A Possible History of the Tcho-Tcho (archive)
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From: Charles Ripper

These are some preliminary findings in my research into the real history of the Tcho-tcho and related tribes in Central and Southeast Asia. I hope you forgive me if you find them rough.

Let me begin by taking on the idea of reptilian descent. The appropriate remark for this is: "In the beginnings of time, Chaugnar Faugn made a race of beings to serve it, the Miri Nigri, a race of dark dwarfs fashioned from the flesh of primitive amphibians. The Tcho-tcho are said to have intermingled with the descendants of that hybrid race." p49, Curse of Chaugnar Faugn, from the Curse of the Cthonians, 1984.

This is a typical origin myth, no matter where it is found. You have a god that creates a special race, imbued with a magical nature (see the parallel of elves and dwarves in Norse mythology, fairy folk, etc), that mates with and breeds the tribe of followers. The most familiar parallel for this in the West is the Eden story. You have the Adamic tribes, represented by his 'sons' Cain and Seth, who go down among the western tribes to find wives and children. The descendents of these marriages become the 'Chosen People,' special to their god. The fact that this quote is based on an earlier extant story ('The Horror in the Hills,' Frank Belknap Long) and the phrasing "The Tcho-tchos are said to have…" hint that this might be a later addition to the mythical corpus, and was pobably used to legitmize the rule of a Chaugnar Faugn-worshipping king.

A later addition to the mythical history of the Tcho-tchos comes from Scott Glancy. The relevant quote is: "They are the Tcho-tchos, a vile, homeless race, perhaps tainted down to their DNA by their long history of cannibalism and worship of the Cthulhu Mythos. No one is sure where they originated. As early as 128 BC, history records a Central Asian tribe known to the Greeks as the Tochoa and to the Chinese as the Yueh-chih. The Tochoans ruled an area encompassing Afghanistan and the southern regions of what is now the former Soviet central-Asian republics until the 3rd century AD, when they were forced east by the Sassanid Persians…. Today they are found mostly in Communist-controlled areas of Asia. The Indochinese wars of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, as well as the Red Chinese Cultural Revolution and pogroms in Tibet, have caused a further diaspora of this vile group." p143, Delta Green: Countdown, 1999.

This is more relevant to the actual history of the Tcho-tcho. First, this traces them in the actual histories of different countries, and provides a verifiable theory as to their origins. It is also geographically much more likely. Chaugnar Faugn is associated with the Pyrennes, which is at the other end of Eurasian continent, several thousand miles away, with many
intervening cultures. What is important now is to see how relevant the connection with the Tochoa is.

In 221 BC, when the Emperor Qin Shihuangdi established the first Empire in China, one of his first orders was the extention and defense of a series of walls in north China which were transformed into the Great Wall. The Wall was designed as a defense against the nomads of the Mongolian steppes, who regularly raided the Chinese cities to supplement their traditional herding culture. As these tribes used up the grazing lands, and they could not raid the Chinese, they were forced to migrate to other lands.

In India, around the same time, they were experiencing the end of an empire. After the death of Ashoka, Emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, in 239 BC, the sub-continent fell into disunity and the power of regional princes began to rise. Their power was gone even by the time of the death of the final Mauryan emperor, Pushyamitra, in 180 BC. This disintegration of central rule gave the people of Central Asia a chance to raid and even settle in the sub-continent.

One of the tribes that settled in northwest India was the Saka tribe, known to the Greek historians as the Scythians. By 128 BC, they had been forced out of their lands around the Aral Sea by the nomads tribes forced out of the Mongolian steppe by the Great Wall. In the following century, they were followed by the tribe that pushed them out of the Aral area, the tribe of the Yueh-Chih (pinyin Yuezhi).

It is here in the area known today as Peshawar in modern Pakistan that the Yuezhi settled and became kings. They were known as the Kushans by then, and though they effectively reigned for about a century, what was done under their rule affects the world to this day.

Not much is actually known about the Kushan kingdom. The Tochoa ruled over a mixed group of peoples, representing Indians, Sakas and even Greeks (remnants of Alexander's colonies). The beginning and end dates are fuzzy, and the names of the kings are uncertain. It is thought that it came to its greatest glory under Kanishka, who ascended the throne in 78 AD. The empire lasted until the rise of the Sassanid Persians in the west, who swept across the Iranian plains and deposed and already weak Kushan king.

How do these Kushan people compare to what we know about the Tcho-tcho?

Well, one of the most important occurances in the Kushan kingdom was the widespread acceptance of Buddhism. It is thought that Kanishka called the Fourth Buddhist Council, which mediated disputes on doctrine among the Buddhist schools, and most importantly decided that Buddhist scripture would be written in Sanskrit.

