- While the cutting techniques of the ancient pyramid builders
have been an ongoing topic for debate, they have not received the same
attention and controversy as the methods that were used to lift and transport
cyclopean blocks of stone. Egyptologists and orthodox believers of primitive
methods argue that the huge blocks were moved and positioned using only
manpower, but experts in moving heavy weights using modern cranes throw
doubt on their theory.
- My company installed a hydraulic press that weighs sixty-five
tons. In order to lift it and lower it through the roof, they had to bring
in a special crane. The crane was brought to the site in pieces transported
from eighty miles away over a period of five days. After fifteen semi-trailer
loads, the crane was finally assembled and ready for use. As the press
was lowered into its specially prepared pit, I asked one of the riggers
about the heaviest weight he had lifted. He claimed that it was a 110-ton
nuclear power plant vessel. When I related to him the seventy- and two
hundred-ton weights of the blocks of stone used inside the Great Pyramid
and the Valley Temple, he expressed amazement and disbelief at the primitive
methods Egyptologists claim were used.
- For many of us to whom the Egyptologists' orthodox theory
seems implausible, it is enough just to argue the issue from a logical
standpoint. For others, the debate becomes more meaningful when a proposed
alternate method is demonstrated and proven to be successful. For that
proof we must turn to the one man in the world who, by demonstration, has
supported the claim, "I know the secret of how the pyramids of Egypt
were built!" That man was Edward Leedskalnin, an eccentric Latvian
who immigrated to the United States and who is now deceased. But he left
many intriguing clues that persuade us he may indeed have known such secrets.
- Leedskalnin devised a means to single-handedly lift and
maneuver blocks of coral weighing up to thirty tons. In Homestead, Florida,
using his closely guarded secret, he was able to quarry and construct an
entire complex of monolithic coral blocks in an arrangement that reflected
his own unique character. On average, the weight of a single block used
in the Coral Castle was greater than those used to build the Great Pyramid.
He labored for twenty-eight years to complete the work, which consisted
of a total of 1,100 tons of rock. What was Leedskalnin's secret? Is it
possible for a 5-foot tall, 110-pound man to accomplish such a feat without
knowing techniques that are undiscovered to our mainstream contemporary
understanding of physics and mechanics?
- Leedskalnin was a student of the universe. Within his
castle walls, he had a 22-ton obelisk, a 22-ton moon block, a 23-ton Jupiter
block, a Saturn block, a 9-ton gate, a coral rocking chair that weighed
3 tons, and numerous other items. A huge 30-ton block, which he considered
to be his major achievement, was crowned with a gable-shaped rock. Leedskalnin
somehow single-handedly created and moved these massive objects without
the benefit of cranes and other heavy machinery, a feat that astounds many
engineers and technologists, who compare these achievements with those
employed by workers handling similar weights in industry today.
- Leedskalnin's castle was not always located in Homestead,
Florida. He thought he had found his Shangri-la near Florida City and was
happily working away on his rock garden until one night several thugs attacked
him. Being a small man, he was an easy mark for these cowards, and he became
a changed man after the trauma. Such was his concern that he became obsessed
with moving his rock garden to a safer area. To assist him in the effort,
he contracted with a local truck driver to haul his large rocks from Florida
City to Homestead. As they prepared to load a 20-ton obelisk onto the truck,
Leedskalnin asked the truck driver to leave him alone for a moment. Once
out of sight, the truck driver heard a loud crash. Hurrying back to his
truck, he was stopped in his tracks by the sight before him, hardly believing
his eyes. He had returned just in time to see Leedskalnin dusting off his
hands, the huge obelisk loaded and weighing down his flatbed.
- Once in Homestead, the trucker was asked to leave his
flatbed overnight and return in the morning. He was doubtful that Leedskalnin
would be able to fulfill his promise that the obelisk would be off the
truck and erected in the place he had set out for it. It's a good thing
the truck driver did not bet money against Leedskalnin's ability to fulfill
his word, because when he returned the following morning, Leedskalnin had
moved the monolith into position, just as he had promised.
- For his stupendous feats of construction engineering,
Leedskalnin received attention not only from engineers and technologists,
but from the United States Government, who paid him a visit, hoping to
be enlightened. Leedskalnin received the officials gracefully, but they
left none the wiser. In 1952, falling ill and on his last legs, Leedskalnin
checked himself into the hospital and slipped away from this life, taking
his secrets about moving massive objects with him.
