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Vostok Expedition

as archived by Stu Shiffman, B.S.I.

Report to the Ethnology & Archeology Department, 
Knickerbocker Museum of Natural History, 
on the expedition to the Vostock island of Tsiatko, 
by Abel Byrd Ph.D.


In the beginning of 1935, we received a license from the Vostok Ministry of Culture to permit a scientific excavation of the presumed site of Linduong. Linduong was the first settlement on Tsiatko by the survivors of Kublai Khan’s fleet destroyed by the Kamikaze of Japanese legend. (1) The Mongol and Han survivors have, in the centuries since, mostly been submerged in the native population of the Vostokniki djilaguns. (2) Our aim was to verify the location of the settlement, verify impact of Han and Mongol craft and building forms on native methodology and design style, collect artifacts for the Vostok Imperial Museum and for our own collection, as well as improve relations between the American and Vostok scientific communities.

The Vostok Island Group

The Vostok Island Group lays to the extreme north of the Pacific rim. The primary islands of the group are Great Vostok, Tkiatko (location of the great petroleum processing center at Benzeenagorod (3)), and Romanoff, the last of which is the site of the capitol Tsargorod (on the site of the native capital of Dzelarhons (4)) founded in 1805 by Fovernor Rybnikov (5) and the architect/mining engineer Ivan Lichten. The lesser islands of the group include Boqua, Seqech and Nevskaya.

The Ethnology of the Vostok Island Group

The non-Russian native population, which calls itself  “Djilaguns”, is composed of ethnic strains from Siberian tribal peoples, Aleuts, and North American peoples of the Pacific Northwest (particularly the Haida and Tlingit), with some Yupik Eskimo elements. The spoken language seems to be based primarily on Haida and Nootka trade tounges. Later ethnic additions have come from the survivors of the Kamikaze in 1274 A.D. and 1281 A.D., refugee Japanese Christians in the early 1600’s (6), Czech and Serbian soldiers caught up in the White Army duringthe Revolution, and some blending with American whalers and Russian settlers. The highland and forest population of the giant hominids called Dzunukwa or Sasquatch (Homo gigantapithecus) have not interbred with the Homo sapiens sapiens.

The Dwarf Mammoths of the Vostok Island Group

Many a sensational article has been written about how the Siberian mammoth population was deep-frozen by a sudden climate change due to a shift in the earth’s poles or some other catastrophic event circa 10,000 years ago.

A dwarf version of the woolly mammoth has survived in the Vostok Island Group, about 3,700 years ago after the extinction of the dwarf mammoths of Wrangel Island. The Vostok dwarf mammoths (Mammuthus vostokiensis) stand only about 2 meters high and weigh a mere two tons at maturity.

A wild population of the dwarf mammoths is to be found primarily in th northernmost islands of the group. A smaller population, domesticated by the native Djilaguns, is used in forestry work and as beasts of burden and food animals in the more rural villages. It is not yet documented, but the forest Dzunukwa or Sasquatch hominids are said to herd the animals and use them as a source of food, building materials (bones and tusks) and tools.

The Team and the Adventure

My co-leader in the Linduong expedition was Evgenia Rubinskaya of the Soviet Research Institute of Far East Ethnological Study. Rubinskaya’s experience in excavation of Chinese sites of the time of Kublai Khan was considered to be invaluable. We were joined by Albert Vortigern, the English-born expert in Chinese porcelains and a fine photographer; Hendrick van Loon, the Dutch vertebrate paleontologist (we hoped to find some relics of the dwarf mammoth and other living fossils on Tsiatko); W.A. Cornplanter, Iroquois ethnologist and expert on cultlures of the Pacific Northwest and Siberia; Captain Jed Claypool (U.S. Army—Retired)(7); and three graduate students from the Vespuccia University Department of Anthropology – Margery Meath, Joel Milcher, and Alton Wagendorf III. In addition, we were bringing a fine camp cook and jack-of-trades Randolph Woo.

I had engaged Gus Kitzel of Mingus Air Service based in Koala Limberger, FMS as our transport provider, as I didn’t want to be forced to rely on local providers unknown to me. It’s a long trip to Koala Limberger to Sealth City, Washington and on to Tsargorod on Romanoff Island, but Gus was willing to go the distance for us. He’d done well by us before, a pilot of sterling qualities.

Passing through port (8) and passport control (9) after arriving in Tsargorod, we left matters in the capable hands of Captain Claypool and Gus Kitzel. Rubinskaya and I left to call on Culture Minister Klimenko at the offices of the Ministry in the Vostok Imperial Museum (10). Klimenko was cordial, but insisted that we be accompanied by a guide/translator from his staff. This turned out to be “Yevgeny”, a young Vostoknik of Russian descent.

Rubinskaya was sure that he was a Cheka (11) agent, placed with us to report back to them (12).

On the way to our rooms at the Hotel Anglitski, we were ambushed by a gang of black-clothed ruffians. However, a barked exchange with Yevgeny resulted in the bandits’ speedy retreat. These, explained Yevgeny, were the Pelmeni, a right-extremist freicorps named for the Siberian delicacy (13).