Buddhism was apparently widespread among the Kushan. One of their greatest contributions to Buddhism was their use of the human figure to depict the Buddha. In previous Indian Buddhist art, there was a taboo on the image of the Buddha. He was shown only by a symbol, such as an empty throne, or footsteps. The Kushan art, probably influenced by Greek scuplture and artisans, began to depict the Buddha as a stylized human figure, and this formed the basis for all depictions of the Buddha and bodhisattva down to this day.

The Tcho-tcho, on the other hand, worship gods of the Cthulhu Mythos, and had ritual cannibalism. There are no real traces of either in the admittedly scanty records of the Kushan kingdom.

Another problem is that of geography. Modern Tcho-tcho are found among hill tribes of southeast Asia and the island of Malaysia. The Kushan kingdom was based in northwest India and Pakistan, and had easier escape back into the Central Asian plains. There should also be traces of the population across the Indian sub-continent, but none have been found in my preliminary

The most damning, though, is simply the question of race. Modern Tcho-tcho are definitely among the Mongoloid/Asian physiotype, with the distinctive eye folds and short stature of the eastern type. The Kushans, or Tochoa, were described by eyewitnesses as tall, red or blond haired and pale skinned. Archaeological examination of the area shows a large number of people with Caucasoid features, and there are tomb paintings and sculpture that depict distinctively sharp-nosed, blond-haired people ruling in Central Asia. Modern archaeologiast are now identifying them with the Tochoa.

Where does that leave the search for the Tcho-tcho?

The Yuezhi who traveled from the Mongolian steppes west and south into the Indian sub-continent were not the only Yuezhi population. According to Chinese sources. the Yuezhi had been known in western China before the rise of the Qin emperor, and could be found along the line of Taklamakan desert oases. Some time in the early second century BC, the Yuezhi had been viciously attacked and driven away by the Xiongnu, a tide of nomads thought to the the ancestors of the Huns. According to Sima Qian, the leader of the Yuezhi was killed and his skull was made into a drinking cup by the leader of the Xiongnu.

When the Yuezhi fled the depredations of the Xiongnu, they divided into two main bodies. The Chinese called then the Da Yuezhi (Great Yuezhi), and the Xiao Yuezhi (Small Yuezhi). It was the Da Yuezhi that later became the kings of Kushan. The Xiao Yuezhi fled into the muntains south of the Taklamakan. In ancient times, these mountains were known as the Tian Shan (Celestial Mountains), but are now known as the Kun Lun. In the mountains, they began to mix with a tribe known as the Qiang, an indigenous people that the Chinese scholars associate with the Tibetans.

Here we run into a difficulty. Despite the long span of literacy in China and Tibet (Tibet was thought to have adopted and alphabet as early as the 7th century), there is little factual material written about these early great highland people. Much of it is little more than myth or rumor. The eearliest references to Tibetans may have come as early as 2255 BC, when oracle bone inscriptions indicate that the Emperor Shun banished the tribes of San Miao to San Wei. Chinese historians identify San Wei with the Tibetan highlands. After that, there is nothing said until the Records of the Grand Historian, written in the second century AD. Another lacuna is present until the History of the Tang Dynasty 500 years later, and then another jump to the History of the Yuan Dynasty in the fourteenth century. However, from these materials, supplemented by western accounts and later Tibetan writings, some facts emerge.

Tibetan history alwasy begins with Nya-Khri Tsan-po and the 27 Legendary Kings. these are of uncertain historical import, but the king line traces itself back to an agricultural people who lived in the southern hills. Certain legends go so far as to claim that Nya-Khri Tsan-po was actually a Hindu prince who had gotten lost, but this again sounds too much like an origin myth designed to give prestige. They also have myths that claim the first king came from Heaven.

The line of kings was known as the Yarlung dynasty, and the first accepted as historical was Stagbu sna gzigs, who built his castle in a small side valley of the Yarlung River. Though he was part of a plan to create an empire among the Tibetan people, it was his son Gnam ri slon mtshan who was able to do something about it. Along with a number of other nobles, Gnam ri slon mtshan attacked and defeated another overlord, Zinporje. He then turned west and defeated Mar-mun of Rtsan-Bod (possibly modern U-tsang, the central provinces of modern Tibet). Zinporje and Mar-mun were both vassals to the Lig-myi dynasty, whose shadowy Zan-zun confederacy ruled most of Tibet at the time. Gnam ri slon mtshan's son Sron btsan sgampo married his sister to Lig-myi rhya, the king of the Zan-zun confederacy, and then assassinated him, giving Sron btsan sgampo uncontested rule over Tibet.

