The Legend of the Crystal Skulls
Written and researched by Margaret [nee Knight] Sypniewski, B.F.A.


There are numerous myths and legends associated with gems.

Since Greek and Roman times, balls of polished rock crystal have been

used to see into the future. The difficulty of finding a flawless piece

large enough to be polished adds to the mystique.

Many clans possessed crystal balls and they were

regarded as their "stones of victory."

Washing a crystal in water was thought to make that

water clean, and drinking of this water could cure ailments

of both men and livestock. Crystal amulets were worn around

the neck to protect its wearer from the evil eye.


In Mexico

In Mexico, the various indios thought the souls of both the
living and dead were housed in crystals. That is why some
crystals were considered sinister and others good, depending
on which souls (good or evil) were trapped inside.
Some think that the original carvers of the crystal skulls might
set this, and all those who own the skull afterwards affect it.

A turquoise skull necklace with various beads
From my collection


The legend says that there were originally

thirteen (13) life-size human skulls of solid crystal with movable jaws that were said to speak and sing. The significance of the number thirteen is that including the Sun, the Moon, and the ten planets in our solar system adds up to the number 12. The last one stands for Quetzalcoatl, the serpent god, who will return again to rule all the planets. The Mayan year was made up of 13 months of 20 days. There are thirteen Mayan gods of the upper world.

These skulls held the greatest mysteries of life and the universe. They told the past history of this planet and the evolution of mankind.

The legend says that at a time of great crisis, for humanity, that the skulls will be rediscovered and brought back together to reveal their knowledge.

    Native tribes that have stories relating to the Crystal Skulls are:

  • The Mayans of Mexico. These skulls are mentioned in the Popol Vul.
  • The Aztecs of Mexico
  • The Pueblo and Navajos in South-Western United States
  • The Cherokees and the Senecas (of the Iroquois League) in North-Western United States.



The Seneca Legend describes how Atlantis was destroyed due to an abuse of the powers of the quartz crystals. In the book, Other Council Fires Were Here Before Ours by Seneca Grandmother, elder Twylah Nitsch, she tells us that Atlantis was originally part of the continent "Turtle Island." All the countries of the world were joined until the Continental Drift slowly separated them. This process took millions/billions of years. When a meteor hit earth, it is thought that Atlantis sank into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Seneca legend tells that during the time of Turtle Island that all five races of the world occupied one great land mass. The white race, known as the "Gaggans" occupied what was then Atlantis, in the northeast of the island. This race was blessed with great creative talents.

  • Cures were found for all human diseases.
  • Physical health was achieved by the light of Grandfather Sun.
  • Machines were invented to do their work.

None of these things were harmful to the earth. However the white race refused to share their knowledge with the other races. The white race lived longer and they came to look at the other four races as inferior.

The Gaggans wore white clothing, kept themselves strong and clean. They hated dirt, dust, soil, which soiled their bodies and clothing. They made homes of marble and crystal, they had artificial plants. All this was because they were afraid of dirt. Other races were NOT allowed into their encampments except as servants, singers, or dancers for the Gaggans own amusement.

These people used the minerals of the earth for their pleasures, and made great holes in the earth. Soon there were no trees, no plant life, and no animals in their land.

Atlantis was destroyed by Mother Earth and the related planets. These events should teach us not to destroy the earth as we have been doing. The global warming trends will soon melt the polar ice caps and the earth will again be under water, much like Atlantis.

This sounds very modern doesn't it? I think that perhaps Twylah Nitsch was thinking of events from the time of the first colonies. I doubt this was in the Seneca original legends. Of course all legends should be taken with a grain of salt.


Most genealogists now believe that the continent Atlantis was located in the oceanic gulf between Europe and America. This area of the Atlantic is the most unstable part of the earth's surface, and there are numerous sea volcanoes here (Spence).

Plato (427-347 B.C. thought the island of Atlantis is submerged in the ocean West of Gibraltar. The capital of Atlantis was Basileia. Basileia was built in concentric circles of land and water. Atlantis was thought to be a paradise until its inhabitants turned wicked and the gods set it down into the sea.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) thought Atlantis was fictional. Scholars are still trying to determine if the stories of the island that sank into the sea are legend or based on history (Biedermann).

When the Spanish came they heard of the "Legend of the Skulls" and some of these skulls may have been found and placed in European museums and private collections. When the Native Americans heard of their plan to grab their sacred skulls, skulls were sent to various parts of their world, so their powers could not again be abused.

