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Monday, December 3, 2007

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Mitchell-Hedges Skull I tried digging for more information today about the upcoming Indiana Jones film (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) which is due to be released on May 22, 2008. But, instead of finding out more about the film, I ended up learning more about crystal skull(s).

From what I understand about the things I've read (meaning, these are my personal conclusions), it seems that much of the crystal skull(s)'s story was made up by a man named Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges. It is probably for this same reason that the most famous crystal skull of all is the "Mitchell-Hedges Skull". And that the made-up story behind that one particular skull had been attached to other crystal skulls as far as their "origin" and "use" are concerned.

For the lack of information on the other crystal skulls, I focused my little research on that one skull, the Mitchell-Hedges Skull.

According to F. A. Mitchell-Hedges, the crystal skull is of pre-Columbian origin, particularly Mayan, and is at least 3,500 years old. According to legend, which I'm inclined to believe he also made up, it was used by Mayan high priests when performing "esoteric rites" that involved killing people. In the first edition of his autobiography "Danger My Ally" published in 1954 he wrote: "It is said that when he [the high priest] willed death with the help of the skull, death invariably followed." (words in parenthesis mine)

As for where and how he discovered the skull, he claimed that it was actually his adopted daughter, Anna Le Guillon Mitchell-Hedges, who discovered the skull in 1926. Anna supported this story in a 1968 affidavit (printed in Richard Garvin's "The Crystal Skull") and further claimed that she found the skull buried under a collapsed altar inside a temple in the Mayan city of Lubaantun in Southern Belize (then British Honduras).

However, all of Mitchell-Hedges' claims (including his story about the skull's discovery) are widely disputed as there are no documented evidence that could support any of them.

What does exist is documentary evidence showing that F. A. Mitchell-Hedges had bought a crystal skull (probably THE skull which father and daughter Mitchell-Hedges had repeatedly claimed to have discovered) in 1944 from a London art dealer by the name of Sydney Burney. (Wow! That's like telling your mother that you didn't steal cookie from the cookie jar when you're presently eating a cookie. But, even in that situation you could tell your mother that the cookie you're eating did not come from the cookie jar.) Burney, by the way, was mentioned to be the owner of the skull since 1933 in the July 1936 issue of Man (a British anthropological journal) which is considered to be the earliest published reference to the skull.

As if that was not enough to shatter the Mitchell-Hedges' story, a research carried out in 1996 by the British Museum on several crystal skulls has shown that "the indented lines marking the teeth (for these skulls had no separate jawbone, unlike the Mitchell-Hedges skull) were carved using jeweler's equipment (rotary tools) developed in the 19th century, making a supposed pre-Columbian origin even more dubious" (Wikepedia article on the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull)

"An investigation carried out by the Smithsonian Institution in 1992 on a crystal skull provided by an anonymous source who claimed to have purchased it in Mexico City in 1960 and that it was of Aztec origin concluded that it, too, was made in recent ages and that it originated with Boban. According to the Smithsonian, Boban acquired the crystal skulls he sold from sources in Germany; findings that are in keeping with those of the British Museum." (Wikepedia article on the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull)

Will this "controversy" be included in the movie? I certainly hope so. I'd rather be fooled anew by a new story which takes off from something which I already know something about (even if it's just another fiction) than be told "let's just say that you didn't know anything about this".

By the way, MTV has an article on its website entitled "'Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull': What's The Title Mean?" where Harverd lecturer Marc Zender made a few educated guesses on the possible role of the skull(s) in the upcoming movie. The article also mentions about a rumor that's been going around that aliens will have a part in the movie. To read the whole article, click here.


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