Unveiled in 1980 upon a windswept hill in the countryside of Georgia, stood a granite monument covered in varying texts that all seemed to lay out instructions for living within an “age of reason.” Located nearly 100 miles northeast of Atlanta, these slabs which soon became known as the Georgia Guidestones have been the focal point of conspiracies and controversies for over four decades. The true identity of the man responsible for commissioning the Guidestones as well as the 10-part message inscribed in eight different languages remains unknown. In July 2022, the explosive destruction of the guidestones by an unknown party, only heightened the mystery surrounding the monoliths .
Dubbed “America’s Stonehenge” by some and “satanic” by others, the remaining pieces of the Guidestones have found refuge with the Elberton Granite Association after a vote by the Elbert County Board of Commissioners. The group, which runs the Elberton Granite Museum, agreed to receive the stones, but have not yet determined a new home for them. “The only options (the Elbert County Board of Commissioners) had were to basically destroy them completely and be done with them or they could donate them,” said Elbert Granite Association Executive Vice President Christopher Kubas, “We agreed to take the stones in an effort to preserve them, mostly because the monument was really a testament to the type of work that we do here in Elberton in manufacturing granite monuments and memorials.”
It was Elberton’s granite industry that drew the man, only known as R.C. Christian, to the town in 1979. Contacting the Elberton Granite Finishing Corp. President Joe H. Fendley Sr., the mysterious man, quickly identified himself as the representative of “a small group of loyal Americans living outside of Georgia who wished to remain anonymous forever,” and inquired about the costs of building a large monument within the state. Fendley connected the man with his banker, Wyatt C. Martin, who soon after became the intermediary for the project. Martin also made a vow to the man to take his true identity to the grave. R.C. Christian ultimately chose an isolated, 5-acre cow pasture as the site for this monument, with craftsmen and crews being brought in to help with its nearly 10 month construction. On March 22, 1980, the Georgia Guidestones were unveiled to a crowd of about 400 people, and within a few years they were drawing thousands of visitors a year – and even more once the mid-1990’s saw the rise of the internet.
Built upon the highest point in the county, the stones consisted of four large vertical blocks surrounding a center stone which were all topped off by a 25,000-pound capstone. While simultaneously serving as a sundial and astronomical calendar, the panels were inscribed with a cryptic message for humanity – engraved in English, Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, and Swahili – which many over the years have interpreted as a post-apocalyptic guide for rebuilding humanity. The inscriptions read:
“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.”
It was the first two instructions mentioning population control and eugenics that not only drew criticism, but helped fuel the many conspiracy theories that surrounded the monument.”
It was on July 6th at 4 a.m. that an explosive device was detonated at the site, shattering one of the four giant vertical slabs, with the rest of the monument demolished by authorities over safety concerns. Surveillance video was later released showing the explosion as well as a single car leaving the scene shortly after. Authorities are still looking for the bomber. Aside from the mystery and theories surrounding the stones, Kubas has called the monument a feat of craftsmanship. “It’s not so much what was written on them, because that was not anything we came up with – that was something that was originated by Mr. Christian – but the fact that we were able to produce those and had made this very large monument was really a testament to what we do here in Elberton,” Kubas said. “There’s really not too many places where that could have been manufactured.” He has reported that discussions on the future of the remains of the Guidestones have yet to begin. “It’s unfortunate,” he said. “There are people that think that just because they don’t like it, that nobody should have that opportunity to see it or experience it, and so they’re going to destroy it for everybody else.”