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A crystal skull is a stylized carving of a human skull. There are several in existence and at least forty-nine which are considered to be ancient. The skulls are often categorized into ancient (1000 years old or older), old (dating within 200 years) and contemporary (still being produced today).

Clear rock quartz crystal is the most common medium, however, other skulls have been made from alabaster, topaz, moonstone, rose quartz, smoky quartz and agate, among othres.

The purpose of the skulls is still under consideration. Because some were found in tombs, many assume they have a religious significance. Another theory says tribal shamen used them to control events within the community.

Another native American legend tells of thirteen original life-size skulls which are said to hold vital information about humankind's true purpose and destiny. The thirteen skulls would be discovered and their sacred knowledge revealed when mankind had developed sufficiently.

Some believe the skulls possess telepathic qualities, allowing us to see deep into the past or predict the future. Other, more wild theories say the skulls are from the lost city of Atlantis or are extraterrestrial in origin.

The most famous crystal skull is called the Mitchell-Hedges Skull. It's particularly notable for three reasons. One, it's very similar in form to an actual human skull. Second, scientists cannot say how the skull was constructed and third, the discovery of the skull remains controversial. The Mitchell-Hedges skull is made of clear quartz crystal and both cranium and mandible are thought to have originated from the same solid block. Except for a few small anomalies, it is virtually an anatomically correct replica of a human skull.

The modern day discovery of the skull is questionable. It was first brought to light by British explorer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. He claimed his daughter Anna found the skull in 1924, within some Mayan ruins. Father and daughter were in Belize at the time (then called British Honduras). Yet, that theory is disputed. Other records indicate Mitchell-Hedges purchased the skull at an auction at Sotheby's in London in 1943. Whatever the case, the skull was last known to be still in the possession of Anna Mitchell-Hedges, who resides in Canada.

Most of the known skulls have names. For example, Max, or the Texas Crystal skull, weighs in at 18 pounds. It supposedly came from Guatemala, then passed from a Tibetan spiritualist to the Parks family of Houston, Texas.

ET was found in the early 20th century in Central America. It's made of smoky quartz and is part of a private collection. It was nicknamed ET because the shape of the cranium and exaggerated overbite make it look like the skull of an alien.

There's another pair of skulls known as the British Crystal Skull and the Paris Crystal Skull. Both are believed to have been purchased by mercenaries in Mexico in the 1890's. Very similar in shape, many believe one was copied to produce the other. Similar skulls which are carved today are rare and usually priced between $10,000 and $50,000.