The other day, I spotted the authors wittering on about crystal skulls in the Daily Mail – perhaps riding on the coat-tails of the latest Indiana Jones movie. I was reminded first of this picture on the Apathy Sketchpad blog: I think it’s a reference to Peep Show.
The next thing I remembered was that I had some scraps of paper somewhere with a few notes on this Chris Morton book. I thought I might as well post these here, as crystal skulls aren’t something I’ve blogged before and it might be nice to have a change. I occasionally get recommendations to read pseudoscientific nonsense, as I know a few woo-ish people – what never ceases to amaze me is their capacity to believe that a book of bullshit will be so convincing that upon reading it I will be see the light and be converted to whatever their particular brand of woo is.
Page ten has an interesting point about some Mayan temples – “each one was constructed so carefully in this organic fashion that it seems the builders had no need for cement or any type of binding material”. Wow, amazing. Maybe Morton should visit North Yorkshire – those dry stone walls would blow his mind. Page nineteen includes a claim that Mayan priests believe the Mitchell-Hedges skull to be 100,000 years old. Wonder if this skull had a manufacture date stamped on it? Perhaps there are records dating back for a hundred thousand years? Maybe we’ll never know, because Morton doesn’t seem to want to tell us. Page twenty one asks of the crystal skulls “how could simple, primitive people have created something so complicated?”, which is perhaps a little patronising. If he genuinely thinks the Mayans were so simple and primitive, though, why does he raise the amazing cement-free buildings on page ten? They are first given credit for ingenuity and then called simple and primitive.
On page twenty four, there is a claim that the skull defies explanation and it is then noted that “from its discovery it had been widely recognised that the skull was strange, extraordinary and powerful.” Who was it that recognised that the skull was powerful, strange and extraordinary? In what way was the skull so amazing? How does the skull ‘defy explanation’? We know that crystal skulls can be manufactured because there are companies advertising their craft on the internet, like this one: “ShenZhen XiangYun Crystal Co Ltd, a professional manufacturer and supplier of crystal craftwork located in South area, China.” [from TradeKey dot com – registration required]
On pages twenty five and twenty six, there is a bit about someone communing with the skull and the ‘skull-user’ [what does one call someone who ‘operates’ a crystal skull?] and he is said to be “absorbed” – I think I know what they mean, I get the same thing from reading an Inspector Morse novel. Sometimes I think I could forget to eat I’m so absorbed in the book, but I’m not sure this means Colin Dexter’s books have special powers and communicate with me psychically in order to tell me the secrets of the Atlanteans. Page twenty nine reveals that when strong sunlight shines on a skull, objects beneath the skull begin to burn. I noticed something similar as a child when using a magnifying glass outdoors in summer, does that mean magnifying glasses are mystical too?
I stopped making regular notes at this point. I was beginning to feel that the game wasn’t worth the candle. I then came to the chapter I was really interested in. Perhaps this was where I would finally be able to get my teeth into some evidence – chapter five is titled “The Scientists”. There are just three references for this chapter, one a paper in a journal called Man [that I don’t seem to be able to find on Google], one is Frederick Mitchell-Hedges’ book [FMH once wrote a book that led archaeologist J. Eric S. Thompson to say “to me the wonder was how he could write such nonsense and the fear how much taller the next yarn would be”] and the other was much trumpeted by Chris Morton – it was a piece in a Hewlett-Packard newsletter. Where’s the science? There isn’t any – well, not in the book anyway. Here is an abstract of a study that was published this year in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The British Museum skull was worked with hard abrasives such as corundum or diamond, whereas X-ray diffraction revealed traces of carborundum (SiC), a hard modern synthetic abrasive, on the Smithsonian skull […] These findings led to the conclusion that the British Museum skull was worked in Europe during the nineteenth century. The Smithsonian Institution skull was probably manufactured shortly before it was bought in Mexico City in 1960; large blocks of white quartz would have been available from deposits in Mexico and the USA.
So, er – not Atlantis then? Or a Mayan temple 100,000 years ago? Oh well. This writing thing sounds like a bit of a lark to me. You don’t need evidence, you just need an idea wacky enough for people to pick up on it. I suppose it’s true that the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed. [Interesting post here on big lies and the politicians who tell them – from Hitler and Goebbels to Bush and Cheney]. I just need an idea mad enough and one day I will have a bestselling book of my own.
Frederick Mitchell-Hedges seems to have been the catalyst for the Crystal Skull mania, and Brian Hadley-James claims to have accessed the information within the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull by channelling (his website crystalskulls dot com is currently selling this priceless knowledge at $44 per e-book). What are the odds it’s nothing but bullshit? EDIT: Check out badarchaeology.net for more on Crystal Skulls. EDIT 2: Forgot about this piece – Atlantis and Crystal Skulls.