Gnam ri slon mtshan is thought to have ruled over Tibet from 570-620 AD. The country was stable and unified under him, though the people were crude and war-like. Each year he would sacrifice animals for what was called the 'small oath,' and every three years the 'great oath' demanded horse and human sacrifice, as well. Their religion was based on sorcery, and even matters of high policy were decided by the priests. It was under Sron btsan sgampo (r 620-650 AD) that the Tibetan alphabet was thought to have been developed, based on the model of the Brahmi characters found in Kashmir. Sron btsan sgampo also married a princess of Nepal, who introduced Buddhism to Tibet.

In 633, the Tibetans sent an emissary to China. By this time, Tibet ruled over a large kingdom that covered Central Asia. They often fought with the Chinese for control of important Silk Road cities among the oases of the Taklamakan. This mission was sent to ask for a Chinese princess in marriage, following the example of the Turks and a people known as the Tukuhun. The Tukuhun lived near the Koko Nor, the large lake in north east Tibet. When the request was refused, Sron btsan sgampo suspectd intrigue in the Chinese court by the Tukuhun, so he raised up an army and attacked the tribe. They were suppressed, and Sron btsan sgampo lead his army inito Sichuan province. His daring impressed Tang Emperor Taizeng, and he was given a Chinese bride. Buddhist influences began to increase in the Tibetan royal court, and Sron btsan sgampo was even said to have translated Buddhist works himself.

The nobility remained attached to Tibet's ancient faith of Bon-Po, a type of shamanism, thought by Chinese scholars to be a degenerate form of Daoism. Over the next century and a half, the nobles' power and religion were undermined by the royal adherence to Buddhism. This finally came to a head in 836, when the nobility staged a coup d'etat and placed Lang-Dar-Ma on the throne. Tibetan records call him the wickedest man ever born. The Tang records agree to a dregree, claiming that he was cruel and lascivious and given to wine. He destroyed Buddhist monestaries and reasserted the primacy of Bon-Po. He was assassinated in 842 AD. He had two sons who were rivals to the throne, and their dispute lead to civil war and the fragmentation of rule in the country. It also lead to a century of darkness, from which no stories escape.

After that dark age, Tibet was to rise transformed. Bon-Po and Buddhism had fused in what is now known as Lamaist Buddhism. It became so powerful in Tibet that even the provincial governors were replaced by Buddhist lamas. The people became devout and peace-loving, no longer masters of empire or a war-like people. If we accept the identity of Tcho-tcho with the Yuezhi, and specificly the Xiao Yuezhi, we must look for traces either before or outside the Yarlung dynasty and the Buddhist empire of Tibet.

Now, you may wonder why I went into detail in Tibetan history if it brings us no closer to the actual ancestors of the Tcho-Tcho. I did it in part to lay the foundations of the times, to give a mroe complete picture of the tribes in the area under discussion. I also did it to introduce what seems to be the likely suspects for the actual ancestral tribe: the Tukuhun.

The easiest connection to make, of course, is the similarity in pronounciation. "Tukuhun" is similar to "Tochoa," which some modern scholars record as "Tokharian." The actual Tang era pronunciation of Yuezhi is thought to be /ta-gar/, as best it can be reconstructed, which has the parallel construction of /t/, vowel, velar stop (/k/ and /g/), vowel. Such simple sound-alike words make for a tenuous connection at best, however, and cannot be taken as proof by itself. It may help support other evidence.

There is also geographic evidence. The Xiao Yuezhi are known to have fled into the Tian Shan region and once there, they mixed with the indigenous Qiong tribes. The Qiong of classical times were a power along the edge of the Silk Road, and the Han emperors feared their power. This has the later parallel to the Tibetan empire during the Tang dynasty, and the Zan-zun empire might also have extended into the Taklamakan region. When the Yarlung emperors conquered Rtsan-Bod from their southern agricultural center, they were careful to distinguish themselves from the indigenous people. What other information is there?

During the thirteenth century, a number of European travelers crossed Central Asia under the Pax Mongolica of Kubalai Khan. The most well known of these travelers was Marco Polo, but he was neither the first nor the most detailed of these travelers. In 1245, Piano Carpini was sent on a mission from the Pope to the Great Khan of the East, and he records a strange custom in Tibet: when one"s father is about to die, all the relatives meet together and eat him. A decade later, the Franciscan monk Willaim de Rubruquis heard the same tale while traveling in Central Asia, and added the detail that they also make a drinking cup of the skill in memory of the deceased. He also reports that there were many "misshapen individuals" among this people. Odorico de Pordenone, another Franciscan monk, traveled across Tibet between 1325 and 1330, and he said that the heads of the deceased were cut off and given to the sons, while the body was fed to vultures. Marco Polo called them "idolaters," "great thieves," and an "ill-conditioned race." He claims that these Tibetans were the best enchanters and astrologers in the world, and that they could perform such marvels of their diabolic art that he would not narrate them in his book.