- If we assume that Leedskalnin and the ancient pyramid
builders were using similar techniques, we must reevaluate the requirements
for the man-hours necessary to construct the Great Pyramid. Estimates provided
by Egyptologists for the number of workers that built the Great Pyramid
range between 20,000 and 100,000. Based on the abilities of this one man,
quarrying and erecting a total of 1,100 tons of rock over a time span of
twenty-eight years, the 5,273,834 tons of stone built into the Great Pyramid
could have been quarried and put in place by only 4,794 workers. If we
figure in the efficiencies to be gained from working in a team and the
division of labor, we can reduce the number of workers and/or shorten the
time needed to complete the task. Let us not forget the estimate given
by Merle Booker (deceased), of the Indiana Limestone Institute, for the
delivery of enough limestone to build a Great Pyramid. Using the same criteria-with
respect to size and quantity-as the ancient builders, but using modern
equipment, Booker estimated that all thirty-three Indiana limestone quarries
would have to triple their average output to produce the stone. His estimate
did not factor in any equipment failures, labor disputes, or acts of God.
He estimated that twenty-seven years after the order was placed, the last
stone would have been delivered! These numbers put Leedskalnin's accomplishments
in their proper perspective.
- I first visited Coral Castle in 1982 while vacationing
in Florida. It soon became clear to me that Leedskalnin's claim was accurate-he
did indeed know some secrets, perhaps even the very ones used by the ancient
Egyptians. I returned to Homestead again in April 1995 to refresh my memory
and, specifically, to closely examine a device that, in 1992, fueled a
discussion between an engineer colleague, Steven Defenbaugh, and myself.
Our discussion resulted in a speculation as to the methods that Leedskalnin
- Leedskalnin took issue with modern science's understanding
of nature. He flatly stated that scientists are wrong. His concept of nature
was simple: All matter consists of individual magnets, and it is the movement
of these magnets within materials and through space that produces measurable
phenomena-that is, magnetism and electricity and so on.
- Whether Leedskalnin was right or wrong in his assertions,
from his simple premise he was able to devise a means to single-handedly
elevate and maneuver large weights, which would be impossible using conventional
methods. There is speculation that he was employing electromagnetism to
eliminate or reduce the gravitational pull of the Earth. These speculations
are entertained by some and scoffed at by others whose feet are firmly
planted in the "real world."
- While at Coral Castle, I commented to a lady standing
in Leedskalnin's workshop that it was quite a feat he had performed, and
asked if she had any idea how he had done it. Fixing me with a measured
look, she said, "Through the application of physics and mechanics
such work can be done." Somehow sensing my esoteric bent, she commented
that Thor Heyerdahl had dispatched wild speculation about how the huge
stone statues on Easter Island were put in place when he re-enacted the
work by carving, moving, and erecting one.
- Being alone, and wanting a photograph taken of myself
in Leedskalnin's workshop, I did not want to be argumentative. Smiling,
I handed her the camera and did not point out that Heyerdahl, unlike Leedskalnin,
had an ample supply of willing and healthy natives. They provided sufficient
manpower to satisfy the physical requirements for conventionally moving
such large weights, even on rollers, and cantilevering them into an upright
position. Heyerdahl was an energetic man, but, using those methods, he
could not have done it alone. Moreover, Heyerdahl merely demonstrated that
the job could be done using one particular method. Anyone who has worked
in manufacturing knows that there are many ways of doing things. To devise
a means to perform a given work and present it as the only way that such
work could be done gives little credit to those who either might know of
a better way or might look for a better method-and succeed in finding one.
- When analyzing ancient engineering feats, and being faced
with explaining technically difficult tasks, Egyptologists and archaeologists
typically throw in more time and more people using primitive, simple tools
and manpower. Unlike those conventional arguments regarding ancient civilizations,
in the case of Ed Leedskalnin we cannot impose the view that the work was
done employing masses of people, for it is well documented that Leedskalnin
- Egyptologists claim to "know" how the Great
Pyramid was built. To prove it, stones no heavier than two and one-half
tons were hefted into place using a gang of workers, straining on ropes.
