The Coral Castle Mystery
Christopher Dunn
Excerpted from The Giza Power Plant: Technologies of Ancient Egypt
Bear & Company, Santa Fe, 1998
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 had used.
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 worked alone.
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 employing magnets.
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.

Ed Leedskalnin's Book On Magnetism Online