A Brief Personal History

Who is Joshua "Illinois" Shapiro -
"Crystal Skull Explorer"

Before I get started … since I can not assume that the readers of the Crystal Skull Chronicles are existing readers who have followed our progress in Cyberspace via our web site, I thought it might be nice to share a brief personal history so you have some idea of who is writing this material. Please feel free to skip this section if you want to get into the meat of the story but for those of you who have some curiosity, please read on.

I do not see myself as being some special person that qualifies to write such a saga. I consider that every individual is unique and wondrous in their own right, we each have our own personal story to tell. We can learn from each by sharing our experiences … however I do believe that some souls have accepted in this lifetime anyway, to faces many challenges. For myself, I will not claim to be a polished writer and especially one who can do a complete novel. Whether it has to do with being an Aries, or that I can not clearly see details in my inner vision, or that remembering vivid details of the environment around me is not important, the description of the scenes I will be portraying will be taxing. I am hoping that as the story starts, that perhaps one or more talented novelist type of writers, might actually see with great clarity what I will be doing my best to describe. So I do not have any expectations whether this story will be success or not, or even read by others. All I know is that when I feel electrified like I did earlier this week, I must follow this sign and see the experience through. So here we are.

Since 1980, I have (consciously) been on my own personal spiritual search. I was born in Chicago, Richard Laurence Shapiro on April 17th, 1955 and in 1980, I had a sequence of events, where I met in a short period of time a number of people who shared with me about personal spiritual or psychic experiences which seem to have triggered inside of me a hunger to completely understand what metaphysical and psychic phenomena are all about. Actually, to be honest, the still small voice inside kept insisting I knew a lot about these things so I had to find out. What choice did I have?

I eventually joined various metaphysical groups in Chicago but I believe Joshua Shapiro was born in 1981 when he left for California on faith … (I even had to take out my first book, "Journeys of an Aquarian Age Networker (1982) to check this date … God the years have gone by so fast ….). Prior to leaving, I had heard that California was where everything was happening related to the New Age so on March 31st, (the day after President Regan was shot, and even after this time, I have found that something interesting always happens to me around March 30th and 31st for a special sign … and guess what readers, March 31st is how many days before my birthday?), my friend Randy and I (driving in his car) drove out to California. I had $200 to my name (I thought this was a lot at the time) and just knew I had to go. My brother's ex-girlfriend in the Los Angeles area, said we could stay at her place if we came, so I thought why not. Well, this is a long story, but using just my intuition and inner feeling I wandered for about four months, getting to see a large part of California (from Los Angeles to San Francisco including Mt. Shasta of course) and then on into Arizona (stopped in Sedona) and New Mexico (Albuquerque & Santa Fe). I do not believe I came back the same …. All I had to guide me was my inner gifts but I collected a ton of Spiritual and New Age information as well information about local events and activities and somehow, I survived and came back in one and half pieces :--). During this incredible time I inwardly heard to start using the spiritual name of Joshua …

My first book was published in October of 1982, thanks to help of my first wife. Again, it was a similar feeling as I have now, I was full of information to get out so I had to find a form to do so. It turned out that the book was 480 pages and was a compilation of materials I had collected in my search from 1980-1982. It dealt with New Age Networking, UFOs, Holistic Health, Visions of the Aquarian Age and Native Americans. At this time I called myself a Networker and was going from town to town, meeting new people and busy collecting information and contacts. In 1983, the marriage didn't work out so I continued wandering around for a bit in Arizona and then eventually came back to California where I went back and forth between San Francisco and San Diego, doing odd jobs, part time work, selling my book and giving presentations. In April of 1983, through my friend Francoise Beaudoin, the owner of the Ram Metaphysical Bookstore, in San Jose, California, I had an opportunity to see in person, my first crystal skull, it was made from Amethyst and I didn't quite know why I was there or what to make of it.