Leedskalnin claimed to "know" how the Great Pyramid was built,
and to prove it he moved a thirty-ton and other monolithic blocks of coral
to build his castle. It is too bad the cameras were not on Leedskalnin
as they were on the NOVA experiment. I believe that Leedskalnin's feat
is more illustrative of the pyramid builders' methods. While I enjoyed
This Old Pyramid, I was not too impressed with the results. After a tremendous
amount of effort using modern tools and equipment, the crew managed to
move a few blocks into place using only manpower. After recently talking
to Roger Hopkins, who was the mason in charge of the construction of the
pyramid for the NOVA film, I have a lot more respect for the effort and
knowledge that he put into it under extremely arduous conditions. Hopkins
is very straightforward and an honest craftsman who specializes in working
in granite. Like me, he is convinced that the ancients were using state-of-the-art
equipment to perform this work. But the equipment and techniques Leedskalnin
used, I would suggest, goes beyond what we know as state-of-the-art. What
technique did he use? Can we regain the knowledge he took with him to his
grave? What follows is a speculation about the techniques that Leedskalnin
may have used. It follows his basic premise regarding the nature of electricity
and magnetism and leads to a conclusion that, I believe, has some semblance
of logic. This speculation followed some basic rules for brainstorming-those
that follow and that might eventually reveal the secret-should do the same.
First, there is no such thing as a stupid idea, and, second, what we have
been taught about the subject may not necessarily apply when seeking and,
hopefully, finding a real solution.
- A paradigm shift in my perception of "antigravity"
occurred when my coworker, Steven Defenbaugh, and I were discussing the
subject with Judd Peck, the CEO of the company for which we both work.
Peck asked the simple question, "What is antigravity?" In an
attempt to define it I had to say, "A means by which objects can be
lifted, overcoming the gravitational pull of the Earth." As I spoke,
it occurred to me that we were already applying antigravitational techniques
in our everyday life. When we get out of bed in the morning, we employ
antigravity just by standing up. An airplane, a rocket, a forklift truck,
and an elevator are technologies devised to overcome the effects of gravity.
Even a car rolling along on its wheels is an antigravity device. Without
the wheels and a propulsion system, it would be just dead weight.
- I realized that I had been laboring under the assumption
that in order to create an antigravity device, gravity should be a known
and fully understood phenomenon and that, through the application of technology,
out-of-phase gravity waves would have to be created in such a manner as
to neutralize it. As any physicist will tell you, the nature of gravity
still eludes us, as does the ability to produce interference gravity waves.
So what if there is no such thing as gravity? What if the natural forces
we already know about are sufficient to explain the noted phenomenon we
have labeled as gravity? If, as Leedskalnin claimed, all matter consists
of individual magnets, wouldn't the known properties of a magnet be sufficient?
We know that like poles repel, and unlike poles attract. We also know that
we can suspend one magnet above another as long as we do not allow either
of them to flip over so that the opposite poles attract each other. Magnets
seek to attract and, left to themselves, will align their opposite poles
to each other. A mag-lev train is a good example of an antigravity device
- The Earth, having the properties of a large magnet, generates
streams of magnetic energy that follow lines of force. These lines of force
have been noted for centuries. If we assume, as Leedskalnin did, that all
objects consist of individual magnets, we also can assume that an attraction
exists between these objects due to the inherent nature of a magnet seeking
to align its opposite pole to another. Perhaps Leedskalnin's means of working
with the Earth's gravitational pull was nothing more complicated than devising
a means by which the alignment of magnetic elements within his coral blocks
was adjusted to face the streams of individual magnets he claimed are streaming
from the Earth with a like repelling pole.
- A well-known method for creating magnetism in an iron
bar is to align the bar with the Earth's magnetic field and strike the
bar with a hammer. This blow vibrates the atoms in the bar and allows them
to be influenced by the Earth's magnetic field. The result is that when
the vibration stops, a significant number of the atoms have aligned themselves
within this magnetic field.
- Was this the method that Leedskalnin was using? It is
a simple concept, and when I observed the devices in Leedskalnin's workshop,
I could easily imagine the application of vibration and electromagnetism.
His flywheel for creating electricity remains motionless, for the most
part, until inquisitive tourists like me come along and give it a spin.
After giving it a few revolutions, I realized that something was missing.
The narrative I heard, while browsing around the castle, described Leedskalnin
as using this device to create electricity to power his electric lightbulbs.
It was claimed that Leedskalnin did not have electricity, but I could not
imagine this device being a useful and continuing source of power, considering
Leedskalnin used only his right arm to turn the wheel. On closer examination
of the piece, I found that the whole assembly was actually an old four-cylinder
crankcase. His flywheel was mounted on the front end of the crankshaft
and consisted of bar magnets that were sandwiched between two plates-the
upper plate being a ring gear. To give it weight and to solidify the entire
assembly, Leedskalnin had encased the bar magnets with cement. It then
occurred to me that the photo of Leedskalnin with his hand on the crank
handle-which is attached to the end of the shaft-might not accurately represent
his entire operation. It is possible that Leedskalnin was using the crank
handle to start a reciprocating engine, now missing, which attached to
one of the throws on the crankshaft. He would then be able to walk away
and leave his flywheel running.
