Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science

top navigation:

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 | ISSN 1556-5696

eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

Share this eSkeptic with friends online. Subscribe | Donate | Watch Lectures | Shop



Watch Dr. Paul Zak for free online,
broadcast live from Caltech!

New Admission Policy and Prices

Please note there are important policy and pricing changes for this season of lectures at Caltech. Please review these changes now.

SINCE 1992, the Skeptics Society has sponsored the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech: a monthly lecture series at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Most lectures are available for purchase in audio & video formats. Watch several of our lectures for free online. Our next lecture is…

Dr. Paul Zak
The Moral Molecule:
The Source of Love & Prosperity

Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 2 pm
Baxter Lecture Hall

A revolution in the scientific study of good and evil, Dr. Paul Zak’s new book, The Moral Molecule, answers such questions as: Why do some people give freely while others are cold hearted? Why do some people cheat and steal while others you can trust with your life? Why are some husbands more faithful than others—and why do women tend to be more generous than men? Could the key to moral behavior lie with a single molecule? From the bucolic English countryside to the highlands of Papua New Guinea, from labs in Switzerland to his campus in Southern California, Dr. Zak recounts his extraordinary stories and sets out, for the first time, his revolutionary theory of moral behavior.

Order the book from Amazon

Watch the Live Broadcast
(Sun., Dec. 16th @ 2pm Pacific)

Followed by…

Dr. Jared Diamond

The World Until Yesterday:
What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

DR. JARED DIAMOND

SATURDAY, Jan. 5, 2013 at 2 pm
Beckman Auditorium

Mega-bestselling author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, Dr. Jared Diamond surveys the differences between “traditional” societies and industrial or post-industrial societies, with an eye to the question: what can we learn from the former that can make the world we live in a better place for all of us?

Tickets: $10 Skeptics Society members/Caltech/JPL community; $15 everyone else. Tickets may be purchased in advance through the Caltech ticket office at 626-395-4652 or at the door. Ordering tickets ahead of time is strongly recommended. The Caltech ticket office asks that you do not leave a message. Instead call between 12:00 and 5:00 Monday through Friday.

Caltech Lecture Series Flyer Correction

In the flyer that went out in the mail announcing our Fall 2012 lecture series events at Caltech, this Jared Diamond lecture mistakenly read Sunday January 5. It should have read SATURDAY, January 5.

Read about the rest of
this season’s lectures

BUY PAST LECTURES ON DVD


MonsterTalk logo
Dr. Todd Disotell
Sasquatch:
Ketchum If You Can

In this episode of MonsterTalk, your hosts interview Dr. Todd Disotell on the recent press release regarding Melba Ketchum’s Sasquatch DNA research. Disotell returns for the second time since his visit on the very first episode of MonsterTalk with news about Spike TV’s new Bigfoot show, Bigfoot DNA, science by press-release, and lots of other goodies.

Congratulations to MonsterTalk for surpassing 1 million downloads!

LISTEN to this episode

READ the episode notes

Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App
for Apple and Android Devices!

Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App (presented by Skeptic Magazine) and enjoy the science show about monsters on your handheld devices! Available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. To get the app for iOS devices, download the free Podcast Box App on iTunes and then search for MonsterTalk within the Podcast Box app to listen to Monstertalk on your iPhone, iPad or iPod. For Android devices, simply install the stand-alone app. MonsterTalk was the 2012 Parsec Award winner for Best “Fact Behind The Fiction” Podcast.

SUBSCRIBE ON iTUNES

FOLLOW THE RSS FEED


Mr. Deity and the Old Testament

The Latest Episode of Mr. Deity: Mr. Deity and the Old Testament

WATCH THIS EPISODE | DONATE | NEWSLETTER | FACEBOOK | MrDeity.com


Follow Michael Shermer on Twitter, Facebook, and Skepticblog

NEW ON MICHAELSHERMER.COM
The Alpinists of Evil

In Michael Shermer’s November ‘Skeptic’ column for Scientific American, he discusses morality in the context of the motivation of soldiers during combat. They do not just blindly concede control to authorities; instead they follow cues provided by their moral communities on how to behave.

READ THE POST

NEW ON SKEPTICBLOG.ORG
Coincidences and Certainties

In this week’s Skepticblog, Michael Shermer reminds us about the hindsight bias in light of a recent chance encounter with his agent while travelling in Portland, Oregon.

