Macabre Grimoire Chapter 10 Coral Castle
Hosts Ari Show, Robert Mehling, and Travis Nye
Produced by Robert Mehling and TheSiouxEmpire.com
Voice Over by Dave Holly
Opening Theme Enhance Your Starry Night by Mouthful of Bees
Coral Castle has been featured on Leonard Nimoy’s program “In Search of…” and been the subject of speculation for decades. It’s been the film set for nudist films and campy 60’s sci-fi. But we still don’t know how it was built. This week we explore the strange origin of Coral Castle: “Florida’s Stonehenge.” Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin claims he built it using magnets and perpetual motion aka psychic powers. That seems far-fetched but if that’s not how he moved all that stone, how did a single man with no equipment or help move 1,100 Tons of rock?
The grounds of Coral Castle consist of 1,100 tons of stones in the form of walls, carvings, furniture and a castle tower. Commonly believed to be made of coral, it is made of oolite, also known as oolitic limestone. Oolite is a sedimentary rock composed of small spherical grains of concentrically layered carbonate that may include localized concentrations of fossil shells and coral. Oolite is found throughout southeastern Florida from Palm Beach County to the Florida Keys. Oolite is often found beneath only several inches of topsoil, such as at the Coral Castle site.
The stones are fastened together without mortar. They are set on top of each other using their weight to keep them together. The craftsmanship detail is so skillful and the stones are connected with such precision that no light passes through the joints. The 8-foot tall vertical stones that make up the perimeter wall have a uniform height. Even with the passage of decades the stones have not shifted.
Many of the features and carvings of the castle are notable. Among them are a two-story castle tower that served as Leedskalnin’s living quarters (walls consisting of 8-foot-high pieces of stone); an accurate sundial; a Polaris telescope; an obelisk; a barbecue; a water well; a fountain; celestial stars and planets; and numerous pieces of furniture. The furniture pieces include a heart-shaped table, a table in the shape of Florida, twenty-five rocking chairs, chairs resembling crescent moons, a bathtub, beds, and a throne.
With few exceptions, the objects are made from single pieces of stone that weigh on average 15 tons each. The most massive stone weighs 30 tons, and the tallest are two monoliths 25 ft tall each.
A 9-short-ton revolving 8-foot tall gate is a famous structure of the castle, documented on the television programs In Search of… and That’s Incredible! The gate is carved so that it fits within a quarter of an inch of the walls. It was well-balanced, reportedly so that a child could open it with the push of a finger. The mystery of the gate’s perfectly balanced axis and the ease with which it revolved lasted for decades until it stopped working in 1986. To remove it, six men and a 45-ton crane were used. Once the gate moved, the engineers discovered how Leedskalnin had centered and balanced it. He had drilled a hole from top to bottom and inserted a metal shaft. The rock rested on an old truck bearing. It was the rusting out of this bearing that resulted in the gate’s failure to revolve. Complete with new bearings and shaft, it was set back into place on July 23, 1986. It failed in 2005 and was again repaired; however, it does not rotate with the same ease it once did.
Coral Castle remains a popular tourist attraction. Books, magazines, and television programs speculate about how Leedskalnin was able to construct the structure and move stones that weigh many tons. Claims that nobody had ever seen Leedskalnin at work and that he levitated his stones have been repudiated. Orval Irwin reportedly witnessed him quarry his rocks and erect parts of his wall and illustrated the methods in his book Mr. Can’t Is Dead. Coral Castle’s website states that “If anyone ever questioned Ed about how he moved the blocks of coral, Ed would only reply that he understood the laws of weight and leverage well. “He also stated that he had “discovered the secrets of the pyramids,” referring to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Coral Castle in Pop Culture
Nude on the Moon Film NSFW (Filmed at Coral Castle)
The 1958 film The Wild Women of Wongo used Coral Castle as the set for the dragon-god temple.
In the 1966 children’s musical film Jimmy, the Boy Wonder, Coral Castle was used as a backdrop in several scenes.
“The Castle of Secrets” is an episode of Leonard Nimoy’s program In Search of… (1976–1982) that includes a dramatization of Leedskalnin moving the stones with minimal effort.
On June 20, 2014, the History Channel aired a segment about Coral Castle in the Ancient Aliens series (Season 8, Episode 2), “Mysterious Structures”.
Billy Idol’s 1986 song “Sweet Sixteen” was inspired by the story of Leedskalnin and Coral Castle.
John Martin’s book, Coral Castle Construction, released in November 2012, describes how Ed Leedskalnin built his structure based on fundamental engineering principles.
Columnist Benjamin Radford claims on the Live Science blog that we know how he built the castle.
“As tempting as it is to view the amazing park through a veil of mystery, in fact we know how the castle was built. Creating a structure like the Coral Castle today could probably be accomplished in a few months with a construction crew and modern machinery. But Leedskalnin worked alone using basic tools like picks, winches, ropes and pulleys. Leedskalnin himself said that that he did it using hard work and the principles of leverage. The tools he used to quarry the rock are on display at the Coral Castle, and several old photos depict the large tripods, pulleys, and winches he used to move the blocks. Though the quarried stone slabs are large, they are actually lighter than they appear because the rock is porous.”