The Colorado “Crystal Skull”

The Skull
Excerpted from The Mysterious Valley (St. Martin’s Press 1996) page 288-294

June 6, 1995, 1:30 p.m., the Baca Chalets:

The phone rang. It was ex-Air Force Intelligence officer, Tom Blunt, the Saguache County Assessor. It seems he had just returned from appraising a ranch and had been shown something very unusual. Dana Case* (not her real name) claimed that she had found something unique the first week of February. Blunt was shown the object and agreed that it was highly unusual.

Dana had been enjoying the unusually warm February day while riding her ATV along the fence-line of her new ranch. She and her husband, Billy, a hard-working, salt-of-the earth rancher-couple had just closed on their spread and Dana was making the half-hour trip around the perimeter of the ranch on an all-terrain vehicle. She was accompanied by the former caretaker, a teenager who had lived at the rundown ranch for several months.

Sixty yards from the highway, the young man noticed a glint of sunlight from the ground and stopped to investigate. He called for Dana to come see. She braked her ATV and turned back. He was grinning, holding a glittering object in his hand, the sunlight refracting beams of light around him.

Blunt told me, “Give her a call, and go out and see what she found. I won’t tell you what it is. I want you to see it without any preconceptions but, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.”

I called immediately. Dana invited me to come out to her ranch and have a look at the artifact. I honored Tom’s request and didn’t ask specifically what the object was. Isadora accompanied me.

We arrived at the ranch to a warm greeting and were seated in the kitchen. The house was decorated with hunting trophies, rifles and other cowboy-style decor. It had the feel of a modern wild west. Dana returned from the back of the house carrying something wrapped in silk. She studied my face closely as she uncovered the artifact.

There in her hands was a most unusual glass skull! At first glance, it didn’t remotely look human. The San Luis Valley Skull, as I’ve dubbed it, is six-inches high and three-and-a-half inches wide, and appears to have been created from a single piece of molten-glass. It does not appear to be carved. Its unique form doesn’t suggest a typical human skull, rather, it is highly stylized. Dana fondly describes it as looking like an “ant-person” skull.

The three-pound skull is asymmetrical and was obviously not made to sit on a mantle, or altar. This asymmetric nature could be significant and unique. The smooth, graceful lines flow effortlessly through the form, suggesting to one viewer a prenatal, feminine quality. One verified unique feature is the elongated jaw which twists down and to the left with what appears to be a tongue protruding from between the upper and lower teeth. The nose hole in the front actually extends over an inch into the interior of the skull, and it features an earring hole on the right side.

The skull was apparently on the surface of the ground, partially covered with blown sand which filled the crevices. Undoubtedly, the San Luis Valley Skull is destined to generate controversy. However, regardless of its origin, there is no question that the find is an exceptional work of art.

Crystal skulls, traditionally, have only been discovered in the Yucatan region of Mexico and Central America, and if this skull is authentic, it could represent a archaeologic find of historic significance. The SLV has always had it’s share of unexplained events but most have not left behind any trace of their fleeting presence.

I had brought a video camera with me and documented the find. The woman who found it is understandably hesitant to publicize it, and has asked that the exact location of their ranch, and their identities remain confidential. They don’t want people tramping around the pasture, scaring their animals.

“Some people are plumb scared of it when they first see it,” the rancher told me. “A friend came to see it and now she won’t step foot on our property.” The skull grimaces–almost daring you to touch it, let alone attempt to explain its origin.

Other peripheral elements have come into play. The woman owner is convinced that the skull cannot leave the property unless she personally takes it. She, and her family related some

One of the first things they did was try to find someone who could appraise the artifact. Her son volunteered to take it to an art appraiser on the Front Range. The following day, the son was inadvertently hit on the right side of his head with a hammer, and her husband was hit in almost the exact spot by a truck boom. “They both have scars to prove it,” she told me.
Her son added, “It damn near laid me out.”

In another incident, a woman took the skull outside to look at it in the sunlight. As she approached her pickup, parked in the driveway, a spare tire laying in the back of the truck exploded. I went outside to see the Michelin tire. “It was a cool day, and there is just no way that tire should have blown like that,” the rancher told me.

