- From mjc
Curse of the crystal skulls: The real life story of the new Indiana Jones movie By CHRIS MORTON and CERI LOUISE THOMAS
The lamplight glimmered softly, turning an ordinary suburban sitting room into a place of eerie mystery. Before us, in the semi-darkness, sat Carole Wilson, a renowned psychic whose strange powers had previously been used by police officers trying to solve murder cases and find the missing. But now they were being deployed in an attempt to unlock the secret of one of the most extraordinary objects we had ever beheld - a life-size human skull fashioned from breathtakingly pure crystal.
(above) Crystal skull at the British museum
According to Mayan teachings, all 13 skulls would be rediscovered one day and brought together for their wisdom to be made available As it was placed on a small turntable so that Carole could touch and manipulate it from all angles, specks of light danced and flickered on its surface. Then Carole closed her eyes and emitted an unearthly high-pitched hum before speaking in an otherworldly, staccato voice, nothing like her own.
"You seek to know the origins of this receptacle," said the echoing voice. "I tell you that it was made many thousands of years ago. It was not made using what you call the physical. It was moulded into its present form by thought."
So began the latest astonishing twist in our quest to find the truth about the 13 crystal skulls said to have come into the possession of the Mayan people, one of the ancient world's most sophisticated and mysterious races before their civilisation crumbled more than 1,000 years ago. They were supposedly lost for many centuries in the jungles and oceans of Central America but legend has it that they contain ancient wisdom vital for the survival of mankind, an idea that has clearly captured the imagination of Steven Spielberg whose new blockbuster, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, is out next week.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is out next week - the real story of the crystal skulls inspired Steven Spielberg Set during the Cold War, the film revolves around the intrepid archaeologist's attempts to stop the Soviets abusing the information harboured within the mysterious skulls. But while Dr Jones's escapades are likely to delight summer cinema audiences, our research suggests that the real skulls have a more sinister purpose: to warn of a series of catastrophes that will soon engulf the world.
The events which led us to our haunting encounter with Carole Wilson began when we were on holiday, touring Mayan ruins in Guatemala. It was there that we first heard the myth describing the existence of the 13 ancient skulls. The tales told how they were the size of human skulls, had moving jaws and were said to speak or sing. They were also thought to contain answers to some of the greatest mysteries of the universe.
According to Mayan teachings, all 13 skulls would be rediscovered one day and brought together for their wisdom to be made available. But there was one proviso: the human race must first be sufficiently evolved, morally and spiritually, so as not to misuse the information.
It was the perfect yarn to take home from an overseas adventure, but we dismissed it as pure fiction. Until, in neighbouring Belize, we discovered something that would change our view completely. There we learned of a buried treasure, uncovered during an archaeological dig in the Twenties. To our amazement, the precious find had been a crystal skull. The Belize skull was rumoured to have supernatural powers and many who had spent time alone with it described a glowing aura and said bizarre filmic images appeared inside it.
The claims seemed far-fetched, but we had to know more and travelled deep into the interior to the place where the skull was found - the 'lost' Mayan city of Lubaantun. The city was rediscovered in 1924 by Frederick Mitchell-Hedges, the flamboyant British explorer said to have inspired the character of Indiana Jones. Once an impressive city of six square miles, with pyramids, palaces and a huge amphitheatre designed to hold 10,000 people, Lubaantun is now an almost forgotten archaeological site. It was so deserted that we were relieved to find it was still manned by a local Mayan guide named Catarino Cal.After some discussion he produced from his pocket a tattered old photo of a crystal skull. It was at once horrifying and mesmerising.
To our surprise, Catarino told us that the photograph had been given to him by Mitchell-Hedges' daughter, Anna, the very person who had discovered the skull in 1924. She had made several trips back to the site, the last in 1987. That was the closest we got to the skulls on that trip, but when we returned to Britain, we couldn't put the story out of our minds. We had asked Catarino to find out if Anna was still alive, but didn't expect to hear back. And then, a few weeks later, a letter arrived from Catarino. He had found Anna's address. We wrote to her, and the reply brought welcome news: Anna, at the age of 87, was living happily, healthily, and with her crystal skull, in Canada. She described how, at the time of the discovery, she had gone out to Belize to help her father with his archaeological work. Newly freed from the constraints of an English girls' boarding school, she had a spirit of adventure that had led her to make her dramatic discovery on the afternoon of her 17th birthday.
The site, usually busy back then, had stood strangely silent that day.
"Everyone had gone to sleep. They had been worn out by the heat," she remembered. "But I thought it would be a good time to climb up the tallest pyramid - something I was strictly forbidden from doing because the stones were loose and dangerous.
"I had heard that you could see for miles around from the top, and that intrigued me.
"Once I was up there, the view was very beautiful but the sun was strong. Then, way down below, through a crack in the side of the pyramid, I could see something shining back at me. I immediately ran to wake my father.
The following morning, Anna and her father returned to the pyramid. The source of the shimmering couldn't be accessed from the bottom of the structure so her father's men began moving stones from the top.
It was backbreaking work but finally, after several weeks, they had created a hole big enough for Anna to pass through into the pyramid's gaping interior.
"With two ropes tied around my body and a light strapped to my head, I was lowered into the darkness, terrified of the snakes and scorpions that might be down there," she said.
"But then, through the gloom, I could see something shining in the lamp light. So I picked it up, wrapped it in my shirt and shouted for the men to pull me up as fast as they could."
