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With the ancient Maya, we associate not only the abandoned cities, the calendar, which is believed to predict the end of the world, but also the skulls of crystal. The most famous of them is the find of Mitchell Hedges, or "the skull of Destiny" …
Skull of Destiny
In April 1927, the daughter of archaeologist Frederick Mitchell-Hedges, Anna, found a man-made skull during excavations in the Mayan city of Lubaantun. In 1964, she showed the find to art critic Frank Dorland, who handed it over to the Hewlett-Packard firm for study.
It turned out that the skull was made from a single crystal crystal. This material is very durable - it cannot be cut with anything but a diamond, but the ancient Mayans managed to process it. The surface was polished with some paste, but no traces of metal tools were found. The eye sockets glowed and reflected light rays thanks to a special system of channels and prisms in the back. The lower jaw was attached separately and was movable.
The experts did not understand how the skull was created. In ancient times, such work had to be spent at least 300 years. In addition, it was created, ignoring all laws and regulations.
The damn thing shouldn't have existed at all. The one who carved it had no idea about crystallography and completely ignored the axes of symmetry. It inevitably had to fall apart during processing! " - concluded the experts.
Who, when and why?
There are various hypotheses about the purpose of the skull: it could serve to accumulate and transmit information, be an instrument for fortune telling, a kind of magnifying glass (there is a disguised magnifying glass in its upper palate), used for medicinal and magical purposes, and also … to fulfill wishes. There is also a "technical" hypothesis about the purpose of the artifact: a prism cut in the back of its head resembles … the working body of a laser device.
Mitchell-Hedges himself wrote that the skull was used by the priests … as a weapon. With his help, a curse was sent - and the victim soon lost his life. This point of view is shared by Russian science fiction writer Kirill Benediktov.
The Maya were hardly the creators of the artifact - according to Mitchell-Hedges, the age of the find is at least 3600 years. Dorland suggested that the skull was made in Ancient Egypt or Babylon, and then brought to Central America.
The Hewlett-Packard staff determined that the skull is much older, and may have been created by the Atlanteans 12,000 years ago. And in the surviving Maya manuscripts, they say, they found a legend about 13 crystal skulls of the goddess of death, which contain all the knowledge and all the wisdom of the world. The skulls were allegedly brought to Earth by aliens … 36 thousand years ago.
In ancient times, there was a ritual of 13 skulls. At the same time, peering into them, the initiates could contemplate the past and the future - right up to the return of the gods and the end of the world. In addition, they served as a means of communication. And nowadays there is a belief: if you find 13 ancient skulls and put them in a circle, one of them will turn out to be "the main one" and will collect the knowledge of all the others.
Employees of the German occult organization "Ahnenerbe" hunted for skulls all over the world, because they believed: wonderful artifacts will give them power over the world. With the approaching fateful date - December 21, 2012 - the legend of the skulls of the Goddess of Death has somewhat changed. According to the new version, 13 skulls are able to prevent the apocalypse. Recently, a number of articles appeared that the end of the world, they say, is not far off, as one skull was recently damaged - according to rumors, the same, thirteenth …
Probably, it was restored, because the end of the world did not happen. While some believe that the trigger is already working, things will happen slowly or even we will move to another stage of development. But back to the skulls.
How many in total?
Crystal skulls have been known in Europe since the second half of the 19th century. The Europeans learned about them thanks to Eugene Boban, the "official archaeologist" at the court of the Mexican emperor Maximilian. Returning from South America to France, he opened an antique shop in Paris. There were exhibited items of the "pre-Columbian era", including skulls made of crystal: at first they were small, then everything was large and large.
In 1878, Boban acquired a 10-centimeter-high skull with a hole drilled in it. It was rumored to have been found in Guatemala. In fact, the antique dealer bought it from the French ethnographer Alphonse Pinart. Now the artifact is kept in one of the Parisian museums and bears the name of the Aztec god of death Mictlantecuhtli.
The second generation of crystal skulls is life-size and without holes. The most famous of them is kept in the British Museum. It is believed that it was discovered in 1889 by one of the soldiers of Emperor Maximilian, but in fact, the skull was exhibited in Boban's shop in 1881. He positioned it as a unique masterpiece of cutting technology, but could not sell it and took it with him to Mexico in 1885, and a year later to New York. There, the artifact was acquired by the jewelry company Tiffany & Co., from where it was transferred to the collection of the British Museum in 1898.