In another incident, Billy opened up the cabinet where the skull was kept and he smelled “a ladies perfume that about knocked me over. It smelled just like a busted bottle of perfume. We couldn’t locate the source of the smell and we’ve never smelled it since. ”

As I videotaped the artifact at the Cases, the camera I was using inexplicably stopped. I still don’t know what was wrong with it. Dana told me of a psychic reading she had received soon after its discovery. “I didn’t tell him what I’d found, but he told me ‘It is very old. It’s not manmade and not of this Earth. You must be very careful with it. It can be very detrimental. . . You must be balanced, or you will be hurt.'”

She asked the psychic if she should do anything in particular with it. He told her, “You don’t need to do anything. Someone you didn’t contact about it” would appear and help do what needed to be done. “That’s you!” she said, pointing to me.

I assured her, “I’m no crystal skull expert” but I offered to help in any way I could. I suggested that we get several expert appraisals and see if it could be authenticated.

This was better than an Indiana Jones Movie. I made a phone call to Timothy Green Beckley, who had put on April’s Pikes Peak UFO and New Age conference. Coincidentally, Joanna Parks, the Texas-based keeper of “Max” the most famous crystal skull, had brought it out for a rare public viewing at the Colorado conference. Having just seen Max, I obtained her number from Beckley and called. Parks immediately told me to contact Nick Nocerino, considered by many to be the world’s foremost crystal skull expert.

Nocerino, as I expected, was very intrigued by the find. He asked me several questions about it, including, “Does it have an earring hole?” Affirmative. My description evidently impressed him enough to offer to fly out to see it personally.

It took a couple of days for this latest mystery to sink in. My gut-feeling was that the object was genuine but had been placed where it was found. But, after running that whole scenario through my mind, I realized the implications of someone just leaving such a valuable thing on a fence-line on the chance that it would be found by the new owners.

I was certain of one thing. Even if it was placed there by someone for the new owners to find (a fantastic, but real possibility) , the object itself is worthy of scrutiny. If the San Luis Valley Skull was determined to be an ancient skull, the implications would be startling. What would it have represented to ancient man, who has visited here for almost 11,000 years?

Dozens of crystal and glass skulls have been discovered in the Yucatan and several are quite famous. These skulls are thought to have been used as healing tools by Mayan, and possibly Olmec and Toltec priests, for ceremonial healing practices. Their true age is unknown and difficult to determine. Several may be well be over a thousand-years-old.

One of the most famous of these crystal skulls is the Mitchel-Hedges Skull. This life-sized, incredibly beautiful artifact was unearthed in 1927 in Belize on an archaeology dig by F.A. Mitchel-Hedges, an English archaeologist looking for evidence of Atlantis, while excavating the Mayan ruin at Lubaantun. The Mitchel-Hedges skull is considered to be the most perfectly formed of all the 12 major crystal skulls.

Another famous skull is Joanna Park’s “Max,” the life-size crystal skull carved from a single piece of clear quartz said to be over 10,000 years-old. Joanna Parks says she was given the skull by a Tibetan Rimpoche.

The “British Museum Skull” is a less perfect, possibly unfinished skull brought out of Mexico by a British soldier during the reign of Emperor Maximilian, shortly before the French occupation. The Mexican government has tried unsuccessfully to reacquire the skull which they consider to be Mixtec in origin.

The “Aztec Skull” which resides in Paris, France at the Musee de L’Homme, Pailais de Chaillot, is rather gruesome-looking and probably represents Mictlantecutli, the Aztec God of Death.

Crystal skulls were undoubtedly venerated in ancient Mexico. Small skulls of varying degrees of sophistication can be found in the Christy collection at the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Douglas Collection and Blake Collections, and at the Trocadero Museum. Dozens of these skulls have been found, although most are crude-looking and all obviously represent human-skulls. The San Luis Valley Skull may be different.

Speculation concerning the actual origin and age of several of these crystal skulls centers around the lost civilization of Atlantis. Some think the Yucatan civilizations were not the actual artists who fashioned them. They may have inherited them from a much older civilization, possibly Atlantis. They point to the cruder, smaller skulls as being made by the later Yucatan peoples.

Edgar Cayce, America’s Sleeping Prophet stated in 1933, during reading number 440-5

Initiates of Atlantis engineered and manipulated precious
power crystals for the production of galvanic and spiritual energies.
The crystals were so potent they were in large part responsible for
the Atlanteans’ advanced technology. Later, in Atlantis history when
crystals were improperly used, they contributed to the final destruction
of the island-empire. The crystals were housed in an oval temple, the
roof of which was rolled back to admit light from the sun and stars
which activated the “white fire-stones.”

