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Crystal Skulls

ProfessorF said:
Funnily enough, I bought a copy of the Mystery Of The Crystal Skulls by Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas here (ISBN - 0-7225-3486-8) - I'll scan the plates if any one's interested.

I'm reading that book at the moment... its very good... or at least I think it is... :D
Hirst Unveils £50m Diamond Skull

Well... it's sort of a crystal skull... ;)

Hirst unveils £50m diamond skull

Artist Damien Hirst has unveiled a diamond-encrusted human skull worth £50m - said to be the most expensive piece of contemporary art.

The 18th Century skull is entirely covered in 8,601 jewels, while new teeth were made for the artwork at a cost of £14m.

The centrepiece of the 41-year-old's creation is a pear-shaped pink diamond, set in the skull's forehead.

Hirst's most famous work is a shark preserved in formaldehyde.

The skull, which was bought from a shop in Islington, north London, is thought to belong to a 35-year-old European who lived between 1720 and 1810.

The £12m-worth of diamonds are said to be ethically sourced.

Hirst said his piece, called For the Love of God, is "uplifting, takes your breath away".

"It works much better than I imagined. I was slightly worried that we'd end up with an Ali G ring," he added.

"You just want it to be flawless, like a diamond is a flawless. We wanted to put them everywhere," Hirst said of the skull.

"They go underneath, inside the nose. Anywhere you can put diamonds, we've put diamonds.

"I wouldn't mind if it happened to my skull after my death," he added.

The artist said that he was inspired by an Aztec turquoise skull at the British Museum, and hopes that his work will eventually be displayed at the institution.

Other Hirst works which have also gone on display at the White Cube gallery in London include a painting of his son's birth by Caesarean section and a tiger shark cut in half and suspended in two tanks of formaldehyde.

Art expert Charles Dupplin from specialist insurer Hiscox called the skull "another bold move" from Hirst.

"This is a spectacular piece and undoubtedly the work with the highest intrinsic value in modern and contemporary art," he added.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/06/01 13:08:15 GMT

I think he should have called it For the Love of Skeletor.
I think he should have called it off.
Hey, everyone, I just wanted to tell you (okay, BRAG :D) that I actually got my hands on the Mitchell-Hedges skull once. Anna used to live in Ontario, Canada, -- Hamilton, IIRC, or maybe Toronto -- and attended an event in Erie, PA, (USA) where she brought along the skull and allowed the people there (a rather smallish group of Fortean folks) to spend ten minutes each touching the skull. It was a fabulous experience. It made my arms tingle up to the shoulder and I got a brief image of a underground room made from stone with windows set up high around ground level.

She told a story about William Shatner (Captain Kirk) coming to visit her to see the skull. She looked at him and said, "Oh, you're the guy who does the TV commercials." (He is Canadian and started out doing commercials for a local grocery store chain a million years ago.) She said he drew himself up and proclaimed, "Madam, I am an ACTOR."

Oh, yeah, and she carried that invaluable artifact around in a foam padded duffle bag. I kid you not. She told me I should come and visit her but I never did. I still regret that.
I've just been watching Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World on DVD!!

What is the current thinking on the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull?

And I am I the only one who thinks it's kind of odd that Anna Mitchell-Hedges was adopted by a single man?
liveinabin1 said:
And I am I the only one who thinks it's kind of odd that Anna Mitchell-Hedges was adopted by a single man?

I don't know but it's not all that uncommon, especially if he wishes a specific child to be his heir. It avoids all sorts of probate problems years later.

And I've known single men who've faithfully and dutifully raised the children of deceased brothers and sisters. (Possibly the greatest of all United States radio situation comedies, THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE (1941-1958), used exactly this as its main premise and plot-line.)

And the great playwright Sir James Barrie, who I believe was was single, was the godfather of the young girl who eventually grew up to become the famous film actress Wendy Barrie (she was named "Wendy" in honor of the girl in PETER PAN and chose her stage surname in Barrie's honor). Had the girl's parents died James Barrie would pretty clearly have continued to raise her.
liveinabin1 said:
I've just been watching Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World on DVD!!

What is the current thinking on the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull?