Many people think that the crystal skulls were brought here by extra-terrestials, and that is why many cultures such as the Mayans, Aztecs, Zapotecs, and Mixtecs all studied the stars. The Cherokee legend confirms this idea.



The Cherokees say that each of the twelve (12) planets in the cosmos that are inhabited by human beings have one of these skulls. The thirteenth skull is connected to each of these worlds. When joined together they formed a powerful electricl current.

In the Morton and Thomas book the authors interviewed both North and South American Indians. They say that there were originally 52 crystal skulls. The ancient Mayans had 13. These skulls were brought to Earth, in the distant past by extra-terrestrials. They were encoded with information from 12 different planetary civilizations. Today we have 12 months in our calendar. However the Mayan Calendar was based on two calendars. The number 52 is used in Maya calculations and was called the Sacred Round of solar years. The Haab/Solar Year of 365 days was divided into 18 months of 20 days, plus an additional 5 days at year's end. The Tzolkin/Sacred Year calendar was based on 20 days which rotated 13 times, resulting in the Sacred Year of 260 days. These two calendars were meshed together as though they were gear wheels to create the Sacred Round of 52 Solar Years. The combination of 13, 20, and 365 could not repeat itself except once in 18,980 day or 52 years. The Calendar Round of 52 years was sacred to all peoples of ancient Mesoamerica and they related to it events both past and future --- such as the return of Quetzalcoatl, their serpent god.

Quetzalcoatl Page 1 ... Quetzalcoatl Page 2 ... Quetzalcoatl and Maize trailer of Newest Indiana Jones movie featuring the Crystal Skulls

on the right is a Coyotepec Black Pottery skull.
Skulls are popular for Dia De Los Muertos (November 1-2),
which is a big festival held in Oaxaca State in Mexico

from my collection

I have personally been to the sites of Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Coba, and Kabah (Mayan archaeological sites in the Yucatan). As well as the sites of Zacchila, Mitla, and Monte Alban, the Zapotec and Mixtec archaeological zones 230 miles south of Mexico City. I can say that they display skull racks at Chichen Itza. So the skull had power in their beliefs.

Chichen Itza

These skulls were also used by the Aztecs and were called "tzompantli." In The Mayan Prophecies by Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell, they thought that crystal skulls may have been used to start fires for various sacrifical rituals. The Mitchell-Hedges skull can start a fire. The skulls were thought to have been placed on top of the pyramids on the flat-topped receptacles on the belly of the chac-mool figures that are found at Mayan archaeological sites. Another theory is that the Chac-Mool (a Mayan Rain-god) was used to hold the hearts of those sacrificied in various ceremonies.

All these places I have visited have large observatories, and have seen the stone carvings showing representations of what Erik von Däniken thought were spaceships in his book, Chariots of the Gods. These were located in the archaelogical site of Monte Alban. Many of these theories have been tested by N.A.S.A. and they are currently working on the theory that Mars might have been able to support life. In Zecharis Stitchin's The Lost Realms, he also has a chapter on the pyramids on Mars.


The Mohs scale of hardness for Natural Rock Crystal is 7.

Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas devote Chapter 5 to the Scientists at Hewlett-Packard.

  • Tests on the Mitchell-Hodges skull were reported to have taken place in late 1970, in Santa Clara California.
  • These tests were overseen by Jim Pruett, components manager of the frequency standards team.
  • Jack Kusters, former engineering mamager for quartz devices, and Charles Adams, who watched the tests, had a combined fifty (50) years of experience working with crystal (Morton, 41).
  • Initially the team was NOT convinced that the crystal skull was composed of proper quartz. Although it looked like quartz to the naked eye.
  • There first task was to discover what the Mitchell-Hodges skull was made of.
  • The skull was lowered into Benzyl alcohol of exactly the same density and with the same refractive index as pure quartz. As the skull was lowered it seemed to disappear. This normally is proof that it was pure quartz and light showed veins meaning it was of natural origin.

Hewlett-Packard studied the Mitchell-Hedges skull they concluded that to carve a life-size Crystal Skull, with the size and perfection of the Mitchell-Hodges skull, using modern tools with a diamond tip, would take well over a year. These skulls were made before modern tools, which meant they should be impossible to carve in the ancient world. Unless they were more advanced than current archaelogical studies say. Without modern tools the skulls would have taken several generations to carve. Hewlett Packard, who does crystal research estimates it would have taken 300 years!

