A visit to Coral Castle
While visiting family in south Florida last week, I was able to stop by a site that I have long held an interest in: the Coral Castle of Homestead, Florida. Originally called “Rock Gate Park,” Coral Castle was built single-handedly by Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin over twenty years. The complex, completed circa 1940, was constructed as a monument to “Sweet Sixteen,” former fiancée to Leedskalnin and the unrequited love of his life.
Over the years, Coral Castle has gained much notoriety for the staggeringly laborious undertaking it represents. Even though many of the structures within this tropical Wonderland weigh 57,000 pounds or more, Leedskalnin was able to construct the entire complex by himself. Local lore holds that the 5-foot tall, 120 pound man only worked alone at night, not allowing anyone to watch as he stacked the monumental slabs of coral. When asked how he managed such a feat, Leedskalnin would coyly reply that he “understood the laws of weight and leverage”; at the same time, rumors abound of grade-school sleuths who managed to spy on the nightly process, observing arcane levitation technology.
Leedskalnin is long gone, but his legacy remains open to the public. Some of the highlights include a giant table in the shape of Florida, intended to accommodate visiting state officials…
… a “throne room” with separate chairs for every member of Leedskalnin’s sadly non-existent family…
… the 5,000 pound “Feast of Love Table,” dubbed the world’s biggest valentine by Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not…
… the truly marvelous “nine-ton gate,” balanced atop simple ball-bearings and yet moveable with a single finger (at least until recently; the mechanism broke in the 1980s and required several men and a crane to fix what Leedsklanin accomplished on his own. After working for a few years, the gate broke down once more); and, as seen in the header image, multiple rocking chairs that, though made of 1,000 pounds of coral, are deceptively comfortable. There is also a gigantic obelisk, tower, and models of the moon, Mars, and Saturn.
The entire site is a marvel to behold, and at first blush it seems unfathomable that a single man could accomplish all of this with simple block and tackle technology and tools pilfered from junkyard Model T automobiles.
But perhaps that is because it wasn’t built by a single person the likes of you and me. The more one looks around Coral Castle, the clearer it becomes that Edward Leedskalnin was incredibly resourceful and observant.
The complex boasts a sundial, accurate within two minutes. Leedskalnin drilled a fresh water well in which he also stored cold foodstuffs. He made a pressure cooker from the rear-end housing of an old Ford, and arranged his rocking chairs so each one had perfect reading light throughout the day.
This keen intellect left me with a singular impression: in some ways, the most striking thing to me about Coral Castle was, oddly enough, how decidedly un-unexplained it feels.
Impressive? Yes. A staggering feat? Yes. But beyond the realms of what one very, very dedicated man can accomplish with two decades of free time? Probably not.
Perhaps years of hearing about the place left me with high expectations, but nothing feels particularly paranormal to me about Coral Castle. Everything seems less supernatural and more preternatural, unexplained but not unexplainable. It takes little imagination to create a scenario where an obsessive man was able to use completely natural, albeit esoteric, techniques to accomplish his goals—especially when seen in the light of research by Scott Russell or, more pointedly, this video showing Leedskalnin at work:
Thanks to @TGB_KG for sending this my way.
Just because it’s unlikely that Leedskalnin was using Lemurian levitation technology, or the Secrets of the Pyramids, doesn’t make the site any less interesting. Coral Castle is still deserving of the wonder and fascination it engenders—if not as a site of the supernatural, then certainly as a testament to engineering ingenuity, hardworking dedication, and, most profoundly, undying love.