1,000-ft White Pyramid of Xian: Why China Keeps Its Pyramids a Secret

The story of the White Pyramid came about in the 1940s, when eyewitness reports, specifically from pilot James Gaussman, related the presence of an enormous “White Pyramid” near the Chinese city of Xi’an. He is said to have seen a white jewel-topped pyramid during a flight between India and China during World War II.

Not only was this extraordinary structure said to be the largest pyramid in the world but, in the valleys surrounding it, there were said to be dozens of other pyramids, some rising to an elevation almost as great.

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Colonel Maurice Sheahan, Far Eastern director of Trans World Airlines, told an eyewitness account of his encounter with a pyramid in the March 28, 1947 edition of The New York Times. A photo of Sheahan’s pyramid appeared in The New York Sunday News on March 30, 1947. This photograph later became attributed to James Gaussman.

One day, James Gaussman was returning to Assam, in India, after having flown the ‘Burma Hump’ – ferried supplies to Chungking, China, from India – when engine trouble forced him to descend temporarily to a low altitude over China.

As he later wrote:

“I flew around a mountain and then we came to a valley. Directly below us was a gigantic white pyramid. It looked as if it were from a fairy tale. The pyramid was draped in shimmering white.

It could have been metal, or some other form of stone. It was white on all sides. What was most curious about it was its capstone: a large piece of precious gem-like material. I was deeply moved by the colossal size of the thing.”

When Gaussman arrived back in Assam, combat duties pushed the sighting from his mind.

The Fabulous 1,000-Foot White Pyramid of Xian

Photographs he had taken of the giant pyramid would not be published for another 45 years. Till then, even his report would be buried in the Secret Service files of the U.S. military. Numerous researchers and explorers have pursued the White Pyramid of Xi’an, but none to date have been successful.

Some believe that the White Pyramid may lie within the rugged terrain of the Qin Ling Mountains, difficult to spot among the towering mountains and deep gorges.

In 2000, Chinese officials declared there were around 400 pyramids north of Xi’an, though that doesn’t include the White Pyramid. Excavation of many of the other sites revealed mausoleums shaped more like Mesoamerican pyramids, differing from those in Egypt, as they are flat topped and covered with vegetation.

In these burial mounds lay ancient members of China’s royal class, who intended to rest for eternity undisturbed. Most of the pyramids are extremely difficult to detect, camouflaged in lush mountains and hills and covered by tall grass and trees. Very few of the structures have been open to tourism.

The Chinese government has given simple explanations as to why no one is allowed to enter, namely that overzealous archaeologists and tourists could potentially damage the artifacts.

Officials claim they are waiting until technology advances enough to properly excavate the pyramids and their precious contents. After all, some of the pyramids are believed to date as far back as 8,000 years.

Westerners have been endlessly guessing about the purpose and energy of the pyramids, as well as their astronomical significance. According to researchers, “to some rulers, the cardinal points of North, South, East, and West were all important. Lining up your tomb with the globe’s axis was a sign that you were still number one.”

The most popular conspiracy theory involves extraterrestrials — asserting that they were perhaps the original architects. Is it possible that the ancient astronaut theory espoused by Erich von Däniken and his ilk may also apply to the Chinese pyramids? Conspiracy theories inevitably erupt wherever there’s secrecy.

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