An explosive device detonated early Wednesday by “unidentified persons” destroyed a granite monument in Georgia that was built under mysterious circumstances more than four decades ago and promoted by state officials as “America’s Stonehenge,” authorities said.
Built about nine miles north of Elberton, Georgia, the monument, known as the Georgia Guidestones, had four granite slabs connected to a center pillar, with a capstone on top.
But around 4 a.m. Wednesday, an explosive device was fired, destroying “much of the structure,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. It is investigating the explosion along with the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office.
Wednesday night, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation released surveillance video recording the explosion, hurling chunks of the monument and scattering dust into the air. Shortly afterwards, according to the agency, a car can be seen in the images that leave the scene.
It said that “for security reasons” the remaining pillars “had been completely demolished”.
For more than four decades, the Guidestone has towered over a field, fascinating and confusing to many visitors. It’s unclear why the 19-foot granite slabs were there, or what they meant, and only one man claimed to know the identity of the benefactor who paid for them.
The man, Wyatt Martin, claimed that another man by the name of RC Christian paid for the granite slabs in 1979, after visiting the town of East Georgia.
“I made an oath to that man, and I can’t break it,” Mr Martin, who helped arrange the arrangement for the monument, told DailyExpertNews in 2013. He added: “No one will ever know.”
The granite slabs, the department says on its website, display “a ten-part message embracing the preservation of humanity and future generations in 12 languages.” It also serves as an astronomical calendar: every day at noon, the sun shines through a narrow hole in the structure, illuminating the date of the day.
Despite the mysterious appearance of the Guidestones, some locals have said they have little interest in them. Some conspiracy theorists have argued that the Stones’ edicts — including a call to “unite humanity with a living new language” and a recommendation to keep the world’s population below 500 million — represent an elite plot to depopulate the world. .
“They built this monument calling for forced depopulation of the planet,” Alex Jones, the far-right broadcaster and conspiracy theorist, said in a video in 2020.
In a message on TwitterKandiss Taylor, a Republican nominee for governor of Georgia, seemed to welcome the partial destruction of the monument, which she described as the “Satanic Guidestones.”
Mart Clamp, a local businessman who helped his father engrave the Guidestones when they were first erected, said he was “heartbroken” at the damage caused by the explosion.
“People always came up with some kind of crazy insane story about them,” he said of those pushing conspiracy theories about the records.
“It’s a shame we live in a society that thinks breaking down things you don’t agree with is acceptable,” added Mr Clamp. “I’m short of words now.”
He said many local businesses in the area, including his own stone engraving company, had offered their time and resources to restore the structure.
“If we’re allowed,” Mr. Clamp added, “we’ll rebuild them.”
Eduardo Medina reporting contributed.