The Georgia Guidestones were targeted for destruction early Wednesday by someone who apparently set off a bomb at the site in a rural area north of Elberton.
Later in the day, a backhoe toppled what remained of the Guidestones as Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents looked on. One agent said the explosion left the stones that remained standing too unstable.
An investigation is under way to determine who planted the bomb and why, GBI Agent Jesse Maddox said Wednesday afternoon.
"We don't know at this point what type explosive was used," he said.
The explosion occurred at about 4 a.m., according to the GBI, as residents in the area reported hearing a loud sound about that time.
The explosion destroyed one of five 19-foot tall granite columns at the monument, erected in 1980, and which some have described as America's Stonehenge. The stones are carved with mysterious messages of how humans should interact, and include a message that the world's population should be held in check.
The GBI's bomb unit was called to the scene early Wednesday due to the possibility of remaining explosive hazards, according to Maddox.
The Guidestones became a political issue in the Republican primary for governor as south Georgia teacher Kandiss Taylor, running against incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, had promoted destroying the stones.
In Taylor's political messages, she urged "striking down Satan's Guidestones."
On Taylor's Facebook page on May 2, she announced: "I am the ONLY candidate bold enough to stand up to the Luciferian Cabal. Elect me Governor of Georgia, and I will bring the Satanic Regime to its knees— and DEMOLISH the Georgia Guidestones."
A person replied to her post saying: "Oh please God, get rid of those evil rocks in this great state of GA so we can be the light to the nation!"
Less than three months after Taylor's announcement, the Guidestones were bombed.
Maddox would not say if investigators plan to question Taylor.
However, Taylor would be interviewed if the investigation led to a reason for such an interview, according to Maddox.
The Guidestones have been defaced in the past and cameras were installed for security reasons.
The Guidestones have been somewhat of a tourist attraction for the county.
Allen and Patti Prather from Cobb County were traveling home Wednesday when they decided to take a detour to the location, not knowing at the time it had been bombed.
"It's bizarre," Allen Prather said. "It breaks my heart that we can't have free speech. It was put on private property and then to have someone else come in and do this."
Athens resident Matt Linder said he drove out to the location after hearing the news.
"It's insanity," he said. "You had the Fourth of July shooting and now they're blowing stuff up. Even if you don't subscribe to the ideology on those stones, it's still an interesting thing."
The Guidestones messages are carved in eight languages, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. The monument was paid for and erected on a 5-acre plot by a man known only by his pseudonym of Robert C. Christian.
"To this day, Christian's real name and the true identity of his organization are unknown," according to the Georgia Encyclopedia.
And now, state investigators and Elbert County law enforcement officials are trying to determine the identity of the unknown person or persons who targeted the monument for destruction.
A camera at the location provided video feed to the Elbert County 911 Center and portions of the video were released by the GBI.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office at (706) 283-2421 or the GBI Athens Office at (706) 552-2309. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477).
This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: GA Guidestones site near Elberton demolished after Wednesday bombing