After Ed Leedskalnin’s death in 1951, Coral Castle was put to use in ways he never imagined.
B-movies, especially science fiction and fantasy films, were always in need of cheap, ‘otherworldly’ sets. Coral Castle’s unnatural giant rock sculptures were perfect.
Films like Wild Women of Wongo, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Nude on the Moon all featured Coral Castle in some of their scenes. Never heard of them? Few people have.
Like film critics everywhere, I imagine Ed would cringe at the thought of a scantily clad ‘Moon Goddess’ bathing in his stone tub, or sitting on the giant throne he worked so hard to build. But as the television industry grew, Coral Castle was revisited many times by programs of a more serious nature.
Coral Castle was featured on an episode of In Search Of, a documentary-style program that explored paranormal or mysterious subjects, hosted by Leonard Nimoy. This episode, in addition to cameos on other similar programs, helped bring Coral Castle into the spotlight.
While it’s no mega-attraction, Coral Castle has retained its intrigue because it’s an authentic achievement. When it comes down to it, all the futuristic B-movies in the world can’t compare to one man’s lifetime of hard work.
Wealth, power and notoriety are all fleeting.
At the height of his success, Powel Crosley owned multiple mansions, the Cincinnati Reds and a business empire. He was featured in news reports and radio broadcasts around the country.
Roughly 40 years after Powel’s death, few people recognize his name.
I wrote Crosley in part to try and change that.
From the time Powel began to garner the attention of the media, he worked to craft the public persona of a powerful businessman. Crosley isn’t the story Powel would have told. The book contains many of the failures and flaws he omitted.
The success of Crosley surprised me, but I think it would have surprised Powel Crosley even more. The same stories he tried so hard to hide, are now the very thing keeping his legacy alive.
As I was doing research for Coral Castle, I discovered Ed Leedskalnin had started conversations far beyond Homestead, Florida.
There were websites and forums dedicated to speculation about how Ed could have moved those massive rocks. Engineers, mystics and everyone in-between had an opinion on how Ed built Coral Castle. The more I researched, the more theories I heard, but few people were willing to get their hands dirty. Even those who were the most convinced they were right, didn’t have the inclination to prove it.
Wally Wallington of Flint, Michigan did. A retired carpenter, Wallington had an idea about how Stonehenge could have been erected, but he didn’t stop there. After experimenting with heavy stones, Wallington found that moving huge rocks depends on finding their center of gravity and applying basic laws of leverage.
Watch Wallington’s method in action here.
These backyard feats of engineering could be some of the same method’s Ed used to build Coral Castle. Regardless, Wallington proved more than anyone arguing in an Internet forum.
Speculation is easy. Moving tons of rock is not.
One researcher is going beyond speculation to explain how Ed Leedskalnin could have built Coral Castle.
According to the website Leedskalnin.com, Matthew Emery’s magnetic current research comes from Ed Leedskalnin’s own theories. Drawing inspiration from some of Ed’s published pamphlets, Emery’s objective is to test these electro-magnetic theories through experimentation.
I admire anyone who is inspired enough to take the time and effort to do investigative research. It’s easy to come up with a conspiracy theory, but actually delving into a complex subject like this takes a lot of hard work.
Will this diligent researcher be the one to crack the secret of Coral Castle? Probably not, but I don’t blame him for trying.
When the Crosley brothers began to get famous, the national press ran story after story informing the public of their innovations.
In 1924, Powel Crosley had his picture taken, his life story recorded and his words broadcast to the nation. Unfortunately, not everything printed and quoted was accurate.
In this case, it wasn’t the journalists who were embellishing stories and editing the truth. It was Powel.
With great success comes pressure to be great. Powel wanted complete control over the image he presented to his customers and his investors. He censored parts of his life he saw as failures, even though those moments said the most about his character.
Instead of showing his determination through his flaws, he tried to craft an image of a flawless businessman. In his desire to create a powerful image, he alienated himself from the market he was serving. He moved farther away from the everyday, flawed people who purchased his products.
Powel Crosley is known for his business empire, his inventions and his wealth, but I admire him for the one thing he chose to hide- his determination.
The story behind Coral Castle is an interesting one. The structures Ed Leedskalnin built single-handedly have inspired tall tales, conspiracy theories and journalistic research.
If you truly want to grasp Ed’s incredible feat of engineering, I recommend you take a trip to Homestead, Florida. Until then, here are some photographs of Ed and Coral Castle to pique your curiosity.
Entrance to Coral Castle
The moon fountain and 20-ton north wall
Carving at the base of giant stone obelisk reads:
5,000 lb heart shaped table
Interested in how Ed did it? Find out more about Coral Castle here.
Long-term dedication is hard.
It’s easy to be committed to something at first. No task seems too daunting when you’re fueled by the excitement of starting something new. But after awhile, that newness wears off and you’re left with work. Hard, tiring, uninspiring work.
This is when most people give up.
The local people of Homestead, Florida thought Ed Leedskalnin was a little crazy to dedicate his life to building Coral Castle. The Crosley brothers failed over and over before they finally achieved success.
Ed, Powel and Lewis never gave up.
The Crosley brothers were just as committed to their dream during failures as they were at the height of their success. Ed kept Coral Castle going even though it didn’t attract his lost love like he’d hoped. All three men were committed to turning their ambitions into reality.
Dedication isn’t easy, it isn’t fun and there’s no guarantee you’ll succeed.
That’s what makes it admirable.
How Ed Leedskalnin built Coral Castle remains a mystery.
Why he did it is no secret.
Agnes Scruffs was, purportedly, the love of Ed Leedskalnin’s life. As the story goes, Ed was captivated by Agnes and asked her to marry him while she was still in her teens. Ten years his junior, Agnes accepted Ed’s proposal and they planned a small church wedding.
When it came time to say “I do”, Agnes walked out of the church and left Ed standing at the alter. No one knows why.
After that, Ed left Latvia and never came back.
Later in life, Ed would tell neighbors and visitors to Coral Castle how he was building the modern marvel to win back his lost love. There are no records to indicate if Agnes Scruffs ever knew of Ed’s work.
Some of the greatest creations in history have been inspired by broken hearts. Ed could have given in to disappointment and self-pity, but instead he got busy creating a feat of engineering that still has people talking. While a part of me wishes Ed and Agnes had worked it out, a bigger part of me is glad Ed had the inspiration to build Coral Castle.
The characters in Cincinnatus encounter lots of secret messages. While it makes for good fiction, the secret form of communication used throughout Cincinnatus actually exists.
Steganography is used to insert secret messages into digital images. You can only retrieve the message if you know where to look and have the key to decipher it.
The modern use of steganography with digital technology began around 1985. Steganographers can insert secret messages into videos, websites, pictures and sound files.
It sounds complicated, but you don’t have to be a spy or a computer genius to become a steganographer.
Click here to go to the Cincinnatus website and learn how to decode secret messages from images.
Cincinnatus is a work of fiction, but it’s based around real people and real places.
Did Ed Leedskalnin and Lewis Crosley really clink glasses and share secrets? No, but they might have if they ever crossed paths. Both men sure had some stories.
Is the Society of the Cincinnati actually embroiled in a plot to change the course of American history? Probably not, but with all the secrecy you never know.
Can you really golf in the middle of the ocean? Only if you’re a member of the Cat Cay Yacht Club.
Do attorneys and golfers join forces to uncover supernatural secrets and bust draconian plots? In my mind they do.
Plenty of interesting characters and story-inspiring settings already exist.
Suffering from writer’s block? Look around.