The Mitchell-Hedges Skull

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The Mitchell-Hedges Skull

Postby ryguy » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:02 pm

Considering Bill Ryan's recent focus on what first appeared to be a legitimate archeological artifact, a quick review of current literature on the Mitchell-Hedges skull revealed a bit more about the history of the skull.

Unmuseum.org performed a brilliant write-up about the skull, with more of the facts included. It appears that the skull's true nature may be more hoax than paranormal.

I've pasted the entire article here, because it's a fascinating story about the background of the hoax. Please click the link above to read the whole article, complete with bibliography. The funniest part is the proof from the British Museum's Sotheby's auction notes that the artifact wasn't discovered, but was sold by a "Mr. Burney" to a "Mr. Mitchell-Hedges" for 400 pounds. Wow...brilliant archaelogical find. lol...

Especially make note of the "Boban Connection" toward the end of the article.

Mitchell-Hedges Skull

The Mitchell-Hedges skull has an even more checkered past than the one at the Museum of Mankind. Its supposed discoverer, Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges, was a self-proclaimed British adventurer during the early twentieth century. He traveled through much of South and Central America and the Caribbean working sometimes as an explorer for different organizations, at other times as a correspondent for the Daily Mail. He contended that he found the skull while exploring an ancient temple in the Mayan city of Lubaantun in British Honduras. He seemed, however, very reluctant to reveal the details, writing: "How it came into my possession I have reason for not revealing."

Mitchell-Hedges, a colorful character if there ever was one, was apparently not above telling a few tall tales. He alleged that he had gambled with the rich J.P. Morgan, roomed with Leon Trotsky and fought with Pancho Villa. All of these stories, however, appear to be total fabrications.

The skull itself, of course, is very real, but how it came into Mitchell-Hedges possession is an open question. We know for sure that he owned it in 1944. That year a member of the staff of the British Museum bid on the skull at an auction and made this note:

Bid at Sotheby's sale, lot 54, 15 x 43 up to 340 [pounds] (Fairfax). Brought in by Burney. Sold subsequently by Mr. Burney to Mr. Mitchell-Hedges for 400 [pounds].

Some researchers believe the story about finding the skull in Honduras was just another tall tale and Mitchell-Hedges obtained it through Burney (an art dealer) at the Sotheby's sale. Other members of that Honduras expedition, Lady Richmond Brown and Dr. Thomas Gann, never wrote or spoke about Mitchell-Hedges finding a skull, though such an event would be of remarkable interest.

Mitchell-Hedges' adopted daughter, Anna Mitchell-Hedges, supported her father's story. Anna, who inherited the skull when her father died, argued that her father only placed the skull with Burney as collateral for a loan and when he realized Burney was trying to sell the stone, he bought it back at the auction.

Not all skulls are clear. This skull, known as the "Mayan," has a hazy, greenish color. (Copyright of F.R. 'Nick' Nocerino. The Museum wishes to thank Mr. Nocerino and the The Society of Crystal Skulls, International for its use.)

Anna, in fact, seems to have added to the original version of how the skull was found. She claimed that she had gone along on the expedition and that it was she who discovered the skull on her 17th birthday. According to her account she found the skull (missing the jaw) under an ancient alter. Three months later she also found the matching jaw in the same room. Critics doubt Anna's story, however, as there is no evidence she was along on the expedition and none of the many photographs taken during that trip include her.

The skull itself, probably the strangest gemstone in the world, weighs some 11 lbs., 7 oz (5.19kg), stands 5 ¼ inches high, and is carved out of a single quartz crystal. Mitchell-Hedges often referred to it as the "Skull of Doom." The separate jaw looks like it might have been wired to move, perhaps giving it the ability to appear to be speaking. Mitchell-Hedges theorized the skull was used as an oracle, the jaw operated by remote control as a voice came from a hidden speaker tube. It isn't hard to picture the priest of some ancient religion dazzling his followers with such a display.

Though, there is much lore about the skull, most of it seems to have come from Mitchell-Hedges imagination, instead of actual history or scientific investigation. He once wrote:

Skull of Doom is made of pure rock crystal and according to scientists, it must have taken over 150 years, generation after generation working all the days of their lives, patiently rubbing down with sand an immense block of rock crystal until finally the perfect Skull emerged. It is 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. It has been described as the embodiment of all evil.

The above quote is from Mitchell-Hedges book Danger is My Ally, but it is unclear where Mitchell-Hedges got the information. The actual history of both the Mitchell-Hedges skull and the British skull probably has less to do with generations of Aztec workers patiently rubbing them with sand, however, and more to do with a Frenchman named Eugene Boban.

The Boban Connection

Boban, a gentleman of dubious reputation, lived in the 19th century and seems to be associated with the appearance of both skulls as well as with a third skull now at the Musee de l'Homme in Paris. Boban operated a business in Mexico for some years that traded in artifacts. Apparently it was Boban that sold the British skull to Tiffany's. Instead of obtaining the skulls in Mexico, however, it is thought he got them from Germany where they were carved during the 19th century. During that period large amounts of Brazilian quartz crystal were imported and shaped there.

There is certainly evidence that supports the idea that both the skulls came from the same source. One scientist, Dr. G. M. Morant, got to examine what is thought to be the Mitchell-Hedges skull (then in Burney's hands) and the British skull together in 1936. He noted the skulls were very similar in many anatomical details. It was his theory that the one in the British Museum might be a slightly rougher copy of the Mitchell-Hedges skull.

Despite their suspicions neither Morant, nor later Freestone, has been able to definitely establish a time or place where either of these skulls were created. So, many people continue to attribute them with ancient origins and remarkable powers. Even if they lack paranormal capabilities, however, they remain fascinating oddities set in crystal stone.
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"Only a fool of a scientist would dismiss the evidence and reports in front of him and substitute his own beliefs in their place." - Paul Kurtz

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Re: The Mitchell-Hedges Skull

Postby mojo » Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:54 pm

Ahh...the crystal skulls. Much like the Ica stones i think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ica_stones

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