For Brits of a certain age Arthur C Clarke has a lot to answer for - and I'm not just talking 2001 A Space Odyssey. In 1980 ITV in the UK started to broadcast Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World, a 13 part series looking at unexplained Phenomena. By this point in my life I was already hooked on Forteana and had already read all of the relevant books in my local library and I had started to build up my own library. I was however still on my own. No internet to chat to people, no UnConvention to meet up with like minded folk and I am afraid that at that point I had not even heard of Fortean Times. So one of my only outlets of Forteana was Arthur and his tremendous show. The opening credits showed a beautiful skull made of crystal. I'd read about it and seen still pictures but thiswas a movingimage - it was far more beautiful than I had ever realised. And then on September the 16th 1980 in an episode entitled Ancient Wisdom there was a whole lot of information on the Skull. I lapped it up. It was fantastic. For me this was rapidly to become one of my three all time favourite Fortean objects (Shroud of Turin and Nessie being the other two).
And now we fast forward to 2008. I have the whole series on DVD and I can watch that episode any time I want. I have in one form or another more documentaries on the Mitchell Hedges Crystal Skull than you can shake a stick at, I'm awaiting the arrival of the DVD of the most recent Indiana Jones movie which I am sure will have more documentaries and I even have three crystal skulls of my own. But fairly soon something is going to happen that will eclipse all of these things. I'm going to meet the most famous crystal skull of all - the Mitchell Hedges skull is coming to my home town! Since the start of the year a group of us have been in negotiations to get the skull here. Various set backs have happened along the way but ultimately it's all come good. As part of the Histories Mysteries conference on the 22nd of November the skull will be here. It will be shown during the conference, there will be meditation sessions in the evening and then on the Sunday anyone can (for a small fee) come and see the skull. And it's all happening here in Edinburgh at The Hub, and I helped make it happen! On the day itself I will no doubt be rushing round like a headless chicken introducing various speakers and doing my bit to make sure everything runs smoothly. But I'll get to see the skull. I'll get to spend quality time with it and get a few pictures as well, and 'll be able to test one of the wackier things I have heard about it - not that it can kill people but that fact that it wipes computer media brought near it - I'll have memory cards for my camera and a memory stick and I'll just check what happens to them.
So this will be a bit of a milestone for me - another one of my top three Fortean items seen - just Nessie to go and I'll be a happy boy!
And if you're there come and say hi - I'll be the one with the stupid grin on my face...