READ THE POST

FOLLOW MICHAEL SHERMER ON TWITTERFACEBOOKSKEPTICBLOG


About this week’s eSkeptic

In this week’s eSkeptic, we feature an article by Peter Hancock about an apparently unexplained mystery that, once explained, turns out to be even more amazing than what any paranormalist or supernaturalist could conjure.

Peter A. Hancock, D.Sc., Ph.D. is Provost Distinguished Research Professor and Pegasus Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida where he holds the Trustee Chair. His is the author and editor of sixteen books and more than seven hundred scientific publications. His latest skeptical work is on the psychology of cognitive deception. His website is: www.peterhancock.ucf.edu

Share this article with friends online.
Click the + for more options.
Subscribe to Skeptic magazine for more great articles like this one, and if you enjoy reading them, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Skeptics Society.

A view of the Coral Castle with its various structures and vignettes.

Figure 1: A view of the Coral Castle with its various structures and vignettes.

The Making of a Modern Myth:
Edward Leedskalnin & The Coral Castle

by Peter Hancock

How quickly it is that “how can he do that?” becomes “he couldn’t possibly do that,” which then morphs into “a mysterious entity or force must have helped him do that.” In reality, it is quite remarkable what one human being can achieve when armed with ingenuity, perseverance, the right tools, and time. In fact they can even build themselves a castle. And, that’s exactly what Edward Leeskalnin did in one of the most curious and intriguing of all these human constructions. It is located in Homestead, Florida,1 just south of Miami. Homestead bills itself as the “Gateway to the Keys,” which are an archipelago of islands that stretch away to the southwest, strung out along Highway 1 and ending in Key West.

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it,
and I shall move the world.”

—Archimedes

Homestead is perhaps best known as the site of devastation wreaked by Hurricane Andrew on 24th of August, 1992.2 Much of that destruction resulted from the vulnerability to hurricane-level winds of the wooden trailer homes which, at that time, characterized the area. However, there was one place in Homestead that was well made to withstand the ravages of such natural disasters, and indeed it survived the storm virtually untouched. This monument is commonly known as the Coral Castle. Certainly a regional, and arguably a national tourist attraction,3 the Coral Castle is presently located on a site adjacent to Highway 1, although the current location is not its original one. Even a brief glance at the structure is enough to show you that it is no small achievement. However, as the newspaperman and author Damon Runyon would have remarked, “a story goes with it,” and what a story it is. In fact, the conception, origin, and manufacture of the Coral Castle are so amazing that it is slowly turning the place into the stuff of myth. So here I look at both the history and the emerging myth.

The True History of the Coral Castle

At one time, Edward Leedskalnin’s structure was known as “Rock Gate Park,” with the majority of its construction taking place between the 1920s and the 1950s. Much of the work on the larger components of the monument were actually accomplished in the first few years of this period.

Edward Leedskalnin was born in Latvia on August 10th, 1887 and the crucial event of his early life occurred in 1913 when he was just 26 years old, when he was reportedly jilted on the eve of his wedding by his fiancé, Agnes Scuffs (Skuvst).4 He referred to her as “Sweet Sixteen,” by which he meant her purported virginal state, not her chronological age.5 Although she told him the reason for the breakup was because he was too old, Ed suspected later that it was because of his poverty and limited education, which offered only impoverished future prospects. From this point of view the impetus for the Coral Castle is very much like that for the Taj Mahal—a tribute to lost love. However, from Ed’s own account much of the motivation seems directly related to lost sexual innocence. Following this rejection, Ed emigrated to North America where he worked at a variety of different occupations. This included, as we shall see, critical experiences as both a logger in Canada and a ranch hand in Texas. Both of these occupations were of arduous physical demands and provided the diminutive Leedskalnin with prolonged acquaintance with highly strenuous manual labor. Despite these experiences, Ed Leedskalnin could never be described as a muscular giant. He was estimated to be only approximately 5 ft. tall and weighing between only 100 and 120lbs. Indeed, its Ed’s diminutive size that partly adds to the legend and the myth and you will find a life-size cardboard cut-out of Ed in the Coral Castle today to remind you of this fact.

Edward Leedskalnin with some of his extensive, homemade equipment with which he quarried and fabricated the Coral Castle.