These reports do not match with Chinese stories about the Tibetans. One of the modern scholars suggested that it was perhaps an exaggeration of Lamaist occultism, or actually a tribe that lived on the borders of Tibet. This later suggestion is most promising, in light of what we know about the Tcho-Tcho propensity for cannibalism. The travelers, who crossed Central Asia through the old Silk Road cities, a route which cut across north of the Tian Shan region, were unfamiliar with the actual geography of the area. It would be easy enough to hear that the Tian Shan mountains to the south of their route were filled with these cannibalistic tribesmen, and then hear that those same highlands were called Tibet. It would then be easy to say that the Tibetans are cannibalistic, even though the cannibals were actually a different tribe that the Tibetans were at war with. This is still being done by people today, such as the Iraqi gas attacks on the Kurds that newspapers reported as "Saddam Hussein attacking his own people."

It has been said several times that sorcery and magic have been an important part of Tibetan society, even at the time of Gnam ri slon mtshan, just before the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet. I believe that this "sorcery" lies behind the Bon-Po religion, and was used by the people who lived in the Tibetan regions before the coming of the Yarlung kings. It was the sorcery of the Zan-zun confederacy, the Tukuhun and the Qiong tribes before them. It is connected in some way to cannibalism, and most likely had connections to the Tochoa before them.

Where might this sorcery have come from? It is well known that the Tibetan Plateau is one of the regions where the Plateau of Leng connects with the waking world. Many previous scholars have posited a connection between the Tcho-Tcho and the Plateau of Leng. This could easily be the source of the sorcery and much of the corruption associated with the Tcho-Tcho. To live on the border of mystical Leng for centuries is going to affect a people, and it is likely that this is what happened to the Tcho-Tcho.

Kenneth Scroggins has put forth the theory that the theory that the Tcho-Tcho are in part the offspring of the Men of Leng and human mothers. Looking at the assembled evidence, I am inclined to agree. However, taking into account the gross and inhuman anatomy that develops in breeding females, as well as William de Rubruquis" hints about the "misshaped individuals" of the tribe, I would conjecture that there may have been cross-breeding with the Moon Beasts that also dwell on the Plateau of Leng. This would also account for the endemic cannibalism, since humans are a common source of food for the Moon Beasts.

It is also interesting to note that one of the origin legends of the Tibetan people claims that they had been born of the union between a monkey and a mountain ogress. This monkey, which in later times was connected with the Buddhist mythos, came to Tibet and was approached by a mountain ogress. This ogress tried to seduce him, which Buddhist chroniclers claim he resisted until she threatened to mate with a demon and fill Tibet with their monstrous offspring. The monkey finally agreed to her demands, and the children were born as apes. When they were given food from the gods, they transformed into men, and thus were born the people of Tibet.

From all of this, I would conjecture that sometime between the second century BC and the seventh century AD, a tribe descended from the mixed Caucasoid Tochoa and the Mongoloid Qiong encountered the Plateau of Leng. Certain members of the tribe were engaged by Men of Leng and the Moon Beasts as "worshippers," and their offspring were released back into the tribe. As the descendents continued to interbreed, the genetics were spread, until the entire tribe consisted of what we could call "Tcho-Tcho." I am not sure how long this process of replacement would take, or if it would necessitate a short-term or long-term exposure to alien genetics. It would be an area of further inquiry for a capable geneticist rather than a historian.

This tribe of "Tcho-tcho," with the magic they learned from the Men of Leng, would be able to establish an empire, which could be identified with the Zan-zun, and would run it with the aid of sorcery. Given that they were successful, other tribes in the area might have imitated their use of cannibalism and sorcery, which might be the true origin of Bon-Po, rather than the Sino-centric idea of "degenerate Daoism." As these people were conquered by the non-Tcho-Tcho Yarlung kings, they fell back north to the Koko Nor, where they were attacked by Sron btsan sgmpo in the seventh century. There was no mention of a massacre or persecution, but a part of this tribe could easily have been driven east before the army, traveling to Sichuan and Yunnan in China, and over the mountain passes into Burma and southeast Asia. This is another area of research: the migratory patterns of southeast Asian tribes, and could go a long way to explaining the distribution of Tcho-Tcho in the area and into Malaysia.

As I said, these are preliminary notes on the Tcho-Tcho people, and many of the assumptions may change as more information is gathered. I hope that by submitting this synopsis, that it can be vetted for inconsistencies and get reviewed by expert in other related fields. Any comments would be appreciated.

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