And I am I the only one who thinks it's kind of odd that Anna Mitchell-Hedges was adopted by a single man?

For sure - there's not much evidence that she was with Hedges in South America on the expedition - none of the other people that were with him mention either him having a girl with him, or finding a crystal skull, so they might have hooked up when she was older - I've interviewed her myself and I thought it might have been a case of a married man wanting to be with another woman at a time when it was not possible any other way - you couldn't stay at most hotels if you weren't married.
She did remain with Mitchell-Hedges until his death, and as far as I know never married, so this argues against an adoptive parent-child relationship.
Mitchell-Hedges was a teller of tall stories rather than a serious scientist.
It's beyond the absurd to think someone parted with 400 pounds, which was a large sum of money in those days, rather than simply telling Sotheby's the item really belonged to him.
markbellis said:
She did remain with Mitchell-Hedges until his death, and as far as I know never married, so this argues against an adoptive parent-child relationship.

I'm sorry, but are you saying that you've never known a spinster daughter to remain at home with her parents, either natural or adoptive, and then remain single after their deaths? And does this automatically establish a sexual relationship? Whew! There must have been a lot more incest in my quiet little hometown than I'd thought!

It's beyond the absurd to think someone parted with 400 pounds, which was a large sum of money in those days, rather than simply telling Sotheby's the item really belonged to him.

I did considerable research on exactly this point years ago and what seems to have happened is that Mitchell-Hedges possessed the Skull at the start of the Slump (what we Americans call the Depression), hit financial hard times, and sold the Skull to pay off his debts.

We even know the name of the man he sold it to (it slips my mind at the moment) and it was that man who later sold the item through Sothebey's. Mitchell-Hedges again had money during the relative prosperity of the Second World War.

As I recall, the Skull had actually belonged to Anna, and she gave Mitchell-Hedges legal permission to sell it in the first place. (And, no, I have no good idea where she'd obtained it.)

You apparently find it "beyond....absurd" that a supposed liar and storyteller might yet have enough conscience to reclaim his step-daughter's former property. What can I add, then, except to say that I do not?
"It's clear that her father bought it off a collector" says Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow with the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, near Buffalo, New York, who in his book Secrets of the Supernatural shows that the skull was in the possession of Sydney Burney, an English art dealer, ( it was even featured in a magazine article with Burney listed as the owner ) until it was sold to Mitchell-Hedges for 400 pounds sometime in 1944, according to a note in the British Museum. There is no written mention that can be found of either of the Mitchell-Hedges discovering or possessing the skull until F.A. Mitchell-Hedges published his autobiography in 1954, and Nickell says that no other member of the expedition to Lubaantun mention the skull, or even say Anna was there.

I have checked the bound copy of the art magazine mentioned, and there is nothing that says that it had belonged to Mitchell-Hedges or that it was found in central America. Both the Mitchell-Hedges claim they found it there. F.A. never said the item was sold or lent to Burney, and Anna maintained that the skull had just been left with him.

And of course, if he got the skull in the early 20s, why did he only start telling the world about it in his autobiography?

Anna Mitchell-Hedges admitted to me that F.A. exaggerated the account of the skull when he claimed it was "The skull of doom", so it's fair to call him a teller of tale tales.

OldTimeRadio said:
I'm sorry, but are you saying that you've never known a spinster daughter to remain at home with her parents, either natural or adoptive, and then remain single after their deaths?And does this automatically establish a sexual relationship?
No, I did not say that, although I personally haven't known an adopted child to remain with their separated father past maturity - I'm sure it's happened, but it's not the routine. I certainly did not make any speculations about any physical aspect of their relationship.

Mitchell-Hedges was married, but he did not seem to have involved his wife in the adoption of Anna, and I do not know if there was any legally formalized adoption of her.

I looked at the skull closely - it's made out of Mexican quartz with some flaws in it, and it's not ultrahard or whatever - there was a scratch on the side that they said was caused by mishandling by someone wearing a diamond ring. It's not complete realistic - the eyes and teeth are stylized. It's only been polished to a shiny finish on the parts that are visible - on the bottom it was left rough.
this documentary shows that Carlos Casteneda was sexually active with his adopted daughter, so these things do happen...