Figure 2: Edward Leedskalnin with some of his extensive, homemade equipment with which he quarried and fabricated the Coral Castle.

Sometime toward the end of the First World War, Ed received another blow when he was diagnosed (most probably incorrectly) with tuberculosis. In searching for a suitable climate for his recovery, Ed relocated to southern Florida and bought a one-acre lot for $12 in Florida City, ten miles south of the Coral Castle’s present site in Homestead. It was there that he began his sculpting efforts. Even though they were created on a very large scale, many of Ed’s sculptures were essentially utilitarian in their general nature. Using the local coral, which he quarried on-site, Ed sculpted things like rocking chairs, tables, baths, and couches, which he could actually use as well as display. The early motivation for his work he personally attributed to his desire to build a castle for “Sweet Sixteen,” for his now long lost but never forgotten love. As we see them today, most of the carvings have a clear air of domesticity about them that supports the idea that the Castle was built primarily as a shrine of living remembrance. There are beds for the fantasized married couple and their three children, all carved in stone. There is a children’s play area and corners for both gossip and repentance.

A corner of the Coral Castle showing for gossip and repentance. Leedskalnin had very fixed ideas on the teaching and raising of children, even though he never had any himself.

Figure 3: A corner of the Coral Castle showing for gossip and repentance. Leedskalnin had very fixed ideas on the teaching and raising of children, even though he never had any himself.

The Big Move

Between 1936 and 1937, Ed decided to move his castle. By then it was composed of most of the structures that can be seen in Homestead today. Various reasons have been given for this move. One of Ed’s biographers, Orval Irwin, claimed that Ed realized no one would come to his remote site just outside the sleepy community of Florida City to see his creation. In contrast, the present printed tour guide claims the complete opposite, that indeed Ed was a very private person and moved to avoid being near a new sub-division that was planned near his existing site. Some of the more recent and fanciful accounts concerning the Coral Castle claim that Ed had made a mistake in his original alignment with so-called “earth energies” and had to relocate the whole edifice to the proper focus of these esoteric forces. Whether Ed had an eye for future financial profit, desired greater privacy, or was seeking to tap more accurately into unknown “earth forces,” he was now faced with the problem of moving over a thousand tons of sculpture to the new ten acre site composed of the cheap land he had acquired in Homestead.

It is at this juncture in time that the mythical qualities first begin to emerge in earnest. Up until then, Rockgate Park (as it had been known) was a remarkable yet very terrestrial phenomenon. The transition associated with the move proved pivotal in changing perceptions. Since Ed was such a private man he used virtually no helpers for this astounding relocation process.6 Reportedly by himself, he would load a trailer that was subsequently towed by a friend’s tractor to the new site. Under the cover of darkness, Ed would then unload the trailer by himself and prepare for the next load. It is the case that because no one generated a written account of having seen Ed performing these feats of disassembly, loading, unloading and reassembly that the subsequent mythos of the place began to take off. In an anecdotal story, some local teens are supposed to have seen Ed in control of “floating” blocks of coral, although as we shall see there is an eminently rational explanation for such observations. At the new site, Ed had to re-erect all of his major pieces and then subsequently built a curtain wall around his castle from coral sections that were eight feet in height, four feet in width and three feet thick, which were quarried at the new location. Each section of wall is reported to weigh 13,000 pounds, or just less than six tons. Ed built his Spartan living quarters in a corner turret to the castle. His tool room was located below while his bedroom was the single room above.

A view of the present front entrance to the Coral Castle showing sections of the curtain wall and the turret that is composed of two rooms, a lower one for tools and storage and an upper, living room for Ed Leedskalnin.

Figure 4: A view of the present front entrance to the Coral Castle showing sections of the curtain wall and the turret that is composed of two rooms, a lower one for tools and storage and an upper, living room for Ed Leedskalnin.

