The Tribe from the Depths of the Earth


On February 28, 2003, a mine collapsed near the Chinese town of Jixi, Heilongjang Province. Fourteen miners didn’t come back to their families. But this story became famous after five years, when there was an unexpected turn of events.

The rescue teams retrieved the bodies of only 12 of the 14 missing mine workers. Two of the workers Lao Pen and Wan Hu were not found anywhere in the mine. After five years, in 2008, Wan Hu returned home but his wife had remarried and his children had left home.

Wan Hu bought a new house and devoted his time to gardening. But soon after that, authorities found out about the strange case and it turned out that his family received compensations, which they should have not, because Wan Hu was alive. Here comes the logical question: why didn’t the mine worker return earlier?

Wan Hu said that he was able to pay all the expenses to the government and during the time of his absence, he lived with the mighty underground civilization of the Ctones. He wasn’t able to send a message from there.

His unusual statement bewildered the authorities and they thought he was insane. Wan Hu was sent for examinations, but doctors came to the conclusion that he was physically and mentally healthy. They attributed his questionable story to his imagination. But doctors weren’t able to explain why the ex-mine worker didn’t show any signs of anthracosis – deposition of coal dust within the lungs from inhalation of sooty air.

According to his medical records, before the accident Wan Hu already showed signs of anthracosis and was going to retire soon. But after his alleged stay in an underground city, the mine worker had no traces of any lung pathologies whatsoever. Even more so, he had all his 32 teeth, even though, according to his medical records, he should have had only 25. Even though he was 39 years old, his health seemed like that of a 26-28 year old.

Besides that, Wan Hu had 40,000 yuans in his bank account. An authorized search determined that he had 10 000 yuans more in cash and uncut diamonds amounting to 300 000 yuans. The authorities were suspicious that the man was not actually Wan Hu, but a secret agent from a foreign country. Later, it turned out that he got the money after selling uncut diamonds to a jeweler in Shanghai. Wan Hu told the authorities that he received the diamonds from the Ctones.

In brief, here’s his story: after the mine collapsed, Wan Hu and Lao Pen were cut off not only from the surface but from the other miners as well. They waited for help for three days with enough water, but with practically no food and there were no signs of any rescue operations. They decided to explore ancient tunnels, leading deep into the mine, in hopes of finding their way up to the surface.

Sadly, that was not the case and they got even deeper in the labyrinth of tunnels. And there, they were attacked by some strange humans, the Ctones. Even though they were short, the Ctones managed to capture the two mine workers. But they fed them well and led them even deeper – to their kingdom.

The Ctones had created a system of lenses that illuminated the tunnels, to a degree that one could even read a book there. At the end of the tunnels, there were large caves in which lived thousands of Ctones. Wan Hu was sure that they were human, even though they were so short.

The two miners lived among the Ctones for five years. Their language was very different from Chinese, but it was easy to learn and soon, Hu and Pen were able to communicate with them. When they started talking with the underground civilization, they realized that they weren’t captives. Ctones believed that life on the surface was a terrible burden and that’s why they thought Wan Hu and Lao Pen were trying to escape to a better world. And truly, there was no hunger or diseases among the underground civilization.

Their only source of food was mold which was abundant in those caves. According to Hu, the mold had a specific taste, somewhat fresh, but most importantly, it was incredibly healthy. That’s why their teeth changed – that was something usual for the Ctones, whose teeth changed every 20-25 years during their life span, which was rarely less than 200 years.

The Ctones even had a developed writing system, the paper for which was made from different kinds of mold, too. The underground civilization was familiar with metallurgy, but rarely used iron, instead, used bronze, silver and gold. They did not live in luxury and were content with the most necessary things.

Since the two miners were not considered captives, they lived as equals among the Ctones and even had wives and children. This was not a bad way of life, but Hu wanted to see the Sun again.

The Ctones tried to dissuade him, but he was determined in his decision. He was led to a cave where there was a hole which led to the surface.

This is only a small part of Wan Hu’s whole story. After that, he was declared insane but was sent to a military base instead of the local psychiatric asylum. Some people thought he was just retelling one of the local myths about underground civilizations, others believed that he was telling the truth.

After all, there was no actual evidence about the existence of such underground civilization and it is very possible that Wan Hu was just making it up, because he could have been a criminal who stole some diamonds and had to come up with a cover story.