intellectual vanities… about close to everything

Max the skull coming to California

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This Negative is on File
All Rights Reserved
Copyright (c) Date 3-23-88

Attn: JoAnn Parks
P.O. Box 751261
Houston, TX 77275-1261
(This image was scanned from
an original photograph sold by
JoAnn and Carl Parks)



ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 17 (UPI) — A crystal skull nicknamed Max that is said to help people reach a new level of consciousness is on its way to California’s Learning Light Foundation.

“Max” will be at the Anaheim center beginning Friday, giving those seeking a higher plane of existence a chance to interact with a possibly vital tool for that lofty goal, The Orange County Register said Wednesday, October 17.

“I think he’s here to help mankind to draw back together,” Max’s owner, JoAnn Parks, said. “He’s here to inspire, to encourage one’s spirit, to give insight.”

But Max’s help doesn’t come free. To spend a private meditation session with Max, one has to be willing to pay between $35 and $50.

For skeptics such as Michael Shermer, executive director for the appropriately named Skeptics society, that is too much to pay to simply sit near a crystal skull.

“I think it’s just a carving somebody did and … and it’s taken on urban myth status,” he told the Register.

Here is a bit of JoAnn Parks’ marketing: in 1990, she wrote a booklet that introduced and told a brief history about “Max”. This booklet was entitled, The Story of Max, The Texas Crystal Skull. She claims that the artifact would be at least 10,000 years old or older (generally 36,000 years is attributed to its age).

“All the claims have been blown incredibly out of proportion,” countered Marc Zender, a Mesoamerican archeologist at Harvard who has studied crystal skulls. “These skulls have been produced quite easily since the 1880s. They’ve all been found to be carved with tools by a whole series of German workshops.”

Skull supporters say that – in the absence of carbon dating or other methods to trace the skulls age – no one can be sure of Max’s precise origin.

Master Ho, a “psychic researcher” at Learning Light, even hypothesizes that crystal skulls might be extraterrestrial in origin.

Whenever it happened, Max was probably carved from a piece of quartz that was at least 40 or 50 pounds. Max appeared, after allegedly having been found in a tomb in Guatemala, between 1924 and 1926. From here the story gets even more lurky. A Lama Norbu, trained to be a powerful healer of the Tibetan sect of Red Hat lamas, studied in the tiny Asian nation of Sikkim with his own teacher, Lama Norbu Lampas, and in Guatemala with Mayan priests, where he came into the presence of Max. Norbu was given this precious skull when he left the Mayans to continue on his path as a healer. His travels took him to Houston, Texas, where he started a healing foundation. The crystal skull sat on his altar as a healing and spiritual tool. Whatever is meant by “Red Hat Lama”, it is interesting enough that exactly an exalted an exalted 19th century russian occultist, Helena Blavatska, warned first of the sect of Tibetan mystics known as the “red hats.” This has been taken by many Gnostic and Theosophical students literally, spreading fear of any Tibetan that utilizes a red hat or crown. Later of course, Samael Aun Weor investigated this matter more deeply, and corrected the warning to be directed squarely at the Drukpa sect of Kagyu Buddhism.

It should be known that three of the four Tibetan Buddhist schools use red hats in their rituals. Even the great master Padmasambava (known as the “second Buddha” by Tibetans) donned a red hat. Therefore, it is clear that the use of a red hat does not automatically denote a follower of black tantrism.

The term “red hat” in Tibetan is “Shamar.” Shamar-pa or “Red Hat Lama” is a tulku or reincarnated Lama of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism who does indeed wear a red hat as a symbol of his position. Although the majority of Tibetan lamas wear red hats, the name “Shamarpa” means “the red hat” and his entourage and monks are considered “those that follow the red hat.”

The current Shamar is the first one to be recognized in two hundred years. He was born in 1952 and is still alive and kicking. He predecessor, the 13th Shamarpa Tinlay Kunchup, lived from 1948 to 1950. It is said about him, that it was a reflection on the adverse karmic conditions of the time that the infant Rinpoche lived for little more than a year before passing away. Hence, the Shamarpa cannot possibly be indicated by the vernacular.

