Just like the mysterious Twin Town of India, China too has something weird and mysterious to offer – the Village of Dwarfs! Located in Sichuan Province in southwest China is a remote village known as Yangsi. This village is pretty unusual because it is full of dwarfs. 40% of the residents in the village are dwarfs. It is not that the dwarfs came in from all around China and settled there. They were all born and raised in Yangsi.
The unusually high density of the dwarfs in this remote village has managed to baffle scientists because the odds of a person born as dwarf is 1 in every 20,000 newborns! The tallest dwarf in the village is 3’ 10” tall while the shortest one is 2’ 1” tall.
So, 36 dwarfs out of 80 resident villagers is not something that can be ignored but scientists have actually failed to give a proper explanation to this unusual event. The only good explanation that experts have managed to churn out so far is that it is just a random occurrence. Several studies have been conducted in the area including testing of grains, soil and water but no clue has been found for this weird anomaly. Scientists even went to the extent of testing the individual dwarfs but with no luck.
Currently the number of villagers stand at 80 but there was a time when there were more souls living in the village and at one point and a total of 119 dwarf residents were spotted. In 1997, it was suggested that high mercury concentrations in soil is the possible reason but nothing was found despite a thorough investigation.
The condition of stunned growth in Yangsi was officially discovered in 1951 but reports of dwarf sightings date as far back as 1911. Dr. Karyl Robin Evans – an English scientist claimed that he actually saw a few hundred dwarfs in the area where the Village of Dwarfs is located. He made his claim in 1947, which is 4 years prior to the official discovery.
Interestingly, the Chinese government never denies the existence of the village but it has not yet opened the village for foreigners. The government has not provided any legit explanation for such restrictions but has just implemented it.
Elder residents in Yangsi reported that they used to enjoy a peaceful life until one night in summer, a mysterious illness came by and struck children between the age group of 5 to 7 and those children simply stopped growing. It is not that their growths became stunned but many of them also suffered from various physical disabilities.
Villagers have come up with several other explanations. For instance, some say that when the Japanese invaded China, they released toxic gases which caused this problem. However, during the Japanese invasion, the Jap soldiers didn’t really reach the Yangsi village. Proponents of this toxic gas theory are simply reluctant to accept that the Japs never reached place.
Some say that it is their ancestors who have brought down this wrath on them because they were not give the much deserved better burial. Others say that the area’s bad feng shui is responsible for the stunned growth. While these reasons are pretty out-worldly, the most bizarre of all explanations is that of the curse of a black turtle. According to the story, a black turtle with strange feet was spotted by a man named Wang. The villagers suffered a dilemma between letting the turtle go and feasting on it. And, because of the rebellious taste buds and the cynic mentality, they ended up killing the turtle, roasting it and feasting on it. Villagers now believe that it was the turtle’s curse that laid down the wrath on the children and the future generations.
The village of Yangsi remained in the clutches of this unusual stunned growth phenomenon for 60+ years and only recently the new generation seems to have escaped dwarfism. So, possibly the wrath of the ancestors or the black turtle has been lifted by someone or something. May be we will never come to know the true reason for this weird phenomenon!