6 Mysteries of Coral Castle, America’s Stonehenge
Coral Castle, a unique engineering marvel, built from over 1100 tons of solid coral by one man, the enigmatic Edward Leedskalnan, who claimed to know the secrets of the pyramids
It’s just off of the Florida Keys highway in Homestead, Florida, and is one of the most interesting structures in the new world. It rose to national prominence in the 1980s on an episode of In Search Of, which was hosted by Leonard Nimoy, of Mr. Spock fame, and has captured the imagination of engineers, rock stars and new-age-types ever since. Ed claimed to know the secrets of how the pyramids and Stonehenge were built, and the sheer size of the size and weight of the stones Ed used to build his castle, along with the mystery of how it was done has led it to be called “America’s Stonhenge.”
I heard about the Castle in the 1990s, probably from the show Sightings (or a similar show), and actually visited the Castle back in 2001, just a few years after I’d seen the Pyramids of Egypt. Of course, the scale is nothing similar (even though some of Ed’s stones are much bigger, there are literally millions of stones used in the building of the Great Pyramid). Stonehenge is probably a closer match and a good description.
I hadn’t thought about Coral Castle in a while; a few weeks ago I heard Joe Bullard, who wrote a book called Waiting for Agnes about Ed and his years of living in and building the enigmatic castle, on Coast to Coast.
The book, which Joe says he spent 16 years resarching, is out of print, and not easy to get ahold of! It’s hard to find one on Amazon for less than $100 these days! I got a copy and it’s a real doozy. It’s a novelization so it’s hard to authenticate how much of it is based on fact and how much is based on the myriad of legends that have grown up around the mysterious Leedskalnan.
So, whether you’ve seen Coral Castle or not, here are 7 Mysteries or Facts that you may not have known about the Castle and Ed Leedskalnan:
1. What Happened to Ed’s Sweet Sixteen?
Ed always says that he built the castle for his “sweet sixteen”, the girl that he was supposed to marry in Latvia, Agnes Scuffs. The story goes that Ed was jilted at the altar (or, depending on which version you hear, the night before the wedding) and they were supposed to go to America on their honeymoon. Ed decided to go anyways. He held out the hope that she would come to America and agree to marry him once she saw the remarkable castle that he had built for her. According to the novel, Ed eventually got a letter from a friend in Latvia who told him that she had decided to go to Ireland to marry another boy that she had fallen in love with the summer before she met Ed. She lived her life, was widowed and had kids and was living in Latvia until the 1980s, but it’s difficult to authenticate that.
2. How Did Ed Quarry and Move the Rocks?
OK so this is the biggest mystery of all and the one that everyone wants to know.
Many of the rockers in the picture are carved from coral and weigh 1 tons each. They were carved so that you could rock back and forth easily without the need for any rockers legs, just gravity. The crescent moon rock, one of the most iconic images of Coral Castle weighs 23 tons! On the planet wall there is a stone that is carved to look like Saturn which is equally as big.
The Polaris telescope is 25 feet high and points to Polaris, the North Star, and weighs over 20 tons!
The biggest mystery of all is the 9 ton “Rock Gate” — which is an oddly shaped coral that is set so perfectly on a rod that you could push it with a single finger and it would rotate. In fact, Ed referred to his castle as “Rock Gate” because of this rock.
When the door stopped working in the 1980’s, a team from University of Florida went out to see if they could fix it and they were confounded that Ed could have figured out the exact center of gravity and lifted and places this stone, along with a rod trhough a perfectly drilled hold. They would needs lasers and cranes to accomplish this, and of course Ed had no electricity when he build all of these.
Theories have ranged from the pulleys that Ed used to antigravity — supposedly Ed had an understanding of magnetism that he used to great effect. There are rumors that some kids saw Ed moving mutli-ton stones that were floating, as if they were balloons. Ed always worked at night so that no one would know his secret.
There is a valentine, a 5,000 pound rock that is carved in the shape of a heart, which Ripley’s Beleive It Or Not had listed as the biggest “valentine” in the world.
Of course, Ed had some background in stonemasonry. His grandfather was a stonemason and had built a castle in Latvia, so Ed’s ability to work stone didn’t come out of nowhere.
3. Ed’s recovery from Tuberculosis.
One of the reasons Ed went to Florida after wandering around America for a bit was for the sunshine. He was diagnosed with a bad case of Tuberculosis, which was uncurable back in the 1920s. The TB was so advanced that doctors had given him 6 months to live, maximum.
Ed supposedly spent time on his “sun couch”, a comfortable stone carved and filed from the coral that Ed could rotate to catch the sun. Supposedly, Ed was said to have mentioned that he used magentism in addition to the energy of the sunlight on himself to cure himself. He lived another 30 years!
4. Billy Idol comes to Coral Castle.
In the 1980s, rock star Billy Idol, who had been intrigued by Ed’s story went to to Coral Castle and recorded the song, Sweet Sixteen, which was written about Ed’s long lost love, his “sweet sixteen”. The music video was shot there as well!
5. Ed, Magnetism, and the Perpetual Motion Machine.
Ed was rumored to have lots of iknowledge of magents and how they worked. He even wrote a little booklet called “Magnetic Current”. He supposedly applied for a patent for a “magnetic motor” that he claimed would work forever (i.e. a perpetual motion machine). He had a magnetic flywheel located at the castle that is still there, but parts of it had been removed. When Ed didn’t get a patent, he was very open about the plans for it and supposedly used it to power a truck as well. If you look at Ed’s statements, he said that simply you had the “north and south” of the magnets which chased each other.
Some have speculated that Ed used magentism to levitate the stones by using his magnetic generator to create electricity that affected the magnetism of the large stones. Others say that Ed understood “lay lines” or lines of energy in the Earth, and somehow used this mysterious energy and magnetism to create a repulsive force. Despite his many statements, his book is hard to decipher and so Ed took the secret of his magents with him to the grave!
6. Ed and his connection to Atlantis, Aliens and UFOs.
Perhaps the weirdest part of the “WAitin gfor Agnes” and the parts I hadn’t heard before reading this book were about Ed’s connection to the distant past. Supposedly, his mother had gone to a psyhic in Riga, Latvia, who told her that Ed had lived before with a particupar girl in Atlantis, and that after he was born he would have dreams and visions of this place and bring back some of the secrets.
Ed supposedly did have many visions of Atlantis — where he was a sculptor and there was a girl — who was Agnes (or rather that Agnes was the reincaration of). Ed had a strong connectio to the pyramid builders, and he claimed they had come from Atlantis, where there had been aliens as well as humans.
It’s hard to know how much of htis was made up for the novel and how much actually came from Bullard’s research. Another interseting tidbit was that Ed claimed to have had a dream of being in the southwest and having “sky people” land in a UFO. Years later when he was touring the southwest, he saw the depections he’d seen in his dream. His grandfather, who had travelled extensively in Honduras and Tashiti, had given Ed a book about the Mayans and their relation to the “ancient astronaut” theory, and Ed was a lifelong believer.
Whatever you believe about Ed Leedskalnin, there’s no doubt that he was one of the more unique figures in American engineering history, and the book, “Waiting for Agnes” is one of the most intriguing works I’ve seen on it. There’s supposedly a screenplay kicking around — who know perhaps I’ll produce a film based on Ed’s life someday.
If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend taking the drive from Miami to Homestead to visit Coral Castle, which has been placed on the nation’s Register of Historical Places. You can find out more here.
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