Strange Stone Discs of Baian-Kara-Ula
Unearthed from a remote
mountain cave in 1938, these grooved stone discs defied translation
until 1962. Researchers claim the discs tell an astounding story of
alien visitors who survived their spaceship’s crash-landing in
China 12,000 years ago.
before the outbreak of the Second World War, Chinese archaeologists
stumbled upon a cave containing small skeletal remains. Alongside the
bodies they found stone discs that were only deciphered 20 years later.
They seemed to tell of an extraterrestrial craft that had crash-landed
in the mountain range of Baian-Kara-Ula 12,000 years ago. The Western
media treated the news with the usual attitude of “communist propaganda—do
not believe a word of it”. But Hart wig Hausdorf recently returned
from China with a different tale to tell. The discs exist—and
do indeed seem to indicate that representatives from a space-faring
alien race visited the Chinese mountain area in antiquity.
Slowly, the mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula, along the Chinese-Tibetan border,
were starting to reveal their secrets. Scientists had stumbled upon
an intricate network of connecting caves. In one of them they came across
the neatly ordered graves of a race that appeared most peculiar, strange
even: short bodies, except for the skull which was unproportionately
large. At first, the scientists believed the caves had been the habitat
of monkeys; but their leader, archaeologist Professor Chi Pu Tei, pointed
out he had never heard of monkeys burying their dead.
During the unearthing of the bodies, an archaeologist recovered a stone
disc from the bottom of a grave. All the archaeologists gathered around
the artefact and turned it in every direction, trying to figure out
what it had to mean. A circular hole in the middle and a groove spiralling
inward or outward, however you wanted to look at it, were the only apparent
features. Had they stumbled upon a Stone Age LP? Did “The Flintstones”
Closer inspection showed that the grooves were actually a line of small
carvings or signs. Each disc was a book, but, upon their discovery in
1938, nobody possessed the dictionary so no one was able to read them.
All the discs were collected and stored along with the other findings
made in the area. There was no reason to consider these stone discs
special or important; perhaps just odd.
The discs were kept in Peking, where, for the next 20 years, a line
of experts tried to decipher the writing. Nobody succeeded. But, in
1962, Professor Dr Tsum Um Nui did succeed, and learnt of the astonishing
message the discs contained. He announced his findings to a small group
of friends and colleagues, but the public remained unaware of his discovery.
The public was purposefully kept in the dark, for the authorities felt
it wise not to announce the professor’s findings. The Peking Academy
of Prehistory forbade the professor from publishing anything about the
After two years of probably utter frustration, the professor and four
of his colleagues were finally allowed to publish the conclusions of
their research. They decided to call it “The cartelled script
relating to the spaceship that, as is written on the discs, descended
on Earth 12,000 years ago”. The discs, 716 of which were retrieved
from one cave, told the story of inhabitants of another world stuck
in the mountains of Baian-Kara-Ula. The peaceful intentions of these
people had not been comprehended by the local population. Many extraterrestrials
had been chased and killed by members of the Han tribe, living in nearby
Professor Tsum Um Nui offered a few lines of his translation:
The Dropa came out of the clouds in their aeroplanes. Before sunrise,
our men, women and children hid in the caves ten times. When they finally
understood the sign language of the Dropa, they realised the newcomers
had peaceful intentions...
Another part of the text stated the Han tribe regretted that the Dropa
had crashed in this remote area and that they were unable to build a
new spaceship so the Dropa could return to their home planet.
Um Nui’s colleagues laughed: the good professor had clearly
lost his marbles. How could such a thing be true? Their ungrateful
reception made the professor decide to move to Japan, where he
died the following year.
Since the discs’ discovery more than 25 years before, other
archaeologists had learnt more about the history of the area.
That newly acquired knowledge indicated that the story, as it
appeared in Tsum Um Nui’s translation, could be correct.
Legends circulating even at that time spoke of short, skinny,
yellow men that “had come out of the clouds a very long
time ago”. These people had big, knobby heads and small
bodies and were a terrible sight to see, according to the locals
who had chased these people away on horseback. The description
of these people is identical to the bodies Professor Chi Pu Tei
had recovered in 1938.
