15 Enigmas Concerning Easter Island

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The world-famous Easter Island statues known as the Moai are so iconic and ingrained into the fabric of modern pop culture that most people do not even realize that the statues themselves point to so much more mystery and intrigue regarding this ancient island civilization. Here are 15 enigmas concerning Easter Island adapted from our 3 part investigative series.

#1. An Ancient Oasis

There is evidence to suggest that the island was once an ancient oasis covered by forests according to Professor Dr. Olof H. Selling. He examined the stratified deposits from the crater swamps under microscope and was able to determine that the island had once been covered by forest flora and trees that later became extinct. 1


#2. Islanders with European Features

Missionary Eugene Eyraud who lived on the island in 1864 stated what many others had come to notice, “These savages are tall, strong and well-built. Their features resemble far more European type than those of the other islanders of Oceana.” 2

#3. Strange Genetic Features

Many early explorers to the island had reported about the unusually shaped skulls and large bumps found on the back of the necks of the Island’s inhabitants. A number of highly detailed carvings have been found that depict these strange features, which are said to represent their ancient ancestors. 3

#4. The White-Skinned Cannibalistic Priests

Dutch explorers Jacob Roggeveen and Carl Friedrich Behrens recorded their observations in the 1700s of how the giant Moai statues were served by a priesthood of very large looking men who had remarkably white skin, long ears and red-hair, while the rest of the population appeared to be of a mixed descent and did not venerate the statues as the priests did. Father Gaspard Zumbohm documented in the mid 1800s that in former times these high priests ate children in the name of their god Make-Make. 4

#5. The Human-Animal Hybrid Deity

According to the oral traditions, none of the principal Polynesian gods were known to the Easter Islanders, and their god Make-Make, was a deity unknown in Polynesia which is represented in carvings as a half human-half animal with bowed back and long claw like legs and arms. 5

#6. The Long-Eared Master Builders

The oral traditions of the islanders state that the island was settled twice, the first time by a race known as the Long-ears who came from the east, and the second time by the Short-ears from the west. The Long-ears appear to have been a power in the land at an early period in the history of the island and were the master builders of the larger stone statues and megalithic platforms. 6

#7. Colossal Construction

Thor Heyerdahl Expedition

The monolithic statues of Rapa Nui are called Moai in the Rapa Nui language. Approximately 50% of the 887 statues documented to date still remain in the immediate vicinity of Rano Raraku quarry in which they were produced. The largest unfinished statue measures close to 100 feet in length and weighs approximately 100 tons. 7

#8. Transportation of the Moai

French missionary Father Roussel who lived on the island in the 1860s, examined the surfaces of the statues found abandoned in transit along the roads and found that all the surfaces were found to be polished and undamaged by friction. 8

#9. The Moai Heads have Bodies

In the 1950s, explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his team were the first to conduct major excavations on Easter Island, and to their very great surprise, they found that the massive stone Moai heads were attached in most cases to complete bodies that were buried up to 30 feet below the surface. 9

#10. Strange Moai Markings

Many of the excavated Rano Raraku statues have a dorsal pattern. This pattern consists of an arched rainbow motif that is confined to the back. The descendants of the Long-ears claimed that the motif represented the rainbow with the sun and moon above it and rain symbolized by the shape beneath.


#11. Megalithic Mortarless Walls

There exists on the island at Ahu Vinapu megalithic multi-ton mortarless walls made with an ancient high technology to where you cannot even fit a human hair between the stones. In 1923, explorer and author J. Macmillan Brown visited Easter island and later stated “The tooling and fitting of cyclopean blocks are exactly the same in Cusco and in Easter Island.”

#12. The Magnetic Stone Sphere

The most sacred part of the island based on the Rapa-nui oral traditions is the Te Pito Kura, which means “Navel of light.” This is a large stone sphere, 1 metre in diameter, which according to legend was brought to the island by the first King Hotu Matua from the original homeland. The sphere apparently possesses strange magnetic properties that will cause compasses to spin in circles as they are passed over the stone’s surface. 10

#13. The Alien Queen Statue

Murray Foote

In the 1950s, Thor Heyerdahl made this comment about a startling discovery he made,“We discovered a basalt statue so totally alien to anything found in the Pacific that it could well have fallen from outer space.” The island elders say the statue symbolized the Island’s first King Hotu Matua’s queen.

#14. Vaulted Subterranean Chambers

Thor Heyerdahl mentions this in his book ‘Easter Island The Mystery Solved,’ “There were caves everywhere. Some were right under our feet in the midst of a stoney field, I forced my way through the narrow passages. And then to sit up inside a vaulted room surrounded by barbaric, bizarre and grotesque sculptures of demons, beasts, skulls, monsters carved in lava. Some pieces showed signs of great age and crumbled to powder at a touch. They were all lying on the floor or placed on stone shelves. In some caves lay skulls and entire skeletons.” 11

#15. Reports of 12 ft Tall Living Giants

In 1770, Scottish geographer Alexander Dalrymple of the British Admiralty wrote the “Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean.” In this book, Dalrymple makes several mentions of living giants that were seen ashore on Easter Island and surrounding islands. He documents the ship logs of Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen’s 1722 voyage to Easter Island: “These savages are of a more than gigantic size, for the men being twice as tall and thick as the largest of our people; they measured, one with another, the height of twelve feet, so that we could easily, who will not wonder at it without stooping, have passed between the legs of these sons of Goliath. According to their height, so is their thickness, and are all, now with another, very well proportioned, so that each could have passed for a Hercules.” 12


1 Van Tilburg, Jo Anne Ph.D., Easter Island Statue Project, 2009 / 2 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 68 / 3 Chauvet, Stephen Dr., Easter Island and its mysteries, 1935 / 4-5 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 -20, 76, 227, 72 / 6 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 -108, 124, 104, 109, 110, 111, 125, 122, 112, 122, 126, 244 / 7 Van Tilburg, Jo Anne P.H.D., Easter Island Statue Project, 2 / 8 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 76, 78, 111, 151, 204, 205, 224, 241 / 9 Foerster, Brien, Recent Eye Opening Excavations Underway On Easter Island, HiddenIncaTours.com / 10 ancient-wisdom.com, Stoneballs, Easter Island / 11 Heyerdahl, Thor, Easter Island The Mystery Solved, 1989 231, 235, 237, 195, 143, 166, 107,  212 /2 Dalrymple, Alexander, Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean, 1770 113, 114