The Georgia Guidestones issued 10 principles for humanity after the apocalypse. (via Wikimedia Commons)

In the rural town of Elberton, Georgia, 110 miles northeast of Atlanta near the South Carolina border, a mysterious 19-foot granite monument stood for over 40 years, attracting thousands of annual visitors and drawing the ire of conservatives and far-right conspiracists who deemed the monument satanic.

But early on the morning of Wednesday, July 6, an explosion partially destroyed the granite slabs known as the “Georgia Guidestones.” The Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) released footage of the detonating bomb and a silver Sedan leaving the field where the four granite pillars once stood. The GBI said that the individuals who detonated the bomb had not been identified, and the Guidestones were later fully destroyed as a safety precaution.

The monument was erected in 1980 and commissioned by an unknown benefactor. Each day at noon, the sun beamed through the rock slabs and shone on the current date. Sometimes called “America’s Stonehenge,” the monument laid out 10 instructions for life after the apocalypse, which were carved in eight languages. Included in those principles were directions to “maintain humanity under 500,000,000” and “guide reproduction wisely, improving fitness and diversity” as well as “protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts,” “avoid petty laws and useless officials,” and “leave room for nature.”

According to the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce website, the project began when a “neatly dressed man” approached the president of the town’s Elbert Granite Finishing Company and asked to buy a monument. The man identified himself as Robert C. Christian, a pseudonym, and said that he represented an out-of-state “small group of loyal Americans who believe in God” and who wanted to “leave a message for future generations.”

The man then went to the Granite City Bank, where he allegedly told banker Wyatt C. Martin his real name, making Martin the only person who knew the benefactor’s true identity.

“I made an oath to that man, and I can’t break that,” Wyatt Martin, then 82, told the New York Times in 2013. “No one will ever know.” Martin died last year.

The Georgia Guidestones gave directions for life after the apocalypse, which included keeping the population below 500,000,000 and the establishment of a global system of governance. (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Guidestones garnered attention this spring when Georgia gubernatorial candidate Republican Kandiss Taylor called them satanic and called for their destruction as part of her “executive order #10.” In a July 6 tweet, Taylor wrote that the monument had been destroyed by God.

Conservative Christian claims that the stones were satanic and demonic stem from their apparent pagan underpinnings (there was no mention of God in the inscriptions). But other alt-right criticism is rooted in the monument’s alleged role in an unfounded conspiracy of the “global elite,” since the stones called for a system of global governance in addition to their directions for population control.

Alt-right conspiracist Alex Jones of Infowars infamy said the monument’s destruction made him happy on an “animal level” but added that he disagreed with the act because the Guidestones served as physical evidence of the Illuminati.

In an interview with Jones after their destruction, United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene — an avid conspiracist herself — said the stones represented a plan for population control from the “hard left.” QAnon conspiracies have also swirled around the Guidestones.

Hyperallergic has contacted the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce for more details on this story.

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.