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The Coral Castle: A Megalithic Marvel

It’s been called Florida’s Stonehenge, a massive, rock structure on the Dixie Highway north of Homestead known as Coral Castle. The mystery of this strange place is really about its builder, Edward Leedskalnin. This small man, who never weighed more than 100 pounds in his entire life, accomplished an unbelievable, perhaps even supernatural, feat of engineering that is still a baffling mystery. Ed Leedskalnin’s heartbreaking story begins in Riga, Latvia, where he was born in 1887. On the day before he was to wed his sixteen-year old fiancée, Agnes Skuffs, she had a change of heart.

It was a jilting that would hang in Ed Leedskalnin’s mind for the rest of his life. Ed left his home country and wandered through Europe and Canada, before finally settling down in Washington State. Although he was a tiny man, Ed worked as a logger for several years until he caught tuberculosis. In need of a better climate for his health, Ed relocated to South Florida in 1918 where he bought some land in Florida City.

Once he was settled in his new home, Ed went about carving massive blocks of coral stone into a monument to his lost love. Although Ed Leedskalnin stood only five feet, he quarried, transported, carved, and placed, huge blocks weighing several tons. Most of his work was secretly done at night using only basic tools, such as iron wedges, saws, block and tackle, and a wagon. He had no engines or any other power sources, other than himself, to move and place over 1,100 tons of coral rock. The average weight of a single block is heavier than those used in constructing the Great Pyramid of Giza.

No one really knows how such a small man was able to accomplish such a monumental task, or why he mysteriously worked under the cover of night. During the day, Ed would rest, or study his books on cosmic energy and magnetics. He had a keen interest in science, astronomy, and the Egyptians, in particular the pyramids. Whenever people asked him how he moved the mammoth blocks of stone, Ed would only reply that he had discovered the secrets of levitation used in building the pyramids. The tallest structure in Ed’s rock palace is a tower containing 243 tons of stone with the average block weighing nine tons. There is an obelisk weighing 28 tons and the heaviest stone object weighs 35 tons.

As if there was not enough weirdness surrounding Ed’s stone project, in 1936, when Florida City became too crowded for his liking, he dismantled his massive works and moved it down the road to Homestead. He borrowed a friend’s tractor and truck and began the super-human task of loading, unloading, and reconstructing his rock castle on ten acres of land where it still stands today. Once again, using a lantern for light, he worked at night being careful not to expose the secret of how he did it. According to one story, a few curious folks decided to spy on Ed to see how he moved these heavy stones. They claimed that he placed his hands on each stone and began chanting and the stones would just float up and into place.

There are many theories about how this frail man could move so many tons of rock. He disagreed with modern science saying that scientists were all wrong when it came to magnetism and gravity. Ed believed that that all matter consisted of individual magnets and it is the movement of these magnets within matter and through space that produces magnetism and electricity. He claimed that his concepts involved the relationship of the Earth to celestial alignments and that he could actually see particles of light that were the physical presence of natural magnetism and the life force. What Ed was referring to is what is known in Chinese medicine as “Chi.” A New Zealand airlines pilot decided to study the possibilities of Ed’s claims and found that, based on the geographic location of longitude and latitude, Ed had selected the right spot on the planet for producing “the geometric harmonics necessary for the manipulation of anti-gravity.” I think that means if Ed was going to levitate something then he picked the right place to do it. Then, on the other hand, maybe he was just a super-clever guy who figured out new ways of using levers and block and tackle. Then we may have the problem of trying to figure out where he got ropes strong enough to hold all that tonnage.

At the new location the amazing Stonehenge-like structure was called “Rock Gate Park.” It actually looked more like a gigantic rock garden surrounded by a heavy stone wall with a tall tower sticking up in one corner. Inside there were massive stones carved into huge chairs and tables, an outdoor bathtub, a giant table in the shape of Florida, a fountain shaped like the moon, stone beds and pillows, a rock telescope, and big, super-heavy, stone gates. In 1986, when one of the nine-ton gates needed repairs, it took six men and a 50-ton crane to move it. Yet, Ed Leedskalnin, without mechanical assistance, had moved, positioned, and precisely balanced the gate so a mere child’s finger would push it open!

Ed Leedskalnin never gave up hope that his long lost love would someday join him in his estate of stone. It was never to be, Ed Leedskalnin died in 1951. Scientists and engineers remain baffled by Ed’s engineering feats, secrets that he took to the grave. After Ed’s death, Rock Gate Park was passed to his nephew. In 1953, it was sold to private owners and renamed Coral Castle.

In 1992, when Hurricane Andrew wiped out most of South Florida, Coral Castle stood like a stone fortress, of course if you have seen this place you’d know that it would take more than a hurricane to blow this house down. Today, Coral Castle is open to the public as a curious stone marvel, preserving forever the legacy of Edward Leedskalnin.

Weird Florida


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