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Open letter to science editors
KRONOS Vol. I, Issue 2
Tektites and China's Dragon
Slightly over a year ago, Dr. Carter Sutherland, professor of medieval
English at Georgia State University, Atlanta, wrote an article titled
"China's Dragon," which appeared in the winter 1973-74 issue of Pensee."'
In that article, Dr. Sutherland presented some evidence in support of Dr.
Immanuel Velikovsky's identification of the dragon as the proto-planet Venus
when, around 1500 B.C., this heavenly body plagued the Earth in the form of
a newly-born comet.
In presenting his evidence, Sutherland relied exclusively on the dragon
form as it evolved through the years in Chinese art. He was able to
conclude, among other things, that the dragon in Chinese art did not go back
further than 1500 B.C. and that it probably originated then. The article was
well researched but it could have been strengthened by the inclusion of data
concerning comets, other than the proto-planet Venus, which have been known
to take the shape of a dragon.
One such comet is described in Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of
the Kings of Britain:
"There appeared a star of marvelous bigness and brightness,
stretching forth one ray whereon was a ball of fire, spreading forth in
the likeness of a dragon, and from the mouth of the dragon issued forth
two rays, whereof the one was of such length as that it did seem to
reach beyond the regions of Gaul, and the other, verging toward the
Irish sea, did end in seven lesser rays."(2)
This took place in the time of Aurelius Ambrosius, a British king of
Roman descent, who, according to Bede, (3) survived an extraordinary fire
which raged from "the eastern sea to the western" and "covered almost the
whole surface of the stricken island." The year was, supposedly, 449 A.D.
Other comets which took on the appearance of a dragon are described in
Comyns Beaumont's The Mysterious Comet. (4) Some, assuming the
shape of a fiery serpent, breathing fire, were seen lashing their tail
wildly as if in agony — which brings to mind the celestial antics of the
proto-planet Venus as described by Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision.(5)
Nor were serpent-like comets as rare as astronomers would have us
believe. Winecke's Comet and Donati's Comet, both of which appeared in 1858,
were said to look like fiery serpents. Swift's Comet and Holmes' Comet, both
of which appeared in 1892, were also said to look like flying serpents. Even
Biela's famous comet (the one that eventually split in two and later
disintegrated altogether) was described as looking like a great red
The faint luminosities of our times, like Ikeya-Seki and the more recent
Kohoutek, are worn out bodies that could never have created the world-wide
fears and panics that were so common at the appearance of comets in medieval
and older times. As Velikovsky pointed out in Earth in Upheaval,(7)
the number of comets visible to the unaided eye in recent centuries shows a
definite downward curve. Judging by the descriptions of more olden times,
their magnificence is also petering out.
One point raised in Sutherland's article with which this author does not
agree is that the Chinese dragon is essentially looked upon as a benign
being. True — today the dragon is so looked upon; but not so at the time of
its origin. It is precisely in this that Sutherland missed one of his cues;
for the mythology of the Chinese dragon shows him in close association with
the very celestial body which caused the cataclysms so well described by
Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision.
In Chinese lore, a horned monster, Kung Kung, lost a battle for power
with one of the five ancient kings. Because of this, he flew into a rage and
flung himself at Mount Pu Chou which, like the original Olympus of the
Greeks, was a mythological analogy for the sky.(8) Then "the column of the
sky was broken, the link with earth was cut. In the north-west the sky
collapsed. Hence the sun, moon and stars slipped toward the north-west and
the earth tilted to the south-east. Thereupon the waters spread and flowed
to the south-east."(9)
In this we may possibly recognize the series of sequential calamities
attributable to the proto-planet Venus when, through its near-collision with
Earth, it tilted the globe's axis and made the constellations in the sky,
Sun and Moon among them, appear to shift. It was also then that the Earth
was slowed in its rotation, thus causing the seas and the oceans, flowing in
a colossal tide, to inundate the land.
That this horned monster, Kung Kung, is to be categorized as a "dragon"
should be evident from the mythographers' attempt to equate it with another
member of this celestial breed, namely the Black Dragon that was slain by
Nu-kua, the creator of humanity.(10) This attempt on the mythographers'
part, however, failed because there is nothing in the two myths that
connects them with each other and there is reason to believe that the legend
of the Black Dragon refers to a much earlier cosmic catastrophe.
