25 Real Life Giants You Won’t Believe Exist (Slideshow)

Giants have been a staple of mythologies from around the world for thousands of years. Though they’re characteristics shift depending on culture or tale, the thought of people that are larger-than-life has captivated the minds of creatives over the ages. While the giants of legends may not exist, record-breaking “giants” are born all over the world. Some become the stuff of folk heroes and freak shows, while others are driven to reclusive solitude. Though each lives a curious life of their own, their collective experience and methods of dealing with adversity can teach us more about ourselves than meets the eye.

1.) Robert Wadlow (1918-1940), United States

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Irrefutably, the title of tallest person in recorded history falls to Alton, Illinois native Robert Pershing Wadlow. Measuring in at an unbelievable 8 ft 11 in and 439 lb, Wadlow towered over everyone because of an enlarged pituitary gland that produced abnormally high levels of human growth hormone. Though he was a normal size and weight as a newborn, immediately afterwards he began growing at an exponential rate, measuring in at 5 ft, 10 in when he was just 7 years old. While his great size brought him celebrity, it resulted in some serious issues throughout his life. In 1940, an ankle brace caused a blister that became infected, which ultimately led to his death in 1940 at just 22 years old.