From Merely Extraordinary to Proto-Mythological

Ed pursued his solitary work and was regarded as a somewhat suspicious character by the locals, until in an ambiguously fortuitous circumstance when his stone buildings were able to be used by the locals to survive a threatening Florida hurricane. After this event, Ed was accepted as merely a colorful eccentric. He would offer tours of the growing attraction. Despite claims of his possessing other forms of income, it appears that Ed satisfied his very limited personal needs through the contributions derived from these tours. In fact, he was a particularly private individual, who devoted much of his life to his creation, which in itself fostered an ambience of secrecy and mystery. While many individuals witnessed the transit of his major sculptures from the old to the new site, it appears that no one observed Ed’s working methods. Such secrecy is the breeding ground for myth. As most individuals would have been unable to accomplish the feats performed by Ed Leedskalnin, some commentators began to attribute esoteric and even magical powers to him, rather than pursue more prosaic, everyday explanations. The current biographical evidence indicates that Leedskalnin, as well as having lumberjack and ranching experience, was also an accomplished stonemason. The latter would have been essential in his original quarrying and working of the coral, while the former experience would be critical for the movement and manipulation of these exceptionally heavy and large objects. That Ed was quite an effective practical engineer can be seen from the photographic record we have of him at work. Leedskalnin himself appears to have been cryptic but clearly not untruthful when asked how he accomplished his feats. He said, simply, that he “understood the laws of weight and leverage.”

Ed at work with what can easily be seen as a tripod form of ‘A’ Frame, together with gearing designed to permit the movement of large masses.

Figure 5: Ed at work with what can easily be seen as a tripod form of ‘A’ Frame, together with gearing designed to permit the movement of large masses.

There are many interesting individual pieces that make up the fabric of the Coral Castle. Probably the largest piece is the Obelisk. It stands 40 feet above ground with some several additional feet further below the surface and is estimated to weigh 57,000 pounds, or just over 25 tons. However, amongst the whole collection, perhaps the most interesting and most memorable is the “nine-ton gate,” most probably the original gate of the “Rock Gate Park.” The stone block which composes the gate measures 80 by 92 by 21 inches, weighs approximately 18,000 pounds, and when originally seated, turned at the touch of a finger. It was observed that even children as young as three years old were able to rotate it, although the present day version is now a little harder to turn. Since the stone clears its outer frame of rock by much less than an inch it was, for a long time, difficult to establish exactly how this “gate” had been balanced. Again, this engineering feat added not simply to Ed’s reputation but was further fuel to the belief that some mysterious forces must have been employed. Eventually, many years after Ed’s death in 1986, the stone ceased to rotate and had to be replaced by a contract engineering firm. When dismantled for this maintenance, the “secret” was revealed. Ed had used ball-bearings and an old truck bearing to create this remarkable effect. The original apparatus is still visible in the Castle’s gift-shop today.

On December 4th, 1951, Ed checked himself into Jackson Memorial, a Miami Hospital. Sadly, he died there three days later of malnutrition from uremic poisoning of kidney failure. He was 64 years of age. The myth that was begun before Ed’s death now began to swell as he, the original builder and owner, was now no longer there to refute or deny the more outlandish claims. These claims have been fostered by the comments of individuals such as Ray Stoner, for example, who in the early eighties stated that: “with his passing went the secret of the Coral Castle’s construction.” 

The nine-ton gate. Perhaps the most memorable of all of the elements of the Coral Castle since, in earlier days, it was reported that a three-year old child was able to rotate the gate with no difficulty. The secret of its functioning was only revealed ye

Figure 6: The nine-ton gate. Perhaps the most memorable of all of the elements of the Coral Castle since, in earlier days, it was reported that a three-year old child was able to rotate the gate with no difficulty. The secret of its functioning was only revealed years later when the ball bearings upon which it rotated had to be replaced. The original, and surprisingly small mechanism, can be seen in the Castle gift shop today.

How Did He Do That? Natural to Supernatural Explanation

When visiting the Castle we immediately try to imagine ourselves performing such feats and quickly dismiss our capabilities to do so. Then we consider the disadvantage of Ed’s diminutive form, since surely such a structure required enormous muscles exerting much physical energy to erect. How is it that so much work could be generated by such a diminutive individual? Finally, we consider Ed’s impoverished education and the drawbacks that we may perceive that a limited formal schooling would bring. As we have seen, Ed moved his major sculptures and this took approximately one year to complete. As was his usual working habit, Ed would load the moving trailer himself during night time hours. When a particular load was ready (after several nights of effort), Ed’s farmer friend, Bob Biggers would tow the trailer to the new site, position it according to Ed’s instructions then wait for a call for the next trip. Part of the process of myth-making has changed Ed’s move from being done at night to the whole move to being accomplished in one night. Moving all of this in one night might well need mysterious powers, however, persistent and prolonged physical labor combined with native engineering expertise over one year period represents a far less appealing basis for myth.

