The Crystal Skulls

There are actually two famous life-size crystal skulls, which thanks to the release of the latest Indiana Jones movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have once again been vaulted into public awareness.

One skull sits enclosed in a glass case in the Museum of Mankind (a section of the British Museum) its eerie gaze fixed
disconcertingly on all who pass. Almost nothing is known of the artifact save that it was apparently purchased in 1898 from Tiffany and Co., New York.

The second, which allegedly possesses mysterious powers, is in the possession of the widower of Anna Mitchell-Hedges and is known by various names, the Skull of Love, the Skull of Doom or more simply the Mitchell-Hedges Skull. From the moment of its discovery the circumstances surrounding the origins of this skull have elicited considerable controversy. According to Anna‘s recollection of events, she had found the skull beneath an alter during excavations in Lubaantun, a Mayan city
, on her seventeenth birthday
. When the Mitchell-Hedges expedition responsible for the excavations returned to England, her father brought the skull with him.

In the years following the expedition it seems that Mitchell-Hedges fell on hard times, supposedly (Anna’s words) using the skull as collateral for a loan with art dealer Sydney Burney. Apparently in order to recoup his money Mr. Burney had placed the skull up for auction at a Sotheby’s sale, only to have it withdrawn when the bids failed to meet the asking price (the British Museum bid 340 pounds). Mitchell-Hedges after learning of the auction and extremely distraught allegedly redeemed the skull for the price of 400 pounds. Upon his death in 1959 it was inherited by his daughter and upon her death at the ripe old age of one hundred, her husband.

There are obviously concerns about the skulls legitimacy and concerns invite questions. Was Miss Mitchell-Hedge’s story regarding the skull's origin a fabrication? If so did she know it was a fabrication? Was the skull planted under the alter, perhaps to make her feel special, after all she did find it on her seventeenth birthday? Her father might have acquired it elsewhere, Mexico for instance where the manufacture and sale of fake pre-Columbian artifacts had become a burgeoning industry. He was as they say well traveled.

Perhaps a clue can be found in Mitchel-Hedges' autobiography "Danger My Ally" written a few years before his death, in which the old explorer remained uncharacteristically non-committal on the subject. Discussing a previous trip to Africa, he stated “We took with us also the sinister Skull of Doom of which much has been written. How it came into my possession I have reason for not revealing.”  

Surely a strange thing to say about something supposedly of such historical importance.

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