"Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph."

Haile Selassie

The Crystal Skulls of Belize

First, what are crystal skulls? Everyone will agree that they are large carvings of skulls that are made from a clear (or slightly milky) quartz. Any definitions beyond that is up for debate. So let’s stick with that definition for this post.

The first crystal skulls appeared in public in the late 1800s. It supposedly came from an ancient civilization in mesoamerica. The public interest was very intrigued, and more crystal skulls started appearing. They were treated with a degree of credibility and museums around Europe, including the British Museum in London, bought them for their collections. Although their origin could not be proved, they were interesting enough items to be displayed.

Modern scientists began investigating them in the late 1900s. And the results were disappointing. The first thing the research found was that jeweller’s equipment (that wasn’t invented until the 1800s) was used to make parts of the skulls. Second, the quartz was found only in Madagascar and Brazil. Not a material the ancient Mayans or Aztec would have had access to. Finally -- and the nail in the coffin -- is that no crystal skulls have ever been found at a reputable archaeological dig. They just seemed to appear from thin air. So it appears that the famous crystal skulls were just fancy hoaxes.

"Carter’s decision to run for president occurred during his gubernatorial term. One clear September morning in 1973 Governor Carter stopped by to visit his mother, who was resting in her bedroom. Carter pulled up a chair and propped up his feet on the foot of her bed. When his mother inquired as to his plans after leaving the governor’s office, he replied: ‘I’m going to run for president.’ ‘President of what?’ his mother asked, and Carter replied: ‘Mama, I’m going to run for president of the United States, and I’m going to win.’ Mrs. Carter then told him to get his feet off the bed."

from Larry F. Vrzalik and Michael Minor, "From the President’s Pen", 1991.

The Mystery of the Toxic Woman

Gloria Ramirez smelled. TheCalifornian woman was was dying from cervical cancer, and to make matters worse she had bad body odor -- so bad that twenty-three hospital workers reported fainting, shortness of breath, and muscle spasms after exposure. Five workers required hospitalization, and one had to stay in an intensive care unit for two weeks to recover. Ramirez died less than an hour after entering the hospital. And with her death, hospital workers stopped getting sick.

This incident happened in 1994. It has been the inspiration for multiple TV episodes, including X-Files and NCIS. But to this day it is unknown exactly how Ramirez was harming the people around her. One theory is that she was self-medicating with dimethyl sulfoxide for her pain, which can convert into the toxic gas dimethyl sulfate. Another, less-interesting theory, is that it was mass hysteria.

A Crown Fit For A King

This special crown, known as the Kiani Crown, is the traditional coronation crown during the Qajar dynasty of Iran (1796 – 1925). It is made from red velvet and literally thousands of jewels. We are talking 1,800 pearls, 1,800 rubies and spinels, and 300 emeralds. Plus an uncounted number of diamonds. All in all, a very impressive crown, which was designed to leave no doubt as to who the new ruler was.     Check out the portrait of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar in the image gallery. The second shah of Iran helped demonstrate his authority by wearing the Kiani Crown in one of his official portraits. Today it is owned by the Iranian government, as one of the crown jewels of Iran.

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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