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The Georgia Guidestones are a collection of standing stones near Elberton, Georgia. Built in 1980, they are primarily composed of six slabs of granite: one central pillar, four "major" stones that fan out from the center, and a capstone. The capstone has engravings on all four of its sides in four different ancient languages, all of which read, "Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason," when translated. The major stones are each engraved on both sides, and each side contains text in one of eight modern ...
The Georgia Guidestones are a collection of standing stones near Elberton, Georgia. Built in 1980, they are primarily composed of six slabs of granite: one central pillar, four "major" stones that fan out from the center, and a capstone. The capstone has engravings on all four of its sides in four different ancient languages, all of which read, "Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason," when translated. The major stones are each engraved on both sides, and each side contains text in one of eight modern languages asserting the same ten guidelines.
Those guidelines have proven extremely controversial, causing speculation and rumors of conspiracy that go far beyond northeast Georgia. Conspiracy theorists surmise a global plot on the part of a group of shadowy men to subjugate and oppress the world's population and create a "new world order." Others believe that the man behind the monument was a Rosicrucian, and that the stones are representative of that group's magical manifesto. Some people even believe that it is a landing site for an alien spacecraft of some kind. At the heart of this confusion is the missing piece of the puzzle: who was the mystery man who started the entire chain of events?
THE GEORGIA GUIDESTONES
It was a slow day at the Elberton Granite Finishing Company. In the sleepy, North Georgia town of Elberton, most days were slow, even in the region's busiest industry, but this day was especially slow. It was a Friday afternoon in June of 1979. No one seems to know which Friday it was anymore, but it was definitely slow—Joe H. Fendley Sr., the president of EGFC, would remember that much at least because, apart from the secretary, he was the only one in the office.
The man who walked in was, according to Fendley, "neatly dressed" and "middle-aged." He introduced himself with what would later be revealed as a pseudonym, and he told the businessman that he needed to commission a granite monument. Thinking that this man, like many others before him, was looking to buy a simple tombstone, Fendley courteously informed the gentleman that his company did not fill orders for private citizens, but only dealt in bulk with other corporate entities.
But for reasons unstated, "Robert Christian" had decided to do his business with EGFC, and he would not be turned away so easily. He told Fendley that what he was interested in creating was no mere memorial, but a "monument to the conservation of mankind," and he outlined the details of what he had envisioned.
What the enigmatic man proposed was truly massive. He wanted to create a structure that would require the quarrying of several enormous pieces of granite. He wanted it to be erected in such a mathematically precise way that they would require both engineers and astronomers to ensure it was done properly. Nothing of this magnitude had ever been attempted in Elbert County, and Elbert County prided itself on its vast experience with granite. The project Christian proposed was going to cost an extraordinary amount of money.
When Fendley heard these specifications, his interest piqued somewhat, but he was now uncertain as to whether or not the stranger was actually serious in his request. He quoted a very high price to Christian, and stressed that even that was just an estimate, as "no monument of this size had ever been quarried in Elberton." To Fendley's great surprise, this did not seem to deter the mysterious man. Christian merely asked him for a reference to a local bank, and once he had it, left as quickly as he had come.
Not long thereafter, at the nearby Granite City Bank, bank president Wyatt C. Martin also received a most unusual visit. The same strange man walked into Martin's office and introduced himself as "Robert C. Christian," but again he admitted that this was not his real name. He explained to the bank manager that he was looking to commission a granite monument of considerable size. He repeated the details of the project to Martin.
In an interview with Randall Sullivan of Wired magazine in 2009, Martin confessed to being amazed by the stranger's request, and by the stranger himself. He tried to dissuade Christian from his intended project, echoing Fendley's concern that nothing so large had been produced in Elberton before, but again the well-dressed man was resolute. Christian indicated that he would return to see Martin the following week and "went off to charter a plane and spend the weekend scouting locations from the air."
As promised, but nevertheless against expectation, R. C. Christian walked back into Martin's office that next Monday. The bank president, who had discussed the bizarre occurrence with Joe Fendley over the weekend and dismissed it as a hoax from a fellow Shriner, told Christian straight off that if they were really going to proceed, then he would need to know the man's identity. He had to have some assurance that the monument would be paid for. Christian seemed to understand this, and he agreed to reveal himself, but only under two conditions: Martin had to sign a non-disclosure agreement vowing never to reveal his name or information, and he had to promise to destroy all of the information pertaining to the project after its completion. The bank president agreed to the terms, and Wyatt C. Martin became the first and, so far, the only person to know the true identity of the mysterious Robert Christian.
After his second meeting with Wyatt Martin, Christian reentered Joe Fendley's office and delivered to him both a wooden scale-model of the landmark he was commissioning and a detailed set of building instructions. The very next Friday Martin telephoned Fendley to let him know that a $10,000 deposit had been wired through, and Fendley began his work in earnest.
