In 1938 high in the mountains of BayanKara-Ula, on the borders of China and Tibet a team of archaeologists were conducting a very detailed routine survey of a series of interlocking caves.
Their interests had been excited by the discovery of lines of neatly arranged graves which contained the skeletons of what must have been a race of human beings. They appeared to have spindly bodies and large overdeveloped heads.
At first it had been thought that the caves had been the home of a hitherto unknown species of ape. But as the species seemed to bury its dead they eliminated an ape race.
While studying the skeletons one of the members of the team stumbled on a large round stone disc half buried in the dust on the floor of the cave.
The disc looked like an Stone Age record. There was a hole in the center of and a fine spiral groove that is a continuous spiralling line of closely written characters.
No one understood the meanings of the message. The disc was labeled and filed away among other finds in the area. For 20 years many experts in Peking tried to translate the disc.
Finally Dr. Tsum Um Nui broke the code and started to decipher the "speaking grooves". The Peking academy of Pre-History forbade him to publish his findings.
In 1965, 716 more grooved stone discs were uncovered in the same caves.
They told the story of a "space probe" by the inhabitants of another planet who came to the Baya-Kara-Ula mountain range. They had crash landed. Their peaceful intentions had been misinterpreted. Many of them had been hunted down and killed by members of the Han tribe, who lived in the neighboring caves.
They referred to themselves as the Dropas. They said they came down from the clouds in their space craft. It crashed landed in remote and inaccessible mountains. There was no way to build a new ship.
Legend in the area spoke of small gaunt yellow faced men who came from the clouds long ago. The men had huge bulging heads and puny bodies. They were so ugly they were hunted down and killed. This description is similar to the bodies found in the caves.
On the walls of the caves archaeolgists found crude pictures of the rising Sun, the Moon, unidentifiable stars and the earth all joined together by lines of pea-sized dots. The cave drawings have been dated around 12,000 years ago.
The cave area is still inhabited by 2 semi-troglodyte tribes known as the Hans and the Dropas. These tribes are odd looking in appearance. They are frail and stunted in growth averaging only about 5 feet in height. They are neither typically Chinese nor Tibetan.
In Russia several of the rock were tested. The discs were found to
contain large amounts of cobalt and other metallic substances.
When placed on a special turnrable they vibrated or hummed in an
unusual rhythm as thought an electric charge was passing through them.
It is as if they formed some part of an electrical circuit.
Chi Pu Tei, a professor of archaeology at Beijing University, was leading some his students on an expedition to survey a series of interlinking caves in the Himalyan mountains. According to one account, the caves may have been artificially carved, and were more like a complex system of tunnels and underground storerooms. The walls were squared and glazed, as if cut into the mountain with a source of extreme heat. Inside the caves were several ancient, but neatly arranged burial sites, and in them the skeletal remains of a strange people. The skeletons, measuring a little more than four feet tall, were frail and spindly with disproportionately large skulls.
At first. it was suggested by a member of the team that these might be the remains of an unknown species of mountain gorilla. Professor Chi Pu Tei is reputed to have responded, "Who ever heard of apes burying one another?" Yet, what kind of human was this?
More discoveries made further in the caves all but ruled out the idea that these were apes. On the walls were carved pictograms of the heavens: the sun, the moon, the stars, and the Earth with lines of dots connecting them. Then the team made the most incredible discovery of all. Half-buried in the dirt floor of the cave was an odd stone disk, obviously fashioned by the hand of an intelligent creature.
The disk was approximately nine inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch thick. In the exact center was a perfectly round, 3/4" hole, and etched in its face was a fine groove spiraling out from the center to the rim, making the disk look for all the world like some kind of primitive phonograph record.
This one plate, dated to be between 10,000 and 12,000 years old -- older by far than the great pyramids of Egypt -- was fantastic enough, but the wonder was multiplied manyfold. In all, 716 such plates were found. And each held an incredible secret. The groove, upon further inspection, was not a groove at all, but a continuous line of strange carved hieroglyphics -- writing!
The tiny, almost microscopic characters were in a language never encountered before. It wasn't until 1962 that another Chinese scientist was able to decode the message of the stone plates.
The Message of the Dropas:
Dr. Tsum Um Nui felt the smooth face of the disk with the palm of his hand.
"What could this disk possibly be?" he wondered.
He knew of its recent history; how it was discovered in 1938 by a Chinese archaeologist in a cave high in the Himalayans, along with 715 similar disks; how buried nearby were skeletons of a strange tribe of people averaging only a little over four feet high; how it was found that each disk was inscribed with a tiny groove that spiraled around its face, and that the groove turned out to be an unknown hieroglyphic.
