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The forces of stupidity and banality struck another low blow on July 6 when an unknown individual bombed the Georgia Guidestones in Elberton County, Georgia. The blast destroyed one of the four slabs that made up the bulk of the monument and damaged the capstone, rendering the whole thing unstable. A demolition crew tore the rest of it down later that day.

Known as “America’s Stonehenge,” the monument sat in a county-owned field off of Georgia Route 77 and was maintained by the Elberton Granite Association.

The bombing took place around 4:00 a.m. Surveillance footage shows the explosion, followed by a car leaving the crime scene:

In an email to NBC News, a prosecutor in Georgia called the bombing an act of domestic terrorism. “The destruction of a public building by explosives is inherently intended to influence the actions of the governing authority that owns the structure,” Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White said. “The use of violence to sway or alter the behavior of any government agency is terrorism.” White’s office will handle any potential prosecution.

Among those applauding the terrorist act is former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and current right-wing kook Kandiss Taylor, who somehow sees the bombing — an act of low-level domestic terrorism definitely carried out by a human being — as an act of God.

Unlike many major historical monuments — Stonehenge, the pyramids in Egypt, those large heads on Easter Island — there is much that we do know about the erection of the Georgia Guidestones.

The story begins on a quiet afternoon in June 1979. Joe Fendley, president of the Elberton Granite Finishing Company, was reviewing the company’s weekly reports when a well-dressed man came into the office. He said he wanted to build a monument dedicated to “the conservation of mankind.” Fendley tried to get rid of the guy, but he was persistent.

A 1981 souvenir booklet published by the company describes what happens next:

[A]fter listening for about 20 minutes and learning the massive size of the monument he wished to purchase and have erected, Fendley decided he should take this man seriously. With this thought in mind, Fendley said he “perked up his ear and started making notes, because he realized this stranger was much smarter than he first thought and seemed very sincere about the project….

Christian, during his brief visit with Fendley on this Friday afternoon in June, explained that he represented a “small group of loyal Americans who believe in God.” He said they lived outside of Georgia and simply wished to “leave a message for future generations."

After his meeting with Fendley, Christian went to the Granite City Bank, where he met with bank president Wyatt C. Martin.

He said the group of sponsors wished to remain anonymous and went on to say that his real name was not Robert С. Christian as he had introduced himself, but this was simply a name chosen because of his Christian faith.

“The message, to be inscribed on the stones, is to all mankind and is non-sectarian, nor nationalistic, nor in any sense political. The stones must speak for themselves to all who take note and should appeal to believers and non-believers, wherever, and at all times,” he continued.

After explaining the purpose of the stones and their inscription, Christian asked Martin to be the financial intermediary for the project. Martin told Christian that a pseudo-name and a promise of money for a project of this magnitude just was not enough.

According to Martin, after being sworn to secrecy, Christian then confided in him. He gave Martin his real name and enough information so he could investigate him both personally and financially before the project was to begin.

Martin, both then and now, is the only person outside the group of sponsors who knows the true identity of the mystery man known as “Christian.”

The monument consisted of four (19-foot, 3-inch) granite slabs arrayed around a center column. The capstone, also made of granite, held it all together. It weighed over 120 tons and cost over $100,000 to build.

Each stone face carried the following message in one of a number of languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, and Russian.

1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.

3. Unite humanity with a living new language.

4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.

5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.

6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.

7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.

8. Balance personal rights with social duties.

9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.

10. Be not a cancer on the Earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

Not only did the Guidestones convey this message, but in the best tradition of large, mysterious monuments, it also functioned as a compass, calendar, and clock. Randall Sullivan described this in some detail in Wired magazine:

The astrological specifications for the Guidestones were so complex that Fendley had to retain the services of an astronomer from the University of Georgia to help implement the design. The four outer stones were to be oriented based on the limits of the sun’s yearly migration. The center column needed two precisely calibrated features: a hole through which the North Star would be visible at all times, and a slot that was to align with the position of the rising sun during the solstices and equinoxes. The principal component of the capstone was a 7/8-inch aperture through which a beam of sunlight would pass at noon each day, shining on the center stone to indicate the day of the year.

The first precept: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature,” is particularly sinister. R.C. Christian’s monument foresaw a future when a nuclear war or environmental cataclysm brought the population below the 5 million mark. To put this into context, the world’s population in 1980 was 4.5 billion. According to the Guidestones, it would be up to the humans of the post-apocalypse to keep the population at a fraction of what it is today.

Promotional booklet produced by the Elberton Granite Finishing Co. in 1981

Promotional booklet produced by the Elberton Granite Finishing Co. in 1981

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Witches and Warlocks

Besides advocating for a reduction in the world population, the monument called for “improving fitness and diversity” and “guid[ing] reproduction wisely.” It also advocated a universal language, “fair laws and just courts,” an international court that would make wars obsolete, civic engagement, and “seeking harmony with the infinite.”

The man or group who planned the monument put a lot of faith in the massive, monumental nature of the thing. The very existence of a 120-ton granite whatchamacallit constructed according to what many Christians suspect to be math-magical principles could only attract attention. And soon enough, the Georgia Guidestones were visited by witches and warlocks who either assumed that the area had some sort of magical current, or were just psyched that such a boss-looking structure was within driving distance.

