Of course, the one we're most familiar with is Stonehenge, considered to be the most ancient monument in the world. Located on Salisbury Plain in England, about 137 km south of London, this monument's circle is aligned with the midsummer sunrise, the midwinter sunset, and the most southerly rising and northerly setting of the moon. Pretty impressive for something built an estimated 5000 years ago, huh? Not only does this monument demonstrate sophisticated applications of mathematics, geometry, and astronomy, but the engineering involved is amazingly advanced and structurally sound, as well. Latest studies indicate Stonehenge was actually built in three different stages, and took a thousand years to complete. (And you think those workmen took a long time refurbishing your kitchen!)
Lots of theories abound as to who built Stonehenge, and why. Merlin? The Danes? Aliens? Many people credit the Druids, but the Druids didn't arrive on the scene until thousands of years later, and when they did, their rituals were generally held in forested areas, not open fields, so it isn't likely that they dunit.
The most accepted explanations assign multiple purposes to the site, both as an astronomical observatory and as a location for performing ritual functions. Perhaps as a cemetery. Maybe even a site of healing.
The truth is, we'll probably never know all the answers about Stonehenge..
|We're doomed to wonder about its mystery.|
So, let's try this side of the ocean. Any chance of solving the mysteries of America's Stonehenge?
Well, that's what some people call it. Sounds a bit grandiose to me. The actual name of this bizarre monument is the Georgia Guidestones.
Set in an unlikely middle-of-nowhere field in Elberton, Georgia, this monument is comprised of five sixteen-feet tall polished slabs of granite. The four outer ones weigh twenty tons each, and are engraved with ten directives, written in eight different languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, and Swahili. Along with the center pillar, they support a 25,000 pound capstone, which contains a mission statement of sorts: Let these be guidestones to an age of reason. And those words are written in Egyptian hieroglyphics, classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian cuneiform. There's a 7/8 inch aperture on the capstone, which allows a sunbeam to shine on the center stone, and thus indicates the day of the year. There's also a hole in one of the stones through which the North Star is visible at all times, and a hole in the center column that frames the sunrise on solstices and equinoxes.
So, how did such a massive monument come to be in the fields of Georgia? Surely, it doesn't date back to prehistoric times, does it?
I'm glad you asked.
In June of 1979, an elegant gray-haired gentleman, who introduced himself as Robert C. Christian, visited Elbert Granite Finishing, and spoke to company president Joe Findley about building a monument. He claimed to represent a small group of loyal Americans who'd been planning the project for twenty years, and who intended to remain forever anonymous. When Christian described what he wanted, saying the structure was to serve as a compass, calendar, and clock, and would need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight different languages, and oh, by the way, it had to be built to withstand catastrophic events, Findley thought the guy was a certifiable nutcase. To end the conversation, Findley quoted an astronomical estimate for the job, but Christian wasn't the least bit dissuaded. He dealt with a local banker to handle all the finances, to whom he freely admitted his use of a pseudonym. That banker, the ONLY person who was given the mystery man's real name, signed a confidentiality agreement, promising never to reveal Christian's identity, and to destroy all paperwork once the project was completed.
That was the last time the man was seen in Elberton. Payments for the project were sent to the banker from a variety of banks from all over the country, and written communications came from a variety of locations, as well. The mystery man was everywhere. He was nowhere.
The completed project was unveiled on March 22, 1980.
A plaque details the monument's dimensions, and explains the purpose of the various holes and notches in the stones, which, like the original Stonehenge, enable the monument to track movements of the sun and stars. A University of Georgia astronomer assisted the builders in properly following the detailed astrological specifications provided by the mystery man.
|Layout of the Georgia Guidestones|
Plenty of conspiracy theories have tried to explain the true meaning and purpose of these stones, and why that anonymous group was willing to fork over such vast sums of money to build them. Including the theory espoused by Mark Dice, author of The Resistance Manifesto, that the monument has Satanic origins, and should be smashed to smithereens. However, on the face of it, these stones seem to be intended to offer humanity directions for a post-apocalyptic rebuilding of civilization.
So, who WAS that distinguished gray-haired gentleman? And who else was in that group he represented? Merlin? The Danes? Aliens?
Again, we may never know. I sure don't know. But, psssst, I DO know what's written in eight different languages on those stones:
- Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
- Guide reproduction wisely- improving fitness and diversity.
- Unite humanity with a living new language.
- Rule passion- faith- tradition- and all things with tempered reason.
- Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
- Let all nations rule internally, resolving external disputes in a world court.
- Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
- Balance personal rights with social duties.
- Prize truth- beauty- love- seeking harmony with the infinite.
- Be not a cancer on the earth- leave room for nature- leave room for nature.
So, whatcha think? Words of wisdom, or a bunch of bunk? And who WAS that mystery man?
Alas, some whodunits may never be solved. That's what makes them so much fun. Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.