Edward Leedskalnin and the Coral Castle Enigma: Mystery Files
Ed. Leedskalnin and the Coral Castle Enigma
How could a 5-ft. tall, 100-lb. Latvian immigrant suffering with tuberculosis single handedly, and in secret, cut and move 1000 tons of coral rock, and erect them into walls and towers, including the raising of a 28 ton obelisk?
What is the "Coral Castle"?
The Coral castle in Homestead Florida is, by any standards an impressive accomplishment. It has been compared, with some justification, to Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt.
The Coral castle has been constructed from an estimated one thousand tons of coral rock. Some of the stones used in the construction are at least twice the weight of the largest blocks used in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Ghiza. The blocks are perfectly made, holding together without the need for mortar. So precise are the joints that no light passes between them.
The eastern wall contains a huge nine-ton rock "gate" that is mounted on a pivot so finely balanced, that it opens at the mere touch of the hand. When the bearings on the gate eventually needed replacing in 1986, it took six men and a 50 ton crane to accomplish what this small frail man had done single-handedly.
In addition to the basic construction, an approximate 100 tons of rock have also been fashioned into furniture and artistic features.
As if building this "Magnum Opus" wasn't difficult enough, halfway through the construction of this modern miracle, it's constructor moved the entire creation, block by huge block, to a new location some ten miles away.
All of this had been created by one man, Edward Leedskalnin, working alone, without the assistance of any sort of modern powered machinery, using just basic (some would say primitive) tools..
The secret construction of Coral Castle
How was this magnificent feat of engineering accomplished by a not-very-well man working alone? The truth of the matter is that nobody knows. Throughout the twenty years Leedskalnin dedicated to building Coral Castle, no one saw him work. No one was allowed to. A secretive man by nature, he worked alone, and by night, away from prying eyes.
Some of the stories and theories surrounding the building of Coral Castle and how it might have been accomplished, are bizarre to say the least, but as official knowledge is non-existent it is impossible to either prove or dis-prove them.
Rumours of esoteric techniques
One story tells how a group of Leedskalnin's neighbours managed to sneak a peek at how he moved the huge blocks of stone, but the method was far from conventional. He placed his hands upon the stone, they said, and sang! This apparently caused the blocks to levitate.
Another story – attributed to some local youths – said that the youngsters decided to spy on him late one evening, and actually witnessed the huge coral blocks “float through the air like hydrogen balloons”. Few people believed the youth's story, putting it down to the fevered imagination of youngsters.
Who was Edward Leedskalnin?
It was said that before coming to America, Leedskalnin, then still living in his native Latvia, had been jilted by his 16-year-old fiancée Agnes Scuffs (although some sources say her name was actually Hermīne Lūsis ), just one day before their planned wedding. He was, she said, too old and too poor to marry – so she left him.
Heartbroken, he left for America and spent several years wandering around the US and Canada, unable to find peace.
Leedskalnin was then diagnosed with tuberculosis, which in those pre-antibiotic days, was regarded as an incurable condition.
He decided to settle in Florida, which he thought might be more beneficial for his health, and it was here in 1920, that he began work on the labour of his life. Some say he built it as a tribute to his lost lover - A theory he would neither confirm or deny.
Originally, he called his edifice “Rock Gate Park” and worked on it continually until 1936, when talk of redeveloping some land close to his property made him fear that his privacy might be compromised.
His solution was to move the entire structure, lock, stock, and barrel, some ten miles north to it's present location at Homestead in Florida, where he continued to work on the edifice until his death in 1951.
The move was again carried out in secrecy, and although his neighbours saw him transporting the blocks of coral rock on the back of a borrowed lorry, no one knows how he got them on, or off again at their destination.
Secrets of the Pyramids
Leedskalnin made his living selling conducted tours around his castle for 10 cents a head. He would never reveal to his visitors how he had accomplished his feat. His standard reply to such questions was “It's not difficult if you know how”.
He has been quoted as saying "I have discovered the secrets of the pyramids. I have found out how the Egyptians and the ancient builders in Peru, Yucatan, and Asia, with only primitive tools, raised and set in place blocks of stone weighing many tons."
Was Leedskalnin referring to ingenuity with conventional pullys and levers, or was he alluding to some other, more esoteric methods of construction?
Master of magnetism
Leedskalnin had many theories and beliefs about how the world worked. Many of his theories centred around magnetism and the use of magnets. He believed that gravity itself was a magnetic phenomenon.
In between building Coral Castle, he found time to write books and pamphlets about his magnetic theories, as well as conducting experiments, and building strange magnetic devices.
He believed that all matter consisted of individual magnets, and measurable phenomena such as electromagnetism and electricity was due to their movement through space and materials.
He claimed that he could “see” magnetism which he said manifested as beads of light, and was later to claim that his own spontaneous recovery from Tuberculosis was due to the use of magnetism
Many believed that he used his magnetic devices to somehow partially reduce the effects of gravity, making the huge blocks of stone easier to lift and manipulate
In a number of photographs of his primitive lifting apparatus (which were always constructed of wood, not metal), a strange box can be seen attached to the top.
Was this some sort of magnetic device that assisted with the lifting of the blocks? - If it was, Leedskalnin remained tight-lipped about it.
The end of an era
In December 1951, a sign appeared on the gate of the Coral Castle, it read “Going to the hospital”. Leedskalnin had been taken ill, and had made his own way to the Miami Hospital by bus.
The doctors quickly diagnosed advanced stomach cancer and a mere three days later Leedskalnin died. He left no will, and the secrets of the construction of the Coral Castle followed him to the grave.
The Castle is now a tourist attraction, open to the public and owned by Coral Castle,Inc
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