Here mention should also be made of K'au-fu, another hybrid monster who
was the son of Kung Kung. K'au-fu once wanted to journey across the sky with
the Sun. "He overtook it in the Valley of the Setting Sun, but he was
exhausted. He was so thirsty that he drained the Yellow River and the River
Wei. Still his thirst was not quenched, and he hastened toward the north to
drink the Great Swamp, but he died of thirst on the way."(11)
Is this not nearly a replica of the Greek myth of Phaethon?* Phaethon
also raced across the sky in the Sun's chariot and, because of the
tremendous heat he created together with that generated by the slowing down
of the Earth's rotation, he evaporated the waters of the rivers of Europe,
Egypt and Asia. (12) That the myth of Phaethon describes a shifting of
heavenly bodies, we know from Plato. (13) That Phaethon was a comet, or a
"blazing star," we know from Cicero.(14) That this "blazing star" became a
planet, we know from Hesiod.(15) And that this planet was the planet Venus,
we know from both Nonnos and Solinus.(16)
[* See I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision. "Phaethon"; "The
Blazing Star" and "The Pageants of the Sky" — The Ed.]
We have reason to believe that the catastrophe connected with Phaethon's
fiery drive through the heavens most likely occurred 52 years after Earth's
initial near-collision with Venus. By the time of this second visit, Venus
may have lost most, but not all, of its cometary tail. Its seemingly changed
appearance could thus be the reason why the Chinese did not recognize the
agent of destruction as the former Kung Kung. But they were aware of the
connection and that is why they made K'au-fu his son.
The Chinese list of dragons could be lengthened by the inclusion of
Sinag-liou, the nine-headed dragon,** who was slain by Yu although
the part Yu played in this slaying should not be understood literally. Yu
was the engineer employed by the Emperor Shun to drain the land from the
flood caused in the time of Yao (or Yahou). The battle against the flood
waters continued for decades and, before it was over, the agent which had
caused the flood returned in the form of Sinag-liou.(17) Other dragons in
connection with the flood of Yao are mentioned in The Eclipse of the Moon, a
poem of Lu T'ung.(18)
[** Compare this to the Hydra of Greek mythology and the multi-headed
serpent of Japanese myth. — The Ed.]
The Dragon's Pearl
In his article, Sutherland states that the "globe" which the Chinese
dragon is invariably shown chasing is called a "pearl." The Chinese still
refer to this fiery sphere as a "shou" or "chuh" and this word does mean
"pearl." The real name of the fiery sphere, however, is Huoh Chuh(19)'
which, in translation, comes out as "fire pearl."
What is curious in this context is that, according to Richard J. H. de
Touche-Skadding, huoh chuh is also the name given to a tektite in the
Chinese T'ang Annals.(20) Long before modern science became
interested in tektites, the ancient Chinese knew that these "fire pearls"
originated in space. Tektites were held in great esteem by emperors and
priests of almost all ancient eastern countries. In India this stone was
known by the names of Agni Mani and Saimantakmani; the Javanese called it
Kumbalageni; the Tibetans named it Shambala. (21) These names all mean
approximately the same thing — "fire pearl."
Most of the ancients believed that these "fire pearls" were actually
"tear-drops" from the Moon. In 1957, the Astrophysical Observatory of the
Smithsonian Institute published a report suggesting that tektites originated
from an extra-terrestrial source, probably the Moon.(22)
In 1961, Virgil E. Barnes argued against the origin of tektites from the
Moon. (23) According to Barnes, tektites were formed from terrestrial rocks
when giant meteorites and/or comets impacted on Earth. But it is curious
that some tektites contain traces of metals which do not abound in the areas
in which they were found. Barnes also calculated most of these catastrophic
events as having occurred from 45 to 20 million years ago. It would be
surprising to find out how the ancients knew about the celestial origin of
these molten droplets had they not seen some of them fall to Earth with
their own eyes.
Dean Chapman still argues in favor of a lunar origin for the
tektites.(24) He has demonstrated that large impacts on the Moon, such as
the one which he says formed the crater Tycho, could hurl molten matter far
out into space. Earth continually sweeps up this debris which then falls in
great showers. Potassium-argon and fission-track dating has pin-pointed the
melting of these droplets as having occurred 700,000 years ago.(25) This is
quite a reduction from Barnes' 20 million years.