He also knew how the disks, as remarkable as they were, had been simply labeled along with other finds of the expedition and stored away at Beijing University for 20 years.
During that time, others had attempted to decipher the strange inscriptions, but without success. Perhaps now, in 1962, he could.
The professor painstakingly transcribed the characters from the disk to paper.
The writing was so small he had to use a magnifying glass to see it clearly. But the stones were old -- perhaps 12,000 years old, it was estimated -- and much of the hieroglyphics were difficult to make out or had been worn away by time and the elements.
As he worked, many questions nagged the professor.
How did these primitive people fashion these precise stones?
How did they manage the almost microscopic writing?
Who were they and what was the purpose of these hundreds of stones?
Once the characters were transcribed, Dr. Tsum Um Nui began the arduous task of trying to decode its message.
Eventually, he began to make progress.
A word emerged. Then another. A phrase became understandable, then an entire sentence. He had broken the code.
He discerned that the messages on the stones were written by a people who called themselves the Dropa.
But what they were saying to him 12,000 years later made no sense.
What the Dropa had written must have been one of their cultural myths, or was part of some prehistoric religious ceremony. Or was it?
When he had completed the translation as much as he could, the professor sat back in his chair in disbelief.
The story the Dropa related was nothing short of astounding.
How would his colleagues react?
How might the world react if this story was true? The professor wrote up a paper on his findings and presented it to the university for publication.
Their reaction was swift and emphatic: the paper would not be published.
The Academy of Prehistory expressly forbade him to publish or even speak of his findings.
The world, the academy decided, should not know about the Dropa and their fateful journey to Earth.
Dr. Tsum Um Nui's findings were eventually published, however.
Just two years later, he published the paper entitled, "The Grooved Script Concerning Spaceships Which, as Recorded on the Discs, Landed on Earth 12,000 Years Ago."
By some accounts, the academy relented and gave permission to the professor to publish the paper, and by other accounts he published it despite the official ban.
In either case, his translation and his theory were met with ridicule by the archaeology establishment.
The translation was just too shattering to be taken at face value or as an historical account. It just could not be true. It would change everything we know about our history and humankind's place in the universe.
What the Stones Reveal:
The Dropa disks tell the story of a space probe from a distant planet that crash-landed in the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of the Himalayas.
The occupants of the spacecraft - the Dropa - found refuge in the caves of the mountains. Despite their peaceful intentions, the Dropa were misunderstood by members of the Ham tribe who were occupying neighboring caves and who hunted down the aliens and even killed some of them.
A translation of one of the passages says: "The Dropa came down from the clouds in their aircraft. Our men, women, and children hid in the caves ten times before sunrise.
When at last they understood the sign language of the Dropa, they realized that the newcomers had peaceful intentions."
The stones go on to say how the Dropa were unable to repair their disabled spacecraft and could not return to their home planet, and so were stranded on Earth. If that's true, have their descendents survived?
Today, the isolated area is inhabited by two tribes of people who, in fact, call themselves the Dropa and the Han.
Anthropologists have been unable to categorize either tribe into any other known race; they are neither Chinese nor Tibetan.
Both tribes are of pygmy stature, adults measuring between 3-foot-6 and 4-foot-7 with an average height of 4-foot-2, and body weights of 38 to 52 pounds.
They are yellow-skinned with thin bodies and disproportionately large heads, corresponding to the skeletal remains found in the caves in 1938.
They have sparse hair on their bodies and have large eyes that are not Asian in aspect, but have pale blue irises.
Supposedly, there also is an ancient Chinese tale that might bear-out the Dropa's claims.
The tale relates the story of a small, slender, yellow-skinned people who descended to the Earth from the clouds, and who were shunned by everyone because of their ugliness.
In 1968, the Dropa stones came to the attention of W. Saitsew, a Russian scientist who re-published the findings of Tsum Um Nui and conducted tests on the disks that revealed some very peculiar properties.
Physically, the granite stones contained high concentrations of cobalt and other metals -- a very hard stone indeed that would have made it difficult for the primitive people to carve the lettering, especially with such minute characters.
When testing a disk with an oscillograph, a surprising oscillation rhythm was recorded as if, the scientists said, they had once been electrically charged or had functioned as electrical conductors.
Whatever their true nature, origin, or meaning, the Dropa stones present an intriguing puzzle for archaeologists and anthropologists.
Were the Dropa truly visitors from some distant planet, or is their story merely a creation myth imagined by a primitive culture?
If the latter is true, it adds one more such "myth" to the large number of stories from ancient cultures that claim their descendents came to Earth from the heavens.
And if the former is true, the Dropa stones could represent the
first recorded visit of an alien civilization to our planet. For now,
the Dropa stones remain unexplained.