Link is dead. No archived / alternate version found.
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Spotlight on skulls with new Indiana Jones film
By Henry Samuel in Paris and Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles
Last Updated: 2:58am BST 19/04/2008

The fourth outing of Steven Spielberg's fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones has generated renewed interest in the enigmatic crystal skulls at the centre of his latest adventure.

In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - global release date May 22 - Harrison Ford's grizzled archaeologist tracks down several crystal skulls purportedly crafted in pre-Columbus South America.

According to lore, when placed together in their ancient temple, the skulls unlock vast knowledge and unlimited power. The plot draws on the mysterious provenance of numerous real crystal skulls held in private collections and museums around the world, including the British Museum, Paris's Musée du Quai Branly and the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

Originally, the skulls, which first began surfacing in the second half of the nineteenth century, were thought to be Olmec, Maya or Aztec masterpieces dating back to before the Spanish conquest of the New World. But in recent decades, research has revealed them to have been crafted by tools too sophisticated to have existed in pre-Columbian South America.

The new film has prompted historians and anthropologists to revisit theories about the skulls and question why they continue to captivate and enthral. Experts at the Louvre museum's centre for research and restoration of museums in France, C2RMF, have concluded that the Paris specimen only dates back to the late 19th century. The limpid quartz skull, 11 cm high 2.5 kilos in weight, was sold to the French state by cash-strapped French explorer Alphonse Pinart in 1878, who had bought it from a Parisian dealer in archaeological relics.

For more than 150 years it was presented as an ancient masterpiece. But in recent months, French experts tested it in a particle accelerator, under ultraviolet light and a deep humidity probe and found grooves and perforations revealing the use of jewellery burrs and other modern tools. "Never can such technical precision be found in pre-Columbian art when the use of crystal was moreover very rare," Yves Le Fur, of the Musée du Quai Branly told Le Figaro.

They even gave the name of the German workshop that probably made it. The British Museum has done similar tests on its skull, which was originally acquired in 1897 and said to be an ancient Mexican object. Its research established the skull was most likely produced in the 19th century in Europe. A spokesman said it appeared to have been made on something called the jewellers' wheel, a rotary wheel, which only obviously exists in a later period. "All the other Aztec material was worked by hand with hand tools and this object very definitely isn't, so we feel that it's much more likely it's not an authentic pre-Columbian artefact."

The museum also doubts any of the other skulls in existence "are genuine Aztec objects". Nevertheless, it welcomes the new Indiana Jones film.

"As entertainment, the movie will surely appeal to the public, but it is very much a work of fiction. We hope, however, that it will encourage visitors to see the skull at the British Museum and to learn more about Aztec culture."

Meanwhile the latest edition of Archaeology, from the Archaeological Institute of America, carries a lengthy article entitled the "Legend of the Crystal Skulls: the truth behind Indiana Jones' latest quest".

In it, Jane MacLaren Walsh, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History who has studied the skulls extensively, concludes they could not have been made using pre-Columbian tools.

"Crystal skulls are much too perfectly carved and highly polished to be believed." "So why," she continues, "have crystal skulls had such a long and successful run, and why do some museums continue to exhibit them, despite their lack of archaeological context and obvious iconographic, stylistic, and technical problems?

"Perhaps it is because, like the Indiana Jones movies, these macabre objects are reliable crowd-pleasers."

Several books claim the skulls have extraordinary powers and that if brought together, would reveal information vital to the very survival of the human race. "In a sense, even if they are false, these objects are not without enchantment," said Mr Le Fur.

"And it's very likely that Indiana Jones will rekindle all sorts of legends (around them)," he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... ull119.xml
H_James said:
this documentary shows that Carlos Casteneda was sexually active with his adopted daughter, so these things do happen...

But surely such behavior is much more uncommon than not?
The Indie on Indiana...

Indiana Jones and the Heap of Old Junk

The 12 surviving Aztec crystal skulls are cherished by museums, revered by New-Age writers, and have a starring role in Harrison Ford's new movie. There's just one problem: they are fakes, say French experts
By John Lichfield
Saturday, 19 April 2008

A drastic title change may be needed for the much-awaited, new Indiana Jones movie, which comes out next month.

