Recently I had the opportunity to visit an enigmatic granite structure that superficially mimics various ancient megalithic constructions. Surrounded by mystery and intrigue, inspiring awe and animosity ever since it was unveiled on March 22, 1980 (two days after the Vernal Equinox), “The Georgia Guidestones” monument (alternatively called “The American Stonehenge”) is located among the farms and cow pastures of Elbert County, Georgia. Some praise its beauty and the hope it bodes for the future of humankind. Others see it as a symbol of Satan and his cohorts, an attempt to usher in a vile New World Order. Reinforcing the latter theory, a coven of witches once used the monument as the setting for their rituals and, as I discuss further below, alleged paranormal phenomena have occurred at the site. The controversy is fueled by both the engraved message on the monument’s surface and the secrecy of those responsible for its erection. It all began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979 when a well-dressed, apparently well-educated, middle-aged man visited the office of Joe H. Fendley, Sr., president of Elberton Granite Finishing Company. Introducing himself as “Mr. Robert C. Christian,” he explained that he represented a “small group of loyal Americans who believe in God” who wanted to build a monument so as to “leave a message for future generations.” After speaking with Mr. Fendley and getting a very rough estimate of how much the monument might cost, the gentleman went (on the recommendation of Mr. Fendley) to the Granite City Bank in Elberton where he spoke to the president, Mr. Wyatt C. Martin. In the course of conversation, it was revealed that “Robert C. Christian” was a pseudonym that the gentleman had chosen because he was of the Christian faith. Only after Mr. Martin was sworn to the utmost secrecy did “Christian” reveal his real name and other necessary information to the bank president. From then on, Mr. Martin acted as the intermediary to see the project carried through. Thus, ostensibly Mr. Martin is the only known person entrusted with the true identity of “Christian,” knowledge he has never divulged.
In due course, the considerable funds necessary to underwrite not only the construction of the monument but the purchase of the two-hectare (five-acre) site on which to place it, were transferred to the bank and paid out to the landowner, to Elberton Granite Finishing Company, and to other construction workers, craftsmen, and consultants who participated in the project. “Mr. Christian” delivered plans and a wooden model for the monument to Mr. Fendley before he disappeared. By the following spring the monument was complete. Composed of four solid granite monoliths each approximately five meters tall by two meters wide by half a meter thick positioned in a star pattern radiating out from a central monolith of the same height and thickness but half the width, and topped by a capstone three meters by two meters and half a meter thick, the entire monument is estimated to weigh 107,840 kilograms (237,746 pounds) and is oriented to the cardinal points.
A hole drilled through the center column locates the celestial North Pole, while a slot carved in the same column marks the annual path of the Sun throughout the year. A hole in the capstone allows a sunbeam to be used to mark noon each day. The eight sides of the four main monoliths are engraved with the same message in eight different languages—English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. This message consists of ten “guides” or precepts, 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
The four edges of the monument’s capstone are inscribed with the following message translated into Babylonian Cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics: “LET THESE BE GUIDESTONES TO AN AGE OF REASON.” This has been viewed as an obvious reference to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason (1794 and later), which espouses a deistic interpretation of the universe (accepting a Creator or God who does not generally interfere with our worldly affairs) and heavily criticizes organized religion, including Christianity. Such an allusion to Thomas Paine and his radical ideas seems ironic for a man going by the pseudonym “Robert C. Christian” in reference to his faith. The message engraved on the Guidestones is subject to multiple interpretations and thus has been alternatively praised and condemned. What does it mean to “maintain humanity under 500 million”? Is this focus on global population simply an outgrowth of ideas that were trendy at the time? In the 1970s many people contended humanity would be doomed before the end of the twentieth century—subject to widespread famine, disease, and social unrest as limited supplies of natural resources were exhausted—if global population growth was not brought under control. Or is there something more sinister in the message?
