*AUTHOR'S NOTE* this out of sequence element of our story has been fast tracked to our site in order to share a few photos and our experience in light of the recent discovery made to the site which only adds to the mystery. We wish you well on your own journey of discovery.
The month of March doesn’t typically evoke the spooky imagery that its séance laden older cousin October does, however in the southern United States, there are some notable exceptions depending on where you visit.
Spooky is as spooky is
Following our eerily unsettling evening at the Ramada Inn outside of Savannah, more on this later, we continued our journey northward for another 200 miles to Elberton, Georgia. Elberwhat? Yes, Elberton, a small town in northern Georgia near the border of South Carolina.
Leaving the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Savannah behind us and topping up on a delicious cold brew coffee from Savannah Coffee Roasters for the road, we plotted in a course for the DayNite Inn in Elberton. The emptiness of the parking lot gave us a brief moment of pause with the Ramada still on our minds, but once we checked in and scoped out the space, it was a lovely little place to call home for the evening. With Celia (our tireless Toyota Celica) proudly parked mere feet from our door, our unload and nest routine takes no more than five minutes now and we take a moment to breathe and collect ourselves.
Here in Elberton, we are drawn to overpower our dearest predilections for quality sleep and to brave the frigid pre-dawn hours in search of golden hour photography goodness. The reason for this? Well, there is a site just north of town that has indeed fascinated me from afar since perhaps the mid 2000’s. Since Dina had never heard of it, I allowed it to remain a mystery since originally planning our road trip back in Seattle.
Success! We’re awake, the car is warming, and we’re nearly packed up. Pre-dawn photography mornings are always formidable obstacles for us. When the mercury can’t even muster enough strength to break past that freezing mark, all bets are typically off. As groggy as we are, we’re both feeling pretty energized and excited for the morning’s adventure.
Knowing that I’ve been a bit vague but also pretty excited to make it to this leg of the journey, Dina asks, “so, what is it again that we’re going to see this morning?”, with meager enthusiasm. “We’re going to see the guidestones”, I respond. “They are these large slabs of granite located somewhere a bit up this desolate country road in some big open field”, I continue. I’ve not said much more than this before and am not still not budging before we arrive.
Following a short eight mile drive up and into the nothingness that is north of Elberton on country road 77, we slow a bit given the pre-dawn darkness. With Celia’s mighty high beams leading our way, my eye catches the unassuming little country road, “Guidestones Road”, called out with a standard green street sign with no other visible signage indicating anything of note is out this way. Thousands of miles behind us and not once can I recall a site being this understated.
With twenty substantive minutes ahead of sunrise on our side, we slowly follow the road not more than 500 feet and approach the site of the mysterious Georgia Guidestones. A tiny parking lot just north of the site beckons ... “over here wayward friend, over here!” From within our cozy chariot, we find ourselves sitting face to face with an illuminated fraction of the totality of these five angled monolithic granite slabs capped by a sixth perching some 19 feet above the ground below. The dark blue cloud filled sky is not yet giving away the full spectacle. “Well, looks like sunrise is going to be a wash today, huh?” I mutter.
As the sky changes from dark blue to diffuse grey, the stones become far more real and present in the scene. Photography is a fantastic medium that captures some amazing scenes but the feeling of the morning will forever remain ineffable as the messages on the stones and the mystery of the monument continue to seep deeper into our daily awareness.
Tales shrouded in mystery and steadfast secrecy
A deluge of digital content will submerge your Internet browser with tales of intrigue ranging from the benign to the insidious. Many stories, photos, videos, and thoughtlessly regurgitated narratives are parroted as “fact based” evidence of sinister plans afoot which allude to a quizzically uncertain future for most of our contemporaries in this shared experience of being human. Ha, even typing that, I end up chuckling a bit at the recognition of the quizzically uncertain future the species has before it with or without any mysterious monuments and their enticing lore.
Elberton is known as the “granite capital of the world” with tremendous deposits of material with color and characteristics that are desirable for buildings, monuments, and memorials. This abundance of quality granite drew an unknown individual representing an unknown group of other unknown individuals going by the pseudonym R. C. Christian to the town in the latter half of 1979. At that time, Mr. Christian spoke with Joe Fendley, then president of Elbert Granite Finishing Company, Inc., of his wishes to create and erect an astonishingly large granite monument with some peculiarly precise requirements. March 22, 1980 marked the unveiling on the five acre plot just eight miles north of Elberton. Have a read through the 50 page guidebook to the guidestones published in 1981 by Mr. Fendley’s crew for the full published account of the project.
