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Okay, if you’re only going to read one article this week, read this article at Wired on the Georgia Guidestones. One of the great American mysteries, the Guidestones have intrigued me for years – we’ve even got an article commissioned for Darklore Volume 4 on the topic – but there has been very little information available publicly. In short – in 1980 a megalithic monument was commissioned in Elberton, Georgia by a mysterious man/group, which features precise astronomical alignments, and messages for post-apocalyptic survivors of some impending cataclysm.

Rather than being a superficial travel piece, Randall Sullivan’s story digs really deep into the mystery; he interviews most of the people central to the story (excepting, of course, the mysterious R.C. Christian), including the banker who helped get the project underway, and who communicated with ‘Christian’ for more than two decades. Martin’s memories give insights into the mind(s) behind the project, a facet which has largely been missing from the puzzle:

The tall and courtly Martin—the only man in Elberton besides Fendley known to have met R. C. Christian face-to-face—is now 78. “Fendley called me and said, ‘A kook over here wants some kind of crazy monument,'” Martin says. “But when this fella showed up he was wearing a very nice, expensive suit, which made me take him a little more seriously. And he was well-spoken, obviously an educated person.” Martin was naturally taken aback when the man told him straight out that R. C. Christian was a pseudonym. He added that his group had been planning this secretly for 20 years and wanted to remain anonymous forever. “And when he told me what it was he and this group wanted to do, I just about fell over,” Martin says. “I told him, ‘I believe you’d be just as well off to take the money and throw it out in the street into the gutters.’ He just sort of looked at me and shook his head, like he felt kinda sorry for me, and said, ‘You don’t understand.'”

The only thing I would say that is missing from the story is more detail on the obvious model for the construction of the Guidestones – the myths of ancient antedeluvian civilisations which constructed memorials to keep knowledge ‘alive’ in case of Earth-shattering cataclysms (a topic which the Darklore article will cover) – and which make a lot of the ‘New World Order’ paranoia seem pretty dumb. But in all, I’d have to rate this as the most enjoyable article I’ve read this year. Lots of new information about the Guidestones from those closest to the mystery, and also a better understanding of the mind of ‘R.C. Christian’. The final quote in the article really suggests he was no ‘kook’, but knew exactly what he was doing on multiple levels:

For years Martin thought he might write a book, but now he knows he probably won’t. What he also won’t do is allow me to look through the papers. When I ask whether he’s prepared to take what he knows to his grave, Martin replies that Christian would want him to do just that: “All along, he said that who he was and where he came from had to be kept a secret. He said mysteries work that way. If you want to keep people interested, you can let them know only so much.”

I can’t believe the author of the article pointed out where the papers are though – Mr Martin, please move them, because some idiot is bound to break in after reading the story…

The Guidestones article is just one part of what looks to be an amazing issue of Wired, led by guest editor J.J. Abrams. Codes and puzzles, mystery places from around the world, the enigmatic Kryptos sculpture which might feature in Dan Brown’s next book, and the psychology of magic…these are a few of my favourite things.