George Baker, however, had earlier shown that the australites (Australian
tektites) could not be more than 5,000 years old.(26) Such a recent impact,
had it occurred on Earth, would have left a colossal scar that should still
be evident, but nowhere in the region of Terra Australis, including
Antarctica, is there a crater large enough to account for such an explosion.
According to Velikovsky, the rayed craters on the Moon were formed by the
impact of asteroids and/ or interplanetary discharges(27) some of which took
place as recently as 1500 B.C. when the Dragon-like Venus attacked both
Earth and its satellite. Tycho, chosen by Chapman as one of the possible
sources of tektites, is such a rayed crater.
If tektites do originate in lunar impacts, we can therefore
understand why the ancients called them "tear-drops" of the Moon. If some of
these lunar impacts were caused by the Venus-Dragon, we can also see the
association between "fire pearls" and the larger "fire pearl" that Lung (the
Chinese dragon) chased across the sky.
Since the above article was written, three objections have been raised
against it. Below, the author offers a short retort to each of them.
The first objection concerns the use of the quotation from Geoffrey of
Monmouth's The History of the Kings of Britain. It has been pointed
out to the author that, according to Mary Stewart, "Geoffrey's name is, to
serious historians, mud."*(28)
[* The reader may be interested to know that it was this journal's
Editor-in-Chid who was responsible for the original objection. — The Ed.]
I did not need Mary Stewart, of all people, to tell me that. No one takes
Homer seriously as an historian either, but Velikovsky has shown that the
most incredible parts of the Iliad are potentially verifiable where
its more mundane data is not.(29)
It has long been known that Geoffrey of Monmouth drew his material from
confused traditions. In my article, I used that material very much in the
manner that Velikovsky used Jonathan Swift's. (30) Re Swift's remarkable
passage concerning the correct number, size and motions of the Martian
satellites, (31) described 151 years before their discovery by Asaph Hall,
Velikovsky wrote: "It is an even chance that Swift invented the two
satellites of Mars and thus by a rare accident came close to the truth. But
it may also have been that Swift read about the trabants in some text not
known to us or to his contemporaries." (32)
In fact, Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae was
said to be based on an old Celtic tome which Walter, the Archdeacon of
Oxford, was supposed to have acquired in Brittany. True, at this late date,
we cannot verify this. What we can verify, however, is that portions of his
material are also to be found in the works of other ancient authors, namely:
the dynastic genealogies of the Old Welsh Manuscript Harl (#3859);
the Historia Brittonum of Nennius; Gildas' De Excidio
Britanniae and others.
Lewis Thorpe, in his introduction to the 1966 edition of the Penguin
Classics version of The History of the Kings of Britain, was not so
careless as Mary Stewart in dismissing Geoffrey of Monmouth out of hand.
There he states: "lt remains true that much, if not most, of his material is
unacceptable as history; and yet history keeps peeping through the
fiction."(33) (Emphasis added).
In the light of Velikovskian studies, one is led to suspect that some of
the traditions embodied in Geoffrey of Monmouth's work were based on
ancient racial memories which go further back in time than the events he
describes. This is all the more obvious from his various cross
references to Apulius, Cicero, Juvenal, Lucan and others while, as Thorpe
asserts, traces of Livy, Orosius and Virgil are also apparent in his work.
In fact the passage I quoted is not the only one which contains descriptions
(or allusions) of cosmic events that Velikovsky ascribes to 1500 B.C. and
None of this would constitute history to Mary Stewart — but then neither
would Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos. Meanwhile, a
multitude of correct predictions have vindicated Velikovsky on many counts
while archaeology in Great Britain strangely keeps unearthing evidence of
Geoffrey of Monmouth's alleged fancies.(34)
The second objection to my article, I myself raise. Mention was made of
the Chinese Tang Annals as cited by Richard J. H. de
Touche-Skadding. Although he claims to have studied them in person while he
was in Hong Kong,(35) the author of Fire Pearl does not elaborate
on the subject. Many histories and other works were compiled by the Han Lin
academy during the T'ang Dynasty but, unfortunately, I have had neither the
time nor the means to trace the sources.*
[*See C. A. S. Williams. Encyclopedia of Chinese Symbolism and Art
Motives (N.Y., 1960), "Dragon," pp 131-139 and especially p. 137 — The
round red object which seems to be the constant appurtenance of the dragon
is variously described as the sun, the moon, the symbol of thunder rolling,
the egg emblem of the dual influences of nature, the pearl of potentiality
— the loss of which betokens deficient power — or the 'night-shining
pearl' . . . " (emphasis added); "Pearl," p. 315 — The ancient fabulists
are full of wonders appertaining to the nature of the pearl, which they say
is the concrete essence of the moon' . . ." (emphasis added) — The Ed.