Harrison Ford's comeback as Steven Spielberg's swashbuckling, fedora-wearing archaeologist is to be called Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Judging by the spoil-sport findings of the French government's artistic research centre, revealed yesterday, a more appropriate title might be "Indiana Jones and the Heap of Old Junk".

Some secrecy surrounds the plot of the fourth movie in the Indiana Jones series, which comes out in America on 22 May. It is known, however, to be set in 1957 and has an ageing "Indy" battling Soviet agents (including Kate Blanchett) for the possession of an ancient Mayan or Aztec crystal skull. This object purportedly contains secrets brought to Earth from beyond the stars.

Twelve such skulls, carved from solid crystal or quartz, are known to exist. Three of them are in national museum collections in Britain, the United States and France. Nine are in private hands. They have become the subject of feverish speculation by New Age writers about their purported extra-terrestrial origins. Held at a certain angle, in a certain light, it is suggested, the skulls become crystal balls which reveal the unmistakeable outline of a flying saucer.

According to one version of events, the 12 skulls – and a missing 13th sister skull – must be lined up or piled in a pyramid on or before the last day in the Mayan calendar, 21 December 2012. Otherwise the globe will fly off its axis.

Doubts about the authenticity of the skulls as Aztec or Mayan artefacts have existed for years. The British Museum, which owns one example, concluded 11 years ago that its skull had probably been polished by a wheeled machine. The pre-Colombian civilisations on the American continents discovered many things, but not the wheel. (Ah well, say the New Age theorists, the Mayans may not have had the wheel. The beings from outer space obviously did. 8) )

The "French skull", acquired by the French state from a bankrupt collector in 1878, is now in the hands of the Musée Quai Branly, the excellent new museum of non-Western art beside the Eiffel Tower.

Because of the interest inspired by the Spielberg film, the French national museum service's research and restoration centre, C2RMF, decided a few months ago to subject the crystal skull to the most advanced forms of analysis, including "particle induced X-ray emission and Raman spectroscopy".

The centre's official report will be published next week but the principal findings were released yesterday by the Quai Branly museum. The "French skull" was probably made in a small village in southern Germany in the second half of the 19th century. The quartz from which it is made is of Alpine, not Central American, origin. The pre-Colombian origin of the "French skull", and probably several of the others, was almost certainly concocted by the French adventurer and antique merchant, Eugène Boban, who sold it to a wealthy French collector in 1875.

"The grooves and perforations [on the skull] clearly show the use of jewellery drills and other modern tools," said Yves Le Fur, the deputy head of collections at the Quai Branly. "It is inconceivable that such precision was the work of pre-Colombian artists."

The Musée du Quai Branly intends nonetheless to place its skull – only four inches tall – on special exhibition from 20 May to coincide with the appearance of the Indiana Jones film. The skull will be "hidden" in the museum and visitors will be invited to follow clues to try to locate it. French museum directors have, it seems, learnt a thing or two about spin-off tourism since the film The Da Vinci Code. The directors of the Louvre were, initially, aghast at the absurd and wilful errors made in Dan Brown's best-selling thriller and the subsequent film. They later relented and arranged Da Vinci Code tours of the museum.

Doubts about the authenticity of Aztec or Mayan crystal skulls have recently been posted on archaeology.org, the website of the Archeological Institute of America. Jane MacLaren Walsh, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and a leading authority on pre-Colombian art, traces the strange history of the skulls and the legends which have come to surround them.

The largest of the skulls, almost 10 inches high, larger than a human head, was sent anonymously to the Smithsonian in 1992. The disturbing, milky-white sculpture came with an unsigned letter. "This Aztec crystal skull ... was purchased in Mexico in 1960. I am offering it to the Smithsonian without consideration," it said.

"Crystal skulls have undergone serious scholarly scrutiny, but they also excite the popular imagination because they seem so mysterious," Ms Walsh says. "Some believe the skulls are the handiwork of the Maya or Aztecs, but they have also become the subject of constant discussion on occult websites. Some insist that they originated on a sunken continent or in a far-away galaxy. They are intensely loved today by a large coterie of ageing hippies and New Age devotees."

