Story of humans visiting the moon 5000 years ago

A former co-worker of mine from China told me this story. She told it as though she believed it was true:

5000 years ago, some people in China teleported visited the moon and then came back to Earth. They got there via teleportation. They brought back a rock from the moon. You can tell the rock is from the moon because it looks like a tree (!). This rock is still on display somewhere in China, to this day.

Does this story sound like a recognizable Chinese folk myth, or religious tradition? I’m just wondering if this is a traditional folk tale, or if my co-worker was taken in by a charlatan showing her a “moon rock.” Said co-worker DID seem rather gullible.

My first guess for a “magical” rock that looks like a tree would be a fulgarite, the result of a lightning strike on sand fusing it into glass. But I’m not sure how that would relate to the Moon.

Or a fossile crinoid.


It seems like Ancient Aliens would have done a whole show on this topic if the folk story was known widely through China, especially with something as compelling as a real rock they could take pictures of. Lord knows that teleportation to the moon would be among the more plausible beliefs featured on that show.

If only we had access to actual moon rocks collected with extensive documentation and photographic proof by a high-profile government project to compare them with. Then we could say if moon rocks really look like trees or not.

The ones Stanley Kubrick picked up out near Victorville?

So Ancient Alien fan?


According to lamestream science, it’s not impossible that there was a lunar rock in China 5000 years ago. So-called “lunar meteorites” have been found on earth. As should be obvious, they can’t possibly be from the moon. None of them look like trees.

I wonder if this has something to do with the apocryphal story ofWan Hu?

Actually, this is an interesting example of the spreading of a piece of modern folklore. It seems to have originated in a humorous paragraph (probably invented by the author) in an article by John Elfreth Watkins (who calls the would-be space traveller Wang Tu) in a 1909 issue of Scientific American . Later authors, including Herbert Zim and spaceflight populariser and cryptozoologist Willy Ley, changed the name to Wan Hu when repeating the story with small variations. As far as I can find, there’s still no mentioning of the Moon, but Finnish author Willy Kyrklund (who may or may not have been aware of the origin of the story, and anyhow didn’t pretend to write anything but fiction) used the same theme in Mästaren Ma (1952) where the protagonist (here called Ma Fu-Tsï) at the end of the story makes an attempt to escape his enemies by travelling to the Moon by similar means.
After the first Soviet photographic probes to the far side of the Moon in the -60s, a crater was named Ван-Гу (Wan Hoo) in honor of the (supposed) Chinese pioneer…
Since then, the story has been enthustiastically embraced by Chinese authorities. There is even a statue of Wan Hu at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre.
I can’t find any mentioning of a return with tree-like moon rocks though, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the story has grown and still is growing!

There’s a story that when NASA was passing out moon rocks to any university that had a geology department that could reasonably do some sort of study of them, they got a letter from some university that was upset because their rival university got one and they didn’t. Rather than bother with any inter-school rivalry and recalling the best way to deal with a pain in the arse, the NASA fellow took a walk through a nearby pasture and found a rock that sorta looked like it could have came from the moon and sent it to the university.

Sometime later, NASA received a report from that university, briefly, they said that while there were some formations and geological stuff they could not explain, the data they gathered certainly suggests that a cow did, in fact, jump over the moon.

Ah, this explains why traditional chinese medicine includes so many spacesuit designs.

Lucian of Samosata described a trip to the Moon in about 140 c.e.; when his travellers got there, they found that the Lunar peoples were at war with the people on the Sun.

My money would have been on the Sun people to win, seeing as they were already on fire, but the situation was not quite so straightforward, it seems.

Moon Hill maybe ?

It also seems to be closely linked to the story of Chang’e and the moon rabbit … … Apollo 11 was sent to look for them.
… all that effort and all they got up to was “chasing the rabbit”.

A case of Raging, Wounded Cultural Pride?


I can’t recall any instances in traditional Chinese mythology involving teleportation. Flying to the Moon? Sure, that’s plausible. But teleportation? Seems a bit modern.