Mayan Crystal Skull Riddle: Ritual Props of the Priests or Fake Archaeologists
It was an early summer morning on the Yucatan Peninsula. Archaeologists who excavated the ancient Mayan temple recently woke up and were just about to start work. But the youngest participant of this expedition, a girl named Anna, was already near the destroyed altar found on the eve and with might and main worked with a brush. On this day, she turned 17 years old, and she dreamed of finding something unusual in the excavation – for her it would be the best gift.
And Anna’s dream came true.
Another movement of the brush – and out of the ground came through something smooth and shiny in the sun. A few more minutes of excavation – and the girl was already holding a truly amazing find. A human skull made of the purest rock crystal!
That is how Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adopted daughter of a famous archeologist and even more famous adventurer and crook Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges, described the discovery of the most famous, but not the only crystal skull, one of the artifacts, which scientists still cannot explain.
Many skulls, even more mysteries …
In addition to this skull, at least twelve were found in different years. Each of them is cut from a single crystal of rock crystal, and mineralogical experts are not able to explain how this was done: in their opinion, if the crystal is cut in such directions, it should split into pieces. Similarly, scientists do not understand how the skulls were polished – their surface is perfectly smooth, but there are no traces of processing on it. And one more strangeness is noted by many who deal with these artifacts: according to their stories, bright, realistic dreams about the life of ancient Indians are dreamed near skulls, and sometimes even waking visions occur.
If you send a beam of light to the crystal skull, you can get an unusual and even frightening effect: the light will burst from the sockets or from the mouth. Because of these effects, scientists have suggested that these artifacts were used by Indian priests during religious rituals. Unless, of course, the skulls were really made by Indians in ancient times, and are not fakes, created in the early twentieth century.
Confusion in the “testimony”
And this opinion is also quite common among experts in different antiquities. It appeared in the 70s of the last century, almost immediately after Anna Mitchell-Hedges showed the crystal skull to historians and told reporters about how she found it. It was already after the death of her adoptive father, and many were surprised that she and Anna did not announce their find immediately after returning from Yucatan and kept her in secret for so long. Anna explained this by the fact that Frederick Albert was afraid that the sponsors of his expeditions had misappropriated the skull, but the journalists decided to check her words and discovered new oddities. It turned out that in 1943 at Sotheby’s auction, a British antiquary named Sidney Breni sold a skull of crystal, and the buyer of this lot was none other than Frederick Albert Mitchell Hedges.
Anna began to make excuses that after the expedition, her father needed money and he sold Bernie’s skull himself, and then bought it out. But since she had never said anything about this before, she no longer had the same trust. Moreover, the history of the discovery of the skull on her birthday looked too beautiful and romantic coincidence – it looked more like her archaeologist’s daughter also thought up to attract more attention to the crystal artifact.
It’s impossible to fake them either.
Now most scientists are almost sure that their father and daughter lied about how a crystal skull fell into their hands. But the remaining questions regarding this and other skulls remain open. If Mitchell Hedges didn’t sell Bernie’s “his” skull, where did he get it from an antiquary? Did any other archaeologist find it during the excavations or did an unknown craftsman who lived in the early twentieth century cut out of crystal? And if all the crystal skulls are fakes, it is still unclear how they were created?
According to most experts in mineralogy, it was impossible to grind their crystal into a subject of such a complex shape and even polish it using tools that existed in the mid-twentieth century. The smooth surface of the skulls amazed scientists even more than their form: art historian Frank Dordland, for example, wrote that such smoothness can be achieved only by polishing the crystal with wet sand for … a few hundred years!
Not all skulls are perfect.
In addition to the thirteen large skulls of regular shape at the end of the twentieth century, small transparent skulls, as well as flattened, began to appear.