Georgia Guidestones – Elberton, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

In June of 1979, a man going by the pseudonym of R.C. Christian approached the Elberton Granite Finishing Company with the task of building a monument. He said that no one was to ever know his true identity or that of the group that he was representing. He seemed to have an endless supply of money to fund the project and by the terms of the legal contract all plans had to be destroyed after completion and all information about him withheld from the public.

In 1980, the stones were finished. They carry a tablet in front proclaiming, “Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason.” Engraved in the stones are ten guidelines meant to re-establish the planet and society, perhaps after an apocalypse. They are written in eight different languages, English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese and Russian, and among other commandments preach to:

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

- Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.

- Balance personal rights with social duties.

- Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature.

The guidestones also served as an astronomical calendar, and every day at noon the sun shone through a narrow hole in the structure and illuminated the day’s date on an engraving. The names of four ancient languages were inscribed on the sides near the top: Babylonian cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Additionally an instructional tablet at the site described a time capsule buried underneath the surface, though the dates on which the capsule was buried and when it is to be re-opened are missing. Whether this is intentional or the capsule was never buried is unknown.

The guidestones continue to be a point of controversy. Conspiracy theorists and fundamentalists believe them to be the work of Satanists or the New World Order–fueled particularly by certain commandments such as “Guide reproduction wisely–improving fitness and diversity” which can be ominously interpreted–and the guidestones have been seriously vandalized by such conspiracy theorists. Among these conspiracy theorists was 2022 Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor, who promised to demolish the monument as part of her campaign. Others believed them to be a message of wise prophecy, possibly the work of an eccentric man of science. 

However, if the past 30 years are any indication, we may never know who built them besides what is engraved on the guidestones itself: “Sponsors: A Small Group of Americans Who Seek The Age Of Reason”

Early in the morning of July 6, 2022, the guidestones were damaged by an apparent explosion caused by a vandal. The remaining, undamaged pieces were donated to the Elberton Granite Association and its museum to be preserved.

Know Before You Go

Though no longer standing, the former site for the monument can be accessed from Highway 77 in Elbert County, you'll see signs pointing to "Guidestone Rd."

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