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From the Files of the RJ's Surrealist Research Bureau

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Bi-Discs, like the one shown above (on display at Vanderbilt University) were traditional Chinese grave goods. Bi-Discs, like the one shown above (on display at Vanderbilt University) were traditional Chinese grave goods.

The rise and fall of the Dropa

One of many unfinished fantasy novels gathering dust in my files is a 100-page fragment based on the enigmatic history of the Dropa, supposedly a real tribe of pygmy-like extraterrestrials who crash-landed near the Sino-Tibetan border nearly 12,000 years ago.

As reported in numerous books and articles throughout the mid-60s and 70s, an archeology class from Beijing University excavated a series of caves in the remote Qinghai region where there were many artificially carved tunnels which appeared to be squared and glazed, as if cut into the walls by great heat or lasers.

Also found were many tiny bodies, most approximately four feet tall with abnormally large heads. No funerary goods were found, only hundreds of one-foot wide stone discs, each with a three-quarter inch hole in the center. Each disc was also inscribed with two fine grooves spiraling out from the hole in the center to the edge. It was not until 20 years after the original expedition that a Dr. Nui of Beijing discovered that each groove actually consisted of a tiny series of hieroglyphics, so small that a magnifying glass was required to discern them.

Dr. Nui’s translation concluded that the “Dropa” tribe were survivors of a spaceship crash some 12,000 years ago and they were nearly wholly slaughtered by fearful local people. After Dr. Nui’s report was published, in 1962, he was reportedly ostracized to the point of self-imposed exile in Japan and Beijing never allowed him to publish again.

In 1965 Professor Chi Pu Tei and four colleagues published a paper under the title: “The Grooved Script concerning Space-ships, as recorded on the discs, Which Landed on Earth some 12,000 years ago.” Some variations on the above facts were scattered throughout my readings through the 1990s, leading to copious notes for the as-yet-unfinished novel. By the mid-1990s however, ever-widening cracks began to appear.

Erich Von Daniken’s infamous 1968 book “Chariots of the Gods” for instance, was the first mainstream book to spread the Dropa tale, a book since widely reviled for its distortions and outright fabrications. Daniken gives as his source the Russian sci-fi writer Alexander Kazantsen yet Kazantsen swears now it was Von Daniken who told him the tale and not vice versa.

The 1978 book “Sun Gods in Exile” by David Agamon appeared to back the Dropa story as well but Agamon has since admitted in Fortean Times that the whole book was a made-up fiction. Further photos of the discs show none of the supposed deep grooves and no drawings, samples, or analysis of the “script” have ever appeared anywhere.

The “dwarf bodies” in the area were later explained by high concentrations of mercury in the nearby wells which poisoned their drinking water for generations. The stone discs are a known and common aspect of Chinese culture and their use dates back at least 10,000 years. Called Bi-Discs today, they were common burial items.

There’s no moral to this story, other than a sort of relief I never finished that particular book and embarrassed myself with my book-learnin’ ignorance of proper sources. Still, there’s always the undisputed fact that Rimbaud and Lautramont, the unholy founders of modern Surrealism, fought together at the barricades of the 1870s Paris Communard, after which Lautramont died and Rimbaud fled to Africa. Surely there’s a story in there somewhere, one “as beautiful as the fortuitous, chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella!” 

‘til next time, All Homage to Xena!

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Jody Forest Jody Forest When he's not hidden behind the palatial gates of his Dover estate, Casa de Bozo, Jody is out using outdated and corny pickup lines on various gullible women.

Tagged as:

Dropa, extraterrestrials, Qinghai, Bi-Discs

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