As Anna emerged from the pyramid, she wiped the dirt from the surface of the object and stared at it in wonder. "It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen," she said. Her story left us desperate to see the skull for ourselves. We flew out to Canada and met Anna in her neat modern bungalow in the town of Kitchener, near Toronto. As she took us into her small sitting room to 'meet' the crystal skull, she cautioned us: "It's very important that you respect him." Our eyes were drawn to a glimmering object, on a black velvet stand on a coffee table. The skull was flawless; we were gazing at perfection. It was remarkably accurate anatomically, the same size and shape as a small adult's head, and yet almost totally transparent. The way the light played around it was hypnotic. It was as though the skull was holding us there, somehow communicating with our unconscious minds.
We were mesmerised - and even more so after Anna told us about the results of tests conducted on the skull by the computer company Hewlett Packard.The company uses crystals in many electronic devices, so their scientists are world experts on their make-up. Since quartz crystal does not corrode, decay or otherwise change with time, it is impossible to date, but their tests showed that the object had been carved from one solid block of crystal. This was astonishing given that pure, rock quartz crystal is only slightly softer than diamond and therefore incredibly difficult to carve. Such an object would be impossible to make with modern tools because the vibration produced would shatter it. Instead, scientists suspect it was made by hand over many generations, a process which would have taken at least 300 years.What most surprised them, however, was that our 'primitive' ancestors had made the skull from exactly the type of quartz crystal that is a key component in computers today. Was this mere coincidence, or could it be proof of a civilisation even more advanced than our own? Indeed, could the crystal skull be a device for storing information just as the legend said? At first, it seemed too far-fetched that a lump of rock could contain the great revelations of our forefathers. But if a silicon crystal chip in a computer can store gigabytes of memory, then why shouldn't a piece of raw quartz crystal contain secrets of its own?
But what might that information be? Our investigations took a fascinating turn when Anna introduced us to psychic Carole Wilson, a quiet, smartlydressed woman in her 50s who works closely with police in the U.S, Canada and Britain. She claimed to be able to channel whatever 'intelligence' lay within the skull. During our ghostly and dramatic session with Carole and the skull, the voice emanating from her somehow anticipated our thoughts. We were about to ask whether there were other crystal skulls as the legend had said, but the voice responded before we had uttered a word.
"There will be other receptacles found, for there are many. There are still some that have not yet been given form and others which remain safely under your ocean bed. When all receptacles are placed together, you will be keepers of wondrous knowledge."
The voice went on to predict "a disaster of great consequence", for the Earth. It spoke of the shifting of the planet's magnetic field, rising seas and vanishing land mass. And there was something about the prophecies that made them seem terrifyingly real.
In fact, as we returned to England, one already appeared to be coming true, the prediction that other such skulls would soon be discovered. When we contacted experts at the British Museum about the Mitchell-Hedges skull, we learned, to our surprise, that they had long had a crystal skull of their own. Bought from Tiffany's in New York in 1898, it was believed to be of Aztec origin and to have been looted from Mexico by a soldier of fortune. And they put us in touch with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, one of the most celebrated museums in the world, which had recently come into possession of yet another skull. Theirs had been sent through the mail by an anonymous donor who had experienced several personal tragedies since acquiring the skull and committed suicide shortly after posting it. Since the skull's arrival, the museum said, they had suddenly started getting calls about similar artefacts from around the world - as if their own skull was communicating with the others. In an attempt to solve the mystery, the British Museum brought some together in London to establish their authenticity once and for all.
When the results of the investigation were announced, we were surprised to learn that marks left by a grinding wheel had been found on both the British Museum and Smithsonian skulls which, we were told, suggested that they were of more modern European manufacture. This, however, was later contradicted by American experts who claimed there was evidence that ancient civilisations had used grinding wheels for carving, too.But the real shock lay in the British Museum's pronouncement on two other skulls, which had been loaned for analysis by private individuals. While the museum had readily accepted them as part of its study, it now refused to comment on what they revealed.
"We have received orders from above," was their stark reply when asked why.
This led us to wonder just what the British Museum had discovered and why they were trying to hide it? Had they unearthed information too sensitive for public consumption? We may never know.
But alarmingly, just as the voice channelled by Carole Wilson had accurately predicted that more skulls would come to light, so too came suggestions that its terrifying prophecies about man's destiny may be founded in truth.
On a subsequent journey through North and Central America, we talked to elders of several Native American tribes - and all had strikingly similar stories to tell about the origin and function of the crystal skulls. One encounter, in Guatemala, was particularly chilling. There we met an old medicine man named Job Keme, high priest of the Council of Elders which governs many modernday tribes descended from the Mayans. We learnt that they had at one least skull, kept in a cave "under the mountains", and consulted only in secrecy. It was so sacred that Job Keme would not reveal its whereabouts but he wanted us to hear the warning it had given - that we are heading for cataclysm unless we start to live in harmony with Mother Earth instead of poisoning her to fuel our own lifestyles. As to when that will happen, ancient writings handed down by Mayan priests - whose knowledge of calendars and astronomy is a source of wonder to modern historians - suggest a specific time and date for our downfall: midnight on December 21, 2012. The pieces of this mysterious jigsaw were beginning to slot into place.
After all, was this not the "disaster of great consequence" the voice spoke of quite independently at Carole's seance?
And are the elders' warnings about our poisoning of the Earth not startlingly familiar given current fears of a catastrophe caused by global warming?
Whatever we think about the skulls or their 'supernatural' powers, one thing is certain. Our destruction may not happen on the date predicted by the ancients, but if we don't heed their message, we, like the Mayans, will soon be annihilated.
And we, too, will leave little more than ruins and skulls in our wake.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]