left biblioblography: And Now, The Latest Bit Of Skullduggery From The New Age Papsters...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And Now, The Latest Bit Of Skullduggery From The New Age Papsters...

Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!crystal-skull-1 

The lunatic is in the hall.
The lunatics are in my hall.
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

Brain Damage, Pink Floyd

With the advent of the latest Indiana Jones movie, the lunatics are indeed in my hall.

I was having a bit of a natter with my landlady's niece when the Sci-Fi channel put up this bit of fluff.

Bear in mind, this is the Sci-Fi channel, so I can't get too indignant over the televised idiocy.

But then these fellas started blathering about how there are "13 skull that are kept separate, and when they're brought together, will speak the secrets of the world," or somesuch nonsense. Here's a little more idiocy, if you have the taste.

No word of a lie, squire, I rolled my eyes, got a bit incensed, and told her, "Oh, I'll bet they'll mention Hoagland's 'face on Mars', and Atlantis too." She laughed.

Not half an hour later, sure enough, my prediction came true. All without the aid of a crystal ball, I might add.

I've mentioned Hoagland here, so I'm not inclined to veer off into that avenue.

Let's face it (no pun intended): it is a neat little artifact. Skulls remind us of our mortality, so much so they figure in just about every occult 'system' you can just about name. Most animals shy away from their dead, so you can pretty much explain the obsession via evolutionary means.

(Hamlet holding aloft a crystal skull, emoting: "Alas, poor Max, I knew him well. A man of infinite jest.")

So a crystal skull bespeaks a multitude of symbols: of death, antiquity, a secret past, mysteries beyond count.

Sadly, each and every one of them is a fraud.

And, if you're not inclined to take the BBC at its word, here's an anthropologist's take on the whole shebang.

Really, the entire tale behind these 'artifacts' is a sordid mess, replete with all sorts of nonsense.

Like the so-called curse of the Pharaohs, the skull is supposed to bring doom upon those who mock it. Reliable observers have reported extraordinary light effects, sounds and odors, suggesting occult properties. Extensive laboratory tests by the Hewlett-Packard Company, Santa Clara, California, revealed that the skull had remarkable optical properties that it would be virtually impossible to duplicate with modern equipment.

"Brings doom upon those who mock it?" That's an argument from force if ever I heard one. I'm sorely tempted to find one in a museum, and point and laugh at the stupid thing.

Perhaps the most famous and enigmatic skull was allegedly discovered in 1926 by Anna Le Guillon Mitchell-Hedges, adopted daughter of famed archeologist F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. However, because there is no documented evidence of this, some authorities prefer to hypothesise that the skull was actually purchased at auction by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges in 1943. In an affidavit from 1968 printed in Richard Garvin's "The Crystal Skull", Anna claims that she found the skull buried under a collapsed altar inside a temple in Lubaantun (Garvin, photo 25), in British Honduras, now Belize. In a letter to the author in 1970, she also stated that she was "told by the few remaining Maya, and was used by the high priest to will death" (Garvin 93). The artifact is sometimes referred to as "The Skull of Doom" because of its seemingly inexplicable properties and the supposed ill-luck of those who have handled it.

Anna passed away in April 2007, at the ripe old age of 90. There goes that old 'curse'.

Research carried out on several crystal skulls by the British Museum in 1996 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. The type of (rather poor quality) crystal is Brazilian, and unknown within the Aztec or Maya territories. The study concluded that the skulls were crafted in the 19th century in Germany.

And for another skeptic's take (someone else who's still alive to this day, no less!), here's Skepdic's take on the whole sordid affair.

And for your snarky pleasure, here's a site with some truly frightening photos (hint: the scary photos I refer to are not the skulls themselves. Consider yourselves forewarned).

And one more (a little less frightening, but one I found vastly amusing), if you still want to indulge in some of this tomfoolery.

So, in a nutshell: relatively cool little hoax.

So, I'll interlock my fingers in my lap, lean back in my chair, and await the 'doom' from my mocking the crystal skulls.

Like the Second Coming, it'll never happen.

This is the Apostate, signing off.

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Karen said...

I think the crystal skulls are actually pretty cool. I'm assuming the crystal is quartz, and if it's natural quartz it really isn't that poor quality, given the size of the piece. Sure, sub-meter-size quartz crystals have been found without fractures or inclusions, but they're pretty rare. Why can't people just acknowledge that the carving is well done, and not embellish with the BS?

Krystalline Apostate said...

Yeah, they are pretty cool.
The time & effort put into this 1 (you can drop it into a specific liquid, & it vanishes)...well, whoever put it together could've made a killing on the art circuit.