Most modern tools would have shattered the skull's jaw. Quartz being brittle with a tendency to shatter would be impossible to make the exquisitly carved object because the vibration , heat, and friction would have caused the skull to shatter. One of their team states that the skull simply should not exist.

There were no marks to indicate that this skull could have been made anyway EXCEPT by hand!

The crystal would have had to come from a huge angular crystal about three times the size of the completed skull. While carving the artist would have no way of knowing whether the inside was pure or full of fractures and holes. If any mistake was made they would have to start anew.

These skulls would be resistant to chemicals, and they would hold electrical energy, send electrical impulses ot vibrating waves of information. The skulls would have been capable of storing information, as the legend purports. Legends say that Atlantis was powered by crystals too.

Quartz crystals/Natural Rock Crystal

Owned by the Mitchell-Hedges Family:

The most famous and most tested crystal skull in the Americas is the skull previously owned by Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges (1882-1959). Mitchell-Hedges lived, in 1951, in 17th century Farley Castle in Berkshire, England. His skull is thought to be over 100,000 years old. This figure (100,000) was given by a Mayan priest, who said that the skull could talk. The Mayan said that it was a healing skull. At first it was thought to have come from Lubaantan, Belize (formerly British Honduras).

Dr. Norman Hammond, of Boston University, studied Lubaantan in the 1970;s and says this arcaeological site was built around 700 A.D. and abandoned near 850 A.D. Hammond says the skull was NOT from Lubaantun but was found by Ann's father. Porfirio Diaz, a former Mexican president owned crystal skulls that were stolen back in 1913-1914 during the Mexican Revolution by Pacho Villa. Pancho Villa's men sold the crystal skull to Mitchell-Hedges. In this era, Mitchell-Hedges was thought to be a spy for the British government. We do know that the British Museum has a skull cataloged as "Aztec Sculpture" 1300-1500 A.D. The British Museum was said to have bought the skull from Tiffanys of New York City in 1898. Some believe it to be a copy of the Mitchell-Hodges skull, possibly made in Germany.

Sotheby's of London sold a skull to Mr. Mitchell-Hedges, in 1944, for 400 English pounds. This skull was said to have come from the collection of Sidney Burney. The story about Anna finding the skull in Lubaantan is now considered incorrect. Many think that her father planted the crystal skulls for her to find as a birthday gift. Anna Mitchell-Hodges was told that her skull represented the head of an ancient Mayan priest.

Upon his death, in 1959, Frederick left his skull to his daughter Anna. Anna lived in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, at last report. Regarding the aforementioned purchase of the skull from Sidney Burney, Anna says that the skull was used as collateral when Mr. Burney, a family friend, loaned her father money. When Burney was ready to sell the skull via Sotheby's of London, her father paid him back and the skull was returned.

The Mitchell-Hedges skull is 12 lbs., flawless and almost totally transparent. Hewlett-Packard did a series of tests on the skull, in the late 1970's, in their Santa Clara, California crystal laboratory. They confirmed that the Mitchell-Hedges skull is pure natural rock crystal.



The Smithsonian skull was given away anonymously. A note stated:

Dear Sir,

This Aztec Crystal skull was purported to be part of the {Mexican President] Porfirio Diaz collection, was purchased in Mexico City in 1960 ... I am offering it to the Smithsonian without consideration. Naturally, I wish to remain anonymous.

The curator advised "Don't look it in the eye - they're cursed."

This was said to be the largest and ugliest crystal skull. It weighed 32 pounds. It is cloudy, not clear as the Mitchell-Hedges' skull. The skull has a smooth finish but its features are crudely executed.

When the Smithsonian National Museum of American History tried to track down the donor, they discovered he was dead. In fact, after he sent the skull to the museum, his lawyer said his client committed suicide. His client bought the skull and his wife died, and his son had a terrible accident that left him brain dead. The man then went bankrupt. This skull reminds us of another rare gem at the Smithsonian, the Hope Diamond, which brought death and bad luck to its owners. The Hope Diamond is also housed in the Smithsonian.