Ms Walsh points the initial finger of blame at Boban. Several allegedly Mexican crystal skulls turned up in Europe after France intervened in the Mexican civil war in 1863 to install Maximilian von Hapsburg as emperor. Two skulls were exhibited by Boban at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 after he served as the ill-fated Maximilian's official archaeologist.

Boban went to Mexico as a teenager and learned Spanish and the Aztec language, Nahuatl. He seems to have had a genuine passion for pre-Colombian history and culture but he also had to make a living. He opened an antiquities business in Paris, which is known to have mingled genuine artefacts with the dubious and the downright fake. He later moved his business to New York.

The celebrated Manhattan jewellers Tiffany and Co bought an "Aztec" crystal skull from Boban for $950 in 1881. The British Museum purchased it a decade later at the same price. This skull remains in the museum's collections in Bloomsbury but is now presented as being "probably" a fake.

Enter another generation of experts, fakers or fantasists, this time British. In 1934, Sidney Burney, a London art dealer, bought a crystal skull almost identical to the one in the British Museum. In 1943, it was sold through Sotheby's to the British explorer and writer Frederick Arthur Mitchell-Hedges. He later claimed to have discovered the skull at a Mayan site in Belize (then British Guyana). In his autobiography, Danger My Ally, in 1954, he said that the skull was "at least 3,600 years old and according to legend was used by the High Priest of the Maya when performing esoteric rites. It is said that, when he willed death with the help of the skull, death invariably followed."

The object, sometimes called the Skull of Doom, was owned for 60 years by his daughter, Anna Mitchell-Hodges, until her death last year. She sometimes charged a fee to look at it.

The Skull of Doom is an especial favourite with New Age theorists. It is said to glow with a blue light and to crash any computer hard drive which comes near to it. One of the New Age skull theories holds that the skulls are, in all probability, an very advanced form of extra-terrestrial computer. :roll:

"Although nearly all of the crystal skulls have at times been identified as Aztec, Toltec, Mixtec or occasionally Maya, they do not reflect the artistic or stylistic characteristics of any of these cultures," Ms Walsh, the Smithsonian anthropologist, points out. She believes that some of the earlier skulls were faked in Mexico in the 19th century. Others probably came from Europe. The "Skull of Doom" was probably a fake of one of these fakes.

Her findings tally almost exactly with those of the French museums' research centre, C2RMF. This agency, run by the Louvre, establishes the identity of disputed art works and explores old artistic techniques. It is regarded as the most advanced organisation of its kind in the world.

The centre states "with a reasonable degree of certainty" that the "French" skull at the Quai Branly and the "British" skull in the British Museum came from the village of Idar-Oberstein in southern Germany. The village is known to have specialised in making similar objects as bases for crucifixes in the period 1867 to 1886. This would explain why the "French" skull has identical-sized holes at top and bottom.

Analysis of the quartz used in the skull has identified the material as of Alpine origin. The British Museum skull is believed to have used Brazilian quartz. From the Alps or Brazil to Mexico by flying saucer is just a short hop, all the same. ;) Could extra-terrestrial makers of the skulls not have shared the same skills as 19th-century German artisans? We will probably never know.

Legends surrounding crystal skulls have become a staple subject of science fiction novels and video games, as well as New Age theories about the extra-terrestrial history of mankind.

A central legend, according to the Quai Branly, goes as follows. The 12 known skulls represent the 12 "worlds", or planets, which were once inhabited by mankind. Of these, the planet Earth, was the youngest. The "Itzas", the ancient people from other planets, brought the skulls to Earth to convey their knowledge to humans. A 13th skull was manufactured on Earth and all were kept in a great pyramid by successive civilisations in Central America, the Olmecs, the Mayas and finally the Aztecs, who foolishly lost or dispersed them.

Some aspect of this legend will provide the plot for the new movie. It seems that Spielberg, the director, and Ford, the star, had severe doubts about mystic, crystal skulls as the story line for the new Indiana Jones story, the first to appear since 1989. One of the reasons for the long delay, according to Hollywood gossip, is that Spielberg and Ford hated the skulls idea, put forward by George Star Wars Lucas, who wrote the script. But after a dozen re-writes, they were brought around.