It was an enormous undertaking. Each of the four main stones that were cut from Joe Fendley's Pyramid Quarry was roughly twenty-eight tons in weight, and R. C. Christian had specified that the granite used had to be unblemished, which further complicated matters. It took the crew of quarrymen several weeks to remove each single stone from the earth. After their removal, the slabs of granite had to be cleaned and sized, and the more than 4,000 letters and characters of the Guidestones' message needed to be etched into their faces. The C. S. Peck Company developed an entirely new device to aid in the cleaning and sizing of these over-large stones. Project superintendant Joe B. Davis and his team spent nearly nine months at the previously abandoned Oglesby Granite shed preparing the pieces of the landmark that would make their town famous.
While the granite was being prepared, Wyatt Martin had to locate an appropriate site for the burgeoning monument. Christian had indicated that he wanted the stones placed in a "remote, wilderness area away from the main tourist centers." This was not terribly difficult to accommodate. Elberton is a sleepy town in a quiet part of North Georgia and, until the Georgia Guidestones, did not have much in the way of a tourist center. While Christian had initially selected a site near Augusta, Martin persuaded him that a location closer to Elberton would be better, both because transporting the stones would be simpler, and because old Cherokee legends held that Elbert County was the center of the world.
So Martin scouted out three different potential sites in Elbert County for Mr. Christian to consider. The last site that he showed the mystery man was his own favorite on the list, and, as it turned out, also the one that most pleased the benefactor.
Seven miles north of Elberton, Wayne and Mildred Mullenix owned a five-acre plot of land adjacent to their family farm. One of the highest points in Elbert County, the plot sat atop a large hill and provided an open view of the surrounding farmlands, and the horizon, in all directions. The Mullenix family had been using the space as grazing land for their cattle, and in the purchase agreement worked out between the two parties, R. C. Christian agreed to allow them two generations of grazing rights. The deal was signed, and the future home of the Georgia Guidestones was chosen.
The specifications laid out by the monument's strange benefactor required that the stones' orientation with respect to the sun, the moon, and the stars be exact enough that the monument could be used both as a calendar and as a timekeeping device. Davis, who had come out of retirement to oversee this project, contracted engineers and even an astronomer from the University of Georgia in order to ensure the precise placement of the foundations for the stones.
In all, the planning and construction of Elberton's most famous monument took almost a full year, but on March 22, 1980, on the vernal equinox, the Georgia Guidestones were finally revealed to the public for the first time.
When the long sheets of covering black plastic were pulled away, the visitors were treated to quite a sight. Weighing a grand total of 237,746 pounds and composed of 951 cubic feet of granite, the Guidestones stand an impressive nineteen feet, three inches high overall. The central, "Gnomon" stone is roughly sixteen feet tall, three feet wide, and seven inches thick. It contains a hole at eye-level, drilled from the south to the north side in such a way as to allow the North Star to always be visible through it. Also cut into the Gnomon stone is a slot running from the west side to the east, through which a visitor during the summer or winter solstice could watch the sun rise.
Fanned out in an "X" about the Gnomon stone are four enormous upright slabs of granite that bear the message of R. C. Christian, the ten precepts, in eight different languages. Translators were employed from around the country, even from the United Nations, in order to correctly display the ten tenets in Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and Russian in addition to English. These languages were selected, according to R. C. Christian, "for their historical significance and for their impact on people now living." Each word in every language was carefully engraved into the granite by Charlie Clamp, a local sandblaster. Clamp would later report that during his work he heard "strange music and disjointed voices" as he carved.
On the stone that points to the north, in English, the text of the Guidestones is as follows:
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
Sitting astride the other stones is the capstone. It is six and a half feet wide, nearly ten feet long and seven inches thick. A hole was drilled through the top of this stone in such a way as to allow the sun to shine through it and onto the southern face of the Gnomon stone. It was intended that the central stone would have markings on it that would allow one to determine the day of the year by observing exactly where the sunlight from this shaft hit the stone, but this feature has never been completed. Along the four outer faces of the capstone a message reads, "Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason," in Classical Greek, Sanskrit, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Babylonian cuneiform.
It is an impressive structure, taller than the average height of the megaliths at Stonehenge, and it was hoped that it would one day be more impressive still. R. C. Christian indicated that other stones could be "erected in the outer circles to mark the migrations of the moon and possibly other celestial events." He left one-hundred leather-bound, signed copies of his book, Common Sense Renewed, in trust to the Georgia Guidestones Foundation with the understanding that they would be given to individuals who made contributions allowing those stones to be built. As yet, however, there have been no donations in amounts substantial enough to continue construction.
A few feet west of the monument, another granite slab lies set into the ground. This explanatory tablet provides information for visitors to the site about the dimensions and purpose of the extraordinary landmark. The heights and weights of all of the stones are indicated here, as well as the astronomical features built into the structure. Mention is made of a time capsule, which the Elberton Historical Society had originally intended to bury under the tablet, but the capsule was never placed, and so the information is enigmatically incomplete. The "author" of the monument is listed as, "R. C. Christian (a pseudonyn)" [sic]. The "sponsors" of the monument are listed as, "A small group of Americans who seek the Age of Reason."
