By Titilayo Kupoliyi

In Sichuan province, in Southwestern China, there is a village shrouded in tales and mysteries, which has baffled even the most dedicated scientists.

The reason is one: in Yangsi almost half of the residents are dwarfs.

While the condition itself may not be uncommon, it is the sheer number of people affected by it that leaves many scholars perplexed.

At one point, around 120 dwarfs were even spotted, which simply could not be a matter of chance. After all, it’s not like all the dwarves in China moved to this village (like they do in Kunming). In fact, they were all born and raised in Yangsi.

Today, 36 of the 80 residents are dwarfs. The tallest is about 1.16 metres high and the shortest is 0.64. The explanation, however, is still neither certain nor consensual.

According to village elders, life in Yangsi used to be peaceful and “normal” until it was “ruined” a few years ago when a “terrible” disease hit the region. It mainly affected children aged between 5 and 7, who simply stopped growing. Some residents, however, claim that the area’s poor feng shui is responsible for the stunted growth.

Others say that when the Japanese invaded China, they released toxic gases that caused this problem. However, during the Japanese invasion, Japanese soldiers did not actually reach Yangsi Village.

From examining the inhabitants to testing the area’s soil and water, scientists tried every possible method to come up with an answer but found nothing out of the ordinary. A single rational explanation has never been discovered for why this isolated village should have such an intense rate of stunting.

There are several theories for the origin of the phenomenon.

As a result, several rather strange theories have emerged, we would say. The most bizarre of all, in fact, involves the curse of a black turtle.

According to legend, a black turtle with strange feet was spotted by a man named Wang. Undecided whether to let it go or capture it, the villagers ended up killing the turtle, roasted and feasted on it.

It was then that it all began; the inhabitants then began to believe that it was the turtle’s curse that brought wrath upon the children and future generations.

Still, there is, in fact, nothing to prove it, especially because the village itself and its secrets remained hidden from the world for a long time.

This is because, although the Chinese government has never denied the existence of the village, it has also never authorised any foreigner to visit it. Although the condition was officially recorded in 1951, all that exists from the previous time period are a few photographs of the natives and some very bizarre rumours.

Today, many of the oldest residents are up to 80 centimetres tall, the new generation appears to be unaffected by the strange phenomenon of dwarfism. Still, several inhabitants left the region live in fear of being affected by the strange condition.

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