Will the new findings of French artistic scientists send Spielberg and Ford into a fit of despair? Hardly. The previous Indiana Jones movies were far from historical documentaries but they were amongst the most popular adventure films ever made.

The success of The Da Vinci Code suggests that it takes more than a few inconvenient facts to spoil a good story. "In one sense these are enchanted objects, even if they are fakes," said Yves Le Fur of the Musée Quai Branly. "No doubt the Indiana Jones film will generate a whole new series of legends."

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 11846.html
ryn said:
The Indie said:
According to one version of events, the 12 skulls – and a missing 13th sister skull – must be lined up or piled in a pyramid on or before the last day in the Mayan calendar, 21 December 2012. Otherwise the globe will fly off its axis.

(wearily eyes certain other posters currently prolific on Earth Mysteries, wonders to self how soon they'll pick up on this gem, and reaches for ibuprofen...)
It didn't glow blue or any other color and the electronics in my camera functioned fine when I took its picture...
Mystery of the Crystal Skulls on the Sci-Fi Channel

One of archaeology's most compelling mysteries is that of the 13 crystal skulls. The crystal skulls have been some of the most powerful mystical symbols in human history. Several "perfect" crystal skulls have been found in parts of Mexico and Central and South America. Together, they form a mystery as enigmatic as the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge.

This summer the connection will become known worldwide, with the release of the new Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Hosted by Lester Holt, SCI FI's investigative special Mystery of the Crystal Skulls will explore the history of these perplexing artifacts — the myths, the legends, the controversies, and the secret scientific tests performed on them behind closed doors.

But if we wish to comprehend their deepest mysteries, we must hurry. According to the prophecy, only by reuniting all or nearly all of the 13 crystal skulls can humankind unlock secrets that will allow us to avoid the apocalypse predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar — which comes to end on Dec. 21, 2012.

The countdown for the salvation of the human race has begun.


According to my TV guide, this is showing Saturday night (June 7th) at 10pm on the UK Sci-Fi Channel.

But their website lists 4 different times starting Sunday!
Hmm, let's see how many places these clowns have gone wrong.

No crystal skull has turned up in any site that's been excavated by archeologists in the Americas and analysis of ones that appear to have come from a dealer suggest that they are modern artifacts - probably 19th Century and later. Neither the indigenous nations of the Americas or the governments of the countries have asked for these things to be 'returned'.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=90769106

I've only handled the Mitchell-Hedges skull - but the quartz it is made from has visible flaws in it, and it is not a completely realistic rendering of a human skull, so it could not described as "perfect"

The 13 skulls idea is promoted by Harley Reagan, a man who claims to be part Cherokee, but of whom the Cherokee nation have stated that he is not and have condemned his representations of their culture. (He also has made many unusual claims about himself: http://forum.americanindiantribe.com/vi ... ?=&p=51147 )

There is no Mayan prophecy about an apocalypse in 2012 - the Mayans had one calendar that went back to zero after a given period of time, but so do our clocks at midnight! And this calendar, like the Julian calendar now only used by the Eastern Orthodox churches, fell out of use even before Columbus, so it is not certain when zero is - it may have already happened.

Well, they've certainly lived up to the fiction part of Sci Fi, but where's the science?
It may be a perceptual thing, but the crystal skull material always seems to me inconsistent, flaky, and poorly-supported even by Fortean standards - no primary sources for the folklore, contradictory statements from the principles, nothing to look up or judge for yourself, just assertion after assertion and (most importantly, from my point of view) no good stories. Even other IMHO dubious Fortean material, such as identifications of Atlantis, give one much more to work with, even at their airiest.

I watched the SciFi channel show on the crystal skulls with my husband, and used it to illustrate for him certain processes for building up unlikely claims from almost nothing. "There, see how they did that? Ten minutes ago something valuable might have been thrown overboard and it might have been a crystal skull; now something was thrown out and it's "probably" a skull, and ten minutes from now they'll be talking as if the skull is a fact."

