Sunday, April 28, 2013

South most Florida

One place in south Florida that has been spoken about in terms of its legendary and mysterious nature to me throughout my life is the Coral Castle in Homestead. A double whammy of theories reporting magical/superscientific construction methods and overall "Why build it?" surrounds this structure.
Sometimes spoken of as a tourist trap by cynical travel bloggers, this structure truly has some incredible achievements to hold even the most dismissive visiter in check. My first visit to Coral Castle came some months ago on a mad weekend sprint to Key West.
The site is not a sprawling structure but what counts is the sheer weight of the thing. Constructed from jagged coral limestone blocks cut into very near perfect fits is impressive enough but the sculpted elements are over the top. Inside the courtyard are the works of Ed Leedskalnin's lifetime. Tables, chairs, steps and ornamental celestial objects all share a common finish, expertly carved from the stone.
There is a sundial and a few very tall obelisks as well.

So how did one man do all of this? Legend never gives credit to the patient work that a sculptor does to achieve something like this. Legend suggests that Ed used levitation through magnetism to get it done. It is true that Ed Leedskalnin was keenly interested in magnetism and had created a few devices that explored his theories but other evidence at the site and old photos tell a different story. Ed was fond of using car batteries to display the effects of electromagnetism to back up his theories and wrote treatises on a "perpetual motion holder", "Mineral, animal and vegetable life", facial training for young people, and all sorts of other stuff in a purely instinctive fashion. This man was no scientist. I believe that Ed was really skilled as a sculptor and had learned to use rigging, levers, and blocking to get his stones in place. I will quote something ( a page I randomly opened to) in his book " A Book In Every House "

"My definition of right is that right is anything in nature that exists without artificial modification and all the others are wrong. Now suppose you would say it is wrong. In that case, I would say you are wrong yourself because you came into this world through natural circumstances that you had nothing to do with and so as long as such a thing exists as yourself, I am right and you are wrong."

No wonder Ed never married. I don't think that kind of inflexibility would make for a good relationship.

The Coral Castle is also home to many beautiful Agama agama lizards. They are everywhere in the walls of the castle. These lizards are exotics from Africa.

Close up of jagged stone used in Coral Castle construction.

A view of Ed's electromagnetic equipment for his experiments. Very interesting stuff. Lots of hand made solenoids and coils.

And chain lifts. There goes the levitation theory.

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