What You Should Know About The Mysterious Georgia Guidestones

Alright folks, strap into a truly weird, fascinating, and fringe happening. To start: forget that whole monolith fad in places like Utah, California, Romania, and New Mexico (oh, that's right, you already forgot about it). Now imagine if John Locke, Rene Descartes, and a whole bunch of Enlightenment figures commissioned the construction of some giant Ten Commandment-looking slabs of granite. On these, they wrote multilingual, life guidelines for future, post-apocalypse humans, and then stacked the slabs into a geometric formation kind of like Legos-but-what-if-Stonehenge. Oh, and the entire structure serves as an astronomical calendar that also describes a time capsule of unknown contents buried somewhere, to be opened at an unknown date.

And now, substitute "Enlightenment figures" for a dude named "R.C. Christian" (hint: not his real name), who, as Atlas Obscura describes, funneled nigh-limitless money from multiple banks and represented "A Small Group of Americans Who Seek The Age Of Reason," as the actual inscription on the "Georgia Guidestones" states.

Yes, this is all true. Located along route 77 in a grassy field about two hours northeast of Atlanta, the Georgia Guidestones on "Guidestones Rd," as the signs say, cover ten principles for a prosperous, enlightened future written in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, as well as the ancient languages of Babylonian cuneiform, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Predictably, they and their mysterious origins have become the subject of endless conspiratorial debates about the Illuminati, aliens, the Antichrist, Satanists, you name it.

Guidelines for a new, post-apocalyptic 'Age of Reason'

So what are the guidelines that have opponents of ecumenicism and rational, secular humanism all in a dither? As All That's Interesting quotes:

"1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature; 2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity; 3. Unite humanity with a living new language; 4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason; 5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts; 6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court; 7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials; 8. Balance personal rights with social duties; 9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite; 10. Be not a cancer on the earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for nature."

Planned for 20 years and finished in 1980, the Georgia Guidestones — too sincere to be a prank, too instructional to be an art exhibit — are composed of seven pieces of granite totaling nearly 240,000 pounds. It's free to visit and open 24-7, per Explore Georgia.

Christian, the creator, said, "he was building a monument that could withstand the end of the world." Banker Wyatt Martin, who thought Christian was crazy, would only authorize the project on disclosure of Christian's real name; he destroyed the documents later. Martin later quoted Christian as saying, "If you want to keep people interested, you can let them know only so much."