Norbu was backed by rather colourfull folks. An ex-Astronaut, the late Doris Duke of Duke University, the late actor Yul Brynner, Harry Saltzman famous for the James Bond productions, and many other such impressive people. It was during this time that JoAnn and Carl allegedly met the lama through their family medical doctor when their twelve year old daughter, Diana, was dying of bone cancer. JoAnn ended up working for the foundation and the lama for many years. Before Norbu died, he gave the cherished crystal skull to the Parks with no explanation except that someday when the time was right, they would know what the crystal skull was all about. JoAnn did not know what to do with the crystal skull, so she placed it in a box in her closet for many years.

In 1987 JoAnn saw a TV show that led her to Mr. FR ‘Nick’ Nocerino of California. She found out that he was considered the world’s foremost expert on crystal skull research. Mr. Nocerino was “the man” who had searched for Max since 1949. He had acquired Sha-Na-Ra, another ancient crystal skull.

In the meantime, Parks brings “Max” to Orange County every year to be viewed and – for a fee – communed with by those willing to pay $35-$50 for a private meditation session. Beneficial as it is for her purse and eventually for the fate of mankind, the story meets all requirements of what is called an “urban legend”. tells, that urban legends are a specific class of legend, differentiated from “ordinary” legends by their being provided and believed as accounts of actual incidents that befell or were witnessed by someone the teller almost knows (e.g., his sister’s hairdresser’s mechanic). These tales are told as true, local, and recent occurrences, and often contain names of places or entities located within the teller’s neighborhood or surrounding region.

Urban legends are narratives which put our fears and concerns into the form of stories or are tales which we use to confirm the rightness of our world view. As cautionary tales they warn us against engaging in risky behaviors by pointing out what has supposedly happened to others who did what we might be tempted to try. Other legends confirm our belief that it’s a big, bad world out there, one awash with crazed killers, lurking terrorists, unscrupulous companies out to make a buck at any cost, and a government that doesn’t give a damn.

This one tells of thirteen life- size crystal skulls, that one day, when all of the true ancient crystal skulls will be re-discovered, should be brought together for their collective wisdom to be made available, but the human race must first be sufficiently evolved, both morally and spiritually so as not to abuse this great power and knowledge.

Folks commonly equate ‘urban legend’ with ‘false’ (i.e., “Oh, that’s an urban legend!”). Though the vast majority of such tales are pure invention, a handful do turn out to be based on real incidents, and whether or not something actually happened has no bearing on its status as an urban legend. What lifts true tales of this type out of the world of news and into the genre of contemporary lore is the blurring of details and multiplicity of claims that the events happened locally, alterations which take place as the stories are passed through countless hands. Though there might indeed have been an original actual event, it clearly did not happen to as many people or in as many places as the various recountings of it would have us believe.

Max the crystal skull, however, is now known nationally and internationally. He has been presented in several documentaries world wide. And, not surprising for a real urban legend, Max is neither new, nor alone.

The Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull

The most widely celebrated and mysterious crystal skull is the Mitchell-Hedges Skull, for at least two reasons. First, it is very similar in form to an actual human skull, even featuring a fitted removable jawbone. From a technical standpoint, it appears to be an impossible object which today’s most talented sculptors and engineers would be unable to duplicate. As in the Max-legend, the discovery of the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull, sometimes referred to as the “Skull of Doom”. is a controversial matter, and reads like a sci-fi action adventure film.
The British Crystal Skull
It is currently residing in the British Museum of Man in London, England, and has been there since 1898. It is a one piece clear quartz full size quartz crystal skull. There is a pair of similar skulls known as the British Crystal Skull and the Paris Crystal Skull. Both are said to have been bought by mercenaries in Mexico in the 1890s, possibly at the same time. They are so similar in size and shape that some have guessed that one was copied to produce the other. In comparison to the Mitchell-Hedges skull, they are made of cloudier clear crystal and are not nearly as finely sculpted. The features are superficially etched and appear incomplete, without discretely formed jawbones. The British Crystal Skull is on display at London’s Museum of Mankind, and the Trocadero Museum of Paris houses the Paris Crystal Skull.

The Paris Crystal Skull
It is currently residing in the Trocadero Museum in Paris, France. You may notice a slight indentation on the top, which is a hole that was cut into the skull purported to hold a cross.

Mayan Crystal Skull

The Amethyst Skull

Further examples of primitively sculpted skulls are a couple called the Mayan Crystal Skull and the Amethyst Skull. They were discovered in the early 1900s in Guatemala and Mexico, respectively, and were brought to the U.S. by a Mayan priest. The Amethyst Skull is made of purple quartz and the Mayan skull is clear, but the two are otherwise very alike. Like the Mitchell-Hedges skull, both of them were studied at Hewlett-Packard, and they too were found to be inexplicably cut against the axis of the crystal.