In 1985, after traveling into Southern California and Arizona, I returned to San Francisco where I met my co-author Sandra Bowen at a UFO talk I was giving in Berkeley. In each person's life, they have magical moments where they meet old friends from former times and meeting Sandra was no exception for me. We were in a relationship for three years and I didn't realize when I met her I would be moving into a new direction which is still continuing to this day, related to the crystal skulls. It was during this time that I had a chance to meet her teacher Mr. Nocerino and the three of us decided to do a Crystal Skull book. A side note, related to this time-frame, I edited a Bigfoot book based on Stan Johnson's encounters in Oregon and also released my own UFO book which was an expansion of the UFO chapter in the Journeys book. Through Sandra and Mr. Nocerino I came into contact with Anna Mitchell-Hedges and her incredible Crystal Skull (in 1986 -- Dallas and San Francisco) and "MAX", the Texas Crystal Skull (1987). We came out with a preliminary edition of our book in 1987 (a photocopied spiral bound version, about 1000 copies) and then in 1988, decided to invest our own money and do a more professional version (including my uncle and my business partner who also decided to invest), printing 10,000 copies. This professional version was first released in March of 1989. This was a most intense time as it took us over 8 months to redo the preliminary version.

In the spring of 1989, while promoting the book, I went to Las Vegas for my sister's wedding and made some local contacts to come back and do some crystal skull lectures that summer. At one of these talks, I met Arsenia Pitts (who helped me form FUND) and Jose Iniquez, who had a small crystal skull. With the possibility of creating a non-profit Foundation to share many of the New Age projects living inside of me and a chance to work with a crystal skull caretaker, I left San Francisco and moved to Las Vegas on December 31st, 1989.

Some of you might be amazed that I would go to Las Vegas, but there are some amazing energies there outside of the part of the city which houses all the gambling Casinos. As a matter of fact, around this time Las Vegas was hosting a number of UFO Conferences and a local channel ran a special on the current status of UFOs. I had never been involved in a non-profit before and so it was quite challenging getting some of our projects off the ground. One of the experiences I did love was the chance to work with some Hollywood Producers to write a first draft of a Crystal Skull movie (these contacts came through some of the Broad Members of Fund). I also had a chance to do a public talk with Jose in Tucson, Arizona (Feb. 1990) and was invited to go to Brazil in May (1990) to speak at the 2nd Annual Metaphysical Conference that was sponsored by Paz Universal. Carmen Balhestro is a spiritual channel and her family organizes many events in Brazil. She wanted to have someone speak on the Crystal Skulls and asked me to come. It was a great week and I fell in love with the country and met my wife Vera during this time. I don't know how I communicated with Vera as I didn't speak any Portuguese and she didn't speak any English but somehow we did. Vera thought after I left she would never hear from me, but in a few days after I returned to the U.S., she was surprised to receive a phone call from you know who. We stayed in touch and I went back to Brazil to see her in September of 1990 and participated in her metaphysical tour to Peru (50 Brazilian and one American).

But lets get back to early May of 1990, right before I left for Brazil because I hadn't the strange incident happen to me in my life. On May 3rd, 1990, I was walking to a local MacDonalds on a busy street in Las Vegas, this was a warm Thursday afternoon and then the next things I knew, I was in a hospital bed, having no idea how I got there, two days later (I was not fully alert but woke up Saturday afternoon or early evening). All I could recall was hearing a loud screech behind me … and then I found myself in this bed tied down by straps. The following day (Sunday), as I was more conscious, a doctor asked me if I remember being hit by a truck. Apparently I was in a coma for two days but what is really strange is that I have no recall whatsoever or a memory of experiencing being hit by a truck (actually it was a van). My friends told me that in the newspapers there was a report of an unidentified person (because my drivers' license was not from Nevada but California) being hit by a vehicle and they were not sure if this person would make it. But surprise … ta da … I did but am not completely sure what this experience was all about because I happen to be a person who believes everything happens for a reason. It is my personal feeling that during this time I (my spirit, my essence) may have been needed to be somewhere else (wherever or whatever dimension this is) and there needed to be a rational explanation why I was unconscious … and someone to look after my physical body when the real part of me was gone … I don't know, what do you think?

OK, back to our correct timeline … upon returning from Brazil (the second time), I started a movie company with the lawyer who helped me pay my hospital bills through my car insurance because I didn't have any medical insurance (just another Aries who always thinks that things will work out perfectly). We decided to call the company Golden Light Pictures, and I had to resign from FUND otherwise there will be a conflict of interest. We were negotiating with FUND to take my movie back and I even worked with a new writer to redo the script but we just couldn't get funds to continue. Eventually by April of 1991, not being able to find any work in Las Vegas and with Vera coming to join me in the U.S. (to be married in a few months), I had to leave Las Vegas. Fortunately my parents offered me a chance to re-balance my life and find work in Chicago, so I returned in May of 1991 just in time to be there for my dad who was going through heart bypass surgery.