(also see "Fire")]
Touche-Skadding was one of the first westerners to amass a considerable
collection of tektites at that time when western science was just beginning
to get interested in these glassy meteorites. Attracted to tektites because
of their supposed occult value in the east, Skadding soon realized their
scientific value. At a time when their lapidary value still outweighed their
scientific import, Skadding presented tektites to such V.I.P.s. as Lord
Louis Mountbatten, Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II of England.
On the scientific front, he had his collection, which was photographed by
LIFE magazine, studied by no lesser authority than Dr. Harvey Nininger,
Director of the American Meteorite Association and the Smithsonian
Institute. He also presented to the Raffles Museum an archaeological
treasure which he himself had unearthed in the jungles of Malaya.
We come now to the third objection and the one of greatest import. Once
again, it was pointed out to this author that "any thought of a lunar origin
for tektites was dispelled by the manned lunar landings."
To be sure, the lunar origin of tektites was never universally accepted
in the first place. But then neither is the Jovian origin of comets, let
alone Venus. All that can be said with certainty about tektites is that
science is still puzzling over them. I quote from the 1971 issue of
Scienza Enciclopedia Tecnica E Scientifica:
On meteorites: "Three main classifications exist: stone meteorites,
iron meteorites, and stony irons. A fourth possible classification —
the tektites — is still a puzzle to scientists, but is generally
believed to be a strange form of meteorite. (Tektites, or glass
meteorites, differ completely in appearance and composition from other
types of meteorites. Because of this — and because their possible
origin never has been definitely determined — a question still exists
as to whether tektites are terrestrial or extraterrestrial objects.
Increasing evidence indicates, however, that they are the remains of
much larger glassy lumps that have undergone erosion while travelling at
high velocity through the Earth's atmosphere)."(36)
Against the lunar origin of tektites, William K. Hartmann offers this:
that tektites have not been found on the Moon.(37) This is a silly objection
for it can hardly be said that the surface of the Moon has been fully
explored. Consider the Earth: tektites have only been found in a few remote
areas — in the Ivory Coast, in the Libyan desert, in Indochina and the
Philippines, Borneo, Java and Tasmania. Only in Australia(38) have tektites
been found strewn throughout the entire continent.
A stronger objection by Hartmann is this: that the Moon's rocks are
igneous and not silica-rich.(39) But the above applies here too: the Moon
has not yet been fully explored.
Tektites are jets of fused Silica. Silica can and is fused by lightning
bolts. If Velikovsky is right, it was a colossal planetary discharge that
excavated the lunar crater Tycho and other rayed craters on the Moon.(40)
So, also, Ralph E. Juergens.(41) There is, therefore, the possibility that
fused silica (or silicon) — a form of tektite — will be found in the
region of Tycho. Meanwhile, the glassy beads that have been found scattered
over the lunar surface, although similar to the Moon's own basalt, are
enriched by heavy isotopes of sulphur, oxygen and silicon.(42)
But what does it mean that "the lunar origin for tektites was dispelled
by the manned lunar landings"? Consider this:
In 1973, T. de Graauw and H. van de Stadt of the Utrecht University, not
satisfied with the results from Mariner II and other space probes, decided
to measure the surface temperature of Venus all over again. They used a new
technique which employs the mixing of planetary light with a laser beam.
This creates a wave that can be enlarged and thus better analysed. Their
verdict was that Venus' surface temperature was really — 43 degrees
Centigrade (or — 109 degrees Fahrenheit).(43)
So call we now say that the high surface temperature of Venus has been
dispelled by the Utrecht experiment?
1. Carter Sutherland, "China's Dragon" in the winter 1973-74 issue of
Pensee. pp 47-50..
2. Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain (E. P. Dutton &
Co., New York, 1958), p. 169.
3. Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation as translated by
Michael Maclagan (Basil Blackwell 1949), p. 69.
4. As cited by Gaile Campbell, "The Great Flying Serpent" in the Tuesday,
November 20, 1973 edition of the Vancouver Sun; C. Beaumont, The Mysterious
Comet (London, 1925 }, pp. 82-83.