For More About the Hope Diamond: SEE: French Crown Jewels


The Paris skull was donated by Alphonse Pinart in 1878. He said he bought it from Eugene Boban who was selling skulls after Teotihuacan was discovered. Dr. Jane Walsh, a curator at the Smithsonian discovered that this was not the only skull. There was one in Paris, France in the Trocadero Museum. The Paris skull was clear quartz and measured 4.5 inches high and weighed only 6 pounds. The carving style was much like that of the ancient Aztecs and Mixtecs. This skull was drilled from the top of the head down to be placed on a skull rack? It dates from the time before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The Paris Museum believe its skull is Aztec.


This skull belonged to an old Mexican named Jose Iniquez, in 1989. He claimed he found the skull in 1942 at an archaeological site in the Yucatan. He said the skull fulfilled all his dreams and desires. He died in 1993 and the whereabouts of his skull is unknown.


This skull is life-size and belongs to Jo Ann Parks of Houston, Texas. Jo Ann and her husband had two children. In 1973, her daughter developed bone cancer and been given three months to live. Norbu Chen gave them the skull in 1980. After Jo Ann had the skull in her home she said she began to dream about the skull. The skull told her to bring it out into the open. Before this it was stored in a closet out of sight. Her skull was said to have come from a Mayan tomb in Guatemala, in 1924. A local shaman gave it away. The skull passed from one to another until it ended up in Jo Ann's home. This skull had healing powers.

Belief in the healing properties of gems has a very long history, as the rituals of medicine men in ancient tribes attest. Crystal healers believe in their power to influence health and well-being of the body. The light reflected off these stones is said to touch on vital nerve points, thus giving our bodies healing energy to boost our own immune systems.


Nick Nocerino, an Italian America found this skull, as he claims, through "psychic archaeology." Apparently, his psychic powers brought him to the clear crystal skull with a slight yellowish tinge. Nick claimed that he was studying a beautiful rose quartz skull, in 1912, in Guatemala. This skull was used by a Mayan priest. It was for sale in California in 1988, but Nick does not known who has it now.


Another source says that F. R. "Nick" Nocerino, the founder of the Society of Crystal Skulls International, has studied an amethyst skull, known as the Marin skull. This is a full-size skull weighing about 8 lbs. It has white striations in the violet-colored specimen. This skull was uncovered in the early 1900s in Mexico. It was with a few other Mayan artifacts and was in Japan until recent times. It came to the United States in 1982. It was examined by Hewlett-Packard laboratories. The Marin Skull weighs between 5-6 lbs., and it is currently thought to be in the San Francisco area.


Icabod is a cantaloupe-melon sized crystal skull made from chevron amethyst.


Norma Redo had a crystal skull which she inherited from her wealthy family. Norma lived in Mexico City. This particular skull was said to have been in the Redo fmily since the 1840's. The Redo skull is smaller than lifesize with a monkeyish face. Tests date it at 1571, it had a relinquary cross that was added to the top of the skull. This cross twisted off. It might have been used as an altar piece in a Catholic Mission?

Spanish Orders of monks such as the Franciscans and Dominicans thought the skull was a powerful symbol. Some paintings of St. Francis show him holding a skull. There is a rumor that a crystal skull might be housed in the Vatican in Rome, Italy.


This skull was found in Tibet in January 1927 by H.C. Beasley in the magazine Man. It is carved from rock crystal and has ivory eyes and a third eye in between its brows. It has real human teeth and it painted with bronze gilt. This skull is thought to represent the goddess Palden Lhamo, the Hindu counterpart is called Kali, goddess of death.

Palden Llamo was the corpse -devouring goddess.

... to be continued....

History on the crystal skulls

LINKS: Sells all sorts of crystal skull products.

seller of Crystal Skulls

The Skeptics Dictionaryon Crystal Skulls.

The Un-museum on Crystal Skulls

Shapiro's Book about Crystal Skulls


Biedermann, Hans. Dictionary of Symbolism: Cultural Icons and the Meaning Behind Them. New York: A Meridian Book, 1994.

Budge, E.A. Wallis. Amulets and Superstitions. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1978.

Morton, Chris and Ceri Louise Thomas. The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls: Unlocking the Secrets of the Past, Present, Future. Rochester, VT.: Bear & Company, 2002.

Shuker, Dr. Karl P.N. Mysteries of Planet Earth. Carlton Books Limited, 1999.

Spence, Lewis. The History of Atlantis. Gramercy Books, 1996.

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