11-year old Aurela means the best when she sneaks a magical crystal out of her dad’s room and uses it to try and summon the spirit of Kulkulkan, an ancient Mayan god. But instead of helping out her village, she instead re-awakens the spirit of Specter, an ancient enemy of her people. It’s up to Aurela, her sister, Zaita, and a 20-foot-long talking Boa constrictor, Ish, to stop Specter before he destroys the Maya, the rainforest, and the entire world.
This epic adventure is a podcast called THE MAYAN CRYSTAL, performed by a full cast, with talking animals, immersive sound effects, and Hollywood-style music, and is the first collaboration between FinalRune’s Fred Greenhalgh and Gen-Z Media, the team responsible for Peabody-award winning hit kids podcast The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel.
THE MAYAN CRYSTAL is inspired by adventures Fred and his family had while traveling in Belize and spending time with the modern Maya.
“My family and I were blessed to become great friends with a Mayan family while traveling,” Greenhalgh says, “Instead of being regular tourists, we had a special opportunity to be immersed into their daily lives and get to see what an average week is like in a rural Belizean village… Going to the local mill to grind corn for tortillas, heading out to the jungle to chop down a palm tree for dinner, hunting armadillo and, of course, socializing with friends and family.”
Fred has two young daughters, 5 and 2, who fell in with the kids in the Mayan village and hopefully have created lifelong friends. “What really struck me is that when you’re young, language doesn’t matter,” Fred says, “Kids are kids and ‘play’ is universal.”
At the peak of the Maya civilization, their technological achievements rivaled any in the World, especially in their understanding of astronomy. Thanks to LiDAR archeology, scientists are learning that the ancient Maya empire was much greater than previously understood, such as a recent discovery in Guatemala that discovered over 60,000 new structures at the Ancient Maya site of Tikal. While no longer the force they were in the ancient world, the modern Maya remain an important cultural force in Central America, and are one of the largest indigenous groups, with roughly six million people spread across Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico.
THE MAYAN CRYSTAL uses inspirations from Mayan folklore and legend, the modern Maya and their lives, and Greenhalgh’s own imagination to create a thoroughly new adventure. “At its core, The Mayan Crystal is about how the power of love between two sisters can destroy the forces of evil,” Greenhalgh says. It is free to download on iTunes, Google Play, and at themayancrystal.com. THE MAYAN CRYSTAL is appropriate for all ages.