The styled “Polaris Telescope” is 25 feet high and weighs over 20 tons. It is one of the features that is explicitly related to astronomical interests.

Figure 7: The styled “Polaris Telescope” is 25 feet high and weighs over 20 tons. It is one of the features that is explicitly related to astronomical interests.

The on-site literature associated with the monument also informs us that Ed was very interested in astronomy.7 Indeed, it is clear that several parts of the monument are designed for astronomical observations. In one such pamphlet, Ray Stoner compares the Coral Castle with other “megalithic” sites such as Stonehenge in England, the pyramids of Giza in Egypt, and Teotihuacan in Mexico.8 Given this nominal association with sites traditionally linked to mysterious and mythical properties, it is now a short step to a speculation concerning the “supernatural” capacities that Ed must have invoked in the Coral Castle’s construction. Quickly we go from engineering A-frames to esoteric forces and anti-gravity control. Consider the following quote from a B.J. Cathie, a captain flying with the National Airways Corporation, who asserted that: “The final check of the distance between the Coral Castle and grid pole in the north dispelled any doubt about the site being in an ideal position to allow Leedskalnin to erect huge blocks of coral with relative ease. Measurements from all major points gave the geometric harmonics necessary for the manipulation of anti-gravity.” From the invocation of anti-gravity we immediately find Ray Stoner proposing that Ed may have been able to accomplish his work because he was actually an extra-terrestrial!

This twentieth century addition (the Coral Castle) to the megaliths from antiquity, all serving as astronomical observatories of the highest precision, can only be viewed with bewilderment, for only recently have the mathematical truths of these sites been understood. It was not conclusively proven that Stonehenge was an astronomical computer until Gerald Hawkins published his findings in 1965 in Stonehenge Decoded. How, then, could Coral Castle been built using all of this knowledge, plus the mathematics, when the knowledge was not published until 14 years after Ed’s death? There are three possibilities:

  1. This knowledge has not been completely lost;
  2. Ed was a time traveler or an inter-dimensional being;
  3. Ed was an extra-terrestrial. (p. 28)

To do Ed full justice and to see the genesis of myth in its most early flowerings, we need to examine these wild assertions in a little more detail. In regard to education, a formal fourth grade education is not directly indicative of someone’s intrinsic intellectual capabilities. Certainly at turn of the century Latvia, it may well be expected that poorer children be sent out to work at an early age, regardless of their intellectual promise. There are reports that in Florida, Ed spent much time in the local library and with a degree of native intelligence combined with access to more formalized engineering knowledge, there is no reason why Ed would not be able to find enough information to complete his construction. This despite Ed’s own comment on education where for example,9 he observed; “You know we receive an education in the schools from books. All those books that people became educated from twenty-five years ago, are wrong now, and those that are good now, will be wrong again twenty-five years from now. So, if they are wrong then, they are also wrong now, and one who is educated from the wrong books is not educated he is misled.”

A picture of Ed Leedskalnin in the process of moving one of the blocks that compose the present day Coral Castle. The only forces evidently at work here are the known principles of engineering. That one man could achieve so much using these principles is wonder enough. Invocations of mysterious, esoteric earth energies are unnecessary.

Figure 8: A picture of Ed Leedskalnin in the process of moving one of the blocks that compose the present day Coral Castle. The only forces evidently at work here are the known principles of engineering. That one man could achieve so much using these principles is wonder enough. Invocations of mysterious, esoteric earth energies are unnecessary.