If someone has better source material that gives us a story, please tell me where to find it.
There has been another movie with crystal skulls featuring in the plot (if it could be called that), the 1996 movie The Phantom based on the 1930s comic book character of the same name.
The TV guide proved to have it right, and according to them, the next showing on Sci-Fi UK is Saturday 22nd June at 9:50pm.

A few days later Channel 5 get in on the act:

Revealed (Documentary)
Time - 20:00 - 21:00
When - Tuesday 24th June on five

Legend of The Crystal Skulls.
Historical documentary investigating the origins of the world-famous crystal skulls. Since the 19th century, a number of lifelike quartz skulls have been discovered and displayed in museums. These relics, allegedly dating from Aztec and Mayan civilisations, are believed to have psychic powers. But are they geniune artefacts or elaborate fakes? Now, for the first time ever, scientists are given access to the most famous skull of all, the so-called 'Skull of Doom'.
More proof of skullduggery ...sorry

How about this for the next instalment of the Indy franchise: "Indiana Jones and the Dodgy Antiques Dealer"?

Less than three months after the Quai Branly Museum in Paris discovered that a crystal skull once proclaimed as a mystical Aztec masterpiece was a fake, it is now the turn of the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution to find they were victims of skull-duggery.

Scientists from those two prestigious institutions on Wednesday said their crystal skulls were cut, honed and polished by tools of the industrial age, not by Mesoamerican craftsmen of yore.

"The skulls under consideration are not pre-Columbian. They must surely be regarded as of relatively modern manufacture," they say.

"Each skull was probably worked not more than a decade before it was first offered for sale."

The skulls became star exhibits in all three museums long before the Indiana Jones movie, "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," hit the movie screens this year.

The superstitious deemed them part of a collection of 12 skulls, endowed with healing or mystical powers, that dated back to the ancient culture of Central America.

Reuniting all 12 skulls, together with a putative 13th, would conjure up a massive power that would prevent the Earth from tipping over on December 21 2012, the "doomsday" in the Mayan calendar, according to one fable.

Legend-lovers had a bad day on April 18 when the Quai Branly said it had found grooves and perforations in its 11-centimetre (4.4-inch) -high quartz skull revealing the use of "jewellery burrs and other modern tools."

Doubts had also surfaced about the skulls in London and Washington, with art experts noting they were unusually large and with teeth markings that were exceptionally linear.

Seeking the verdict of science, researchers from those two museums examined the skulls with electron microscopes, looking at tiny scratches and marks left by the carving implements.

These were then compared with the surfaces of a crystal goblet, rock crystal beads and dozens of greenstone jewels known to be of genuine Aztec or Mixtec origin.

The study appears in the Journal of Archaeological Science, published by the Elsevier group.

The skull in the British Museum, purchased in 1897, is made of transparent rock crystal and is 15 centimetres (six inches) high. The Smithsonian skull, acquired by the museum in 1992, is of white quartz and measures 25.5 cms (10 inches) in height.

The investigators found that rotary wheels gave the British skull its sharp definition, a drill had dug out the nostrils and eyes, and diamond or corondum had been applied with iron or steel tools to smooth its upper surfaces.

As for the US skull, "faint traces" of tool marks remain, but these too are consistent with rotary wheels or grinding pads, the authors say.

No evidence has ever been found that rotary wheels were used to cut stones in Central America before the arrival of Europeans.

The investigators also found a black-and-red deposit in a tiny cavity of the Smithsonian skull. X-ray diffraction showed it to be silicon carbide -- a tough compound that only exists naturally in meteorites but is widespread in modern industrial abrasives.

Tiny irregularities in the quartz suggest the mineral for the London skull came from the European Alps, Brazil or Madagascar, while the quartz for the Washington skull had "many potential sources," including Mexico and the United States.

The sleuths pored over the archives of both museums, the Museum of Mankind in Paris, the French National Library, the Hispanic Society of America and newspaper records in a bid to find where the skulls came from.

The only documentation existing for the Smithsonian skull indicates it had been purchased in Mexico City in 1960. The scientists believe the skull was "probably manufactured shortly before it was purchased" there.

