We’ve heard the fairytale story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarf. But what if, that wasn’t just a bedtime story? The world is full of amazing and sometimes, weird things that fascinate us. Things we thought were just tales or myths can sometimes be seen in the real life.
And in that list, China, too, has something strange and intriguing to offer. The Dwarf Village!
Yangsi is a small hamlet in the southwest Chinese province of Sichuan. This town is unique in that it is populated entirely by dwarfs. Dwarves make up 40% of the village’s population. It’s not as if the dwarfs arrived from all around China and settled down. Yangsi is where they were all born and nurtured.
There is yet to be a proper explanation for this, but it is certainly not something to dismiss. Scientists have attempted every available way to find an answer, from testing the residents to examining the grains, soil, and water in the region. According to village elders, their quiet, joyful life was shattered many years ago on a summer night when a dreadful illness hit the area.
Sadly, several residents were impacted by an unexplained illness that mostly affected young children between the ages of 5 and 7. These youngsters simply stopped growing and remained at the same height their whole lives. Some of the victims had a variety of impairments in addition to their inability to grow larger.
Other theories suggested that villagers were impacted in such a way after the invasion of the Japanese, which caused the release of numerous poisonous chemicals. But the funny thing is that the Japanese never even got to Yangsi. Some claimed that their ancestors have brought this anger upon them since they were not given the proper burial they deserved while others believe the stunted development is due to the area’s terrible feng shui.
Despite all these beliefs and reasons, one seems to stand out the most; the curse of the black turtle. According to legend, a black turtle with unusual feet was observed by a guy called Wang. The people were torn between releasing the turtle and devouring it. They ended up murdering the turtle, roasting it, and eating on it because of their rebellious taste senses and cynicism. Villagers now think that the turtle’s curse was the source of the children’s and future generations’ fury.
Back in 1997, high levels of mercury in the soil were considered as a possible explanation for this illness, despite having very little data to back up this idea. The Chinese government never disputes the village’s existence, but foreigners are not permitted to visit there. Throughout the years, several locals have fled the area, fearing that they might be impacted by the unusual illness. However, improvements were seen. While many of the elderly residents stand up to 80 cm tall, the younger generation appears to be untouched by the strange dwarfism phenomena.
Amazing isn’t it. What we find fascinating is now a mystery yet to be solved and maybe, a mystery that would remain hidden forever.