(First writing ended: 9:17 PM, Sunday, November 17th … continuing next time)

( November 21st at 4:17 AM, Central time, Des Plaines, IL ....Introduction continues …… )

Before I returned to Chicago, I was invited (April 1991) to participate in a Holistic Fair (organized by Hank Kraftman) in Los Angeles and to speak about the Crystal Skulls. Hank had in his possession a contemporary crystal skull that was made by a German Carver. I misunderstood that he had me speaking both days of the Fair, and came late but I was able to give a talk on the second day. While I was at the Fair, I met my friend Eric Fontzi, who had a booth for his store called the Cristal Kingdom, located in Venice. Cristal Kingdom had an incredible selection of quartz crystals and gemstones and Eric knows people all over the world. He was the person who had made contact with the German carver that did the skull in Mr. Kraftsman possession and Eric always told me he could find any type of stonework in whatever shape you wanted.

So via this invitation to come to L.A., I found another momentous series of events commence which brought me in touch with the incredible Joke Van Dieten. So here is how this story played out. About this time, Eric had just been contacted by a Mayan family in Central America, who had a full size smoky quartz skull for sale. Ms. Van Dieten was in town at this exact time, to see the crystal skull as she had put a deposit down to hold the skull and were there to buy it and see what she had purchased. She found out about Eric via our book, Mysteries of the Crystal Skulls Revealed interestingly enough. For you see, we have a Crystal Skull Resource Section in an appendix in the back (I love these kind of stories where our book has been able to help a crystal skull caretaker). Joke (pronounced Yo-ka, she is Dutch) found our book in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada at a local new age bookstore, and told me the book just fell into her hands …. (I wonder who are the spirits that are behind some of these projects?) … but she did not have a chance to read it till she took the book back with her to Costa Rica, where she lived. Then some inner voice told her to go to back of the book and read. She zeroed in on the entry for Eric's store in the Resource section and decided to phone him. She asked if he had any ancient human size crystal skulls for sale. At this time in 1991, there were very few ancient human size crystal skulls known let alone for sale, and Eric thought she was crazy. Joke shared with Vera and I, that she didn't know why, but before hanging up with Eric to end their conversation, she told him that he would be hearing about a new crystal skull soon, and when he did he should call her. The Mayan family contacted Eric a few days later and Joke purchased the skull without seeing it.

(Pause at 4:26 to do other work … returning at 4:37)

So when I was attending the Holistic conference, Joke was in town. And of course Joke knew me from my book. Seems to me, as if some on high up was orchestrating a very interesting set of synchronistic events to bring all the players together. So when I spoke to Eric at the conference at his booth, he was telling me that he had a new crystal skull, but I was thinking, since as far as I knew Eric usually only received reports about contemporary crystal skulls that he probably had another one. So I drove to Eric's shop later that day to see the skull and that is where I met Joke. She was visiting the store to see what she had bought. I recall that Joke had quite a number of questions for me about the crystal skulls. Then Eric invited us to his home for dinner and this is where we viewed this new crystal skull. I still had no idea at all about what we were going to see until Eric brought out "ET", the name which Joke felt immediately to call this crystal skull. If you have a chance to visit the "ET" Home Page, you will see immediately that "ET" does not really resemble the shape of our human skull at all … it is slightly pointed at the top and has an overbite. The following day, I had to return to Las Vegas, where I was still living (a four hour car drive) but Joke gave me permission to come back to Eric's home to mediate and work with "ET". So I did this for about half an hour. I felt that the crystal skull was closed at this time as when I send in as much love energy as I could, it didn't seem to be received by "ET". I also knew that it was not my place to help re-activate the crystal skull and knew as Joke began to work it, become more comfortable to be its caretaker and later share him with other people, "ET" would shine as he is doing today.

Well I stayed in touch with Joke via letters and then she told us that the doctors in Australia had discovered she had a large brain tumor, similar to what happened to her Mother. She was operated upon in early 1992 by a master surgeon in Canada … and what I personally marveled at with this most interesting lady is she never had any fear or doubt that she would not recover. Joke absolutely believes and tells this to everyone, that her fast and amazing recovery was attributed to her be in contact with "ET". She is considered to be a medical miracle as the tumor was quite large and the best case scenario was that she would be partially paralyzed but today she is more energetic than most young people I know. After her surgery, she moved to Switzerland to recuperate and a friend of hers, who is a nurse, was looking at "ET" one time and saw in "ET" a large tumor in the exact spot where Joke's tumor was removed. So if you ever have a chance to see "ET" or hear Joke do a public talk, you can find out some of the other details about this experience.

