The volcanic rock skull, named Quauthemoc, was dropped – or, more eerily, may have fallen of its own accord – during a photo-shoot at a laboratory in the small town of Glauchau, Saxony.
“It was probably put down somewhere a bit wobbly,” an eye-witness told Bild newspaper. “Suddenly it crashed to the floor. A big piece broke off the chin. It’s really tragic.”
But the skull’s private owner – who was not in the room at the time of the fateful accident – was more sanguine.
“It was a bit of a shock at first, but then I found the damage was fairly marginal, so I was quite relieved,” skull-owner Thomas Ritter told The Local. “I don’t think it’s a bad omen.”
The 43-year-old amateur historian calls his Mayan skull Quauthemoc, and says it is one of 13 magic skulls that will help humanity survive the impending apocalypse on December 21, 2012 – the last day of the Mayan calendar.
On that day, Ritter plans to bring Quauthemoc to a meeting with the other owners and their skulls to an ancient Mayan site in Mexico.
“The prophecy says that the skulls will reveal a secret knowledge to humanity on that day,” said Ritter. “But I can’t say more than that. The skulls might start speaking or something, but I have no idea.”
The journey taken by Quauthemoc to the lab in Saxony is worthy of an Indiana Jones adventure – Ritter said it had been kept in southern India and Tibet, where it was stolen from a monastery by a Nazi expedition between 1937 and 1939.
After the war, it was found among the belongings of Nazi Interior Minister and Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler, a well-known connoisseur of black magic and ancient pagan cultures.
Ritter wrote in 2009 that a man whose grandfather was present when Himmler was arrested and took the skull, later gave it to him at meeting in Wiltshire, southern England.
The man told Ritter that Quauthemoc had chosen to “continue its journey” with him.
Ritter said he was not concerned that the chip on the skull’s chin will limit its ability to prevent Armageddon.
“A lot of the other skulls have some kind of superficial damage too,” he pointed out, rejecting the theory that butter-fingered lab assistants in Saxony would be responsible if the world ends in December.