however, he was a wrestler long before that. In 1987, he drew the largest crowd for a wrestling match to date with 90,000 people in attendance when he wrestled Hulk Hogan at the Silver Dome. He was 7′ 4″ tall and weighed 500 lbs.

Photos: 25. https://en.wikipedia.org (Public domain), 24. Helgi Halldorsson via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 23. wikimedia commons (public domain), 22. anonymous, jezebel.com (Fair use rationale: No CC/free images available. Used as the primary means of visual identification of the subject), 21. anonymous, thetallestman.com (Fair use rationale: No CC/free images available. Used as the primary means of visual identification of the subject), 20. en.wikipedia.org (Public Domain), 19. de.wikipedia.org (Public Domain), 18. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 17. Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA, Shaquille O’Neal Free Throw, CC BY-SA 2.0, 16. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=29029519 15. eldia.com.do (Fair use rationale: No CC/free images available. Used as the primary means of visual identification of the subject), 14. commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 13. Shutterstock (not actual skeleton), 12. amazing-everything.wikia.com (Fair use rationale: No CC/free images available. Used as the primary means of visual identification of the subject), 8. Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA, Yao Ming (2310543001), CC BY-SA 2.0, 7. Ellen Finch, Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson Scottish Stone Put, CC BY-SA 4.0, 6. commons.wikimedia (public domain), 5.Donald Barnat, Margo Dydek 1, CC BY-SA 3.0, 4. Paille via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 3. used with permission from carryshine.com, 2. anonymous, thetallestman.com (Fair use rationale: No CC/free images available. Used as the primary means of visual identification of the subject), 1. John McKeon, Andre in the late ’80s, CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo: 6. By Unknown author - <a rel="nofollow" class="external free" href="http://kuvat.kaleva.fi/default/cbd4e97a-296c-11e1-99f0-12314303c108/large-212006-4152598_1E40280D6.jpg">http://kuvat.kaleva.fi/default/cbd4e97a-296c-11e1-99f0-12314303c108/large-212006-4152598_1E40280D6.jpg</a> (Kalevan artikkeli: Jättikasvu yhteydessä perimään <a rel="nofollow" class="external free" href="http://www.kaleva.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/jattikasvu-yhteydessa-perimaan/84630/">http://www.kaleva.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/jattikasvu-yhteydessa-perimaan/84630/</a>), Public Domain, Link, 7. By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/29621494@N02">Paula R. Lively</a> from Zanesville - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/29621494@N02/33061687360/">Aronald Classic Columbus.Ohio USA 2017</a>, CC BY 2.0, Link, 14. By Unknown author - info: [1], [2], image: [3] (dead link), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14719621, 24. By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/8058853@N06">Helgi Halldórsson</a> from Reykjavík, Iceland - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/8058853@N06/4045876833/">Fingerprint</a>, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link