That crystal skull Indiana Jones raced to find in his latest movie — it’s real, at least according to some.
Dubbed the Crystal Skull of Akator in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” the carved mimic of a human cranium is known in real life as the Mitchell-Hedges skull. It will be in the Valley this weekend, where its current keeper, Bill Homann, is speaking at a conference of experts in Hopi prophecy, alchemy, crop circles and ancient artifacts.
The 11-pound, 7-ounce chunk of clear quartz with a detachable jaw is named for British explorer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, whose daughter is said to have found the skull in 1927 under a collapsed altar at the ruins of a Mayan temple in British Honduras — now Belize.
Though it bears an uncanny resemblance to a souvenir mug from Las Vegas’ Treasure Island Hotel and Casino, some say it was carved into rough form with diamonds, then polished with sand and water by ancient craftsmen for more than 100 years to bring out near-perfect detail. It’s also said to have mysterious powers.
In his autobiography, “Danger My Ally,” published in 1957, Mitchell-Hedges wrote that the skull was “at least 3,600 years old and according to legend was used by the High Priest of the Maya when performing esoteric rites. It is said that when he willed death with the help of the skull, death invariably followed.”
Such accounts helped fuel superstition associated with the object, also called “The Granddaddy of Crystal Skulls” and “The Skull of Doom.”
It could also be called the cranium of controversy.
The skull and others like it have been the subject of scholarly scrutiny since they began surfacing in the late 1800s. While antiquities dealers have attributed them to ancient Mesoamerican cultures, Jane MacLaren Walsh, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, stated in a June 2008 article for Archaeology magazine that research suggests the skulls are fakes.
“If we consider that pre-Columbian lapidaries used stone, bone, wooden, and possibly copper tools with abrasive sand to carve stone, crystal skulls are much too perfectly carved and highly polished to be believed,” Walsh wrote.
Nevertheless, some of the artifacts are exhibited in museums worldwide as the real deal, while others are shepherded on tours by caretakers who believe the skulls’ mystical powers serve as portals between the seen and unseen.
As for Mitchell-Hedges skull, speculation abounds. Some contend the well-to-do adventurer bought it from an antiques dealer in New York or purchased it at auction in 1943. Others believe it’s a mystical totem delivered to the Mayans from Atlantis or an extraterrestrial civilization.
The Mitchell-Hedges skull
It may be an ancient artifact, according to some, but the “Skull of Doom” certainly knows how to keep up with the times; the skull that’s said to emit proton energy fields, glow at the eye sockets and crash computers has its own Web site. Check it out at www.mitchell-hedges.com.
See the skull
Real or fake, the clear quartz skull brought to light by English explorer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges makes two appearances in Arizona this fall.
Seeking Truth for Global Transformation: Creating the Shift to a Sustainable Planet
What: Mitchell-Hedges skull keeper Bill Homann will present the history of the skull at this conference in which experts in alchemy, crop circles and other mysteries discuss ancient wisdom and solutions for global problems.
When: 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13
Where: Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort/Scottsdale, 5401 N. Scottsdale Road, Paradise Valley
Cost: $95 general conference admission; $125 preferred seating.
Information: (866) 304-8700 or www.stellarproductionslive.com
The Journey of the Crystal Skull Guardian
What: The Mitchell-Hedges skull headlines a program about crystal skulls and their caretakers. Several skulls and their keepers will be present.
When: Sept. 26-28
Where: Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat Center in Sedona
Information: (800) 393-6308 or www.angelvalley.org