The story of the Dropas or Dzopas is one of the strangest in all of ufology. It has been written about quite a lot, notably by Hartwig Hausdorf in his book The Chinese Roswell, (also known as The White Pyramid) and online by my fellow guide Stephen Wagner of the Paranormal Site. Erich von Daniken also wrote about the “Dropa Stones” in a couple of his books, Gods From Outer Space and The Gold of the Gods.
The story, briefly, is this:
In the early 1960s, the Russian magazine Sputnik published an article about an archaeological find in the Bayan Kara Ula Mountains in southwest China near the Tibetan border. The story was also run by Belgian UFO Investigator and Vegetarian Universe magazines. The story of the Dropas that we read today is basically just a reworking of this original story.
The Bayan Kara Ula, or Bayan Har Shan, area of China is where the source of Yangtze River is located and where the Mekong River turns south toward Vietnam. It’s said to be very isolated and the people there still live in rather primitive conditions, although this is changing very quickly. In January of 1938, a Chinese archaeologist named Professor Chu Pu Tei led a rather routine expedition into these mountains. However, what they discovered in a group of caves shunned by the superstitious local natives was far from routine. In the caves, the expedition discovered a series of graves lined up in rows. On the walls of the caves there were stick-figure drawings of men with elongated heads and representations of the sun, moon, and stars. When they excavated the graves, the archaeologists found skeletons of less than four feet in length with abnormally large skulls.
The skeletons, however, were apparently not the most interesting things that were found in the cave. The expedition also found at least one curious artifact. It was a stone disk a little over twelve inches in diameter, with a hole in the center. There was a groove in the surface of the disk that spiraled outward from the center hole to the rim and then back, forming a double spiral. During the next twenty years, other expeditions would find 716 of these disks in the caves. The disks were sent to various locations around China for study.
One of the scientists who studied the disks was a Professor Tsum Um Nui of the Beijing Academy for Ancient Studies. Examining the grooves in the disks closely, he found that they were actually a spiraling line of closely written characters in an unknown language. In 1962, he announced that he and his associates had managed to translate the writing, which told a strange story:
Aliens Crash Landed on Earth?
Twelve thousand years ago, an alien spacecraft crash-landed in the Bayan Kara Ula area. The occupants survived, but the craft had been too damaged to repair and the occupants had been unable to send out a message for help. The aliens, called the Dropa or Dzopa were forced to try to adapt to life on earth. However, the local Ham (or Kam, Kham) tribesmen had hunted down and killed most of them.
It’s noted that the Ham were very short people themselves, and it is not certain that the skeletons found in the caves were not those of Ham tribesmen. Professor Tsum Um Nui asserted that the aliens who were left alive had intermarried with the Ham or other tribesmen. After much difficulty, The Professor managed to get his paper on the disks published, only to find himself branded a liar and a fool. He later resigned from the Beijing Academy and immigrated to Japan, dying a few years afterward.
The Russians Investigate
According to an article in Sputnik by Dr. Vyatcheslav Saitsev, Russian scientists became interested in the disks and the Chinese obligingly sent several of the 716 disks to Moscow. Rather than try to verify Professor Tsum Um Nui’s translation of the script, they did a chemical analysis of the disks, which found that they contained large amounts of cobalt, which is mined in the Bayan Kara Ula area. Saitsev also said that the Russian scientists, noting the similarity of the disks to long-playing phonograph records, placed one on a special “turntable” and “played” it. He claimed that the disk emitted a strange “hum”, supposedly as though it contained “electrical circuitry” or had “once been exposed to very high voltage.”
The Disks Reappear
For several years, nothing was heard of the disks. Then, in 1974, an Austrian engineer named Ernst Wegener came upon two of the disks in the Banpo Museum in Xian. The museum director could tell him nothing about the disks, which had begun to deteriorate, but she allowed him to touch one of them and to photograph them. He did so, but he had only a Polaroid camera with him. These photos are the ones that we see reprinted today. In 1994, when Hartwig Hausdorf was in China, he asked the current director of the Banpo Museum about the disks and was told that they had disappeared.
Sungods in Exile?
In 1979, a book titled Sungods in Exile appeared. The author was given as Karyl Robin-Evans and the editor as David Agamon. The book is the story of eccentric British scientist Dr. Karyl Robin-Evans’ expedition (My copy of The Chinese Roswell gives the date of this expedition as 1974; other sources say 1947. Possibly a misprint?) to the Bayan Kara Ula area. Supposedly, this expedition was prompted by Robin-Evans’ study of a disk purchased in India or Nepal by his friend and colleague at Oxford, Polish Professor Sergei Lolladoff. According to the book, the Robin-Evans expedition discovered of a tribe of dwarfs in a remote valley of Bayan Kara Ula. The dwarfs told him that they came from a planet in the Sirius system and that their ancestors had crash-landed on earth many centuries ago.
