Sunday, July 20, 2008

Featured Pipe Smoker: F.A. Mitchell-Hedges

Frederick Albert "Mike" Mitchell-Hedges (1882-1959)

Here we have another interesting character. F.A. Mitchell-Hedges was an English adventurer and writer, and was...shall we say...quite fond of telling elaborate tales of his adventures. Some have even compared him to Baron Munchausen because of his tale-telling.

He traveled often in the Caribbean and Central America, where he claimed to have discovered some forgotten tribes and lost cities. Wikipedia tells of how he even had a radio show during the 1930's, in which he related harrowing tales of his narrow escapes from death during his jungle adventures--once barely escaping the wrath of an attacking iguana. That's right: iguana.

He also claimed to have fought alongside Pancho Villa, for what it's worth.

Mitchell-Hedges is well known to those who are interested in strange phenomena as the owner of a crystal skull.

He claimed to have found it in one of the lost cities he discovered in Central American during the 1920's. A lot of people believed him at the time. Some years later it came to light that he had actually purchased it at a Sotheby's auction in London in 1943. He didn't mention to anyone that he had the thing until the late 1940's. I should note that the true origin of the skull has never been determined.

Mitchell-Hedges is mentioned in the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

People who knew "Mike" described him as a charming rogue. It is clear that he grew up reading stories by such writers as Arthur Conan Doyle, H. Rider Haggard and Robert Lewis Stevenson, and he wanted to live--or at least get other people to believe that he had lived--his own adventures.

There is a website dedicated to Mitchell-Hedges, crystal skulls and other Fortean phenomena: The Mitchell-Hedges Official Website.

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