The story of the Mayan crystal skulls comes from a man named Fredrick Albert Mitchell-Hedges. He started as an English traveler and writer who wanted a life filled with more adventure. Even at an early age, Mitchell-Hedges explored the Canadian wilderness, war-ton Mexico, and the Central American coast in search for Atlantis. He wrote about his travels with his wife and his adopted daughter.
His greatest find was the crystal “Skull of Doom” in the 1930s. His daughter, Anna, disputed this find saying that she was the one who found the skull underneath a Mayan temple in British Honduras and that a Mayan priest had used the skull to kill his enemies. Some believe the skull brought luck, but Mitchell-Hedges believed it was pure evil.
Roy Chapman Andrews
Roy Chapman Andrews was a explorer for the American Museum of Natural History who was known for exploring the Gobi Desert using a fleet of Dodge cars. While in the desert, Andrews and his team discovered numerous skeletons of uncharted dinosaurs, as well as many different species of insects and mammals. In the 1940s, he switched his career and became popular for his children’s books about dinosaurs. It is said that Andrews looked like Indiana Jones because he was lean yet muscular, wore a slouch hat, and carried a pistol. He was well educated and a gifted archaeologist who preferred to be thrown into the action instead of studying. The two even shared the dislike for snakes.
It was said that Price not only lived a life similar to that of Indiana Jones, but he also wrote the type of stories that inspired George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to create the character rough and tough character. He was a graduate from West Point, a veteran of three combat tours, and a well-traveled fencer and boxer, but his main interest landed on archaeology, Arabic, and Oriental studies. When he settled down in New Orleans, he continued his adventures through his fiction, writing thousands of short stories. His characters that resembled Jones were Singaporean detective, Pawang Ali, Jim Kane, and French swordsman, Pierre D’Artois.
James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted was an Egyptologist who spent most of his career at the University of Chicago (a connection to Indiana Jones). He coined the term “Fertile Crescent,” which was a way to describe the splendor of the ancient Middle East. He contributed many artifacts from all over the Near East to the museum. His most famous excavation was when he wanted to unlock the secrets of Tutankhamun’s tomb, where he was faced with the legendary curse of Tutankhamun. This gained a lot of press (inspiring movies like The Mummy) and making archaeology appear glamorous.
John Pendlebury was a dedicated scholar with an interest in Egyptology. For years, Pendlebury worked as a freelance archaeologist in Crete, which helped him during WWII when he helped to head a local resistance against the German invasion. He was captured by Germans and was executed and buried outside the Canea Gate. Like Jones, he became a hero for ani-Nazi resistance.
Percy Fawcett was a natural adventurer who always sported the same look, a Stetson hat pushed down over his blue eyes, and facial hair. During his career as an artillery officer in the British Army, he found a love for South America. He had gathered so many stories of him daringly escaping hostile natures and predators, he became a celebrity. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used some of Fawcett’s tales as material for his novel, The Lost World.
Fawcett began to believe in a lost city that existed in the heart of Brazil’s Mato Grosso rainforest. During a trek, he disappeared, never to be heard from again. Some think he was killed by natives and cannibalized, but some uncovered evidence pointed to him intentionally getting lost and creating a secret commune in order to practice a cultish religion based on Theosophy. Theosophy is influenced by the more bizarre factors of Nazi ideology.
Frederick Russell Burnham
Frederick Russell Burnham was a US scout and Native American tracker. Armed with his rifle, he became one of the most feared and respected scouts in North America and Africa. In the U.S., Burnham fought in the Southwest during the Apache Wars, and while in Africa, he fought in both Matabele Wars. He became one of Great Britain’s biggest heroes. While in Mexico, Burnham uncovered a large, engraved stone in the Yaqui River Valley. It became known as the Esperanza Stone. With its bizarre symbols and unknown origin, it still remains a favorite topic of discussion among the followers of Charles Fort, a paranormal researcher and the author of The Book of the Damned.
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
Giovanni Battista Belzoni was an accomplished hydraulic engineer who built engines for exhibitions. It was this skill that struck the interest of Muhammad Ali Pasha, the former commander in the Ottoman Army, who helped establish modern Egypt. Belzoni went to Egypt to show the ruler his hydraulic machines, and in turn, ended up becoming one of Egypt’s greatest plunderers. He ransacked many ancient tombs and temples, supplying British museums with many treasures.
An American Archeologist, Sylvanus Morley was an expert on Native American cultures in the Southwest. He first began exploring Mexico in the early 20th century and excavated the city of Chichen Itza. World War I paused his dreams of exploring more, but he ended up using his skills and knowledge to spy on German naval activity along the southern American border. He charted miles of terrain to aid in the war effort.
Robert John Braidwood
Robert John Braidwood was a professor at the University of Chicago, an archaeologist, and an expert on the ancient civilizations of the Middle East. One of his most influential finds was the village of Jarmo, which was a settlement in the Zargos Mountains that began around 6800 B.C. Braidwood became one of the first archaeologists to use Willard Libby’s carbon dating process to find the age of the ancient artifacts he found in Jarmo. He was also involved in World War II as a directory of meteorological mapping for the U.S. Army Air Corps.