the Georgia Guidestones for the first time can be
a startling experience. Driving north on GA 77 from
Elberton, you pass through hill country dominated
by brick ranch-style houses and barn-fronted pastures.
Then suddenly, about seven miles out
of town, they appear on your right, rising up from
the highest point in the county.
Four imposing 19-foot-tall, 119-ton
granite blocks with a center column supporting an
equally massive capstone. Closer observation reveals
an even stranger sight. On each of the stones are
a series of carvings—aphorisms for living, in
languages ranging from modern English and Russian
to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Babylonian cuneiform—12
Obviously, this isn’t your typical
North Georgia roadside attraction. Although the area
surrounding the guidestones is well-kept, with freshly
mowed grass, shrubs and even a rose garden—
thanks to a foundation established to maintain it—the
location seems to draw few vistiors these days.
Elbert County locals are just as happy
to keep their treasure under wraps. They prefer to
be known as the World’s Granite Capital, not
as the home to an oddity that has generated worldwide
interest and controversy.
Although at first glance they may
evoke images of Stonehenge, the guidestones are actually
of much more recent—if equally mysterious origin.
According to local lore, one day in 1979 a mysterious
stranger calling himself simply R.C. Christian showed
up at the office of Joe Fendley, president of the
Elberton Granite Finishing Company. He carried plans
for a large monument that a small, anonymous group
of men wanted to build near Elberton.
The mysterious Mr. Christian (not
his real name) came with funds to back his odd request.
He and his backers had chosen the area because of
its famed granite, he said at the time. After a brief
search, a five-acre hilltop pasture belonging to local
contractor Wayne Mullenix was purchased and work began.
during all these mysterious goings-on did Mr. Christian
disclose the purpose for the construction effort.
He merely smiled and said it would all be revealed
soon enough. Upon completion of the project, he left
and was never seen again.
than two decades later, the Georgia Guidestones are
still steeped in mystery. Following precise specifications,
the upright stones are aligned to follow the trajectory
of the moon during the course of a year. A slot cut
into the center stone aligns with the position of
the rising sun at the summer and winter solstices.
During the equinoxes, the noon sun shines through
to indicate midday. A small hole in the overhead capstone
serves as a crude sun calendar.
the site was unveiled to the public in a ceremony
attended by more than 400 people in 1980, it has been
the object of both wonder and controversy. Local ministers
denounced it as satanic. Wiccans have traveled from
near and far to hold pagan ceremonies.
sayings carved into its panels are straightforward
maxims for living, ranging from the frank— “Avoid
petty laws and useless officials” — to
the obscure — “Maintain humanity under
500 million in perpetual balance with nature.”
2003 Blue Ridge Country