Monday, October 17, 2011

Stonehenge Whodunits

Thought for the day:  You may put a hundred questions to these rough-hewn giants as they bend in grim contemplation of their fallen companions, but your curiosity falls dead in the vast sunny stillness that enshrouds them.   Henry James

A henge is defined as a prehistoric monument built in a circular area with standing stones or wooden pillars, often enclosed by a bank or ditch, and probably used for tribal or religious rituals. Did you know there are upwards of 900 of these stone rings in the British Isles? Me neither.

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!)

Two kinds of stones were used in the construction: bluestones, which weigh up to four tons, and had to be brought (somehow) to the site from 240 miles away; and Sersen stones, which are approximately eighteen feet long, and weigh twenty-five tons. (No wonder it took them a thousand years!)

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:

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely- improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion- faith- tradition- and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally, resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth- beauty- love- seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. 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.


  1. Ah, well, clearly those 10 edicts were written by the hand of Satan. (I swear -- maybe Mark Dice should be smashed to smithereens!)

    You said that Stongehenge is believed to be the oldest human monument. Is it older than the Great Pyramids? I hadn't realized that (or ever thought about it, really).

    Never heard of the Georgia Guidestones, but I think it's a pretty neat idea. I wonder who that gray-haired gentleman really was?!

  2. What a wonderful mystery the Georgia Guidestones are in an age when we're all too determined to know the answer for everything.

    Satanic origins, really? I don't think so, but maybe I'm more hopeful than Mr Dice :-)

  3. Wow, what a fantastic post. Thank you! I visited Stonehenge before the fence came up and confess to walking among the stones, wondering and thinking about the majesty of it all. I guess a few too many of us did that for the fence was up my next visit (okay, I'm sorry!) and left with an imprint of the fence on my face - one can't help but stare and wonder.

    I'd heard about the monument in Georgia but hadn't given it much thought until I read your post. Thousands of years from now its mystery will remain.

  4. This is the first I've heard of the Georgia monument. Fascinating.

    Hmm. "Unite humanity with a living new language." I wonder if the creators were followers of Esperanto, the global language created back in the latter part of the 1800s.

  5. Yeah, that was sad when the fence went up. One of my favourite places to visit back in Yorkshire was Druid's Woods. Talk about vibes with the forest trek to the sacrificial slab and construction.

    That is fascinating about the Georgia Guidestones. I remember watching a documentary about it (I love documentaries). Sounds like a new bible for the future, and what a gift to leave behind. That reminds me, there was a church sign written somewhere in the States with: "free thinkers are slaves of the devil". Certain mindsets can twist anything.

    I think it's wonderful when civilizations work together, to leave something of ultimate greatness upon the earth. That's what we humans can achieve when we work together. There was no capitalism and profit margins, and self, and only 'right now'. We tend to think we're smarter now and more evolved, but I have to wonder.

    Love your post, Susan! :)

  6. Oh, that's right, Linda! I once said to my husband... why can't we all just learn one language (as a second language, whatever)... one unifying language. And he said that actually, they had tried that before. So, "Esperanto" it was, Linda. I'm not sure why it didn't work, but I sure wish they'd try it again.

  7. Interestng concept...any new cult churches spring up around this new mysterious monument?

  8. Wow! I'd never heard about them. I love "real" mysteries--it gives the imagination the opportunity to run wild in the real world.


  9. This is fantastic! And I never heard of it before! Thanks Susan, you made my day. I love these kinda things. Like Mystery Hill in NH, we'll never know. And that's fine by me.

  10. Hi, y'all. Thanks for your comments.

    Dianne- As best as I could ascertain, the Great Wall of China is "only" about 2300 years old. Closest thing in age to Stonehenge is the Great Pyramid of Giza, which the smart dudes say was finished in about 2560 BC. Stonehenge, again according to the smart guys, was completed about 3000 BC. (However, I have seen some accounts which estimated a later completion date for Stonehenge, so who knows? All I know for sure is it's older than I am. Just barely.)

    Sarah- I don't think there's anything satanic about them, either. Sounds more New Age-y to me. Or like something a bunch of (gasp!) Democrats would come up with, which, come to think of it, in this ultra-red state of good ol' boy Republicans, is practically the same thing as satanic.

    Kittie- How wonderful that you were able to visit Stonehenge in person! I hope you were able to take some pictures. If I ever have the opportunity to go there, you can be sure my face will bear the imprint of that fence, too.

