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Some people with a mystical bend credit them with strange, supernatural powers. Geologists marvel at their size. Archaeologists wonder who made them. And nobody denies that they possess an eerie, horrible beauty unmatched by almost any other objects. They are the crystal skulls.

For many years, when the subject of the crystal skulls was discussed, few people were aware of the fact that the Mitchell-Hedges skull was not the only crystal skull known to man. It may have been the most perfectly carved, even viewed by more people throughout the world than any other skull, but, certainly not the only skull. In fact, there are many skulls in various locations around the world which range in size from a few pounds, or softball sized, to over forty pounds.

All crystal is ancient and there are no good ways of guessing how long ago a skull shape was carved or polished out of the quartz. Scientists have examined some of the skulls whose history is not known looking for tiny marks that may tell what type of tools were used to carve them, but this may not always give a reliable age or origin. It does not eliminate contemporary artists using ancient methods. Probably the two most famous clear crystal skulls are the “Mitchell-Hedges” skull and the skull at the Museum of Mankind.

The widely known Mitchell-Hedges skull, located in Canada, one of the most beautiful skulls, is now shrouded in controversy. It is presently suggested that the skull is not ancient, but a work of more recent times, perhaps orchestrated by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, himself, to promote interest and financing for his adventures. Coined The Skull of Doom’, by some associates of the adventurer, actually a misnomer for a term used in the 1930s, The Skull of Dunn. Dunn was an associate of F.A., on the expedition to Luubantun, in 1927, which is when young Anna Mitchell-Hedges, then age 17, reports she found the skull in the ruins of a temple.

The Museum of Mankind, part of British Museum near Piccadilly Circus in London, contains a crystal skull which is called the Aztec Skull. The skull is in a case there and is labeled as “possibly of Aztec origin- the colonial period at the earliest.” It is no longer on display in that museum. Museum personnel as well as visitors claim the skull moves on its own within the glass case in which it is enclosed. It was acquired by the museum at the turn of the century from an antiquity dealer in New York.

In more recent times, several quartz crystal skulls have appeared. Their owners suggest some ancient. Extensive examinations of these skulls have, however, determined many are not ancient at all. It is not certain as to the origin of these imposters. In the early 1980s, a human-sized quartz crystal skull surfaced in Texas. It was in the possession of Norbu Chen, a Tibetan healer. The skull was given to Carl and Jo Ann Parks to satisfy a debt. The skull was placed in a cosmetic case and stored on the floor of a closet in their Houston home for several years. It was while Jo Ann Parks was watching television that she realized that her skull may be an important artifact.

The program was about the Mitchell-Hedges skull, and F.R. Nick Nocerino, a world-renowned expert in crystal skull research, was a guest on the show. After viewing the program, Jo Ann, contacted Nocerino, upon which he traveled to Houston from his home near San Francisco to examine the skull. He determined that the skull was authentic and that it was ancient. He had indeed been aware of the existence of the skull, but had not been able to determine its location. Soon after Nocerino’s visit, Jo Ann, after several discussions with the rock, as she fondly referred to it, was told its name was Max.

Also in the mid 80s, Joke van Dieten Maasland, who presently resides in Miami Beach, Florida, acquired a smokey quartz crystal skull from a dealer in Los Angeles. It was reported that this skull had been in the possession of a family in Guatemala, whose parents found the skull in1906, while excavating a Mayan Temple. Joke credits the skull, which she calls E.T., as instrumental in a personal healing of a brain tumor. She shares the story in her book, Messengers of Ancient Wisdom.

In early 1990, a skull weighing more than 40 pounds, which was carved from rock quartz crystal but hollowed out, was donated to the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington. There was little or no documentation as to its authenticity. Since there was no documentable evidence of the age or origin of the skull, the curator determined not to place the skull in the museum for viewing until its authenticity was established.

During a lecture tour in Mexico many years ago, Nocerino was invited to a location in Guerro Provence, to assist in locating the buried ruins of an ancient city. It was during this visit that Nocerino provided the information as to the location of what he thought was an ancient temple. (Due to the current political situation in Mexico, the safety of those currently involved with this excavation would be compromised should I reveal the exact location of the excavation, or the name of the city.) Excavation of that location later revealed several carved crystal artifacts.

Among these artifacts were two crystal skulls, one of which is currently owned by Nocerino, which is 13 pounds 3 ounces and is carved of clear quartz crystal. Nocerino calls the skull Sha-Na-Ra, in memory of a Shaman Healer he once knew. DaEl Walker, a well- known crystal researcher and author of several crystal healing books currently own the second. It is smaller than Sha-Na-Ra, about 9 pounds, also quartz crystal. DaEl calls it The Rainbow Skull, due to the rainbow of colors that dance through the skull when in the natural light.

The Pelton Foundation of Applied Paranormal Research, The Institute of Psychic and Hypnotic sciences and The Society of Crystal Skulls, International, launched a research project and video documentary which included the Rainbow, Sha-Na-Ra, E.T., Jesuit, Max, and the Agate Chip skulls. Members of the various organizations who were expert in the field of psychometry, scrying and gazing were brought in to work with the skulls in an attempt to learn more about the skulls using these methods. It would be the first time in recorded history that more than two authentic carved quartz crystal skulls would be together in one room at the same time.

In April of 1996, The BBC, in association with the British Museum and Everyman Productions, of London, performed tests on several crystal skulls to determine the age of the caning through electron microscope. Nick Nocerino was invited to bring Sha-Na-Ra. Carl and Jo Ann Parks were invited to bring Max. The British museum offered their Aztec skull and the Smithsonian Institution was invited to bring their 40-pound skull. Also included was a skull from Guatemala, an ancient gold and silver plated reliquary cross which rested in a carved crystal skull and a small skull. Anna Mitchell-Hedges was also invited. However, she declined.

The BBC produced a documentary of the tests. The results were shocking to the museum staff. It was determined that the British skull and the Smithsonian skull were not ancient, but in fact carved using very contemporary methods from the 1800s. Sha-Na-Ra and Max were also examined. While the officials of the museum would not publicly comment as to the results, it was confidentially revealed, by the antiquity expert brought to the museum by its officials, that the method used to carve Max and Sha-Na-Ra, was used more than 5000 years ago! The skull in the British museum was a fake. The Smithsonian skull was a fake.

The Mitchell-Hedges skull? Well, we wonder why Anna declined. Her only comment was that it had been tested enough in the past. The BBC aired their documentary in July, 1996 and will be aired by U.S. television, however, no date has yet been set. In a letter to me from Everyman Productions, in London, it was reported by the BBC that they had never aired a program in this series with a larger audience.

One scientist, Dr. G. M. Morant had examined the Mitchell-Hedges skull and the skull at the Museum of Mankind together in 1936. He noted the skulls were very similar in many anatomical details and suggested that the one in the museum might be a slightly rougher copy of the Mitchell-Hedges skull. Since then, neither Morant nor any other scientist has been able to definitely establish a time or place where either of these skulls were created. So they remain, along with many other crystal skulls, a beautiful, but puzzling enigma.