Other “channeled” information from additional sources mentions three crystal skulls: one red, one blue, and one clear as being the main power source for the Atlantean civilization. A story circulated several years ago concerning a diver discovering an underwater room off Bimini which he alleged contained a crystal skull.

I wonder if the SLV skull is truly an important piece in this multi-faceted puzzle or a hoax? Could it truly be a link from the past to the present? If the skull is authentic (ancient), could it represent a connection between the indigenous peoples and our present day mysteries? Maybe only the Navajo’s “Crystal Boy and Crystal Girl” know for certain.

Excerpted from Enter the Valley (St. Martin’s Press 1999 page 251-254)

As readers of The Mysterious Valley will recall, in June 1995, I was told of an enigmatic “crystal skull” allegedly found by Moffat, Colorado rancher. Well, the finder, Donna Koch, (her real name) claimed she discovered the enigmatic six and 1/2 inch high skull, February 1995, while riding the fence-line of her newly acquired ranch. 9 I publicized her claim, and the “alien-looking” artifact immediately captured the imagination of many, as excited word of the “find” literally circulated around the world. Channelers, psychics and true believers have had a new-age field day with the little skull. A “full-moon gathering” at the White Eagle Village, attracted the curious from as far away as Arizona and Minnesota. Articles have even appeared in international publications, (curiously with most of the initial facts totally wrong).

I admit, even though I covered my backside against the possibility of a hoax, 10
“. . . I wondered if this report was simply a ruse by the rural family to get publicity, or worse, an outright set-up . . .” The stories surrounding it, and the amazing reaction folks exhibited when around it greatly intrigued me. Unfortunately, sometimes it rains on the ‘ol parade.

I found out, contrary to popular belief, the skull was not crafted by aliens, Lemurians, or Central American healers. The skull was the created by Brad Chadez a glass-blower at the Blake Street Glass Company in Denver. Evidently family members alerted him to the object’s discovery after reading Alan Dumas’ Rocky Mountain News article in November 1996. Wanting to quickly clear up “the mystery,” Chadez made the fateful call to the Crestone Eagle. Kizzen Laki, the publisher, called me with his phone-number. The rest is history.

“I’m really sorry it went so far, I had no idea all this was going on down there,” The 31 year-old Chadez told me. “My parents own the ranch next-door, [to the Kochs] and we left the skull there on the northeast corner of the property as a cornerstone.”

“I started making the skulls to sell in New Mexico at the Day of the Dead festival,” Chadez

“My parents bought the [Moffat] ranch sixteen-years ago, and they’re planning on building a house on the property. We put it there awhile ago as a talisman and I had no idea someone would find it.”

Chadez seems surprised at the reaction people have had here to his creation. “It was just one of my seconds. . . that’s why we put that particular one there. I make full-sized ones that are larger..” Brad told me he normally etches his signature on his creations, but, because he didn’t think this particular one was up-to-par, he didn’t sign it. That simple non-action reverberated around the world.

I must say, if that was one of Chadez’s seconds, his other creations must be exquisite. Chadez has been selling his skull art-works at the Manos Gallery in Denver for several years. “I stopped making them awhile ago,” he said, “maybe I’ll start carving more of them. He then sent me four of the skulls, which are extremely beautiful, and even more impressive than their smaller, more warped cousin.

The Birth of a Power-Object

As with most true “mysteries” there are usually no easy answers. The innocent little “ant-person skull” has had quite an effect on people. The reported strange phenomena that seemed to surround the skull still have no obvious explanations. Exploding tires, sickened babies, bashed in heads, broken video cameras and various other “unexplained” phenomena have been associated with the skull and may give us some insight into the true nature of “perceived” power-objects. Perhaps if enough people think something is magical, and focus their intent on it, then maybe a mundane object can actually become magical. The discovery of the skull, and the subsequent wide-flung notoriety it has received, may be a lesson for all who have a real need to believe in a so-called “mysterious” power object.

One rather well-known investigator who sat with the skull for “eight days,” claimed to have channeled an amazing amount of information which she attributed to the skull. Stories of Lemurian scouts, (one of them, me in a past-life!), settlers and other skulls waiting to be found here were communicated to eager believers. As the one who first publicized the skull’s existence, I feel a responsibility to bring the apparent “truth” to everyone’s attention.

Since the skull generated such overwhelming interest, verging on veneration, in many who’ve seen it, maybe Chadez would be well advised to start crafting them again. Koch declined a lucrative offer to sell the little “ant-person” skull.