    Linda- Interesting question. If they weren't followers of Esperanto, they may have at least gotten the idea from it. With the capabilities of global communications these days, it would seem something like that would have a much better chance for success than it did in the 1800s.

    Carrie- Another lucky person who's seen Stonehenge in person! Wow, good for you. "Free thinkers are slaves of the devil," huh? What a sad commentary for how non-thinking and fearful some people can be. Great comments. Thank you, ma'am.

    Delores- Funny you should ask. There was a black supremist cult called the Nuwaubian Nation, and they built and lived in an Egyptian-themed compound. Dressed like ancient Egyptians, too. Best as I can recollect, that was in the 80s, but it was in a town called Eatonton, which is about eighty miles away from the Guidestones. So, I don't think there was any real connection. The leader of that cult went to jail quite some time ago for a long list of crimes, and as far as I know, the cult fell apart. (or moved somewhere else)

  11. Connie- Me, too. Real mysteries prevent mankind from getting too self-satisfied. There's something rightfully humbling when we realize we have a finite mind in an infinite universe.

    Austan- Glad you enjoyed it.

    Take care.

  12. I have it on good advice that Robert C Christian was in fact Mickey Rooney... well he should have been. 'Avoid petty laws and useless officials'; that sounds OK, and knowing your blog, I'm sure you'd agree.

  13. As I read this post, I could hear the music of the Twilight Zone.

    So maybe this unidentified person was a member of the original alien party that came down to earth 5000 years ago. They don't like how things are going with us and felt the need to leave another message. Or maybe it was Steve Jobs, creating an Ihenge.

  14. Fascinating stuff! I love mysterious happenings like this, they really stretch the imagination!

  15. Very interesting. I'd never heard of the stone monument in Georgia. I think it's a calling card from an ancient race of space travelers. Last warning. :)

  16. Hi-ya, Cro. Nah, couldn't have been Mickey Rooney; too many people would have recognized him, and asked where Judy Garland was. Yep, getting rid of petty laws and useless officials would suit me just fine. Only problem is, most officials are convinced of their own importance.

    Arleen- Yeah, this is a little like something right out of "Twilight Zone," isn't it?

    Karen- Yeah, me, too. Can't let those imaginations atrophy.

    L.G.- Glad you found it interesting. It's like those billboards we used to see on the ride from here to Maryland: a black background with the words, "Don't make me come down there!"

  17. I got to visit Stonehenge once! It was amazing & beautiful. I love the mystery of it all. I didn't know there were 900 others! Or about the Georgia Guidestones. Very cool and interesting!

  18. Hi, Tracy Jo. How wonderful. I hope you had your camera with you. I'm sure you would've come up with some very artistic shots. (with a red rocker?)

  19. I've lived in Georgia over 40 years and didn't know about this. Fascinating.

  20. Hi, Coleen. Glad you find it to be fascinating, too. (I'm kinda thinking the mystery man might be Ted Turner.) Take care.

  21. I hadn't heard of the Georgia Guidestones either.

    Stonehenge is a baby compared to piles of places in the Near-East.
    For example the Ziggurat at Eridu is probably at least 2000 years older than Stonehenge.

    Still stonehenge is pretty damn amazing!

  22. Hi, Al. You're absolutely right, you smarty, you. The ziggurats are definitely older. And there's some speculation that the one at Eridu may be the Tower of Babel. Thanks for the correction.

    Take care.

  23. The fence around stonehenge is sad, glad I saw it uncaged. Obviously the "Leave room for nature" advice wasn't heeded by those loving the original Henge too much. It makes it better to have the same mystery of who and why surrounding this Henge. Some things are better unknown. Thanks for such a cool post;.

  24. I have got to get up to Elberton to see this. I totally agree with every guide, especially... Leave Room For Nature.

  25. BTW Susan, check this out:

  26. Hi, Barb. Yeah, it's a shame the fence had to be put up around Stonehenge, but maybe by doing that, the public won't destroy it. The one in Georgia is still accessible to the public, but vandals have sprayed graffiti on it several times, so it may end up having a fence around it, too.

    Mr. C.- It's definitely worth the trip. First time I tried that link, it didn't work, but I'll give it another shot.

    Take care.

  27. Mr. C, got it that time! Way cool. I saw something about that a while ago, and had forgotten all about it. Thank you, dear sir.