Mural paintings were found inside the cave. They depicted sunrise,
the Moon, unidentified stars and the Earth—all connected
with dotted lines. The discs and the cave’s contents were
dated at about 10,000 BC.
The caves were still inhabited by two tribes, calling themselves
the Han and the Dropa, the latter people of strange expression.
Barely 1.3 metres (4 feet) tall, they were neither Chinese nor
Tibetan. Even an expert could not indicate their racial background.
The report on the translation of the discs, published in 1964,
did not signal the end of this mystery. Obviously other people
and organisations were interested.
Enquiries came from the Soviet Union, with scientists requesting
some of the discs to be sent to them for study, which the Chinese
did. The Soviets removed pieces of ‘dirt’ and made
various chemical analyses. The Soviet scientists were surprised
to learn that the discs contained fairly high amounts of cobalt
and other metals.
Dr Viatcheslav Saizev reported in the Soviet magazine, Sputnik,
which he had put the discs on a special machine which was somewhat
like a gramophone. When turned on, the discs “vibrated”
or “hummed” as if some kind of special electric charge
had been pushed through the discs in a particular rhythm; or,
as one scientist stated, “as if they formed a part of an
electric circuit”. Somehow, at one time they had been exposed
to high electric charges.
Such findings, however, had little to do with the other discs
that stayed behind in China. Shortly after Tsum Um Nui’s
decoding, the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s swept over
China, and there was no public concern over the discs’ fate
or their message.
In 1974, an Austrian engineer, Ernst Wegerer, stumbled upon two
discs in the Banpo Museum at Xian and photographed them. The Swiss
“ancient astronauts” author, Erich von Däniken,
learnt of the discs and Wegerer’s photographs, and wrote
about the discs in one of his books. Few believed von Däniken
reported a true discovery; most felt he had made it up.
It was German tour operator, Hartwig Hausdorf, who changed the
situation. In March 1994, he and Peter Krassa, a friend of von
Däniken, left for China. Hausdorf said later:
In Xian we visited the Banpo Museum searching for the discs that
Wegerer had photographed two decades earlier. But our optimism
was not rewarded. Nowhere could we find any trace of the discs.
Had Wegerer really made up the entire story? That seemed unlikely.
We asked our guides and Professor Wang Zhijun, director of the
museum. At first, they denied the discs even existed! Within an
hour of our having shown them the photographs, Zhijun stated that
one of his predecessors had indeed given Wegerer permission to
photograph the discs, that the discs did indeed exist or had at
least existed. Shortly after having given Wegerer permission to
photograph the discs, that director was ‘asked’ to
resign. We learnt that, ever since, not a single trace of the
director had been found.
Krassa, a compatriot of Wegerer, had managed to collect all four
of Wegerer’s photographs.
Director Zhijun showed us—when he realised we would not
leave without knowing all there was to know—a book on archaeology
in which photographs of the discs could be seen. Afterwards, he
took us to a nearby centre, the location where the museum’s
artefacts were cleaned and catalogued. On one chair stood an enlarged
copy of a stone disc. He hinted that, a few years ago, word had
come down ‘from above’, from his superiors, that all
traces of the discs had to be wiped out, and that he was to go
on record as saying everything was one big lie. Such attitudes
are of course not benevolent for anyone who wants to find the
Hausdorf and Krassa been less obstinate, they might have classed
Wegerer as a hoaxer.
and Hausdorf also came across the story of an Englishman, Dr Karyl
Robin-Evans, who had travelled to China in 1947. Before his arrival,
a Professor Lolladorff had shown him a stone disc which he believed
to have been found in northern India. The object appeared to have
belonged to a tribe, the “Dzopa”, who had used the
discs during religious ceremonies. Dr Robin-Evans stated the discs
had a radius of 12 centimetres and were about five centimetres
The professor put the disc on a balance and connected the balance
to a typewriter. He illustrated how the disc, over a period of
three and a half hours, apparently gained and lost weight! After
one day, this change in weight created a printed line on the paper
in the typewriter. The change in weight had allowed the typewriter
to print, leaving characters on the paper. The discs could sort
of type! Though it was easy to explain what had happened, how
it had occurred was basically impossible. How could a stone disc
Apparently Dr Robin-Evans was unwilling to lose face over this
stunning experiment. Though his report had been written in 1947,
it was only published in 1978, four years after his death (see
Dr David Agamon [ed.], Sungods in Exile, Sudbury, 1978).
