Rural America has many roadside attractions, some amusing, some religious, most of them kitschy. My attention was caught by a news item a couple of days ago about a faux Stonehenge granite monument in rural Georgia called the Georgia Guidestones that had a mysterious origin and aroused quite a bit of controversy and, this being America, conspiracy theorizing. It had to be demolished after unknown persons exploded a device that had damaged part of it and rendered it unstable.
The 19ft-high (5.8m) structure near Elberton, east of Atlanta, was commissioned by a person or a group under the pseudonym RC Christian.
On 22 March 1980, the Georgia Guidestones, weighing 119 tons, were revealed to a crowd of about 100 people.
One crowd member, a local pastor, immediately professed his belief that the stones were built for cult and devil worship because of their similar appearance to Stonehenge.
The state tourist website ExploreGeorgia.org says the monument serves “as an astronomical calendar, and every day at noon the sun shines through a narrow hole in the structure and illuminates the day’s date on an engraving”.
The Georgia Guidestones have long been a focus for conspiracy theories. Some believe the monument to be “Satanic” and a “portal to hell”.
The Covid pandemic and the global vaccination programme gave a new boost to these conspiracies. Kandis Taylor, a losing candidate in Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial primary, pledged to destroy the stones as part of her campaign.
News of the monument’s demolition has been cheered in some online circles. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said he enjoyed the bombing of the stones “at an animal level”, but added he would like them to stand as an “evil edifice” exposing depopulation plans.
As one might have been expected, there are already dark suggestions that there is more to this act than just vandalism.
The reason this item caught my eye was because just two months ago John Oliver had an amusing segment about this very monument and Taylor, throwing furries into the mix. In the end, he revealed something that his team had just uncovered about who the mysterious ‘RC Christian’ may have been. If what they found is correct, ‘RC Christian’ may have had an agenda that both Taylor and Jones would approve of, so their glee at the demolishing may have been misplaced.
Oliver also said that ‘RC Christian’ had instructed the builder that the monument should be “capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events”. Clearly it could not. They should ask for their money back.