Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Legend of the Crystal Skulls

This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 print, $9.95 Kindle and also as an ebook from itunesKobo, and Scribd for $9.95. Also from Tolino in Germany. It's fixed format so it's better on a tablet, laptop or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog, here.

The Legend of the Crystal Skulls

Dan Aykroyd founded Crystal Head Vodka. The liquor is quadruple distilled and triple filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals. (Sounds good, but I couldn’t find any Google chemists who said that pouring booze over quartz crystals does anything. Ditto for Double Cross vodka filtered through diamond dust)

The vodka comes in a clear bottle shaped like a skull. A 750 ml bottle sells for about $45. You may be able to buy it  cheaper though: 21,000 bottles of Crystal Head were stolen from a California warehouse in May, 2011.

 Although Crystal Head is made in Canada, you can’t buy it in Aykroyd’s native Ontario. Canada has provincial monopoly liquor stores (except for Alberta). The Liquor Control Board of Ontario banned it as too gross. You can buy it in all the other provinces, though.

Ghostbuster Aykroyd nicely summed up the myths about crystal skulls in a 2010 interview with the Santa Fe Barman:

The story behind Crystal Head Vodka is one of positive spiritual energy. Thirteen of these polished skulls have been found on our planet. Eight are in the possession of individuals and institutions. Five are missing. Of the eight each one is unique. Some are green, orange, cloudy and crystal clear.

They are believed to be between 5,000 and 35,000 years old and appear to have been carved over a period of several hundred years – but they don’t bear any tool marks. Their very construction defies common logic.

They are believed to offer spiritual power to those who hold or possess them.

Crystal skulls, carved from single quartz crystals, first appear on the market in the mid to late 19th century, bead size early and large ones later. Museums bought them as pre-Columbian Aztec or Maya artifacts.

Most museum crystal skulls trace back to French antiquities dealer Eugène Boban (1834-1908) who was active in Mexico City in the 1860’s.

In 1992, a 10 inch milky quartz crystal skull was mailed to the Smithsonian with an unsigned letter stating that it was of ancient Aztec origin.

Smithsonian anthropologist and researcher Jane MacLaren Walsh along with a British Museum scientist investigated this skull and a large one in the British Museum that originated with Boban.

Examination under a scanning electron microscope revealed tool marks that could only have been caused by rotary wheels with hard abrasives, a technology unavailable in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. A tiny residue in a cavity in the Smithsonian skull was identified by x-ray crystallography as carborundum, a synthetic abrasive invented in 1893.

No crystal skull has been authenticated as a pre-Columbian artifact and it is thought that all the crystal skulls are 19th or 20th century forgeries.

You can catch all the crystal skull myths in action, with aliens too, in the 2008 movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Copyright © Joseph Mirsky 2015

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