Since the 1980s, the Georgia Guidestones have puzzled tourists and locals alike. Erected by an anonymous individual about 100 miles east of Atlanta, the monument, dubbed “America’s Stonehenge,” consisted of four large stones around a center stone topped with a capstone. Mysterious inscriptions on the monument seemed to speak to the conservation of humanity, but their exact intent was unclear.
It’s unlikely the mysteries of the Guidestones will ever be revealed now, as the monument was destroyed by an explosive device Wednesday morning, the New York Times’ Livia Albeck-Ripka reports. Footage released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) shows a detonation reducing one of the side stones and part of the capstone to rubble around 4 a.m., and a car leaving the area shortly after.
Though part of the monument was still standing after the explosion, the entirety had to be demolished by officials in the aftermath out of safety concerns. Investigators currently haven’t released any kind of suspect description or possible motive, according to the AP, and are asking the public for assistance in figuring out who was behind the attack. Prior vandalism to the monument led to the county installing cameras at the site that were able to capture footage of a silver sedan fleeing the scene.
The Guidestones have been the subject of controversy since their erection in 1979 by an anonymous individual known only as R.C. Christian, the New York Times reports. Wyatt Martin, who assisted Christian with installing the monument, claims to be the only individual to know Christian’s true identity and says he’ll never divulge the benefactor’s secret.
Standing 19 feet high outside of the small city of Elberton, the stones both serve as an astrological calendar (a hole in the center stone allows the midday sun to shine through on the day’s respective date) and as a mysterious message to humanity. Written in eight modern and four dead languages, the granite stones espouse the following ten instructions:
- 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.
The first two rules have led some to imply that the stones endorse eugenics or genocide, per the Independent’s Graig Graziosi. Backlash of that kind and that the stones were “built for cult and devil worship” began upon the monuments' unveiling, and only increased in the advent of the internet era. Prominent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has linked them to the Illuminati.
“We’ve seen this with QAnon and multiple other conspiracy theories, that these ideas can lead somebody to try to take action in furtherance of these beliefs,” Katie McCarthy, a conspiracy theory researcher for the Anti-Defamation League, tells CBS. “They can attempt to try and target the people and institutions that are at the center of these false beliefs … [These conspiracy theories] do and can have a real-world impact.”