The global population in 1980 was close to 4.5 billion and today it has passed the 7 billion mark. Are the creators suggesting that there should be massive genocide to decrease the world population? In terms of present numbers, should 13 out of every 14 people on Earth be exterminated? Or does the second precept, “guide reproduction wisely,” imply that limiting reproduction should slowly lower the population? And if so, which persons or groups will be discouraged or banned from reproducing? Should a program of eugenics be established? Should certain people and races be forcibly restricted in their reproduction? Or should Darwinian-like natural selection be allowed to take place, such that the strongest and fittest will be those who reproduce in the greatest numbers while those who are weak die out? Researcher Jay Weidner has proposed that a conspiratorial plan, which he calls “The Culling,” has already been put in place by secretive wealthy ruling elites (including members of the Rockefeller family, the Bush family, the Trilateral Commission, the World Trade Commission, and the Club of Rome) to reduce the population of the world to around 500 million.
According to Weidner, The Georgia Guidestones are telling us what will (or must) happen, if only in a symbolic manner, once the elite have their way. An alternative, but related, theory is that the monument is intended to speak to survivors of a global catastrophe during which 95% or more of the human population is destroyed. The injunction is not to allow the population to increase over 500 million in the post-apocalyptic world. Either interpretation is rather unsettling. The global catastrophe scenario suggests that the designers perhaps had secret information. Using top-secret classified scientific data, had they determined that a comet or asteroid will hit Earth in the near future? Or had they calculated when the Sun will undergo a major solar outburst, causing devastation across the planet? Or could they predict future earthquake and volcanic activity and other Earth changes? Or were they concerned about nuclear holocaust?
Maybe their methods involve the paranormal ability to look into the future. The precepts “unite humanity with a living new language” and “resolving external disputes in a world court” strike many as advocating a New World Order and global government. Is the secret group responsible for The Georgia Guidestones the same group who will rule the world in the future? Is the message on the Guidestones related to the ostensible secret plans of the United States Government to continue even in case of total disaster and societal breakdown (sometimes referred to as “Continuity of Government,” or COG), such as during a nuclear attack or a catastrophic natural disaster? (Note that if the U.S. is the dominant, or only, superpower, then the U.S. government can be seen as effectively the world government of the future). And what about the precepts that state “prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite” and “be not a cancer on the Earth – leave room for nature”? Are these simply vague expressions of environmentalism, as was so popular at the time of the monument’s erection, or are they calling for a new religion to accompany the New World Order?
It is well demonstrated that religion can be one of the best ways to control the masses. Is this new religion intended to be a method to lull the general populace into complacency, even as they line up like docile sheep to be sterilized so that they cannot reproduce and thus be “a cancer on the Earth”? Will Earth and humanity be better off if the thoughts on the monument are followed, or are they the commandments of a dark force, a secret and nefarious group that plans to take over the world? Conspiracy theories are only reinforced by the secrecy of those who arranged and funded the construction of the monument. It has been asserted that it was a group of Masons, or Freemasons, who were behind the design of The Georgia Guidestones. While producing a documentary titled 2012: The Odyssey, Jay Weidner interviewed Gary Jones, the editor of a local newspaper, The Elberton Star. According to Jones, the Guidestones were erected by local Masons. Or, alternatively, was it another—even more secretive—group?
Remember that the man who arranged the monument’s construction used the pseudonym “Robert C. Christian.” Who was he in reality? One popular hypothesis asserts that his name is a not so subtle reference to the Rosicrucians, members of the Order of the Rosy Cross, a secret society ostensibly founded by Christian Rosenkreuz in the fourteenth century but possibly having its roots in ancient Egyptian hermeticism. According to researchers, such as Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, it was Rosicrucians (and those I would label as Hermetic Illuminati) who were behind the Invisible College which is generally viewed as the immediate precursor, in the 1640s and 1650s, of the Royal Society (Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge) founded in 1660 (see the article by Picknett and Prince in Darklore, vol. 6, 2011). Is the Invisible College much more extensive geographically and longer lived temporally than generally suspected? Is it a branch of the Rosicrucians that dates back to antiquity and exists secretly to this day? Have the Rosicrucians and/or members of the Invisible College inherited or discovered knowledge from the ancient world about the end times?
