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 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 - Leave room for nature.
The guidestones also serve as an astronomical calendar, and every day at noon the sun shines through a narrow hole in the structure and illuminates the days date on an engraving. The names of four ancient languages are inscribed on the sides near the top: Babylonian cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Additionally an instructional tablet at the site speaks of 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. Others believe them to be a message of wise prophecy, possibly the work of an eccentric man of science.
However, if the past thirty 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"