As for the British Museum and Quai Branly skulls, the paper trail leads to a French antiques collector by the name of Eugene Boban Duverge.

Boban had a shop in Mexico City and parlayed his way to the salons of Paris thanks to the 1863-67 "French Intervention," when troops of France's Second Empire invaded Mexico.

He built up a collection of 2,000 pre-Columbian artefacts, the biggest in Europe at the time. It included several crystal skulls, including the newly-unmasked fakes in London and Paris.

The skull that would eventually be bought by the British Museum was acquired by Boban between 1878 and 1881, possibly in Europe, the study says. In 1885, he tried to sell it to the National Museum of Mexico, but was turned down.

A year later, Boban sold it an auction to the New York jeweller's Tiffany's.

Two years later, Tiffany's sold the skull to a Californian businessman who nearly a decade later went bust and asked the jeweller to hunt for a new buyer.

So it was that Tiffany's vice president, George Kunz, made a pitch to the British Museum.

He recommended the purchase of "this remarkable object," sketched a past of colourful ownership, beginning with a Spanish soldier who had brought it back from Mexico, and quoting the opinion of others that the skull was of ancient Mexican origin but no-one knew for sure.

The rest, as they say, belongs to history... and human gullibility.

bobok_ said:
More proof of skullduggery ...sorry
How about this for the next instalment of the Indy franchise: "Indiana Jones and the Dodgy Antiques Dealer"?
Less than three months after the Quai Branly Museum in Paris discovered that a crystal skull once proclaimed as a mystical Aztec masterpiece was a fake, it is now the turn of the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution to find they were victims of skull-duggery.
Scientists from those two prestigious institutions on Wednesday said their crystal skulls were cut, honed and polished by tools of the industrial age, not by Mesoamerican craftsmen of yore.

All as featured in FT 238 and all as know about for quite ages - the BM skull was shown to be of modern origin at least as early as 1980 and acknowledged as such from then on. Must be a slow news day in Australia!

gordonrutter said:

All as featured in FT 238 and all as know about for quite ages - the BM skull was shown to be of modern origin at least as early as 1980 and acknowledged as such from then on. Must be a slow news day in Australia!

Another excellent example of a story that's so good, it keeps doing the rounds, no matter how many times it's disproved. Every generation has a new spin on it and it's too good not to be true. :)
Mitchell-Hedges skull comes to southeast Queensland

"Known as the Mitchell-Hedges skull, it has fascinated people for decades, possibly millennia, and attracts interest from all, including hardened sceptics and those who believe it has mystical or even extraterrestrial power.

It is said to have wept tears at the assassination of US president John F. Kennedy.

The life-size skull is made from a block of crystal quartz and is perhaps best remembered from the opening sequence of the television series, Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, recently re-released on DVD.

Based in the US, the crystal skull is now coming to the Sunshine Coast to a conference in October being staged by the Mapleton-based Nexus Magazine, a publication that focuses on strange and mysterious phenomena."

"The crystal skull will arrive in October with its first public viewing at the Nexus Conference, Novotel Twin Waters Resort, from October 4 to 6.

Further public viewings are planned for Pomona, Maleny, Kawana, Caboolture and the Jindalee Hotel and Functions Centre, Brisbane, before the skull is taken to NSW.

Private viewings are possible with bookings already made, including a group of 14 from Byron Bay."

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/stor ... 02,00.html
And for those wanting to see it in the UK it is on display in Edinburgh as part of the Histories Mysteries conference which is on the 22nd and 23rd of November - there are opportunities to spend quality time with the skull as well as just see it


My camera also worked fine in taking pictures of the B-M skull -even my mobile took a good picture. I was quite surprised that the British museum just had it stashed in a corner, particularly after all the publicity after the Indiana Jones film. Ok, the statue from Easter Island just in front of it was way cooler, but even so!
The 'original' crystal skull is on Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World now*, with its owner and gemmologist Allan Jobbins apparently disagreeing about its provenance. It'll no doubt be repeated ad nauseam over the next week or so. :D

*201, the Paranormal channel.
Alternatively the Mitchell Hedges Skull is in Edinburgh this weekend - tickets still available!