In the twentieth century, skulls were found in Central and South America, Asia, and Europe. Some are made not of crystal, but of obsidian, rose quartz, jadeite … One of them - "Darth Vader" ("black lord") - served as a model for the character of "Star Wars".
No crystal skulls have been found in Russia. However, curious folk tales have survived. For example, about how Vasilisa the Beautiful received a skull with eyes emitting rays from Baba Yaga as a gift, with which the beauty burned her offenders. There is a noticeable resemblance to the "Skull of Destiny" - the ancient "laser". There are crystal skulls found recently.
In 2011, "Himmler's skull" was discovered in Bavaria. It was he who was once dropped by photographers, which, as they say, can lead to disastrous consequences. However, it is not the last one either. A little later, they found another one - the so-called "Bode's skull".
It is rather difficult to determine the exact number of crystal artifacts in the world. Nevertheless, it is already clear that there are more than 13 of them: according to some sources - 21, according to others - even 49. However, are they all real?
The first to question the researchers was the skull from the British Museum. It turned out to be made of Brazilian crystal. After examination, traces of a jewelry wheel and other instruments of the 19th century were found on it. Mictlantecutli's Parisian skull was also a fake. The same Eugene Boban "turned" them into artifacts of the Aztecs and Mayans.
Perhaps some of the "early skulls" are indeed Mexican - commissioned to celebrate the Day of the Dead. However, most of them were made in Europe - most likely in Germany, where Brazilian crystal was imported in the 19th century. The sinister artifacts corresponded to the European idea of the Indians with their bloody rites and "mystical rituals", which was used by the swindlers. However, Boban was far from Anna Mitchell-Hedges …
Russian expert on Mayan epigraphy D.D. Belyaev states: F.A. Mitchell-Hedges was never a famous archaeologist. Lubaantung was discovered not by him, but by his friend Thomas Gunn. In 1924, Gann visited the city again. Behind him - to wander through the ruins - followed the "traveler and writer" Mitchell-Hedges. And in the year his daughter "found" the skull, it was not in Lubaantun at all.
The Skull of Destiny actually appeared in the early 1930s. It was acquired in 1933 by London art dealer Sidney Barney, who sold it to Mitchell Hedges at Sotheby's in 1943.
A 1933 letter from Barney has survived, in which he mentioned a crystal skull. Mitchell-Hedges, by contrast, did not write about the find until the 1950s. A few lines about him are contained in the book "My friend danger" (1954) - it was there that the artifact was first called "the skull of Destiny".
Hedges stated that he had reasons to remain silent about how the skull came to him. The story of his discovery was written by Anna, and the "co-author" in the fraud, Frank Dorland, replicated the legend of his supernatural properties. When the real facts surfaced, the woman was not at a loss, she explained: they say, the father gave the artifact to his friend Sidney Barney for safekeeping, and for some unknown reason he put it up for auction. Mitchell-Hedges had to buy back his property.
For many years Anna demonstrated the artifact for money and was very reluctant to give it into the hands of serious researchers. After art critic R. Distelberger and archaeologist N. Hammond noticed that holes in his lower jaw were made with a metal drill, she stopped showing the skull to scientists.
The examination of the "skull of Fate" under a scanning electron microscope took place only three years after Anna's death, in May 2010. It turned out that the "mystical artifact" was created not very long ago with the help of modern cutting tools. This is relatively easy to do. Czech master Dave Schlechta made a similar one back in 1984 and donated it to the Museum of Records and Curiosities of the city of Pelhrimov. Other craftsmen are not so scrupulous …
The stories about the miraculous properties of the skull are also, perhaps, part of the hoax. The legend of the skulls of the goddess of death is fiction. Yuri Knorozov was engaged in the literal translation of Maya manuscripts, but he did not find anything like it in them. However, the skulls and the Maya are still related.
In the 17th century, the Mayan island of Cozumel became a haven for pirates of the Caribbean. On it was an abandoned temple of an ancient goddess, which was decorated with skulls and crossbones. It was the pirates from Cozumel who were the first to raise the flag, which later became famous. The Mayan symbol is not a crystal skull, but the "Jolly Roger" - the flag of the pirates. Such is the grin of history …