Texas Crystal Skull (Max)A skull known as “Max,” or the Texas Crystal Skull, is a single-piece, clear skull weighing 18 pounds. It reportedly originated in Guatemala, then passed from a Tibetan spiritualist to Joann Parks of Houston, Texas. The Parks family allows visitors to observe Max and they display the skull at various exhibitions across the U.S.

ET Skull

“ET” is a smoky quartz skull found in the early 20th Century in Central America. It was given its nickname because its pointed cranium and exaggerated overbite make it look like the skull of an alien being. ET is part of the private collection of Joke VanDietan, who tours with her skulls to share the healing powers she believes they possess. I did scrying with ET at the Star Knowledge Conference, June 1996.

Rose Quartz Crystal Skull

The only known crystal skull that comes close to resembling the Mitchell-Hedges skull is one called the Rose Quartz Crystal Skull, which was reported near the border of Honduras and Guatemala. It is not clear in color and is slightly larger than the Mitchell-Hedges, but boasts a comparable level of craftsmanship, including a removable mandible.

As with Max, none of this tale skulls is beyond contradiction. Many skeptics feel that the crystal skulls are probably of a much more recent vintage than their accompanying stories suggest. This, they believe, is the best way to explain their existence, since no one could have created them without technologies available only within the past century. Since carbon-dating only works on organic substances, it is impossible to determine just how old a crystal skull is. But one recent study found reasonable signs of some skulls’ relative youth.

A May broadcast of the BBC documentary series “Everyman” reported on studies of a number of crystal skulls and other artifacts of supposedly ancient origin conducted at the British Museum. Using electron microscopes, the researchers found that two of the skulls possessed straight, perfectly-spaced surface markings, indicating the use of a modern polishing wheel. Genuine ancient objects would show haphazard tiny scratches from the hand-polishing process. The report speculated that these skulls were actually made in Germany within the past 150 years.

Even the regal Mitchell-Hedges skull is not without scandalous accusations of fraud. Some believe that F.A. Mitchell-Hedges had the piece commissioned by a sculptor, and planted it in the Lubaantum ruins for his daughter to find as a spectacular birthday present.

The validity of this charge is uncertain, but even if the Mitchell-Hedges skull is of modern origin, its structure is no less extraordinary. In all likelihood, every crystal skull in the world was fashioned by plain old human beings of some sort, and regardless of whether the work was carried out five years ago or five hundred years ago, it is not crystall skulls that steer human life, but what humans keep believing about them.


Written by huehueteotl

October 24, 2007 at 4:42 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Pleae contat me inHouston, my cell is 281 744 15 44
    or write to
    I am a Univision reporter.thanks

    sissi varela

    April 4, 2008 at 9:18 pm

  2. the skulls need to be combined the last 4 need to be found and they need to be brought under the statue of quezalcotl the skulls shall then speak the knowledge of the universe the skulls represent not the 13 god’s or mythical but the 13 ruling races of the universe if humanity is expected to survive the skulls must be brought together or it will be the end of us all.


    May 4, 2008 at 8:42 am

  3. Thanks for the article. Just a few notes on the “red hat” lama.
    Norbu chen was a Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist, which are sometimes
    referred to as “red hat”.Sharmapa is also referred to as “the” red hat lama
    but seeing as Norbu Chen is not Shamar Rinpoche, this reference
    is to his Kaygu lineage.And while many lama’s of different lineages wear red hats
    the term “red hat lama” is a colloquel term for Kagyu.
    I think he felt that the crystal skull could
    be a support for peoples perception of healing possibilties.
    As kooky as the new age culture that surrounds it,
    if it helps you , hey that’s good.


    June 11, 2008 at 12:19 am

  4. p.s. The Drukpa Kagyu do not practice black magic
    this is simply baseless. There are plenty of Drukpa Kagyu
    centers scattered all over this country and I encourage
    you to visit one for yourself, you will find simple direct Tibetan
    Buddhist teachings, not black magic, which is not Buddhist
    but arose culturally in Tibet from the native Bon shamanistic
    tradtition, and is not practiced by Buddhists


    June 11, 2008 at 12:26 am

  5. WOWW This is good for me. Thank ^_^


    June 6, 2009 at 10:58 am

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