The next morning, we flew out in the Mingus Air Service Boing Pelikan(14) heading north to Tsiatko Island and Lindongsk Bay. After landing, Captain Claypool and Randolph Woo supervised the erection of the camp, while I took Yevgeny and Cornplanter to make contact with the local hetman of Lindongsk village, from whom I hoped to hire workers. I found him to be a rather Russified fellow of mixed ethnicity, living in a brick house (as opposed to the more traditional wooden structures fronted by ancestral totem poles found in the rest of the village. Even the Russian Orthodox church was of the native architecture, except for the attempt to graft-on the onion dome.). He was amenable to rent labor to us, in addition to the domesticated dwarf mammoths used in haulage.

Work proceeded a pace. For two weeks, we excavated the site, after an initial accidental discovery of a Dzunukwa burial complete with bear skull and flowers. We discovered a fine midden with the distinctive pottery shards of Chinese make along with post holes that appeared to indicate yurt placement.

And then, the disaster.

We were startled one morning by the approach of black autogyros (15) and an unmarked gunboat. Machine gun fire sprayed the encampment. The local workers scattered. Vortigern and van Loon seemed to explode, Milcher was down with a leg wound and Woo and Meath were headed for the village. Rubinskaya, Claypool, Wagendorf, Kitzel and I were stunned, and then Claypool indicated that we head for the forest. The first of the autogyros landed, and Kitzel and Wagendorf were detained by the black-clad crew – Cheka agents. Pelmeni gangsters, used as shock troops by the Cheka agents, swarmed from a landing craft and secured the camp.

Only Rubinskaya, Claypool and I escaped into the forest. Where was Yevgeny? we wondered.

With little in the way of supplies, except for our forester and army knives and Claypool’s resourceful grab of a army survey map and compass, we attempted to cross the forest and make for the petroleum-processing center and port of Benzeenagorod.

** ** **

We found Yevgeny in a clearing, wounded in the assault. No, he wasn’t a Cheka agent, just a Ministry specialist with links to the democratic underground organization, “House of the Raven”. With his help, once we reached Benzeenagorod, we contacted the local cell and got a message out to the U.S. Consulate General in Tsargorod and to the Museum. Museum President Henry Fairley Highborn pulled wires with his top-level chums in the American Government, and got us picked up by the U.S.S. Sealth City, then showing the flag in the Vostok Islands.

So, we returned to American territory and to the Museum, sans notes, sans artifacts, sans photographs, but with plenty of questions. Why were we attacked? What was the link between secret police and the Pelmeni? What happened to those who were captured?


1) In 1274 and 1281 the Kamakura shogunate was tested by two Mongol invasions as ordered by Kublai Khan. The Japanese warriors, assisted by storms that came to be described as divine winds (kamikaze), drove away the invaders.
2) Djilaguns – the Vostok natives’ word for themselves, also the North American Haida term for their ancestors, according to Franz Bozo.
3) Also known as “Petrologorod”.
4) Dzelarhons – the name seems to come from the haida legendary figure, the niece of the Salmon-Eater, who came with six canoe-loads of people out of the sea, and was betrothed to Ka’iti, chief of the Grizzlies. Known as Frog Woman, Copper Frog or Dzelarhons.
5) Colonel Martin Arkadievitsch Rybnikov (or Ribnikoff), b. 1755 in Saint Pertersburg (now Leningrad), died 1820 in Tsargorod.
6) Portuguese began trade in 1545, during the Ashikaga shogunate, and in 1549 the Jesuit missionary Saint Francis Xavier introduced Roman Catholicism. Christianity conflicted with feudal loyalties, however, and was completely banned after 1639, during the Tokugawa shogunate, At that point all Europeans, exept the Dutch, were also excluded from Japan.
7) Captain Claypool, a noted outdoorsman, is a gifted amateur archaeologist. He served with the U.S. 340 1/2th Infantry, “The Fighting Mippolitans” in the post-Great War anti-Bolshevik expedition in Siberia and the Vostok Islands.
8) You can still see the remains in the harbor of the destroyer Oktobriana (formerly the Aleksandr Nevskii), crewed by a Bolshevik seaman’s soviet, destroyed by the HMS Incorrigible during the Civil War.
9) There was some fuss over th Jewish surnames of Rubinskaya (a Soviet citizen), Gus Kitzel and Joel Milcher (the Vostoknik government holds that all Jews are Bolshevik agents,and expelled those in the Islands in 1930) but the judicious application of dollar diplomacy and Culture Minister Klimenko’s name eventually did the trick. This type of attitude is typical of the regime of Admiral Verechagin and the HRH the Grand Duchess. It is not surprising to find this regime allied by treaty with Nazi Germany under Mr. Hitler.
10) The Museum building was occuplied and fortified by the Mensheviks, and then the Bolsheviks, during the Civil War. You can still see marks of the assault by French Foreign Legion troops who evicted the revolutionaries.
11) Vostoknik secret police.
12) There is always a them.
13) Pelmeni, the dish that helped to tame Siberia! Pelmeni have spread throughout the whole country from Siberia, which is why they are often called Siberian pelmeni. Pelmeni originated in Siberia long ago. To the Komi, a people living in the area of the Urals, the word ‘pelnyan’ means ‘an ear made of dough’, and pelmeni really are this shape. They are made from pastry and meat. Presumably, the right-wing freicorps got its nickname because people thought they were “full of themselves” or what we would call “stuffed shirts” in English.
14) A two-engined seaplane.
15) Yes, the classic sinister “black autogyros of the League of Nations” so beloved of paranoid right-wing conspiracy enthusiasts. 

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