Wednesday, 24 November 2010 12:54


DUBA of the Plain of Lupşeni

   On 2 July 1984, passing on the Aries Valley towards north, to Country of Oas, when I arrived in Lupşa I saw, on an old building written with letters by nearly a meter : MUSEUM, I stoped since the parking lot that was on the left and also because in the doorway was an old man who seemed to be nice at first sight. I step outside the car, walk to about 5-6 meters in front of him and put my hands behind my back. The old man takes the same position and the dialogue  starts:

    - Hello!

    - Hello! Do you want to come in? 

    - I guess that is your museum and I am willing to come in if I can see an object that I have not seen before, although I visited many museums.

    - What kind of object?

    - A flint.

    - And if I show you one, what do you give me?!

    - A kiss on your right cheek!

    - ... what if I show you two?!

    - ... then I will kiss you on your left cheek as well.

We get to know about each other: he was the teacher emeritus PAMFIL ALBU. We entered the museum together with my two companions and we saw many wonderful things in addition to the two flints. We talked about places and legends. He was surprised that I was going to Gutai mountains to try a third time to photograph a rock (!) (It was the Sphinx of Oas).

  From our discussion I put to one side of my head a LEGEND about DUBE (meaning "drums"). I had read something about 20 years ago in the Travel Almanac. Up in Muntele Mare (Big Mountain), on the edge of the plateau called the Plain of Lupşeni, there is some sort of ancient stone building, which is a groove where a kind of stone ball was handled (some say that the ball was a "steel" one - ie iron), and produced a great sound that was to be heard at great distances, "up to Turda". It was used to signal when atacators appeared to loot and kill the on the Aries Valley, in order for people to place their families into hiding and to take measures of defense.

I decided to come back after I was to finish taking pictures of all anthropomorphic megaliths in the country.

20 MAI 1986: after gathering all the information needed from teacher Albu Pamfil, who was very informed, I went up the mountain with my companion Dorin Răulea (eng). We found Dubele, three large horizontal stone slabs, each weighing several tons, with spaces between them made by positioning of rectangular stones (called by locals "bowling pins") in the north one can get up on them via two "steps" and appear in front on the third step two groves, not too deep, made by grinding or beating - one larger to the left and one smaller to the right. The elders in the area remember the ancestors know that these stones were made by olos people, giants of ancient times. Friction/battery surfaces were made by a "bălătruc" which was moved in a certain way, thta was forgotten.

aspectul ansamblului spre nord-est aspectul ansamblului spre vest
overall appearance to the northeast overall appearance to the west
aspectul ansamblului spre vest aspectul ansamblului spre sud
overall appearance to the west overall appearance to the south
DUBE-5 nu este un locaş de frecare, sunt două: unul mai mare spre stânga (NE)
overall appearance to the east it is not only one place of friction, there are two: a larger one to left (NE)

The "bălătruc" existed until 1900 when villagers have taken down and hid him because of the person that was guarding the cattle to pasture: a deaf-mute man nicknamed Mutu Berariului, who played occasionally producing a great noise, which frightened animals. Owners had to climb in a hurry (2 to 3 hours!) to look for their  cattle through the woods.

    The legend lived on.

   I took photographs and radiestesic measurements, finding three "active" points on the surface of the upper slab. I could not find a more spheroidal rock, but somehow I managed to find a decent one and ask my friend to move into the larger groove(left). I went around the rock stack a few times and found that it produces a slight rumble in the south! We changed roles with the same result.

Dorin Răulea învârte cum poate o piatră (1986 mai 20) Stânca de alături (N) este interesantă
Dorin Răulea spins a rock (1986 May 20) The rock nearby looks interesting (N)

   We go down the mountain and tell Mr. Pamfil Albu what I found and I promise to come back with a stone ball. I write down with irony: Experiment no. 1.

8 AUGUST 1986: EXPERIMENT no. 2.

   I returned with another friend, Viorel Nicolau (eng) and we went to the museum and then we camped at the end of the dirt road for the night (August 7).

In the morning we went up the mountain. In our backpacks we had two balls collected from the Gresarea brook (Horezu area): one of 21 kg and the other of 3 kg. We hurt our palms by moving the balls in different ways, producing only a weak noise in the space below the slab above, still towards the south. We conclude that the "bălătruc" was bigger and heavier. But why there were two areas of friction / battery?! The world had forgotten ...

Viorel Nicolau la lucru (1986 august 08) Pauză de gândire
Viorel Nicolau working (1986 august 08) Thinking break
se imortalizează rezultatul efortului de transport bilele amplasate pe cele două suprafeţe de frecare
transportation effort is caught on camera the balls placed on the two friction surfaces
trebuie şi puţină odihnă, mai ales că şi palmele sunt în suferinţă ... mai încercăm...
we need and a little rest, especially that palms are suffering ... we keep trying...
... şi altfel... E greu! Dezamăgire.
... in a different way... It's hard! Disappointment.

