This weekend we were in the mood for another trip. Back in New England, a trip usually meant crossing state lines, but here…well, Georgia is huge. You can make a whole lot of trips and remain in Georgia. It must be like people who have grown up in Europe with numerous small countries just a skip away, then making a trip to the US and finding out that you can’t see LA and the Everglades and New Orleans and New York and the Grand Canyon and the Blue Earth, MN’s 50-foot Jolly Green Giant statue in a single trip.
This trip was to Elberton, GA. What’s in Elberton? Why, it’s the Granite Capital of the World! Self-proclaimed, of course. Jon said that New Hampshire- you know, the Granite State- might have something to say about that. But does New Hampshire have this?
Holy crap, it’s the World’s Most Boring Museum! I’ve read about it in Guinness. To be fair, we didn’t actually enter the museum so maybe it’s actually pretty exciting. It’s only open for three hours a day, 2:00pm- 5:00pm. We showed up at 2:30pm and it was still closed, which suggests that it’s closed even during those three hours.
Fortunately, that’s not what we were there for. We had come to Elberton in order to find the mysterious Georgia Guidestones, made of Elberton Granite and commissioned by a mysterious benefactor named “Christian”, which the explanatory tablet at the Guidestones said was a pseudonyn [sic].
The Guidestones are carved with suggestions on how to behave in order to bring about the new age of reason. To make sure the suggestions are clear to everyone, the stones are written in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hieroglyphics, Cuneiform, and Greek.
Here’s one for scale:
You can see in the picture that someone attempted to deface the rock by carving something about God into it. God is stronger than….something. Owls? We couldn’t quite make it out. It’s been vandalized many times, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Here’s Jon:
I liked the closing phrases the best, especially since “Christian” thought that last line was worth repeating.
And here it is in Spanish:
And here’s my favorite part, which is frustrating because I wasn’t able to get a decent picture of it. I tried fiddling with the contrast, but it didn’t work.
In case you can’t read it, it says
PLACED SIX FEET BELOW THIS SPOT ON _________
TO BE OPENED ON _________
Maybe they just didn’t want to commit, in case the whole thing came crumbling down, a la Spaceship Earth, which also contained a time capsule, tragically uncovered one thousand years too soon.
So the vandalism? Well, I thought “Christian” named himself Christian because he loved Jesus and wanted to make a Jesus stonehenge. But a lot of Christians seemed to think the pseudonym was tongue-in-cheek somehow, because the message seemed decidedly anti-religious to them. Here’s the entirety of the message:
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.
Did they not like the “guide reproduction wisely” part? I’m especially a fan of the part about ruling faith and tradition with tempered reason, but maybe some passionate church folk wouldn’t like that. Some people think that “Christian” is Ted Turner. Some Christians think these are the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist. Conspiracy theorists think the stones are of a “deep Satanic origin” and make up all kinds of stories about the Secret Society of Somethingists commissioned these stones. In 2008 these stones were defaced with graffiti that said “Death to New World Order”. Man, people are so paranoid. Truly we’re not yet at the age of reason that the stones are aspiring to.
Still others think the stones have some deep “I’m spiritual but not religious” pseudo-magick Wiccan power. We learned this because when we showed up, there was a grubby hippy getting out his drum. He started drumming away on one of those hippy-drums- you know, the kind you sort of straddle when you sit down and play with your hands instead of drumsticks. Why do hippies always have to bring damn drums to everything anything? I think he was trying to call nature or something, since nature obviously prefers to hang out at the Satanic Rocks among all the tourists than in the woods or something. At least he wasn’t in the way when I was trying to take my pictures.