After his meeting with Prof. Lolladorff, Dr Robin-Evans set course
for the Chinese mountains in search of the Dzopa tribe. First,
he passed through Lhasa, Tibet, where he was welcomed by the 14th
Dalai Lama, who was 12 years old at the time. In 1947, Tibet was
still independent. Only in 1950, when the Dalai Lama fled to northern
India, did the Chinese take possession of the country. As mentioned,
Baian-Kara-Ula is situated along the Chinese-Tibetan border but
it suffered little, being a remote mountain range.
Once in the high mountains, Robin-Evans' Tibetan carriers decided
to stay behind. They were afraid. The landscape had that sinister
look and they wanted to return home. Their unwillingness illustrates
how the Baian-Kara-Ula area was scarcely explored up until 1947,
save the scientific expedition a decade earlier.
Dr Robin-Evans managed to reach his destination and gain the confidence
of the Dzopa people. He was provided with a language instructor
who taught him the basics of the Dzopa language.
Lurgan-La, the religious leader of the Dzopa, told him the history of
the tribe. He stated that their home planet was in the Sirius system.
explained that two expeditions had been sent to our Earth: the first,
more than 20,000 years ago; the second in 1014 AD. During the 1014 AD
visit, a few spaceships crashed; the survivors were unable to leave
Earth. He said that the Dzopa are the direct descendants of those people.
Among the estate of Robin-Evans was a most remarkable photograph: the
royal couple Hueypah-La and Veez-La. They measured 1.2 and 1.07 metres!
Not only was their height small; their entire appearance could only
be described as strange.
The important question was whether the “Dropa” and the “Dzopa”
were one and the same tribes or different tribes. But Robin-Evans had
apparently been aware of some controversy regarding that subject. Though
“Dropa” was the correct spelling, “Dzopa” or,
rather, “Tsopa” was closer to the correct pronunciation
of the word. He felt it would be better to write “Dzopa”,
as that was closer to the correct pronunciation (see Agamon [ed.], Sungods
were only two remaining problems. The date on the stone discs, 12,000
years ago, did not coincide with the statements of the religious leader:
20,000 years ago and 1014 BC. Furthermore, the discs appeared to contain
statements by non-Dropa tribesmen describing the Dropa, but the stone
discs were apparently written by the Dropa. Did some locals intermingle
with the Dropa? Or was the information somewhat garbled? Though Hausdorf,
Krassa and Robin-Evans have been unable to explain these contradictions,
more research in the future might shed new light on that aspect of this
Hartwig Hausdorf hopes he will receive permission to enter the Baian-Kara-Ula
mountain range to search for the Dzopa tribe people, should they still
exist. But since the tribe was still in existence in 1947, there are
probably living descendants today—except if the order of 1965
to “do away with all traces of the stone discs” has ended
the tribe’s existence.
Hausdorf looked into the latest, 1982 list of recognised national minorities
in China and learnt that the Dzopa are not recognised as a minority
in their home province, Qinghai. Might they therefore no longer exist?
The list does specify that 880,000 people are not recognised as ethnic
minorities. They make up 25 tribes. Hence they might not be recognised,
or they might be listed under a different name, as the Hanyu-Pinyin
transcription ‘translated’ certain names completely differently
from what they were before.
Another mystery with which Hausdorf battled was the name of Tsum Um
Nei, a name that wasn’t Chinese. This fact had led to rumours
that the man had never existed and was a figment of someone’s
imagination. But an Asian friend of Hausdorf told him that “Tsum
Um Nei” was a mixture of Chinese and Japanese. The Japanese pronunciation
of the name had been written down in Chinese, just like any German named
“Schmidt” would be named “Smith” in America.
“Obviously the guy was Japanese,” Hausdorf realised, which
would explain why the professor was able to return to Japan to retire.
Hartwig Hausdorf was able to prove that the stone discs and the Dzopa
tribe really did exist. His next task is to find out whether their legend
has come down accurately— and whether it might be true.
article originally appeared in Nexus New Times Magazine, in 1995.
For an update to this article, click