However, something was quite clear: it was a stone structure that produced sound through friction or vibration and through resonance.

We took measurements at the upper slab: - length = 4 meters

- average width = 3,5 meters

- thickness to the south ≈ 105 cm

- thickness to the north ≈ 35 cm

The approximative diameter of the large "ball" (for the left groove) = 50 centimeters; approximative diameter of the small "ball" (for the right groove) = 30 centimeters.

trebuie să plecăm; bila mare este îngropată se pune înapoi pământul şi deasupra brazda cu iarbă
we must leave, the large ball is buried we put back the earth and sod above

   With the compass, at an certain angle and distance we have buried the large ball of stone with a view to another test!

25 MAY 1988: EXPERIMENT no. 3.

Two friends are attending, Cornel Mocanu (eng.) and Vali Provolovici.

   To be easily transported, I arranged with a boiler maker (Victor Stanescu) to make for us a spheroidal container (it could only be made from aluminum sheet) with two handles and an upper hole. It had a capacity of 40 liters (costed 500 lei; monthly salary was 3060 lei) (ie! about $ 10 out ofa salary of about $ 60!). I managed to get some petrol for the road after I went to an interview where I presented the project (!) and I was stunned: I received two vouchers for 20 liters that entitled me to buy such quantity (at that time the petrol was rationed).

   At the Dube we filled the boiler with gravel, sand and earth. The content was mixed with water from the source located at about 150 steps below (we had two 5-liter plastic cans and a 10-liter container).

cazanul cazanul plasat în locaşul mare
the boiler the boiler placed in the large groove

Any attempt to obtain the resonance of the stone building was unsuccessful: the aluminum is too soft and the container was too big. I unearthed a stone ball, and we rubbed off the skin on the palms almost to the blood (we should have worn gloves!). This time "the sound" was heard to about 100 meters to the south!

cu ciocanul toporului rotunjim o piatră mare lucrăm pe rând
we try to get a large stone to a round shape with a hammer we take turns
cu cea dezgropată vom avea două "bile" încercăm
we have two "balls" if we take into account the unearthed one we try

Conclusion: stone structure that produces sound through the resonance of the whole system. The same. However, it does not belong to the Stone Age. Who made it? Oloşii? Hmm ...

ce să fac cu cazanul? Să mi-l fac căciulă! ... sau...
what shall I do with the boiler? What about a hat! ... or...
obosiţi; Cornel se uită cu compasiune la mine (oare se simte vinovat sau mândru că a participat la o asemenea trăsnaie!) altul

tired, Cornel watched me with compassion (does he feel guilty or proud of having participated in such mischief!)

another one
nu e transpiraţie, a plouat puţin ce facem cu cazanul?

it is not sweat; it rained a little

what shall we do with the boiler?
ne mai gândim (cu ce?!) bântuim ca fantomele
we are thinking (with what?!) haunting like ghosts

   Project: we need a cast iron sphere of about 100 kg of four quarters (to be carried by four teammates) and at the place of the experiment to be assembled with some large buried screws.

până la urmă cazanul a rămas la Dl. învăţător, spre aducere aminte...

eventually the boiler remained with Mr. teacher, for remembrance ....

   Pamfil Albu answers: "I hope in this country to be a hundred nuts like us."


BALL OF CAST IRON. Cast iron was considered energy-intensive material (?!) and was very controlled in the socialist economy which was in the downward spiral. I found an unofficial solution and with a  minimum of contacts (the less know, the better!), after explanations thta were found funny or bizarre (normal!), after a week (16 August) I was in the possesion of a cast iron ball which was delivered at the place agreed beforehand, ie the yard of Ambulance Dispatch Station, very swiftly  and because of the sensationalism created, no one retained the registration number of the ARO car! (  ). The ball weighed 93 kg, with a channel in diameter of 27 cm and 3 cm in width. Lathe operator Peter Manole old collaborator, understand the role of the  channel and sets up a traction and  rolling system of steel bars with roundsection: a rod for the ball and another to be parallel to the traction ring, the two being joined with two other rods with holes. All assembly formed a rectangular frame with a mounting system invented ad hoc, nuts and safety pins.

At a carpentry workshop I ordered a box made of pine board 3.5 cm thick, with a hole of 23 cm in diameter with an oblique circumference (as a latrine!). This will be the support for the ball that will be transported in the trunk of Dacia, so the tank will not broke by vibration while driving.

I took photographs of the results for the "History of crazy things."

de o parte şi de alta a bilei sunt ataşate pe bară două ţepuşe ascuţite, care să se înfingă în pământ când calul se va poticni sau se va odihni cadrul montat

on both sides of the ball two sharp stakes are attached to the bar; they should enter into the ground to stop the ball from rolling downhill when the horse will stumble or rest

mounted frame
cadrul montat cadrul montat
mounted frame mounted frame
suportul de lemn pentru transportat bila bila pe suport
wooden support in which the ball is to be transported the ball sitting in the suport

   A new problem arises, rather ridiculous and the more surprising: it's very hard to find two fellow travelers, men who can and want to make a trip that will cost almost nothing on their part!