5. Immanuel Velikovsky. Worlds in Collision (Doubleday & Co New
York. 1950), pp. 76-81
6. Gaile Campbell op. cit.
7. Immanuel Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval (Doubleday & Co 1955),
8. M. Soymie, '"China: The Struggle for Power" in the Larousse World
Mythology (Paul Hamlyn, London, 1972), p. 277.
10. Ibid. p. 287 and 285-286.
11. Ibid. p. 279.
12. Ovid, Metamorphoses, as translated by Mary M. Innes, Penguin,
Harmondsworth, 1971 pp. 56-57.
13. Plato, Timaeus, as translated by H.D.P. Lee, Penguin. Harmondsworth,
1965, p. 35.
14. Cicero De Natura Deorum, as translated by H. Rackham, ii, 52.
15. Hesiod Theogony, 11 989 fl
16. Actually these two authors refer to Atymnios which was the name by which
Phaethon was known on the island of Crete. Nonnos Dionysiaca, xi, 130 ff.,
xii 217 and xix 182; Solinus. Polyhistor, xi.
17. M Soymie, op. cit., p. 290
18 Lu T'ung, "The Eclipse of the Moon" in the Poems of the Late T'ang, as
translated by A. C.
Graham, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1973, p. 86.
19. Common knowledge among Chinese-speaking people although the younger
generations, not too much taken-up with Chinese mythology in view of the
present political oriented Asian Studies, are apt to refer to Lung's "fire
pearl" merely as Chuh. On the other hand, huoh chuh is the proper
translation of fiery (or flaming) pearl.
20. Richard J. H. de Touche-Skadding (with John Carlova), Fire Pearl (Ballantine,
New York, 1966), Introduction.
22. Ibid, p. 191.
23. Virgil E Barnes, "Tektites," in the November 1961 issue of Scientific
24 Kenneth F. Weaver, "The Moon," in the February 1969 issue of the National
Geographic, pp. 223-224.
26. George Baker, "Tektites," in the Memoirs of The National Museum of
Victoria, Melbourne No. 23, July 1, 1959.
27. Immanuel Velikovsky, "H. H. Hess and My Memoranda" in the Fall 1972
issue of Pensee, pp. 28-29.
28. Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave (Coronet (Hodder), London, 1974), p. 462.
29. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, pp. 245-253.
30. Ibid. pp. 279-280.
31 Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (Doubleday & Co., New York, 1945), p.
32. Velikovsky, W in C, op. cit., p. 280.
33. Lewis Thorpe, Introduction to Geoffrey of Monmouth's The History of the
Kings of Britain, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1973, p. 19.
34. Ibid. pp. 18-19.
35. Richard J. H. de Touche-Skadding, op. cit. p. 27,
36. The World of Science Encyclopedia, translated and adapted from Scienza:
Tecnica E Scientifica, Fratelli Fabri Editori, Milan, 1971 (English
translation by Creative World Publications, Chicago), Volume 8, pp. 150-151.
37. William K. Hartmann, Moons and Planets: An Introduction to Planetary
Science (Wadsworth Publishing Co., Belmont, California, 1973 revised
printing), p. 205.
38. Note the following interesting comments by H. Baumann "Sex and Erotica "
Encyclopedia of World Art, XII (N.Y., 1966), p. 896 — ". . . the phallic
component is also recognizable in the genesis of the Chinese dragon myth
(the dragon being the royal yang symbol). As a winged male principle the
dragon is intermediary between the winged phalluses of early Mediterranean
symbolism and the Ungud snake (Ungud signifying primeval time) of
north-western Australia, with which the medicine man tries to identify
himself. In his trance he sings to his penis in order to make it like an
Ungud snake and then flies away with his alter ego, that is, with a snake
similar to the Ungud as soon as he has an erection IA. Lommel, Die Unambal,
Hamburg, 19521." (emphasis added) — The Ed.
39. Hartmann, op. cit., p. 203.
40. Immanuel Velikovsky, "H. H. Hess and My Memoranda" in the fall 1972
issue of Pensee, pp. 28-29.
41. Ralph E. Juergens, "Of the Moon and Mars (Part 2)," in the winter
1974-75 issue of Pensee, pp. 29-32.
42. S. K. Runcorn, "Lunar Dust," in the May 1970 (Volume 6, No. 5) issue of
Science Journal, p. 30.
43. Reuter in the Vancouver Sun for Thursday, November 15, 1973, p. 3.