This remarkable monument remained inconspicuously disregarded while in plain view until 2008 when the first act of vandalism occurred. Since then, ominous neo-eugenics based stories and their conclusions have been spread to many undiscerning minds with considerable fervency. Formally, we are led to believe that Wyatt C. Martin, then president of Granite City Bank, is the only human being on the planet that knows for certain the true identity of R. C. Christian. Mr. Martin continues to uphold his end of secrecy as stipulated by Mr. Christian upon kicking off the project. Until new information presents itself via sources directly related to the origin of the guidestones, the speculative mystery will remain.
"The Georgia Guidestones is probably the most unusual monument ever produced in the Elberton Granite area. Not only is its massive size larger than any single other monument of record manufactured here, the circumstances surrounding its origin, completion, and erection have undoubtedly caused more speculation and comment than any of the other millions of granite memorials produced in Elberton since the area's famed Granite Industry started nearly a century ago."
William A Kelly, CAE
Executive Vice President
Elberton Granite Association, Inc.
Meandering back to 'our' story...
Focusing back on the characters in our story now. We have Dina, myself, our rapidly cooling chariot Celia, and five precisely aligned vertical slabs of granite out in the middle of a field in northern Georgia with a few modest farm houses in the not too distant vicinity. Objectively speaking, not much goes on here in this story. We pace one direction and then another. Dina sets up her tripod, kneels down, walks around, snaps a few photos with her camera. We remain fairly discreet only coming together a few times to chatter about this little thing or that. The impact of this story though is tremendous.
When reading the ten inscriptions, one can hardly avoid thinking of the Christian tale of ten commandments being divinely carved in stone and handed down to one man to go out and share with others. Given the monument creator’s pseudonym, shaking this Christian tale is even more difficult which sets our initial stage for continued contemplation.
Once taking a good look at the stone face with the English inscriptions, a brief review of the seven others is in order. After a pensive lap around the stones, the thought arises of how remarkably crippled we are as members of an “intelligent” species on this planet. We are utterly incapable of truly and fully “communicating” with ourselves given the vast number of languages that coexist. Individually speaking, our accidental birth in the United States has afforded us a significantly larger addressable collection of people then compared to say, the Hmong people in Southeast Asia given how prevalent English is in the world of international business and world affairs at this particular moment. Relative to the number of Mandarin speakers however, we are still cut off from a real “understanding” being reached through verbal communications with a huge majority of the world’s population.
- 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
Fascinating, the choices etched before us to ensure comprehension by 93% of the world’s population in 1980!
Zooming into the world of the more abstract now ... relative to most monuments that we’ve experienced out and about in the world, another remarkably divergent characteristic of this particular one is that the pungent nationalistic nostalgia and/or arrogance that most monuments exude is resplendently absent here. The guidestones exhibit none of the “look at how great we are” or “once were” traits that we’re so familiar with nor do they adhere to the near universal rear-view mirror accounts of time and place that typically warrant commissioning stonemasons to execute on their craft. This monument conveys a more unified, “let’s walk together in a common direction” sort of feeling which is quite a pleasant change of pace for me being a native of the Washington DC area.
I’ll save the remainder of the musings, especially the real juicy and contentious ones, for another day. They are perhaps best discussed over coffee one day somewhere over the rainbow and out in the wild blue yonder … and any other happily dismissive way to say ... not today.
Transcending time and place
Mr. Christian presented a message from the anonymous group of sponsors that he represented which read, "Stonehenge and other vestiges of human thought arouse our curiosity but carry no message for our guidance. To convey our ideas across time to other human beings we want to erect a monument... a cluster of graven stones... which will silently display our ideas when we have gone. We hope they will merit increasing acceptance and that through their silent persistence they will hasten in a small degree the coming Age of Reason.”
Depending upon your own personal and cultural filters, Mr. Christian’s stated desire coupled with the physical manifestation of his sponsors’ messages of guidance inscribed on those stones will evoke something. Something true, something valid, something human. What now are you going to do about it?
As for us, well, keep following along!