Well, the lessons that I’ve learned from Uncle P. are not so easily forgotten, so when I again came across the story of the Dropa disks, I decided to investigate it as best I could.
The first thing that I did was to try to find the source of the original story. Hartwig Hausdorf says this in The Chinese Roswell:
“… Sputnik broke the story…. The Belgian magazine BUFOI(Belgian UFO Investigator) picked it up as well as the esoteric German publication Vegetarian Universe using not only Soviet but Japanese sources.”
A few pages later, he says:
“…Dr. Vyatcheslav Saitzev, who first told the story of the alien disks of Bara Kara Ula for the Soviet Magazine Sputnik…
However, in the Sources for that chapter, the oldest source he cites is a 1960 article in Russian Digest, not by Saitzev, but by V. Ritsch and M. Tschernenko, titled Were Alien Visitors on Earth?. (Note that 1960 would have been two years before Tsum Um Nui announced his translation of the disks’ message.) He then cites the Vegetarian Universe article in 1962, and not until 1968 an article by Saitzev in Sputnik number 1! Von Daniken’s 1970 Gods From Outer Space is the next source given.
If the confusion of where, when, and by whom the original article was published isn’t bad enough, those Russian magazines were very sensationalistic, as is noted by Hausdorf. They were like Iron Curtain versions of the supermarket tabloids we see today. Not the most reliable sources of information. The German and Belgian articles were basically just reprints of the Russian one, although Hausdorf says they cited Japanese sources as well (unnamed).
The next thing that I investigated was whether I could find any mention of the names Chu Pu Tei, Tsum Um Nui, Ernst Wegener, Vyatcheslav Saitzev, Sergei Lolladoff, or Karyl Robin-Evans anywhere outside of the Dropa articles. No luck, not even with alternate spellings. Except for their mentions in connection with the Dropa story, none of these people might exist at all. Several writers mention that Tsum Um Nui is not a normal Chinese name. The one possible exception among these names is that Sungods in Exile is a real book (out of print), with Karyl Robin-Evans listed as author and David Agamon as editor. However, other investigators have been unable to find any trace of Karyl Robin-Evans in Britain and some believe the book was a work of fiction that was actually written by David Agamon. One investigator wrote Oxford asking about Lolladoff and his disk, but never received any reply. Hartwig Hausdorf says that the Ukrainian scientist Dr. Vladimir Rubstov wrote to him that Sungods in Exile was science fiction, not fact. Barnes and Noble online has a slightly damaged former library copy of Sungods in Exile for sale. Another interesting work of fiction, The HAB Theory (1976) by Allan W. Eckert, also discusses the Dropas.
The photos that are attributed to Wegener appear to be legitimate, but they hardly verify the Dropa story. The spiral is not prominent, much less the script. There is also another photo (not attributed to Wegener) that accompanies some of the Dropa stories, but the disk shown there is much larger than the 12 inch disks described in the stories. It’s as big as the chair that’s beside it in the photo!
Something to consider is that, as Hausdorf also points out, stone disks with a hole in the center and double spirals are not unusual in Chinese archaeology. It is believed that they may have been related to ancient snake-worshipping cults.
The Violationswebsite provided some enlightening information about Gordon Creighton’s investigation of the Dropa story:
Erich von Daniken gives as his source for this story a conversation in Moscow in 1968 with Soviet writer Aleksandr Kazantsev and records that the discs themselves and the documentation of their discovery is preserved at the (then) Peking Academy of Prehistory and the Chinese Academy of Sciences at T’ai-Pei in Taiwan. However, journalist Gordon Creighton contacted a number of Chinese academics about the Dropa stones story, and none of them had even heard of the story. Then he contacted Soviet writer Aleksandr Kazantsev to verify the account that had been given to Von Daniken. The surprising response was that Kazantsev had not given Von Daniken the story; rather that Von Daniken had given it to Kazantsev!
Finally, Creighton says that the claim that the tribes supposedly descended from the aliens are frail and weak has been found to be untrue. The Kams (Hams, Khams ) are said to be marauding bandits who are feared by their neighbors. The Kam provided men to be bodyguards for the Dalai Lama when he fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet. The Dropa tribe is also described as consisting of rugged and ferocious people, not dwarfs with large heads.
However, it’s also said that an AP news item reported that there was a tribe of dwarfs discovered living in neighboring Sichuan province in 1995….. 2004 – Loy Lawhon, http://ufos.about.com/mbiopage.htm