In December of that year (1992) Joke decided to visit the U.S. with a friend from Germany, Heinz, to see UFOs or talk with various UFO organizations. They decided to stop in Chicago to visit us and did for about a week during Christmas time. Joke graciously allowed my wife and I to have "ET" in our home for four days which was a wish come true. Vera had some powerful dreams during this time (ET was close to us when we slept) and I woke up each morning with my body feeling as if it had a vigorous exercise. Then I happened to mention to Joke that the Mitchell-Hedges Skull was close-by in Indiana, about one and half hours from us … so one a bright sunny afternoon (one Sunday in late December) we drove to the Valparaiso, Indiana trying to find Anna Mitchell-Hedges (from her address {BTW} listed in the Portuguese edition of our crystal skull book from Brazil of all places) with no expectations of what would happen. As the navigator (the driver) I had no idea where the street listed was so while we stopped at a local restaurant to eat, I asked our waitress if she knew. This eventually led me to call the local police station and they gave me directions. Think of this my friends, the police indirectly brought "ET" together with the Mitchell-Hedges Skull (that a way to go!!!). After we arrived, Joke boldly walked up the front door of Anna's house (the caretaker of this other skull), and while holding "ET" in her arms, asked if she and some friends could come in. It was a remarkable experience being there in the presence of these two skulls sitting together on Anna's table (the Mitchell-Hedges skull to our left and "ET" to our right), which purportedly were discovered in close proximity to each other in Central America. This is one moment that will forever be etched in my mind.

The Years of 1993-1995 were not too eventful, fairly quiet I might say. In March of 1995, I felt an inner inspiration from spirit (you know the guys who kind of lurk around and watch us patiently) to start our own Internet Web Site. I was still learning how to do web pages so I thought why not, and had no idea what to expect. When we placed (August 1995) some of the images from the purported Roswell Autopsy Film on our site that were being released on the net, this catapulted us into a new level, all of sudden we had over 6,000 visits to our site a week and Sightings (a great TV show in the U.S. about UFOs and psychic phenomena) also linked to our site as well and eventually showed some of our pages on one of their programs. This new traffic caused us to switch to a new web provider to handle it … We continued adding pages to our site (God knows how many we have now) and this platform not only gave us an opportunity to share the latest UFO news in the world but also to keep people updated on a wealth of new information related to the Crystal Skulls. I still believe till this date, our crystal skull section is perhaps (oh modest Aries that I am) one of the most extensive on the web. At the time I am writing this introduction, there has been all of a sudden, a renewed interest in the crystal skulls. At the time of this writing I have been contacted by three TV production companies who are interested to do a piece about these mysterious artifacts.

Going back to the end of 1995, in November, we took a trip to Australia with Joke and two of her skulls. Our friend Norm, who had accompanied us on the metaphysical journeys that Vera organizes to Peru shortly before this (October), sponsored us and set it up for us to have a booth at the Body-Mind-Spirit Festival in Sydney. Many people had a chance to really experience "ET", probably over 200 people sat with "ET" at our booth and meditated. Based on the response from the people I spoke with, I estimate that 90-95% had some type of spiritual experience or felt some kind of energy.

In March of this year (1996), Joke, my wife and I agreed to work together to offer some crystal skull events that would include a meditation with "ET" (as well as any of the other skulls in the collection that Joke felt to bring), private session with the skull(s) and a complete crystal skull lecture discussing many of the known crystal skulls in the world and theories. We had a chance to participate in May in Atlanta at the UFO Forum (very well received - thank you Trish McCannon), the Star Knowledge UFO Conference in South Dakota (called by Standing Elk, a Dakota Indian, in June - a number of the Native Americans there had some powerful insights about "ET" and his energy dramatically changed), then at the Universal Life Expo in Columbus, Ohio (October - a Mayan Priest came at the end and stated that "ET" was a Mayan Skull and he would share with his brothers that the skull had returned) and lastly in the beginning of December we had our event in the San Francisco area (where my crystal skull experiences started and been the most profound) and "Strange Universe" was also on hand to film parts of our event, as "ET" will be shown for the first time publicly on TV.

Part II
Confirmation by the Numbers
________ Part IV
The Blue Crystal Skull

Story Table of Contents
( Plunge into the actual story! )

VJ Enterprises
Attn: Joshua "Illinois" Shapiro
Bloomington, IL, USA
FAX: (206)