Friday, March 28, 2008

The Legend of Coral Castle

Latvia 1912: Ed Leedskalnin, 26 was jilted on the eve of his wedding by his 16- year-old fiancee, Agnes Scuffs. Broken-hearted, Ed wandered, visiting Canada and Europe before settling in Florida City, near Miami.

During his wandering in Europe, Ed noticed one outstanding feature-the land was covered with castles. This gave him a romantic notion to build a castle for Agnes and to send her pictures of it in hopes that she might come to Florida and marry him. Working only from midnight to sunrise so that no one could see how he moved the great coral stones weighing more than those of the Great Pyramid, Ed built Coral Castle for Agnes. When he finished it, he gave tours, telling his visitors that he was "Waiting For Agnes."

Now after thousands of years of wondering how the Great Pyramid was built, here is a man who understood the Pyramid's secret, and he dies, forgotten, in Florida. How can this be? This frustration is what drove Researcher and investigator Joe Bullard to research and write, for 16 years, the story of Ed's life in my novel "Waiting For Agnes."

The story shows how Ed's genius has been regarded by the world's elite. With only a fourth grade education, Ed designed a 9-ton swinging gate in Coral Castle's east wall. The huge block of coral is extremely uneven in its proportions. Ed faced the problem of finding the stone's exact center and running a rod down through the center in order to connect the gate to the wheel bearings of a 1920 Ford truck so the gate would spin. The hole had to be perfectly drilled-if it was off even a frog's hair, the rod would not go t
hrough. The weight of the stone finally wore down the bearings and the gate stopped opening in 1986.

Located in Homestead, Florida, the castle and its gardens feature thousands of tons of coral rock that Leedskalnin, a frail man who weighed just 100 pounds, carved into artistic yet functional objects. It's possible that Leedskalnin secretly harbored the ability to levitate the large stones. Bullard said he'd spoken to a woman whose father had been one of the teens who'd claimed to have seen Leedskalnin float the stones.

Coral Castle is the finest example of massive stone construction in the United States. A study of the immense sizes and weights of the coral rock excavated, moved, and used in its construction establishes it as an authentic wonder of the world. That it was built entirely by one man makes it unequaled in all history.

There are approximately 1,000 tons of coral rock used in the construction of the walls and tower alone. In addition, over 100 tons of coral rock were used in the carvings of the artistic objects found throughout the entire park.

Ed's tower, where he lived, contains 243 tons of coral rock made up of huge blocks of stone weighing up to 9 tons each. The average weight of the stones used in the construction of Coral Castle is greater than those used in the Great Pyramid of Giza. Additionally, several of the stones used are taller than those found in Stonehenge in England. In weight, they exceed greatly the stones used in many other famous stone works around the world.

Ed built a perfectly shaped heart-table weighing 5,000 pounds that, according to Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not, is the largest Valentine table in the world. Ed said that if he forgot to get Agnes a Valentine's card, now she could look at the table and have her card. He also planted an Ixora bush in the table's center so Agnes could have fresh flowers everyday; the plant is still alive.

Valentines table: Ed said he sculpted this 5,000 lb. table so that if he forgot to get Agnes a Valentines day card, she would have this table to remind her of his love.

This 9 ton gate baffles engineers today; 9 tons of coral rock is mounted on the wheel bearings of a 1920 Ford Model A truck. It is so perfectly balanced, a child can push it open with one finger.


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