Anomalous Areas: The Mysterious Heizhu Valley

The heavily forested Heizhu Valley is smothered by a thick fog for much of the day. It is said that many have lost their lives in this mist. (Image source:

Known as China’s Bermuda Triangle, the Heizhu Valley has long been the source of mystery and some of the most intriguing legends and tales. They have been passed down from one generation to another.

The valley is in China’s Sichuan province, some 100km southwest of Mount Emei. It is 180 square kilometers of mountains, valleys, and lakes. The valley forms the bridge between the Sichuan Basis and the West Sichuan Plateau. Heizhu Valley is also known as the Black Bamboo Valley.

Many visitors to this lesser-known tourism gem are looking for scientific explanations for paranormal feelings they experienced when they visited. Their interest is piqued by the number of unsolved mysteries the valley seems to hold the secret to. After reading about Heizhu Valley’s mystical past, some are even encouraged to add it to their itineraries as a place to visit.

The Heizhu Valley is home to a dozen huge lakes that lie in tranquility on its mountaintops. The largest of these is more than 13 hectares in size. Several waterfalls create spectacular panoramas.

In addition to its mysteries, China’s Black Bamboo Valley is also known as a place of natural beauty. (Image source)

Also beautiful are the densely forested areas which surround the lakes. Their reflections on the tranquil lakes’ water surface are picturesque, to say the very least.

The forest areas of the valley are covered in a thick fog that lasts for much of the day, which arguably adds a spooky element to the area. The fog, however, has an entirely natural explanation, with it being caused by the dense foliage and high levels of humidity in the valley area.

Unsolved mysteries and disappearances in Heizhu Valley

As tranquil as the valley may first appear, there is another, quite possibly darker, side to this location.  The people living in the area of the Heizhu Valley tell stories of people vanishing into thin air and never being seen again. Among them are a three-man team of prospectors who vanished in 1976. Their remains were recovered after three months of extensive searching. Their cause of death remains unconfirmed, only deepening the mysterious circumstances under which they disappeared.


Two soldiers also vanished into the valley in 1995, and the only trace of them ever detected was the discovery of their weapons sometime after their disappearance.

In another military mystery, the last 30 soldiers of the Kuomintang army, which was defeated when the People’s Republic of China was established, disappeared in the Heizhu Valley. Three soldiers from the People’s Army were dispatched to find them. Only one would return. 

Upon getting out of the valley, the soldier was dazed and confused, unable, for some time, to remember what had happened to him. When he was able to speak about his experience, he spoke of a dark force or energy that made him feel dizzy. He described how he had lost all sense of direction and was separated from his comrades. 

He explained that it felt as if time had stood still, and he heard frightening sounds resonating around the valley. Paralyzed by fear, he remained still until the fog had lifted. Only then did he start seeking a way back out of the forest. 1

Hundreds of people, including hikers, soldiers and scientists, are said to have gone missing in Heizhu Valley. (Image source:

A team of geologists visited the Heizhu Valley in 1962, wanting to study the area’s unique deposits and topography. No one knows what happened to them, but it is suspected that they were just some of the Valley’s many victims.

More recently, it was reported by China’s English-language newspaper Global Times that three hikers went missing in the infamous valley in August 2014. The hikers split from their five-member group and became lost. Two were later found dead, with the third, the group’s guide, still missing. 2

With such strange disappearances not merely limited to local residents, it is estimated that over 100 people disappeared in the Heizhu Valley in 1950 alone. Confirming these statistics is not easy as formal records were not kept during this tumultuous time of China’s history. 3

In addition to human disappearances, several farmers in the area have reported dozens of their livestock vanishing into thin air in the proximity of the valley.

Why is the Heizhu Valley a place where people vanish, never to be seen again?

For those looking for a rational explanation for these disappearances, the thick fog that hangs over this region for large portions of the day points to the answer. It is easy to get lost in the mist that swirls around in the valley. 

Low visibility means that the rocky topography of the hills and mountains could lead to accidental falls. However, it must be asked, how is it possible for so many groups of humans to fall, and not one of them survive to summon help?


Because of this some have speculated that the Heizhu Valley’s unique ecology combines to produce a poisonous fog. Such may render those that inhale it unconscious or delirious. They would then wander around the area aimlessly, unable to find their way out.’

There is also the theory that some of the animals in the valley’s ecosystem are deadly poisonous. The area has been left undisturbed for hundreds of years, so not much is known about the valley’s fauna and flora. An encounter could then be lethal.


Another theory again is that the area is seismologically unstable and that sinkholes form without warning. If this were the case, those in the vicinity would be sent plummeting hundreds of feet to their deaths. It would be hard for a rescue party to find their remains as they would simply have been swallowed by the earth.

In another seismological explanation, there seems to be limited evidence that poisonous gases are spontaneously emitted through cracks in the ground.

Are sinkholes, such as this one photographed in Alabama in 1972, to blame for the disappearances reported in the valley? (Image source: Public Domain)

The Heizhu Valley “Bigfoot”

Asides from peculiar disappearances and mysterious deaths connected to the valley, it has also been reported that a strange creature calls Heizhu Valley home.

In 1974, a farmer reported seeing a two-meter-tall ape-man. Supposedly, he said that the man he saw had human features but was covered in a yellowish fur all over his body. Other sightings have been reported, although none have been independently confirmed.

Magnetic forces

A lot of people speculate that the Heizhu Valley’s location is significant. It does, after all, lie on a ‘dead’ line of latitude shared with the Caribbean’s Bermuda Triangle and Egypt’s pyramids. It is believed that there is a very powerful magnetic force along this line of latitude, which explains why people report feeling disoriented in the area. 4

Whilst such a connection may be coincidental, for some it is difficult to overlook the valley’s relation to these other notorious locations. The pyramids are further linked to the Heizhu Valley by one of its highest peaks, which is similar in shape, being triangular.

A pyramid shaped peak located within the strange valley. Does Heizhu Valley have a connection to Egypt’s mystical pyramids? (Image source)

Claims of irregular magnetic energy in the valley has been supported by Li Caiming, a research fellow from the Chengdu University of Technology. During a survey of valley, he discovered an “abnormal magnetic field” which may be responsible for phenomena such as compass failure.5

The Heizhu Valley in local folklore

The valley has been home to the Yi people for hundreds of years. This ethnic minority group continues to inhabit the area today. However, it is said that even they will not venture too far into the valley, for fear that they would suffer the same fate as so many before them. 

The Yi have their own stories about the forest, including one in which a fairy appeared to a group of dehydrated hunters and told them to fire three arrows into a steep stone. Upon doing so, three streams of clean water emerged from the rock. The area is today known as Three Arrows Spring. 6

You might believe any of the theories about why the Heizhu Valley has earned its reputation of disappearances and death. Or you might write the anomaly off as one of the planet’s many mysteries. If you believe in the paranormal, it is easy to think up dozens of alternative theories. 

What is clear is that there is a big mystery surrounding the Heizhu Valley, meaning that visiting would be a once in a lifetime experience. However, whether you should is another matter all together… there are some parts of the valley the Yi people refuse to enter, and they probably know better than we do!


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About Liam Catalan 1 Article
Liam Catalan has worked as a copywriter and academic writer for 5 years. He has also worked as an editor at the University of Melbourne newspaper. He is an expert in topics related to traveling, writing, and science.