According to an extreme version of the theory, this ultra-secretive group is even now instigating global chaos (as evidenced by the current worldwide financial meltdown, with accompanying wars and riots) which will only be exacerbated by impending solar outbursts, devastating the surface of our planet and resulting in the death of the vast majority of humanity. The Rosicrucians, following this line of thinking, are the lineal descendants of sages who have been monitoring solar activity for thousands of years—sages who have figured out the cycles of the Sun on timescales of tens of thousands of years—and so they know the next catastrophe will soon arrive. When the Apocalypse comes, they will be ready to step in and take charge of the New World Order.
The enigmas of the message on the stones, and the secrecy of those responsible for the monument, are not the only mysteries surrounding this site. While he etched the lettering on the granite monoliths, sandblaster Charlie Clamp reported hearing “strange music and disjointed voices” unlike anything he had ever experienced before. Supposedly the general location at which the monument is erected was traditionally considered “the center of the world” or the “belly button or navel of Earth” by the local Native Americans (Indians). Some have suggested that the area might be a potential landing site for UFOs (unidentified flying objects); viewed from above, the monument looks like the letter X, as if to mark the spot for extraterrestrial contact. Could it be that “Robert C. Christian” was not actually a human at all, but an extraterrestrial alien in disguise? Or a human body, effectively a zombie-like being, taken over by alien forces?
No, I do not believe either to be the case, but such ideas are out there. They are indicative, perhaps, of just how enigmatic The Georgia Guidestones are to some people. I visited the Guidestones on September 23, 2011, kindly guided by a woman from Georgia (she wishes to remain anonymous and does not live in the immediate region of the Guidestones) who was familiar with the area and happy to recount some of her personal experiences. She, as well as various family members and friends, had experienced strange energies in the presence of the Guidestones over a 22-year span, from 1985 through 2007, and although no one visually saw the energies, they could sense them. On several occasions Polaroid cameras captured on film what were claimed to be “energy beams” that appear to be descending down from the sky in the vicinity of the monument. I had the chance to inspect some of the original Polaroid photos as well as the cameras used to take the photographs, and although I cannot state for certain what exactly is captured on the film—be they simply overexposures from the bright Sun, reflections in the camera lens, defects due to the film or cameras, psychically imprinted images on the film, or genuine energy beams—I certainly find the evidence tantalizing that perhaps something strange was happening.
Interestingly, the best photos were taken on the Summer Solstice of June 21, 1985 and then exactly one year later on the Summer Solstice of June 21, 1986, and the photos from both years show similar phenomena although they were taken with different cameras (one camera in 1985, and a second camera in 1986) and using different batches of film. Ultimately I am not sure what to make of The Georgia Guidestones. Do they represent a genuinely profound mystery? Did “Robert C. Christian” really appear in Elbert County? Or is the entire story a fabrication, a local hoax, and the monument nothing more than a simple tourist attraction concocted by local residents to bring in revenue? Is this why Elberton Granite published (in 1981) a 50-page “guide” to the monument, including a handy map locating the site? Supposedly “Mr. Christian” hoped that other people or groups would come forth in the future to add to the monument; for instance, it is said he envisioned an outer circle of 12 more stones carrying the message in another 24 languages. Of course this would conveniently mean more business for the Elberton Granite Finishing Company! For over 30 years, however, no one has come forth to add to the monument.
The truth behind The Georgia Guidestones may never be known for certain.
Robert M. Schoch, a full-time faculty member at Boston University, earned his Ph.D. in geology and geophysics at Yale University. He is best known for his re-dating of the Great Sphinx of Egypt. His latest book is The Parapsychology Revolution (Tarcher/Penguin, 2008). Dr. Schoch currently has a new book in the works, tentatively scheduled for publication by Inner Traditions, Fall 2012. Website: www.robert schoch.com.