The Man Who Moved a Mountain - The Incredible True Story of Florida's Coral Castle - Part 2 of 4
Ed had a wonderful sense of humor, which came through in a few places of his creation. For instance, around the dining table, there are four stone chairs. Three are very comfortable, but the third is deliberately unbalanced and uncomfortable. Ed said that the three comfortable chairs were reserved for Ed, “Sweet Sixteen” and their child. The uncomfortable chair was placed behind Ed’s chair and was reserved for his mother-in-law when she visited. Ed assumed that she would become very uncomfortable, hopefully take a hint, and not stay very long.
I can already see all of the married men who are reading this heading to their shops to make an uncomfortable chair before the holidays :)
Another interesting thing is that the stone rocking chairs at Coral Castle have angled bottoms, not rounded as you would normally see. And yet they still rock as easily as their rounded cousins. Ed said that he balanced them on their “center of gravity”.
Ed continued to work on his castle almost to completion, until 1936. Then for reasons known only to him, he began the tedious job of moving the entire castle 10 miles to a new location at Homestead, Florida where it stands to this day.
Some who knew Ed say that he had heard rumors of a subdivision that was to be developed too close to the castle and this is why he moved.
Others believe that the move was somehow the result of a brutal attack that almost resulted in Ed’s death. Some thugs caught Ed in his castle one night and beat him within an inch of his life. No one knows the motivation of the attack. There is speculation that perhaps they were trying to pry Ed’s secrets from him. Others speculate that it was government related. Whatever the reason, after this event, Ed moved his castle.
Ed hired a local guy who owned an old truck and a heavy-duty trailer that would handle the huge stones. Ed always instructed the gentleman to leave the trailer and come back later. By the time the gentleman returned, Ed would have the trailer loaded with the heavy stones he wanted to transport.
Ed never allowed anyone to watch him work and he had an eerie sixth-sense when anyone tried. He would immediately stop working until they left. However, Ed seemed not to care if children were sometimes present. It is surmised that Ed felt no one would believe them anyway. It has been reported that one night some children witnessed Ed “floating stones like hydrogen balloons”. Sounds pretty silly, especially when it’s coming from a bunch of kids, right? Perhaps that makes Ed’s point.
There are a couple of credible accounts of adults witnessing strange occurrences as Ed worked. The man whom Ed hired to move the stones with his truck stated that he had forgotten his lunch box one morning and went back to the castle to get it. He had only been gone for a half-hour and when he arrived Ed already had several of the monolithic stones stacked on the rails of the trailer like cordwood. He never saw how Ed loaded them, just that Ed had absolutely no heavy machinery that should have been necessary to manipulate such heavy stones; especially that fast.
Another story stated that Ed was seen singing to the stone with his hands placed on it. Oddly enough, legend has it that the “magician” Merlin moved the Stonehenge stones by singing to them. Take what you will from this.
Coral stone weighs approximately 125 pounds per cubic foot. The largest hoist Ed had at Coral Castle was a 10-ton hoist, which was mounted on a set of three stationary telephone poles mounted together in a teepee fashion. As stated before, several of the stones at Coral Castle are much heavier than 10 tons. Even if Ed somehow hoisted the stones from the quarry with this hoist, two big questions still remain. How did he actually (and single-handedly) move the stones laterally to the building site and position them? And, how did he cut the stones from the quarry… especially, underneath?
Some people suggest that Ed quarried around the stones to the depth he wanted, and then exerted so much upward pressure with his hoist that the individual stones “popped” away from the parent quarry rock. However, this cannot be confirmed. Plus, the pressure needed to “pop” the stone out would most likely have been more than the hoist could have provided. Also, note that there are no chisel marks on the stones at Coral Castle. They are completely smooth.
When anyone asked Ed how he cut and moved the huge stones, Ed would state that he knew the secrets of the master stone cutters of Egypt, Peru, the Yucatan, etc. He also said that he understood the laws of weight and leverage. Ed actually wrote and published a small booklet on magnetism, which is believed to have something to do with Ed’s ability, but it is too difficult for most to comprehend.
Another interesting tidbit of information is the timeframe in which Ed completed this engineering marvel. The Taj Mahal was constructed over a twenty year period with the labor of several thousand slaves. Ed single-handedly built Coral Castle over a period of twenty eight years (and this includes three years moving it from Florida City to Homestead). There is no other event known in the history of the world where one person single-handedly built this large of a stone structure.
Edward Leedskalnin was indeed a unique individual.
More fascinating things about Ed will be revealed next time…
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