Ed’s experience with moving large scale, unwieldy objects as part of his logging career would certainly stand him in good stead. In this respect, his physical stature need be no bar to achievement since, as Leedskalnin himself rightly noted, it is the application of the principles of leverage, not the size of the individual that is crucial. In claiming to know the “secrets of the pyramids” Leedskalnin might very well have understood the principles of levers and fulcra. Recently, Benjamin Radford noted that: “There is one detail that virtually all agree on: since the reclusive Leedskalnin worked mostly at night and away from prying eyes, no one actually saw him move the coral.”10 He rightly observed, however, that there exist a number of photographs showing Ed moving the large coral blocks. Such photographic evidence shows that Ed used precisely these forms of technique, including the use of sophisticated 3-block metal chain hoists.11 This apparatus, which Ed is shown operating, is illustrated in Figure 8. In the impoverished observational conditions of night, it might well appear to a naïve observer that a lighter-colored coral block being moved in this fashion might well appear to “float,” rather than being obviously supported by a set of chains and pulleys. Perhaps such a possibility lies behind the observation of Ed by some inquisitive Floridian teenagers? Since the attraction was most probably Ed’s primary source of income by that time, there would be perhaps both financial and privacy reasons why Ed would not disillusion them.

Lest some should now be tempted to see Ed in the light of an untrammeled hero of rational engineering, it is worth considering a few of the observations from one of his own texts that to today’s ear sound positively grinding.12 “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.” (p. 24). Or, “A normal male is always ready to strive for perfection, the female is not. It is not only with human beings, it is the same with every living thing.” (p. 8). Ed Leedskalnin was most certainly a man of his own time and place.

A photograph of Ed conducting a tour while standing in front of the feature known as the crescent moon.

Figure 9: A photograph of Ed conducting a tour while standing in front of the feature known as the crescent moon.

Summary

As represented in the present references, much of the information that can be gleaned about the Coral Castle is given in privately published memoirs of some of Ed’s visitors,13 combined with a number of pamphlets from Ed himself that appear to be available only from the attraction’s gift-shop. Reliable information is rather difficult to come by. Growth of myth is always more prevalent in circumstances that show a dearth of factual information. Nevertheless, the Coral Castle is a most interesting monument. It sits in Homestead today and for a few dollars admission fee is open to the inspection of anyone. Founded in the fixated emotions of a solitary and lonely man, it has burgeoned into a significant tourist site and a going financial concern for both its original builder and subsequent owners. Many attractions require the boost of showmanship, and while the Castle is startling enough in itself, there is always the subtle temptation to add the arcane and mysterious to provide just that little extra that attracts crowds. That Leedskalnin achieved this monumental feat by himself, using known engineering principles, is demonstrable. No additional source of esoteric forms of earth energy need be invoked,14 and it is disingenuous to continue to protest that “the question that has perplexed engineers and scientists for decades is how such a tiny, uneducated man single-handedly built such a place.”15 Potentially the foregoing observations help in dissolving the growing but highly problematic mythical explanations of Ed’s achievement.

That the structure became more to its builder than simply an ersatz representation of a European castle in which to house his lost love is evident from the several components that focus on astronomical observations. Given Ed’s Spartan living conditions it is not unexpected that he would find some pastime for the long evenings alone. Ed clearly had a manifest degree of practical knowledge, mixed with a number of far less conventional ideas.16 It is tempting to attribute the very special structure we see today to those more unusual facets of Ed’s understanding since it is virtually unique. While it is natural to make this assumption, the more prosaic linkage, between the Castle’s fabrication and known construction techniques is far less appealing and unfortunately promises to sell fewer tickets. However, it is one to which we must adhere until further proofs of the intervention of supernatural agencies are thoroughly and unequivocally demonstrated. To date, no such proof has been forthcoming, at which skeptics may remain unsurprised. END