When Christian presented himself to both Wyatt Martin and Joe Fendley, he indicated that he was not one man acting alone, but was a member of a "small group of loyal Americans who believe in God," who had been planning this for twenty years in order to "leave a message for future generations." Ever since the erection of the monument, many individuals studying the Guidestones mystery have come up with a variety of theories as to the identities of both Christian himself and the group that he claimed to represent. But the only man who may have those answers with certainty is Wyatt Martin, and in the more than thirty years that have elapsed he has not chosen to reveal his secret. "I never did tell," Martin says, "and I never will. When I'm dead and gone, they'll never know."
A crowd of more than four hundred people, many of them stonemasons and contractors instrumental in the building process, gathered on the treeless hill near the Mullenix farm to witness the unveiling ceremony. But if Robert Christian was among them, he did not make himself known. He did however, send a statement to be read during the ceremony, the contents of which he would later incorporate into the book that he would write and publish under the same pseudonym.
In both the book and the statement, Christian expressed great apprehension about the state of world affairs at that time. Facing the stark reality of the Cold War and the nuclear arms race between the United States and Russia, Christian and his group feared the worst. They, like many of their contemporaries, saw nuclear holocaust as the nearly inevitable result of the escalating hostilities. In response to this dark vision, they resolved to leave something behind for future generations to see after the radioactive dust cleared. They wanted to pass along a set of guidelines that they felt would prevent society from coming back to such a bleak point if they were followed.
In Common Sense Renewed, Christian more specifically lays out his ideas for a reformed society. He proposes solutions to problems like over-population, homelessness, foreign aggression, resource depletion, environmental deterioration and lack of education. Many of these problems, he postulated, could be readily solved, and perhaps the apocalypse could be staved off.
To ensure that his message was heard, Christian had copies of the first two editions of his book distributed in 1986 to "several thousand political officials and shapers of public opinion throughout the world. All members of the United States Congress received copies." The third edition of the book, printed in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, makes brief mention in the foreword of the fact that many of Christian's hopes seem to have been actualized by world leaders. Whether or not they were influenced by Common Sense Renewed, however, remains unknown.
The excerpt that was read at the Guidestones unveiling ceremony did not go into nearly so much detail as did the 128-page tome. But it did convey to the assembled crowd that the stated purpose of the newly erected structure was to "outline in general terms certain basic steps which must be taken to establish for humanity a benevolent and enduring equilibrium with the universe."
The statement was intended, no doubt, to clarify to the inhabitants of Elbert County, and to the public at large, the meaning of the monument's tenets and the intentions of its sponsors. But it did nothing to quell the storm that was to come, and it did nothing to dispel the fear and anxiety that many developed as a result of the sponsors' decision to leave their identities mysteriously unknown.
"Our message is in some areas controversial," the statement read. "We have chosen to remain anonymous in order to avoid debate and contention which might confuse our meaning and which might delay a considered review of our thoughts."
Without knowing the identities of the group members, it is impossible to say for certain whether that knowledge would have caused greater controversy than the mystery has. What is certain is that if the founders wished to avoid negative reactions and controversy in their entirety by preserving their anonymity, then in that respect they failed.
But the people of Elberton are still proud of their town's accomplishment. An exhibit on the Georgia Guidestones figures prominently at the front of the city's charming museum of granite, and in 1984, a one-third scale model of the stones was sent to Elberton's then sister-city, Mure, Japan. And the people involved in the project's creation seem to look upon it with a certain satisfaction.
A few months after the unveiling ceremony, Joe Fendley, now deceased, summarized his attitude toward the monument, remarking, "I think this is a unique thing for Elberton and the whole state. It is something we can all be proud of, and people will marvel at it centuries from now."
Perhaps they will indeed last for centuries. The Guidestones still stand today, but they are marred. The graffiti has been scrubbed off, the signs have been removed, but the epoxy stains remain. And rumors continue to circulate and gather momentum on Internet message boards and in homes across the country. Strangely, as the years pass, the controversy surrounding the monument seems to grow only more vehement as the mystery endures.
Excerpted from THE GEORGIA GUIDESTONES by Raymond Wiley, KT Prime. Copyright © 2011 Raymond Wiley and KT Prime. Excerpted by permission of The Disinformation Company Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted April 17, 2012
Let me begin by saying that despite the claim of being some 200 pp. in length the book will appear as just over 100 pp. on the Nook, not at all an auspicious start. The authors manage to provide a solid introduction for those unfamiliar with the monument, its creator, and its controversies. However, one is painfully aware that there is nothing new in this book. The authors clearly enjoy no more access or insight than what is plain to any member of the general public. Nothing in the book has been gleaned from publicly available property records, or the business records of the Elberton Granite Finishing Company. There is nothing in the book that could not be had from an afternoon on the internet, or twenty minutes on Wikipedia, which it seems is all the research the authors did. Overall the book is just an instance where a interesting subject suffers tragically at the hands of incompetent of lazy authors.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.