The crystal skull is alien technology that acts as both a transporter across space and as a transdimensional device that, when activated, shifts individuals into an alternate dimension. To analysts on Earth, it appeared to be carved from a single crystal against the grain. The crystal skull appeared in the aptly titled episode 3.21 "Crystal Skull".
At least two crystal skulls are in existence. The first was found in Belize by Dr. Nicholas Ballard in 1971 in a Mayan temple (3.21 "Crystal Skull"). When Ballard looked into the skull, he was teleported to P7X-377. He also must have shifted into another dimension because he was able to see Giant Aliens, who appeared to be made of mist and flew around him like spectres. They greeted him with the Mayan expression: "Oo ya waaling waaling wey tayil, which means: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Ballard was too frightened by the experience to respond and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he found himself back in Belize with the temple collapsing around him. He grabbed the skull and fled before the temple was completely destroyed.
Although he made numerous attempts, Ballard was never able to find the temple ruins again. Neither could he repeat the experience with the crystal skull. When he shared his experience, the academic community laughed at him. Not even his grandson, Daniel Jackson, could believe the outrageous tale. Eventually Ballard suffered a nervous collapse and admitted himself to a psychiatric institution in Oregon. The crystal skull itself was donated to the Smithsonian Institution where it was known as the "Ballard Skull." No one can explain how the skull that Nick discovered was carved from a single piece of crystal, against the grain, given the technology of the day.
Almost thirty years later, the SGC sent a MALP to P7X-377 in a routine reconnaissance mission. On a pedestal in the center of a large pyramid, a second crystal skull was displayed. Daniel Jackson immediately recognized the twin to the skull his grandfather had found in Belize. SG-1 went to the planet to investigate. Carter monitored the leptons in the environment, which slowed the movement of neutrinos and created muon radiation. Just as his grandfather had done decades earlier, Daniel stared into the eyes of the skull. The skull activated, and radiation levels spiked. Sensing the skull to be dangerous, Teal’c zatted it. Daniel collapsed, unconscious and out of phase. However the process did not complete and the radiation levels stayed high. The others became ill from the intense muon radiation and barely escaped alive. To their view, Daniel had completely disappeared. Based on Ballard's experiences, they assumed he had been teleported elsewhere in space, rather than into a completely different dimension.
Teal'c later returned to the planet to retrieve the crystal skull, hoping it would provide some clue as to Daniel Jackson's whereabouts. His symbiote helped protect him from exposure to the radiation, which was still at increased levels. Daniel recovered consciousness around the time of Teal'c's return. Discomfited by the fact that Teal'c not only was unaware of his presence, but that the Jaffa was able to pass right through his body, Dr. Jackson followed Teal'c back to the SGC.
The archeologist Dr. Robert Rothman was put in charge of studying the skull to try and discover what had happened to Daniel. Rothman was unaware of the alien nature of the skull. He noticed its similarity to the Ballard Skull in the Smithsonian and conjectured it was made in Germany in the early 1800s. He was overly skeptical of SG-1's theory that the device was a teleportation device, despite their eyewitness reports that the artifact created a tremendous field of energy which engulfed Daniel Jackson before he disappeared. He even stared into the skull's eyes and could not repeat the experience. He concluded the skull was nothing more than a paperweight. Angrily, Major Carter took over the investigation, ordering Sgt. Siler to run some diagnostic tests hoping to find properties within the crystalline structure invisible to the naked eye.
Eventually SG-1 contacted Dr. Nicholas Ballard. Unbeknownst to everyone, Nick was able to see Daniel, but thought his grandson was merely a hallucination. Eventually Daniel figured out he could communicate through Nick and with his grandfather's help, convinced Hammond and his team they should return to the planet with the skull and let it complete the transformation Teal'c's zat blast had interrupted. Ballard took advantage of this opportunity to satisfy his lifelong quest and tagged along to the expedition.
Ballard and SG-1, including the out of phase Daniel returned to P7X-377 with the crystal skull. Once there, they replaced the skull and Daniel once again stared into its eyes. This time the transfer to the alternate dimension was completed, and everyone but Teal'c phased into the Giant Aliens realm. Teal'c was not transported with the others, and Hammond ordered him to return to the SGC.
Once the Jaffa had departed, the Giant Aliens appeared to Ballard and the rest of SG-1. One introduced himself as Quetzalcoatl and repeated the Mayan greeting: "Oo ya waaling waaling wey tayil. Daniel Jackson realized since Teal'c was not transported, the Giant Aliens must view the Goa'uld as enemies, and responded: "We are enemies of the Goa'uld." Quetzalcoatl welcomed them and accepted Daniel's proposition of exchanging knowledge and culture. The alien requested Ballard remain, recognizing the archeologist from his first visit to the planet. Ballard jumped at the chance to fulfill his life's work. Reluctantly, Daniel agreed, insisting his grandfather tell him everything later. Quetzalcoatl instructed SG-1 to look again into the eyes of the skull so that they would be transferred back to their own dimension.
Later, another alien device created by the Ancient Merlin transferred Lt. Col. Mitchell and Lt. Col. Carter into an alternate dimension (9.18 "Arthur's Mantle"). The pair attempted to communicate with Daniel Jackson as Daniel had done with his grandfather, but he was unaware of their presence, leading Sam to conclude they had been shifted to a different alternate dimension. Merlin's device also emitted lepton radiation. When Dr. Jackson discovered this, he instantly related it to his experiences with the crystal skull and realized the two lieutenant colonels were out of phase. Later Daniel inadvertently joined the pair, where he was able to translate writing from the device and reverse the process, returning all three to their home dimension.
- P7X-377 Image Gallery Here is a gallery of images to the planet of the Crystal Skull, P7X-377, including several more of the crystal skull. Clicking on each thumbnail in the gallery will lead you to a larger image which you are welcome to download. Clicking the Back To Wiki Article button will take you to the article on P7X-377.
- Dr. Daniel Jackson
- Maj./Lt. Col. Samantha Carter
- Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell
- Dr. Nicholas Ballard
- Dr. Robert Rothman
- Sgt. Siler
--Aurora 18:59, 26 February 2006 (PST)