- I was now mystified. I had developed a notion that the
bars attached to the flywheel were actually being used to develop vibration
in the piece Leedskalnin was trying to lift. This idea did not make sense
considering the type of material, size, and weight of the entire assembly.
The crankcase was firmly attached to the coral block in his workshop, and
even if it were not attached, it would be quite a feat to keep moving it
about. There was one factor I needed to check out, though, before I headed
back to Illinois. I had tested the bar magnet with a pocketknife. The knife
was attracted to each bar. I needed to know, conclusively, the arrangement
of the poles in the wheel-to see, indeed, whether the assembly was capable
of creating electricity.
- I headed for the nearest strip mall to look for a hardware
store so that I could buy a bar magnet. The first one had just what I needed-and
for only $1.75. Feeling rather pleased, I returned to Coral Castle.
- Once there, I headed back into Leedskalnin's workshop
and put the magnet to the test. I held it a short distance away from the
spokes of the flywheel while giving it a spin. Sure enough, I found out
what I had come for. The magnet pushed and pulled in my grasp as the wheel
rotated. Looking around the space, I gazed at a jumble of various devices,
lying, hanging, and leaning about the room. There were radio tuners, bottles
with copper wire wrapped around them, spools of copper wire, and other
various and sundry plastic and metal pieces that looked as if they had
fallen out of an old radio set. Leedskalnin's workshop also contained chains,
block and tackle, and other items that one might find lying around a junk-yard.
Some items were missing, though. Photographs of Leedskalnin at work show
three tripods-made of telephone poles-that have boxes attached to the top.
These objects, however, are not to be found at Coral Castle. What is striking
in the photograph is that the block of coral being moved is seen off to
the side of the tripod. Perhaps Leedskalnin had moved the tripod after
raising the block out of the bedrock. Another interesting observation is
that the block and tackle that can be found inside his workshop is nowhere
to be seen in this photograph. There are spools of copper wire in his workshop,
and two wrappings of copper wire hanging from nails in the wall. One was
round copper and the other flat copper. In a narrative that visitors can
hear at various recording stations around the compound, it is stated that
at one time Leedskalnin had a grid of copper wire suspended in the air.
Looking at the photograph again, one can see that there is a cable draped
around the tripod and running down to the ground. Perhaps the arrangement
of tripods was more related to the suspension of his copper grid than to
the suspension of block and tackle.
- If I were to try to replicate Leedskalnin's feat, I would
begin with the premise that he was using his flywheel to generate a single-frequency
tunable radio signal. The box at the top of the tripod would contain the
radio receiver (there are several tuners in Leedskalnin's workshop), and
the cable coming from the box would be attached to a speaker that emitted
sound to vibrate the coral rock at its resonant frequency. With the atoms
in the coral vibrating (like those in an iron bar), I would then attempt
to flip their magnetic poles-which are naturally in an attraction orientation
with the Earth-using an electromagnetic field.
- Although today we stand in amazement before ancient megalithic
sites that were built employing huge stones, if we had Leedskalnin's technique
for lifting huge stones, it would make sense to us that the ancient masons
might make their building blocks as large as possible. Very simply, it
would be more economical to build in that manner. If we had a need to fill
a five-foot cube, the energy and time required to cut smaller blocks would
be much greater than what would be required to cut a large one.
- I have no doubt that Leedskalnin told the truth when
he said he knew the secrets of the ancient Egyptians. Unlike those who
have sought publicity for their own inadequate, although politically correct,
theories, he proved his theory through his actions. I believe, also, that
we can rediscover his techniques and put them to use for the benefit of
humankind. Edward Leedskalnin, right or wrong, had a little bit of a problem
with trust-but this modus operandi was not unusual for a craftsperson of
his day. Proprietary techniques without patent disclosure assure continued
employment; therefore, it was perfectly normal that he would protect his
secret from prying eyes that might steal and profit from it. I believe
there are enough pieces of the puzzle in Leedskalnin's workshop to allow
us to put them together and replicate his technique. It has been done once
(sorry, twice)! and I am sure that it can be done again.