Reference Notes
  1. See Grimes, D., & Becnel, T. 2003. Florida curiosities. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 153-156. See also Pohlen, J. 2004. Oddball Florida. Chicago Review Press. Coral Castle (undated). English Tour Guide. 28655 South Dixie Highway, Homestead, Florida, 189-190.
  2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Andrew http://www.sptimes.com/2002/webspecials02/andrew/
  3. Moran, M., & Sceurman, M. 2004. Weird U.S. New York: Barnes & Noble Publishing, pp. 158-160. See also: McClure, R., & Heffron, J. 2009. Coral Castle: The Story of Ed Leedskalnin and his American Stonehenge. Dublin, Ohio: Ternary Publishing.
  4. See Stansfield, W. 2006. “The Enigma of the Coral Castle.” Skeptic, 12 (2), 22–29. See also: Stollznow, K. 2010. “Coral Castle: Fact and Folklore.” Skeptical Inquirer, 34 (1), 49–53.
  5. Billy Idol’s song “Sweet Sixteen” was inspired by Ed Leedskalnin’s experiences. See a video tour of the Castle with this sound track.
  6. Anonymous. 1939. “Ed is Doing a Colossal Job of Moving, But he Wants no Help Thank You.” The Redland District News, July.
  7. Irwin, O.M. 1996. Mr. Can’t is Dead: The Story of the Coral Castle. Self-Published.
  8. Stoner, R.N. 1983. The Enigma of the Coral Castle. Bradford Institute of Ultra Science. Cape Coral, Florida.
  9. See the collection of books: Leedskalnin, E. 1936. A Book in Every Home. Privately Printed, Homestead, Florida; Leedskalnin, E. 1945. Magnetic Current. Privately Printed, Rock Gate, Homestead, Florida.
  10. Radford, B. 2006. “Mysteries of the Coral Castle.” Skeptical Inquirer, May/June, 25.
  11. See: Thomson, P. 2005. “Coral Castle.” Ancient History, Fact or Fiction. Peter Thomson, 1 Jan. Web. 24 Jan. 2010.
  12. See Texts referred to in note 10 and 17.
  13. Coral Castle. 2000. Coral Castle: An Engineering Feat Almost Impossible to Believe. Coral Castle, 28655 South Dixie Highway, Homestead, Florida.
  14. See: Joseph, F. 1998. Mysteries of Coral Castle. Fate, 51 (7), 18-25, Dunn, C. (1997). The Coral Castle mystery. Atlantis Rising, Issue 12, and the text of McClure, R., & Stern, D. (2009). Cincinnatus: The secret plot to save America. Ternary Publishing: Bookmaster Publishing Group. See also: http://vaticproject.blogspot.com/2011/02/world-leaders-flock-to-afghanistan.html
  15. Diaz, A. 2005. “Florida’s Mysterious Coral Castle.” Mysteries, 3 (4), 65–70.
  16. Leedskalnin, E. 1945. Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Life. Privately Printed, Rock Gate, Homestead, Florida.

Death Valley Redux (January 19-21, 2013)

Death Valley Redux
Only 6 spots left

Join us for a fun three-day trip (January 19–21, 2013) from Las Vegas to Death Valley to Red Rock Canyon this coming MLK weekend! Only 6 spots left! Register now.

Download complete details
and registration form in PDF

7 Comments »

7 Comments

  1. Dr. Sidethink Hp.D says:

    Interesting article..

    It is sad that people with extraordinary skill and ,especially, endurance and devotion
    are scoffed instead as being deceptive hiders of Extraterrestial powers, help ,or origin.

    The need to believe in supernatural, MAGICK
    or alien help is a dishonor to the Human feats of those of far greater talent then the TRUEBELIEVERS.

    Dr S,

    • mikefromspace says:

      It took me over 2 years to completely reverse engineer his system and prove it to myself on paper. I base my work on a key I found to particle physics field unification in 1995, and hard evidence of other working technologies such as the Joe Cell now used by thousands, and other “free” energy devices.
      By using a slight difference among the poles to find separate ion charge levels, a series of ground charges can be used to literally squeeze away the most massive particles in a circuit which becomes highly superconductive. Modern engineers could never explain why wood wedges were placed under a stone already wrapped in cable. The wood was a ground isolator. Heavy ions would drain off the last ground of iron to displace the stone mass like a bubble rising in water. The pyramids used an even more advanced system, the Ark of the Covenant for which I also have surmised plans for now. It is a solid state device.

  2. Jerry Greelis says:

    Very good article, well researched and written, and maybe true in content, and maybe not. One always has to keep an open mind when we talk about science of today and science of the past. Our science today is a reversed engineering project and is still in the very early stages of its evolution. I have been extremely fortunate to have participated in many areas this science has opened up for humanity, as participating as an pioneer in area of deep space exploration, electronics, radar and my love of computers. One observation I can make during my senior years, I would have to agree with Ed, we do not have it right yet. It probably, based upon the history of the past science, will take many more generations before we actually do get it right – but if we do have these generation left, without a doubt ‘they’ will get everything correct. The day we are flying with the UFOs we will be extremely close.