Again, from Wired:

Within a few months, a coven of witches from Atlanta adopted the Guidestones as their home away from home, making weekend pilgrimages to Elberton to stage various pagan rites ("dancing and chanting and all that kind of thing," Martin says) and at least one warlock-witch marriage ceremony. No humans were sacrificed on the altar of the stones, but there are rumors that several chickens were beheaded. A 1981 article in the monthly magazine UFO Report cited Naunie Batchelder (identified in the story as "a noted Atlanta psychic") as predicting that the true purpose of the guides would be revealed "within the next 30 years." Viewed from directly overhead, the Guidestones formed an X, the piece in UFO Report observed, making for a perfect landing site.

Mark Dice is one of the most insufferable conspiracy theorists in the biz. He first attracted national media attention in 2008 for leading a boycott against Starbucks after he found the company’s logo too pornographic for his liking. “The company might as well call themselves Slutbucks,” he told the Telegraph (UK) at the time.

Dice-man’s other pet theories include the idea that Super Bowl half-time shows are "elaborate Illuminati rituals hidden in plain sight" and that Katy Perry "promotes bisexuality and appears to be some kind of Satanic Witch.” His 2005 book, The Resistance Manifesto, contains an entire chapter on the monument in Georgia. “The Illuminati have been planning a massive depopulation for decades, which will one day manifest itself in the form of massive plagues, a series of biological attacks, or any number of other means to eliminate most of the people inhabiting the planet,” he writes.

There’s one more thing worth noting about Elberton, Georgia, according to the Manifesto: “the county’s high school sports teams are called the Blue Devils, another blatant example of supporting Satanism and the New World Order philosophy.”

Vandals strike the Georgia Guidestones in 2008

Vandals strike the Georgia Guidestones in 2008

Dark Clouds Over Elberton

The only person attached to the Guidestones project to know R.C. Christian’s true identity was Wyatt Martin, the president of the bank in Elberton that handled the money for the project. Martin, who passed away last December, kept his promise to never name the man (or group of people) behind the Guidestones.

In 2015, Adullam Films released Dark Clouds Over Elberton, a documentary about the Guidestones. Adullam Films is a Christian ministry that specializes in slowly-paced conspiracy-themed educational fare. Its other releases include The Kinsey Syndrome (Alfred Kinsey single-handedly created the LGBTQIA community to promote satanic pedophilia, apparently) and Eye of the Phoenix, an exposé on all the scary Masonic symbolism on the back of the U.S. dollar bill.

Writer/director and Adullam Films founder Chris Pinto makes a strong case that the man behind the Georgia Guidestones, the pseudonymous R. C. Christian, was actually two men from Iowa: Robert Merryman and Herbert Kersten (Kersten is a German surname meaning Christian).

Merryman is the publisher of Common Sense Renewed. This 124-page book, attributed to Robert C. Christian, further elaborates on the message of the Georgia Guidestones. It was printed by the Graphic Publishing Company of Lake Mills, Iowa, in 1986.

While filming Dark Clouds Over Elberton, Wyatt Martin opened a box full of documents relating to the monument deal. In the process, the camera captured an address from Fort Dodge, Iowa, 100 miles southwest of Lake Mills. This wasn’t the only clue that Martin inadvertently gave the filmmakers. He showed them a letter from 1998 in which R.C. Christian wrote that he was 78 years old. Martin also mentioned that he stopped hearing from Christian after the year 2000.

In Iowa, Fort Dodge historian William Sayles Doan is interviewed saying that Kersten was "racist to his fingertips" and had boasted about his friendship with William Shockley, the Nobel Prize winner known for both helping to usher in the digital age and, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, for being “an ardent eugenicist whose theories of black racial inferiority eventually made him an academic pariah.”

Kersten’s 2005 obituary describes him as “a conservationist who loved nature and trees” and “a naturalist who was very involved in environmental and world population issues.” It also said that he was born in 1920, which would’ve made him 78 years old when Christian sent that letter to Martin in 1998.

According to the obit, “Dr. Kersten held a broad world vision of humanity, and a myriad of personal and academic interests, which he pursued with diligent and thorough research.” Although it leaves out the word “eugenics,” it’s there between the lines.

SKULL & BONES SUC DICK

It wasn’t until Mark Dice started making a big deal about the Guidestones that they became a target of vandalism. Spray-painted messages left on the tablets over the years include: “COUNCIL on ForeIGN RELATIONS IS rAN BY the DeviL” and “9-11 INSIDE JOB” and “SKULL & BONES SUC DICK.” (Skull and Bones is a secret society at Yale that's become the target of various conspiracy theories over the years. It is infamous for its powerful members, including the CIA's James Jesus Angleton, George H. W. Bush, and both George W. Bush and his opponent in the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry. It was also the basis for a 2000 film starring the kid from Dawson's Creek.)

It’s telling that former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor communicates with her base on Telegram, the encrypted messaging app that potential terrorists and conspiracy theorists use when they’ve been kicked off Facebook and Twitter. It’s also telling that a major campaign platform of hers was the removal of the Georgia Guidestones.

“The New World Order is here, and they told us it was coming,” Taylor said in a truly bizarre campaign video. “This is a battle.” You might have won this battle, Kandiss. But the world is much duller for it — in every sense of the word.