Saturday, March 29, 2008


I often work late into the night. And as writing is a lonely enough profession, I usually have music, the television or a radio on in the background. During one of my LA residencies, a neighbor addicted to the paranormal turned me on to a radio program that's been running since the early 1980's seven nights a week for four hours each night.

Many of you are probably familiar with "Coast to Coast", originally created and hosted by Art Bell and now featuring George Noory. It's an eclectic mix of the supernatural, conspiracy theory and new age thought with unusual guests and even weirder callers. It also features great music woven through the night's stories.

I've never been clear on whether Bell and Noory put much credibility in the people and concepts they explore or have simply developed a presentational style designed to make the participants feel safe enough that anything might transpire.

But now and then, there's a story on "Coast to Coast" for which there is tangible and irrefutable proof, but no logical explanation. A story like "The Coral Castle".

The Coral Castle is a roadside attraction in Homestead, Florida created by Edward Leedskalnin, a diminuative recluse who singlehandedly constructed structures out of megalithic stones (mostly fossilized coral) that each weigh several tons.

From 1923 to 1951, working under cover of darkness and completely alone, with only the most rudimentary homemade tools, Leedskalnin somehow moved rocks weighing as much as thirty tons and larger than those at Stonehenge. He constructed a castle and sculpture garden that features such pieces as a sundial that keeps perfect time and a telescope permanently locked on the North Star.

There is no logical or scientific explanation for how he accomplished construction tasks said to rival and perhaps even surpass the building of the pyramids. In 1935, a group of teenagers claimed to have spied on Leedskalnin, insisting he made the massive rocks float like balloons. But no one believed them and Leedskalnin refused to divulge his secret, only saying that it wasn't that difficult once you knew how.

To make this story even more bizarre, Leedskalnin grew tired of the encroaching development of Florida City and packed up his castle and moved it down the road to Homestead in 1936. To do so, he dissassembled his structures and hired a flatbed truck to move them.

When the driver arrived, Leedskalnin refused his help. And despite the fact that the driver saw no other workers or heavy equipment present, the builder ordered him to leave for a few hours while the job was accomplished. A short distance down the road, the driver realized he'd left his lunch behind. He went back, discovering that the heavy stones had already been loaded.

Leedskalnin's creation has been immortalized in songs by Crystal Gayle and Billy Idol and it's secrets hold the makings of many stories. It's a mystery that inspires and confounds as only the best mysteries can.

Enjoy your Sunday...

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