The crystal skulls are a number of human skull hardstone carvings made of clear or milky white quartz, known in art history as “rock crystal”, claimed to be pre-Columbian Mesoamerican artifacts by their alleged finders; however, none of the specimens made available for scientific study have been authenticated as pre-Columbian in origin. The results of these studies demonstrated that those examined were manufactured in the mid-19th century or later, almost certainly in Europe during a time when interest in ancient culture was abundant. Despite some claims presented in an assortment of popularizing literature, legends of crystal skulls with mystical powers do not figure in genuine Mesoamerican or other Native American mythologies and spiritual accounts.
The skulls are often claimed to exhibit paranormal phenomena by some members of the New Age movement. The type of crystal was determined by examination of chlorite inclusions, and is only to be found in Madagascar and Brazil, and thus unobtainable or unknown within pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
Some believers in the paranormal claim that crystal skulls can produce a variety of miracles. Anna Mitchell-Hedges claimed that the skull she allegedly discovered could cause visions, cure cancer, that she once used its magical properties to kill a man, and that in another instance, she saw in it a premonition of the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Crystal skulls are also referenced by author Drunvalo Melchizedek in his book Serpent of Light. He writes that he came across indigenous Mayan descendants in possession of crystal skulls at ceremonies at temples in the Yucatán, which he writes contained souls of ancient Mayans who had entered the skulls to await the time when their ancient knowledge would once again be required.