Just outside Elberton, Georgia, about 90 miles east of Atlanta, is a monument that some say holds the keys to rebuilding human society after the Apocalypse. Those responsible for its creation are just as much a mystery as some of the cryptic messages carved on the granite slabs. Come along as we visit the Georgia Guidestones and delve into the mysterious vision for humanity’s next golden age.
Our story begins in June 1979. A visitor to the Elberton Granite Finishing Company inquired about the cost of a project he had envisioned. The man identified himself as Robert C. Christian, but that was merely an alias to cover his true identity. He was there on behalf of “a small group of loyal Americans” who wished to create a structure that would withstand catastrophic events. This structure would function as a compass, calendar, and clock, and it would stand as a guide for survivors of whatever calamity would threaten to wipe out humanity.
Elberton Granite president Joe Fendley listened patiently as Christian explained the concept. The plan was quite complex. Together with a scale model of the structure, the detailed plans covered ten pages. Concluding that the guy was “a nut,” Elberton gave him a quote for the job that was several times higher than the norm, hoping to dissuade any further involvement with this mysterious representative of the nebulous organization. Much to his surprise, Christian accepted the bid without question.
Work began on the project on a five-acre piece of land. It took less than six months to complete the detailed specifications. The monument was dedicated on March 22, 1980. When completed, the structure towered over the rural Georgia landscape. It consisted of five granite slabs, each weighing over 20 tons, topped with a similarly-impressive capstone.
The finished product has been described as a cross between Stonehenge and the Rosetta Stone. The messages carved on the stones are composed in twelve languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Babylonian (in the cuneiform script), Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Ancient Egyptian (in hieroglyphs). The multi-lingual words spell out the designers’ concept of how to guide humanity into a new age of reason and how to avoid yet another apocalyptic scenario. Those instructions include:
- 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
As Robert Christian indicated at the time he proposed building the monument, it was to serve to do more than give instructions. Some ingenious features in the design allow the monument to fulfill its purpose as a compass, calendar, and clock:
- The four outer stones are oriented to mark the limits of the 18.6 year lunar declination cycle.
- The center column features a hole drilled at an angle from one side to the other, through which can be seen the North Star, a star whose position changes only very gradually over time.
- The same pillar has a slot carved through it which is aligned with the Sun’s solstices and equinoxes. A 7⁄8in (22 mm) aperture in the capstone allows a ray of sun to pass through at noon each day, shining a beam on the center stone indicating the day of the year.
A few feet to the west of the monument, an additional granite inscription lies level with the ground. It gives information about the monument, such as its size, features, and date of installation. It refers to a time capsule buried below, but the spaces reserved for the date on which the capsule was buried and when it is to be opened remain blank. This has led to much speculation as to whether that feature was ever completed.
On the right side of the tablet is the following column of text (metric conversions added):
1. OVERALL HEIGHT – 19 FEET 3 INCHES [5.87 m].
2. TOTAL WEIGHT – 237,746 POUNDS [107,840 kg].
3. FOUR MAJOR STONES ARE 16 FEET, FOUR INCHES [4.98 m] HIGH, EACH WEIGHING AN AVERAGE OF 42,437 POUNDS [19,249 kg].
4. CENTER STONE IS 16 FEET, FOUR INCHES [4.98 m] HIGH, WEIGHS 20,957 POUNDS [9,506 kg].
5. CAPSTONE IS 9-FEET, 8-INCHES [2.95 m] LONG, 6-FEET, 6-INCHES [1.98 m] WIDE; 1-FOOT, 7-INCHES [0.48 m] THICK. WEIGHS 24,832 POUNDS [11,264 kg].
6. SUPPORT STONES (BASES) 7-FEET, 4 INCHES [2.24 m] LONG 2-FEET [0.61 m] WIDE. 1 FOOT, 4-INCHES [0.41 m] THICK, EACH WEIGHING AN AVERAGE OF 4,875 POUNDS [2,211 kg].
7. SUPPORT STONE (BASE) 4-FEET, 2½ INCHES [1.28 m] LONG, 2-FEET, 2-INCHES [0.66 m] WIDE, 1-FOOT, 7-INCHES [0.48 m] THICK. WEIGHT 2,707 POUNDS [1,228 kg].
8. 951 CUBIC FEET [26.9 m³] GRANITE.
9. GRANITE QUARRIED FROM PYRAMID QUARRIES LOCATED 3 MILES [5 km] WEST OF ELBERTON, GEORGIA.
The Guidestones are now titled in the name of Elbert County, Georgia. Should you find yourself among the survivors of some yet-to-be-determined apocalyptic catastrophe, you will want to make sure you know how to find the Guidestones. Even if you don’t buy in to the designers’ concept of how to rebuilt society, you will, at least, have a way to reset your clock.