Tall Tales of Small People

Karyl Robin-Evans (Edited by David Agamon) Sungods in Exile. Spearman, 1979.

This book purports to be the story of the adventures of its author amongst the Dzopa (or Dropa or Drok-pa) people of Tibet. The tale of these people has been told a number of times in the "ancient astronaut" literature; small, stunted people, living in a conveniently remote part of Tibet, who have supposedly come from the skies in the distant past, bringing with them a strange gramophone-record like disc which one is led to believe contain the encoded history of these people.

This whole myth, which is supported by no documentary evidence, was demolished in an erudite and scholarly article in Flying Saucer Review (volume 19, number 1) by Gordon Creighton. Creighton, who is an expert on oriental languages, pointed out that the Tibetan word Dzopa (more correctly Drok-pa) far from referring to a race of runtish dwarfs describes a rugged, robust Highlander of Eastern Tibet.

Now along comes Karyl-Evans with his first hand account of life amongst these pygmies, a photograph of one of the famous discs (looking more like a 60's hippie pendant than the remnants of a master-race) and an account from the Dzopa's principal historian of their history and arrival on Earth from a planet in Canis Major. Sensational stuff, except for one small point. There seems to be no evidence that either the Dzopa (as described here), Karyl-Robin Evans, his egregious secretary Mr Agamon or the peculiar disc even exist.

An account of the disc is supposedly found in the Journal of Comparative Ethnology, a publication which I have not been able to trace to any British library. Three people mentioned in the book as being attached to Oxford University do not appear in that body's Calendar for any of the appropriate years. The mysterious disc has vanished into obscurity. Conveniently, when being searched on entering the Dzopa’s territory all of Karyl-Evans' photographic films were ruined, and when escaping hurriedly to avoid the consequences of a sexual liaison with one of the locals he was, of course, unable to bring out any evidence with him.

The content of the book is a mishmash of sketchy descriptions of Tibet and most of the more sensational vaporings of the von Daniken brigade. These are more than adequately dealt with in Gordon Creighton's article. The book is spiced up with a bit of sex'n'violence and eked out with some very unsubtle political allegories.

Perhaps the most important issue raised by this book is the role of the publisher. If Spearman's accepted this manuscript in good faith, its sensational nature should have prompted them to some background checking. This appears to have been either totally neglected, or done so sloppily that the extremely obvious inconsistencies in the narrative have been entirely overlooked. Any other explanation can only lead to the conclusion that the publishers (or the editor) have either changed so much of the original narrative, in respect of names, dates, etc. as to render it meaningless, or have deliberately presented a totally fictional work as fact.

We would rather not believe the latter. In the past Spearman have published many works of a controversial nature. We have not always agreed with the writers of these books and have said so in our reviews. But these have usually involved questions of interpretation and opinion. There have also been errors of fact, but this appears to be the first time that a book of this nature, presented as a work of genuine research appears to be total fiction from beginning to end.

Readers may feel that we are wandering on at great length over something that is not particularly important, that this is not the first time that a load of old codswallop has been paraded before a gullible readership as hard fact. But no 'doubt this book will be accepted uncritically by many readers f and no doubt its dubious 'evidence' will start cropping up in books and. magazines s from now on, adding yet another source of pollution to the murky pool of UFO documentation.

Even though this is not the first, or even the worst example of fiction parading as fact. Spearman are a reputable publishers in the occult and fringe science field, and owe us some sort of explanation. -- John Rimmer, from MUFOB New Series 13, Winter 1978-9.

For a fuller account of the dzopa hoax, read Gareth J. Medway's account HERE.

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