The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls review

Who needs Indiana Jones when we've got Matthew Haigh on the case? Matt reads up on the legends behind the crystal skulls...

Documentaries, on the whole, bore me. For years, documentaries have been the staple of BBC2 Sunday evening schedules. They’re usually about early man, or an ancient civilisation who were very good at carving massive heads out of rock, or feature one of the Attenboroughs creeping up on some unsuspecting primate. And yet, very recently, I have noticed a sudden surge of documentaries flooding my television screen that are actually interesting: sci-fi aficionados and egg heads contemplating the nature of parallel worlds and black holes, and the future of virtual reality and Japanese robots being just a few examples that spring to mind. And so it is with the Mystery of the Crystal Skulls: a documentary (or account) that actually manages not only to be interesting, but utterly fascinating.

The story of the skulls has already proved both a successful BBC documentary and serialisation in the Daily Mail newspaper. Now, the people behind the story, Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas, have published a book to accompany their earlier projects. The central idea is that, among Native Americans, it was believed there exist 13 crystal skulls the size of human skulls said to contain information regarding the origins and future of mankind. According to the legend, all of the crystal skulls will be found and reunited at a time when the world is in great peril, to disclose to us their information, which will prove vital to the survival of our species. At this point, things are starting to sound completely far-fetched and not unlike the plotline for a new Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter novel, until you take into account that, fairly recently, a vast array of crystal skulls have in actual fact started to be discovered around the globe …

In all honesty, this is not an easy book to review. At several points during reading it becomes necessary to remind yourself you are in fact reading a non-fictional account and not one of the late Robert Jordan’s epic fantasies. It is a book that continuously introduces new ideas, only to have them either lead nowhere or be quashed entirely. It is one that inspires both awe and scepticism on every page. Above all, it is an extremely informative account packed with mind-bending facts. Moreover, I feel it is arrogance to believe that humans are the only thing of importance in this world and indeed the universe, to believe that there is nothing unseen above and beyond us. With this attitude, it makes absorbing the information in these pages that little bit easier.

A personal favourite chapter deals specifically with the extraordinary properties of quartz crystal, and how it can be used to store information much like a computer. Indeed, as quartz is used in a great deal of technology in our times to store and process data, the argument is that, theoretically, there could indeed be important information stored within these skulls, waiting to be unlocked. Another interesting chapter suggests that thoughts may not originate from inside our own brains, but rather be carried to us from the ether, much like sound waves. In re-thinking how the human brain and mind work, this book proves to be hugely ambitious and, at times, more than a little confusing. However, in their favour, the authors manage to write about their discoveries in a very straightforward and mostly easy-to-understand manner. (As a side-note, it has to be said that Ceri Louise Thomas is the more fluid and therefore better of the two writers, as Morton’s chapters often prove repetitive and full of clichéd similes).

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As you’d except from a book of this magnitude, nothing truly concrete is revealed, no ultimate climax is reached and a great many questions are left unanswered. Instead, the reader is left to speculate over the facts and hearsay and perhaps reach their own conclusion. That is not to say there is no point investing time in the this book, as the journey itself proves well worth the effort. And while dedicating your book to “the earth, and all her children” is probably not the best way to ensure your findings are taken seriously and not written off as nonsense, The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls managed to persuade me to believe a great deal more than I originally expected.

Authors: Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas Publisher: Thorsons; New Ed edition (7 Sep 1998) ISBN -10: 0722534868 ISBN -13: 978-0722534861 RRP: £8.99


4 out of 5