   I wrote to teacher Pamfil Albu and talked on the phone a few days later. Below is the actual letter:


2 September 1988: Departure from Piatra Neamt at 12.00 and I stop at Vaduri to pick up Romeo Baroi-Gasparic (Eng), 32 years, and his brother, Corneliu Baroi, 19, High School graduated and Polytechnic candidate. We arrived in Lupşa at 21:00 and the.teacher accommodates us. The road was difficult due to the inertia of the ball in the trunk when driving through bends.

3 September 1988: In the morning we get oboard of my Dacia and drive on the forest road and then on a tractor road scaterd with rocks formerly used for logging, for another 2-3 km. We agreed to meet in a certain place between 11:00 and 11:30. On another road, on the other side of the mountain, Ion Albu 55 years, from Lupsa Valley, went up the same mountain by cart with horse, then left the cart (that was to loaded with firewood) and continued to go up with the horse to the meeting place. We had arrived at 10:55 and the horse called Bobi brought by Ion Albu arrived at 11:09. The frame was attached to the horse and at 11:50 Bobi started pulling the ball that rolled behind him. It all worked splendidly and over 2 hours we were at the Dube's place.

The traction frame had to be cut off (I had a bomfaier, just in case) since the safety pins and even the nuts had been warped.

We started (this time using gloves!) to handle the ball in several ways. No luck! I do not think there was a "dubist", a specialist in handling the ball. Logic thinking made me believe that the "bălătruc" could be moved by anyone who got there to give the alarm.

calul a transportat bila în două ore, apoi şi-a luat stăpânul şi au plecat fără să pună niciunul vreo întrebare...! de data asta am două perechi de mănuşi

the horse carried the ball in two hours, then took his master and left without asking any questions ... !

this time I have two pairs of gloves
aproape nimic... nici vremea nu ţine cu noi
almost nothing... even the weather turned against us

The weather was not too favorable. The ball was greased up, placed in a plastic bag and buried (somewhere).

   I think: it is possible that the "bălătruc" was not a ball.

   We descend dissapointed and shelter for the night in a hay shelter loft, too tired to put the tent up. The next day I go to Pamfil Albu and a neighbor of his, a cousin of his, baciu Todor Albu, 88 years and learn that the "BĂLĂTRUC" was a large stone, irregular, with "diameter" of about 1 meter and to produce the sound it was rocked back and forth. I sketched an approximative drawing below:


It was the Duba not the Dube!

The sound produced was not a roar but a BUU-BUU!!!

To my surprise: this is what I dreamt about that night in the hay shelter. I woke up scared by a calf mooing!

Old Todor Albu stated "the Duba was there as a natural occurence, no one put it up..."


Team of 3, with a female travel companion and friend Viorel Nicolau, coming for the second time. Two nights in a tent on the plateau.

23 July 1989: We unearthed the two balls and start all sorts of tests, including by suspending the balls at both ends of a wooden lever (PAR) and by battery. Minor results. It may be inferred that the "bălătruc" had two rounded surfaces at the bottom  and was probably tipped back and forth by someone climbed up on the upper slab.

am pus o piatră la mijloc şi am improvizat o pârghie dintr-un par (1989 iulie 23) cele două bile erau suspendate cu sârme

We placed a rock in the middle and improvised a lever of wooden lever (1989 July 23)

the two balls were suspended with wires
imaginaţia şi inventivitatea sunt bune! Dar până unde...? totuşi...
imagination and inventiveness are good! But how far ...? still...
se încearcă mai multe moduri de acţionare schimbul doi
trying several ways make it work shift 2
cu o singură bilă încă o fotografie "documentară"
using only one ball another "document" photo 
azi nu prea e vară... ce mai e de făcut?
Hardly a summer day ... what to do?
se mai încearcă mutăm suportul pârghiei; şi?
still trying we change the position of the lever support, and?
nimic! încă o dată!
nothing! one more time!

I found that the first taveler marker appeared on the Duba: "ANY". I promise to myself that if it ever comes time to describe these "adventures" to conceal the information regarding the route to the Duba. This was especially since I have no hope that Duba will ever enter the list of protected assets (even national!) and therefore protected, as I think it deserves.

Project for experiment no. 6: a team of six fellows with two cars and two tents for 3-4 nights and amongst them, necessarily, a stone carver who would make a new "bălătruc".

And, what if we start to obtain the alarm sound of the Duba as told by the legend!? How am I going to manage? How do you explain?

It was not easy. I think that we are not too far from the result I believe in.

I think the truth reached us as a legend.

A successful experiment would give me hope (): would be a decisive argument for protecting the monument. Will this be possible? ...