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Edward (Ed) Leedskalnin and His Coral Castle, Florida Attraction
Coral Castle, a massive rock structure on Dixie Highway, north of Homestead, is today a very popular tourist destination - a great place to stop and marvel for a while on the way to the Keys. The mystery of the Coral Castle is more about its builder, Edward Leedskalnin.
Ed was a small man, standing only five feet tall and weighing in at no more than a hundred pounds. What Ed accomplished was unbelievable, some even say it was supernatural – a feat of engineering that’s a baffling mystery to this day.
Ed Leedskalnin was born in 1887 in Latvia. The day before he was to marry his sixteen-year-old fiancée, Agnes Scuffs, she had a change of heart and left Ed jilted. This would go on to haunt Ed for the rest of his life.
He left Latvia and wandered Europe and Canada before finally ending up in South Florida in 1918. He bought some land in Florida City and settled in.
He then started to carve massive blocks of coral stone to build a monument to his lost love. The little man quarried and transported many huge blocks of coral, some that even weighted tons, to the shrine he was building. He carved them and put them in place. Most of his work was done using basic tools in the cover of the night. He used iron wedges, saws, block and tackle, and a wagon. He had no power source other than himself and somehow he moved and positioned some 1100 tons or coral rock.
The tallest palace structure contains 243 tons of stone, with the average block weighing in at 9 tons. There is an obelisk that weighs 28 tons. The heaviest stone is said to weigh 35 tons.
Why he worked only at night and how this small man was able to accomplish this feat is unknown. It is said that he rested and studied his books on comic energy and magnetics during the day. He was very interested in the Egyptians, especially the pyramids, as well as science and astronomy. When asked how he moved the giant coral stones, he would reply that he had discovered the secrets of levitation that the Egyptians used to build the pyramids.
In 1936, when Florida City became too crowded for Ed’s liking, he – as if there wasn’t enough weirdness surrounding his project – dismantled and moved his work down the road to Homestead. He borrowed a friend’s truck and tractor and began the superhuman task of loading, unloading and reconstructing the coral castle on ten acres of land, where it stands today.
Some curious people, according to one story, decided to spy on Ed to see just how he moved the giant stones. They described how he placed his hands on each stone and began to chant and that the stones would somehow float up into place – no one quite understood it!
Ed disagreed with modern science, saying that it was all wrong when it came to gravity and magnetism. He believed that all matter consists of magnets and that the movement of the magnets within the matter and through space is what produces magnetism and electricity.
Ed claimed that it involved the earth’s relationship to celestial alignments and that he could actually see particles of light that represented the physical presence of natural magnetism and the life force. In Chinese medicine, this phenomenon is known as “chi.”
An airline pilot from New Zealand decided to study Ed’s claims and found that Ed had selected just the right spot on the planet for producing “the geometric harmonics necessary for the manipulation of anti-gravity.” In other words, if something was going to be levitated, Ed picked the perfect place to do it.
It’s been called Florida’s Stonehenge…this gigantic rock structure actually looked like a home surrounded by a heavy stone wall with a tall tower sticking up in one corner. Inside there were even huge chairs, tables, an outdoor bathtub, a giant table shaped like Florida, a fountain shaped like the moon, stone beds and pillows and a rock telescope that were all carved out of massive coral stones.
There were also big, super-heavy stone gates that Ed, without mechanical assistance, had moved, positioned and precisely balanced so that a mere child’s finger could open it (see picture up above.)
Ed never gave up the hope that his long lost love would someday find and join him at his stone estate, but it never happened. He died in 1951. After his death, the then-named Rock Gate Park passed to his nephew who, in 1953 sold it to private owners who renamed it Coral Castle.
When Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992 and wiped out most of the area, the Coral Castle stood like a fortress!
Today, Coral Castle is open to the public as a curious stone marvel, preserving Ed Leedskalnin’s legacy forever.
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