On that fateful day in February 2003, disaster struck the Chinese city of Jixi as a mine in the Heilongjiang Province collapsed, trapping 14 miners underground.
The loss of the miners was a devastating blow to their families and the community. However, this tragedy gained national attention five years later due to an unexpected development.
After the mine collapse, rescue teams were able to locate the remains of 12 of the 14 missing miners. However, Lao Pen and Wan Hu were never found in the mine. Five years later, in 2008, Wan Hu unexpectedly returned home, but he found that his wife had remarried and his children had left.
Wan Hu moved into a new house and took up gardening as a hobby. It was a strange and unexpected turn of events for those who had thought him lost forever in the mine.
However, authorities soon became aware of the unusual circumstances surrounding Wan Hu's return and discovered that his family had received compensation for his loss, which they should not have received if he was still alive.
When questioned about whether he and his family had taken advantage of the situation, Wan Hu claimed that they had not and that he had paid all required fees to the government. He was then asked where he had been all this time, and he explained that he had been living with the mysterious hidden civilization of the Ctones and had been unable to send a message indicating his survival.
The authorities were puzzled by Wan Hu's unexpected response and initially assumed that he had become insane. However, after examining him, physicians determined that he was physically and mentally healthy.
The authorities initially attributed Wan Hu's strange story to his imagination. However, physicians were unable to explain why the former mine worker showed no signs of anthracosis, a mild form of pneumoconiosis caused by the accumulation of carbon in the lungs due to repeated exposure to air pollution or inhalation of smoke or coal dust particles.
According to Wan Hu's medical records, he had already been showing signs of anthracosis and had planned to retire before the mine disaster occurred. The lack of evidence of this condition raised further questions about the circumstances of Wan Hu's disappearance and return.
However, after his supposed time in a subterranean city, the mining worker showed no signs of lung disease. Additionally, he had all 32 teeth, which was unexpected given that his medical records stated he should only have 25. Despite being 39 years old, his health appeared to be that of a young man between the ages of 26 and 28.
During their investigation, the authorities discovered that Wan Hu had 40,000 yuan in his bank account and an additional 10,000 yuan in cash, as well as uncut diamonds worth 300,000 yuan. This led them to suspect that the individual claiming to be Wan Hu might actually be a covert spy from a foreign country, rather than the missing miner himself.
Eventually, it was revealed that Wan Hu had obtained the funds by selling uncut diamonds to a jeweler in Shanghai. He claimed that he had received the gems from the Ctones, the underground civilization he claimed to have been living with for the past five years.
According to Wan Hu's story, he and Lao Pen were separated from the other workers and isolated from the surface after the mine collapsed. They survived for three days with limited food but plenty of water, without any indication of rescue efforts.
In their attempt to find a way back to the surface, Wan Hu and Lao Pen decided to explore old tunnels that led to the deepest part of the mine. However, their search proved unsuccessful and they ended up going even deeper into the complex network of tunnels.
As they wandered through the tunnels, Wan Hu and Lao Pen were suddenly attacked by a group of strange human-like creatures called the Ctones. The Ctones were able to capture the miners and bring them deeper into their underground domain.
According to Wan Hu, the Ctones were incredibly hospitable, providing them with plenty of food and showing them their advanced system of lighting, which used lenses to illuminate the tunnels so brightly that one could easily read a book. Despite the seemingly friendly nature of the Ctones, Wan Hu and Lao Pen were unable to escape and remained in their underground world for the next five years.
According to Wan Hu, the Ctones were peaceful people who lived in harmony with each other and their environment. They had a highly developed system of agriculture and used advanced technology to power their underground city. They also had a rich cultural heritage, with a deep understanding of history and a strong connection to the natural world.
Despite their advanced way of life, the Ctones had one major fear: being discovered by the outside world. They believed that if they were discovered, they would be exploited and their way of life would be destroyed. As a result, they went to great lengths to keep their city hidden and protect it from outsiders.
Eventually, Wan Hu and Lao Pen decided that they wanted to return to the surface. They knew it would be difficult to convince the Ctones to let them go, but they hoped that their friendship and the respect they had earned from the subterranean people would be enough. After much discussion and negotiation, the Ctones agreed to let them go, with the understanding that they would not reveal the existence of the underground city to anyone.
When Wan Hu returned to the surface, he was shocked to find that five years had passed and his family had given up hope of ever seeing him again. Despite the difficulties he faced in adjusting to life on the surface, he was grateful to be alive and reunited with his loved ones.
Their main source of food was a unique fungus that thrived in the caverns, which not only had a distinct flavor but also provided numerous health benefits. The Ctones also had a sophisticated writing system and made paper from various types of molds.
They were skilled in metallurgy but preferred to use bronze, silver, and gold instead of iron. Additionally, the Ctones had long lifespans, with teeth that changed every 20-25 years.
The Ctones wanted him to stay, but Wan Hu set off on his journey, determined to finally see the Sun and all the wonders of the surface world.
After his return, some believe he was deemed insane and sent to a military facility rather than a psychiatric hospital, and his case remains unsolved. He has not been heard from since.