    • mikefromspace says:

      Much closer than you think! Some people are discovering ways. I have found Ed’s.
      His system can be used to displace the device itself and much more.
      google mikefromspace

  3. Jay says:

    No one ever claimed to have witnessed him moving those blocks. It’s agreed that he worked at night. Those photographs aren’t nighttime photographs. All you can say for sure is that those photographs depict what looks like mechanisms that could be used to lift large things. Of course, lifting a large thing and moving a large thing are… two different things. That tripod contraption may work just fine to lift a large block of stone, and then what? But I’m sure there must’ve been another contraption to move it, yeah? Or he simply moved it a few inches or a foot, tore everything down, rebuilt the tripod, moved it again, rinse and repeat.

    Talk about stretching available evidence to account for something unknown.

    Tell you what, Skeptic: duplicate the feat as you describe it being done. Give us some video of a 5 foot tall, 100 pound man cutting, lifting, moving and placing a 9-ton block gate that will revolve at the push of a finger, using only “leverage and weight”. If you’re going to claim that it’s “clearly demonstrable” to do so then by all means clearly demonstrate it, as such a claim obligates you to do.

  4. mikefromspace says:

    Certified engineers proved that his tripod had a mere 10% or less capacity to lift stones which weighed up to 30 tons each. The chain itself would snap at 3 tons or so.
    It took me over 2 years, but I’ve solved this. See my other comments here. One fact that is plain to see; all galaxies propel themselves through space by taking advantage of a slight difference in mass between polar charges. This becomes far more evident once superconductivity field is made because here you exclude thermal mesons. All reactions are now assuming broken mach angles of interaction inductively, not progressively any longer, and are much more volatile as a result; allowing ion charge split, which is another way to say that the end of the positive pole breaks off as artificial temporary mass; a positron.

  5. Jim Stiene says:

    The Wikipedia bio of him mentions him using some “Ford Parts.” Which got me suspicious. Do those parts include the engine wheels and drive train? Say you backed a car up to a stone wall with a hole in it. Attached strong steel cables to the wheel so when you hit the gas, the cable reeled in like a fishing reel, the car having no inertia with the wall behind it. I don’t know what one horse can do but I would guess 300 horsepower is significant if a cable was bolted to a rear car wheel and wound up, exerting pull on the cable as it did so. The cable going up to a crane or wench. I looked this up and there are devises about 6 horsepower you can but to lift things with. I don’t know if its bolted to the ground or what, but my point is, this isn’t ancient Egypt. With a little imagination a Toyota could be used to do more than drive. It could wind up a cable with considerable force, the other end doing something else like working a wench. Or without the wall, bold the front to the ground, lift the rear wheels, and let the cable wind up, etc.

get eSkeptic
our free newsletter

Science in your inbox every Wednesday!

eSkeptic is our free email newsletter, delivered once a week. In it, you’ll receive: fascinating articles, announcements, podcasts, book reviews, and more…


Popular Articles
on skeptic.com

Here are the articles that people have been sharing over the last few days.

Carbon Comic

Carbon Comic (by Kyle Sanders)

Carbon Comic, which appears in Skeptic magazine, is created by Kyle Sanders: a pilot and founder of Little Rock, Arkansas’ Skeptics in The Pub. He is also a cartoonist who authors Carbon Dating: a skeptical comic strip about science, pseudoscience, and relationships. It can be found at carboncomic.com.

Help the
Skeptics Society
at no cost to you!

Planning on shopping at Amazon? By clicking on our Amazon affiliate link, which will open the Amazon Store in your Internet browser, the Skeptics Society will receive a small commission on your purchase. Your prices for all products remain the same, yet you’ll provide essential financial support for the work of the nonprofit Skeptics Society.

amazon.com

See our affiliate links page for Amazon.ca, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble links.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Alternative Medicine

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Alternative Medicine

Topics include: chiropractic, the placebo effect, homeopathy, acupuncture, and the questionable benefits of organic food, detoxification, and ‘natural’ remedies.

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

Copyright © 1992–2014 Skeptic and its contributors. For general enquiries regarding the Skeptics Society or Skeptic magazine, email skepticssociety@skeptic.com or call 1-626-794-3119. Website-related matters: webmaster@skeptic.com. Enquiries about online store orders: orders@skeptic.com. To update your subscription address: subscriptions@skeptic.com. See our Contact Information page for more details. This website uses Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and AddThis tracking software.
‚Äč