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Coral Castle
February 14, 2002 10:06 PM   Subscribe

Coral Castle is the amazing labor of love built solely by Ed Leedskalnin, a man who claimed to have discovered the "secrets of the pyramids". Did he? We may never know, but this frail, tubercular, 100-pound man managed to quarry, transport, shape, and erect chunks of coral weighing up to 28 tons by himself, using only the simplest of tools. The castle also includes a nine-ton gate that is so perfectly balanced it can be opened by a child, and the world's largest valentine, which weighs in at an incredible 5,000 pounds.
posted by mr_crash_davis (13 comments total)

 
Did he?

No.
posted by fleener at 10:19 PM on February 14, 2002


A cool crib. I'm not qualified to judge Leedskalnin's scientific theories, but I can't really get behind his politics:

"It is not sound to ALLOW THE WEAKLINGS TO VOTE. Any one who is too weak to MAKE HIS OWN LIVING is not strong enough to vote, because their WEAK INFLUENCE weakens the state and a degenerated state cannot exist very long, but every state should be sound and lasting....All people are independent so you see everybody will have to TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES and IF THEY CANNOT, THEY SHOULD PERISH and the sooner they perish THE BETTER IT WILL BE."
posted by liam at 10:42 PM on February 14, 2002


This is a great piece of forteana. Not only is the structure amazing, but before his death he managed to move this thing in the middle of the night without waking the neighbors with any machinery.

I caught a cable program about Ed a little bit ago and was blown away at the scale of the Coral Castle. The photos I've seen really didn't do it justice, especially how eerily balanced the nine ton gate was. Eventually the supports on the gate gave out and one of the engineers who reset it didn't know how it could have been balanced in the first place without laser precision equipment and a few pieces of heavy machinery.

Its very easy to be cynical and dismissive about Ed, even though there's so much evidence that he really did build and move the Castle himself. Personally, I think its either the greatest hoax ever or simply a great mystery.
posted by skallas at 10:44 PM on February 14, 2002


I love the site...what is that? Is it Dreamweaver 3.0's "Club" template...or is that "Design Portfolio"...can't recall...
posted by ayukna at 2:48 AM on February 15, 2002


We've got our own little one man castle just outside of Cincy: Chateau La Roche.
posted by Mick at 4:33 AM on February 15, 2002


THAT'S INCREDIBLE!
posted by piskycritters at 4:37 AM on February 15, 2002


I like these stories about REAL PEOPLE.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 5:39 AM on February 15, 2002


This castle seems to be an impressive work of art. However - all the paranormal claims are pretty silly & as far as I can tell are just just verbatim quotes of the promotional literature. "It is documented that no one ever saw the coral blocks being moved" How do you document something like that? Did investigators interview everyone who lived in the county during that 20 years? If so, who were the investigators? And in that case, where would the evidence be that Ed did it by himself?

I find it much more interesting when intelligent people do emperical research to discover how things were done. Thor Heyerdahl's discovery of how the Easter Island statues were moved is much more fascinating to me then implications that the statues were moved by mysterious anti-gravity powers.
posted by tdismukes at 5:57 AM on February 15, 2002


You mean Pavel Pavel's discovery of how the Easter Island statues were moved?
posted by David Dark at 6:15 AM on February 15, 2002


Interesting how people accept the lore of this story at face value. Do you also believe stories of haunted hotels? Many things in life are embellished, or downright fabricated, because they sell.
posted by fleener at 6:19 AM on February 15, 2002


I just came back from a trip to Key West last week, and we stopped by Coral Castle on the way down. It was a incrediably amazing thing to see, and not to sound like a freak, but it did have a very wierd vibe to the place. It was kind of like being in a REALLY old church, or the site of a huge massacre, it was just a odd feeling.
posted by ShawnString at 7:22 AM on February 15, 2002


I live about 8 miles from Coral Castle, and always recommend it to visitors looking for something different - it's vintage Floridiana.

The guy was a complete nut case, but obviously a skilled mason. Whether he actually did it completely unaided is subject to dispute, but I don't think there's any doubt that the limestone was quarried by hand with crude tools,and moved without the aid of cranes or other heavy equipment. Archimedes said, "give me a place to stand and I can move the world". I think it was leverage and not levitation that allowed him to move those stones around.

I believe his "Sweet 16" is still alive, or died only recently. She also thought he was a total loonie.
posted by groundhog at 7:24 AM on February 15, 2002


David Dark - You're correct, the Easter Island studies were done by Thor Heyerdahl, Arne SkjĂžlsvold and Pavel Pavel. I just referenced Heyerdahl in my link because he's the one I knew enough to type into Google to find the link. Interesting story either way.

And despite my scorn for the paranormal hype in the promotional literature, Coral Castle sounds like a really cool tourist attraction. I'd love to see it if I was in the area.
posted by tdismukes at 8:34 AM on February 15, 2002


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