A Georgia monument that drew curious visitors and was derided by a gubernatorial candidate as satanic was destroyed Wednesday after authorities said someone detonated an explosive device at the site.
The Georgia Guidestones, a granite monument adorned with a message about the conservation of humanity, was demolished for safety reasons after the 4 a.m. explosion in Elbert County, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
The agency released surveillance video showing the explosion and a silver sedan leaving the scene shortly after the detonation.
No motive has been identified and the agency has only said that “unknown individuals” detonated the device.
The monument — dubbed “America’s Stonehenge” — stood at 19 feet and contained a 10-part message in 12 languages, according to the tourism site Explore Georgia.
Christopher Kubas, executive vice president of the Elberton Granite Association, which helped maintain the site, said that it drew more than 20,000 visitors annually, NBC affiliate WYFF of Greenville, South Carolina, reported.
The message called for keeping the earth’s population under 500 million “in perpetual balance with nature,” a “living new language” and to “guide reproduction wisely,” among other things, according to the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce.
An account of the site’s origins on the chamber’s website says that it was funded by an anonymous “small group of loyal Americans who believe in God” and lived outside of Georgia.
The group wanted to leave a message for future generations, according to the account.
Speaking Wednesday, Kubas said that some found the message offensive and that the monument had previously been spray painted, WYFF reported.
A former gubernatorial candidate, Republican Kandiss Taylor, had pledged to turn the monument “to dust” were she to have been elected. Taylor placed third in the state’s May 24 primary after winning 3.4 percent of the vote.
In a video Wednesday, she said she believed God had struck down the monument, which she referred to in a tweet as “Satanic Guidestones.”
“Until I see a video that shows me anything but what looked like lightning or the hand of God moving on a situation, I’m going to believe it was God,” she said. “If it was vandalism, then there’s cameras everywhere.”
“Those people should be brought to justice,” she said, adding that she didn’t support demolishing the structure via means “outside of our legal system.”
The monument was located in Elbert County, in the northeastern part of Georgia across the Savannah River from South Carolina.