Thursday, May 22, 2008
Crystal Skulls and The End of the World
May 22, 2008...the date is finally here. After a 19-year hiatus, the man who singlehandedly made history sexy is back!
I've had the majestic John Williams theme music playing in my head all week, ever since OD'ing on Indy movies this past weekend, as well as watching multiple History Channel and SciFi Channel documentaries on the historical accuracy of the films.
This latest installment in the saga is set in 1957 (only fair, since when we left off, it was 1938, so they wanted to show actual passage of time). It pits an older and wiser Dr. Jones against Soviet agents on a quest from Area 51 to Peru to find a crystal skull.
Fortunately I watched the SciFi Channel's "Mystery of the Crystal Skulls" the other night. "Crystal skulls" are human skull models carved from blocks of clear or milky quartz crystal, claimed to be pre-Columbian Mesoamerican artifacts by their alleged finders, although mainstream scientific opinion is that they are instead of 19th century European origin. None of the specimens made available for scientific study have been authenticated as pre-Columbian.
The skulls are claimed to exhibit paranormal phenomena, and many believe that the crystal skulls were sent by an ancient alien culture and contain great knowledge locked within. Some believe that the Mayan people prophecied that the world would come to an end on December 21, 2012, and that only bringing together the 13 original ancient crystal skulls will save us. (Of course, others believe that bringing the skulls together will actually bring about the end of the world. So who really knows?)
The SciFi Channel special mostly focused on perhaps the most famous of the crystal skulls, the "Mitchell-Hedges Skull", which was supposedly discovered by 17-year-old Anna Mitchell-Hedges in 1924 while she was hiking through the ruins of a Mayan temple in British Honduras (today Belize). Until her death at the age of 101 last year, Mitchell-Hedges herself was a proponent of the theory that the skulls are artifacts of the lost city of Atlantis, and that it was incumbent upon explorers to find the rest of the skulls so that we could avoid the end of the world.
Which got me thinking about prophecies of the end of the world. Throughout history, various figures have made predictions, perhaps the most well-known being Nostrodamus. I remember a time back in high school (I think it must have been Fall 1992 because of the girls who were on the squad with me, so I Googled it and I think the date had to be October 28, 1992), when all anyone could talk about was how the world was supposed to end that day. Of course, none of us really believed it, but it made for some interesting conversation and something else to do rather than conjugate French irregular verbs or find the hypoteneuse of a triangle.
Anyway, my friends and I on the cheerleading squad decided that if the world was really supposed to end at eight minutes past 3 that afternoon, why should we bother practicing, if we were all going to die anyway? So instead, we brought a boom box outside (no iPods back in the day!), spread out a picnic blanket, and decided to ogle football players. We decided that when the sun really did explode like predicted, the guys would probably last longer than the rest of us, because of all the padding and gear.
OK, I honestly don't remember how we knew all these details, but apparently the sun was supposed to explode at 3:00, but it would take about 8 minutes for the effects to reach us. So even though none of us really believed that crap, I have to admit, we all got a little antsy. OK, fine, VERY antsy, especially when REM's "The End of the World" came on the radio at exactly 3:08 (yeah, those DJs had a sick sense of humor) and we heard a weird unexplained BOOM! off in the distance.
When 3:15 finally came around and we were still there, we finally let out sighs of gratitude. But since practice was half over anyway, we decided to call it a day. We were pretty tired out by trying to stay alive.
So yeah, the world didn't end on October 28, 1992. But what about the Mayan prophecy? Do we really need to find the crystal skulls to let them unleash their power? It's a good thing Indiana Jones is on the case.
And really, who doesn't love Harrison Ford?