Mysterious Mummy From Hindon

From time to time, strange skeletons and remains do turn up. We do know that African pygmies are under normal stature, but some of the most unusual newspaper accounts feature individuals who are well under four feet tall. The Macleod (Alberta) Gazette on July 4, 1888 published an article about miniscule mummy. It is headlined: “A STRANGE CREATURE”, Something Between a Mummy and Skeleton over 1,000 Years Old. It goes on to say: “Mr. F. Champness, collector of Customs at Lethbridge, (Alberta) has in his possession a most interesting relic of bygone days, in the shape of a mummy, or skeleton. He has this strange object enclosed in a glass case, in the exact position in which it was found.

The Mummy was discovered by Mr. Champness himself in 1864 at Hindon on the West Tairie River, near Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, while prospecting for gold in mountains. It was found in a cave, eighty feet from the surface, surrounded by poisonous wood, and the leg bone of the extinct Moa bird, which stood thirty feet high, lying across the head. Around the neck is some plaited human hair, and between the knees, the skeleton of a Tois bird, a bird which is held in great veneration by the present Maories.

Mr. Champness took this specimen to England, and for some time it was on exhibition in the British Museum. Dr. Own pronounced it to be the remains of an adult woman, whose height when living was not more that three feet. It has been pronounced by several other well-known men to be a valuable specimen, owing to the rarity. Several specimens of this race have been found, but none of them, except this one, is perfect.

The present race of Maories, who took possession of New Zealand 800 or 900 years ago, know nothing of the existence of this race which inhabited the Island before them. Dr. Hector, the government geologist of New Zealand, said there was no doubt that the specimen was over 1,000 years old.

The Maories bury their dead in trees, while this and other specimens were found in caves, showing the existence of the latter before the former came on the scene. After Mr. Champness discovered the mummy, he was chased by the police for two days. They thought a murder had been committed, and wanted to hold an inquest.”

As usual, newspapers of this period raise more questions than we can answers today. If this mummy was originally in the British Museum, one wonders whether it was returned there upon the death of Mr. Champness and perhaps still exists today in some obscure corner or cupboard. This individual was obviously more than a case of stunted growth, as mention is made of other specimens of the same race. They must have been very fierce for their size if they decided to tackle killing a Moa, 10 times their size. Did this tribe reach Hawaii by canoe and start the legend of the menehunes, or were they strictly homebodies? The present-day native population of New Zealand has not taken kindly to suggestions that they were not the first to inhabit the islands, as judged by the political fuss that was made when a prehistoric wall was discovered.

Atlantis Rising Magazine Vol. 41: "Enigmas of the Little People" by W. Ritchie Benedict;

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