Nov 18, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Some Think Chinese Lake Bed May Be Covered With Alien Patterns

Some of the most intriguing ‘alleged’ signs of extraterrestrial visitations to Earth are lines and patterns which can only be seen from the air. Crops circles are a well-known example, as are geoglyphs like the Nazca lines in Peru, the Atacama Giant in Chile, the "Works of the Old Men" in Arabia, and the Cerne Abbas Giant in England. Theories abound as to whether any of these are truly made by aliens, but conclusive evidence of human cause is often scarce. While these alien ‘signs’ or messages are on the surface, others possible ET lines and shapes are being found underwater. Unfortunately, the cause is often climate change, but we might forgive ourselves a little bit if a disappearing river or lake exposed proof that aliens have visited our planet. One such underwater is becoming visible on the bottom of Dongting Lake, a large lake in the northeastern Hunan Province of China. Recent droughts have revealed what look like a maze on the lake bed and some who analyze them have this explanation: “I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it's aliens.” Is this the sign we’ve been waiting for … or is there another explanation?

“Definitely alien civilization.”

South China Morning Post reports the story this week with “Definitely aliens” in the headline and “Bizarre patterns exposed on a lake floor in China by a recent drought have triggered speculation of aliens and ancient civilisations online” in the subheadline. What the story is referring to are mysterious patterns made of rectangular shapes each the size of a football field that are becoming visible as recent drought conditions have lowered the level of Dongting Lake by 70% - shrinking the 1,080 square mile (2,800 sq km) freshwater lake to a fraction of its size and exposing lake beds that have local residents puzzled and worried. One resident took aerial videos (see screen shots here) and correctly described them as looking exactly like giant mazes. What kind of giants use underwater mazes?

Why would giants do something like this underwater?

“Don’t touch it. It’s the door to a secret underground chamber.”

Another local resident speculates that the aliens or giants or giant aliens live even deeper underground. That belief may come from the mythology of Dongting Lake. "Dongting" means "Grotto Court" – a name based on the legend that a huge court or hall or cavern can be found underneath the lake. In the court live the spirits of the Xiang River goddesses Ehuang and Nüying who were the daughters of the legendary Emperor Yao and married to his chosen successor, the equally legendary Emperor Shun. Dongting Lake is the flood basin of the Yangtze River, but is also fed by the Xiang, Zi, Yuan and Li rivers. Also taking up mythical residence at the bottom of the lake is a dragon king – a Chinese water and weather god. And to make it even more crowded, the very real state of Chu poet and politician Qu Yuan committed suicide there in 278 BCE and his spirit may still reside there watching the annual Dragon Boat Festival and dragon boat races held in his honor.

Do any of those sound like beings interested in making or using giant mazes?

“It’s astonishing to see those patterns. Each block is as big as standard football fields, Inside those square blocks are special bone inscription-like patterns. Some strokes could be as long as 10 metres.”

Local resident Yang Xinwei told the South China Morning Post he saw no evidence that these patterns were made by humans. He’s joined by many more who, like those who are baffled by crop circles, can’t see how these could possibly be anything but signs of aliens who made them either underwater or in ancient times when the lake was dry. If they’re not of extraterrestrial origin or signs of mythological goddesses, some people suggested they could be ancient tombs built before humans attempted to control the flow of the mighty Yangtze river and flooded the area. All of those theories were negated by an official from the East Dongting Lake Management Committee, who had a non-alien, non-mythological explanation.

“We guess the signs are traces of former ai wei (meaning ‘short fences’ in English).”

Fish fences or fish traps are used by fisherpeople in many countries and cultures as a way to redirect swimming fish into locations where they can be caught more easily. Called “ai wei” in the Dongting Lake area, the fish swam in and around them when the tide was high, then were trapped in the maze when the waters receded. In 2018, this type of fishing was banned by the local government. Could these huge mazes really be just not so ancient fish traps?

Are they sure the mazes weren't made by the same beings who drew the Nazca lines?

“I don’t care what those special signs mean. What I am concerned about is that even Dongting Lake has dried up. Isn’t that a horrifying fact?”

The recent history of the Dongting Lake might be cause for locals to hope that aliens will come back and take ownership of the body of water from humans. The earliest rice paddies ever were found in the Liyang plain that was once the western edge of Dongting Lake, and agriculture has affected it many ways ever since. As runoffs filled the lake with farm pollution, the concentration rose as it was drained to create even more farmland. Even though it is still one of the largest freshwater lakes in China, the draining from farming and drought have driven wildlife away and the Chinese finless porpoise, a native of the lake, to near extinction. In a reverse problem, flooding of the Yangtze River in 2007 drove 2 billion mice from the islands into surrounding communities, damaging crops and disrupting the local ecosystem. And, as with other large bodies of water, there is a constant disease and malaria-carrying mosquito problem. While organizations like the East Dongting Lake Management Committee are trying to control the lake’s problems, the needs of agriculture often override them.

If you lived on the shores of Dongting Lake and saw the mysterious giant mazes appearing as climate change droughts exposed the lake bed, would you hope that these are a sign left by aliens to tell future generations of ETs that those humans are destroying the planet and it’s time to come back and fix things?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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