The Coral Castle is one of those quasi-obscure tourist attractions that didn’t start out as one. I had heard about it on a documentary when I was child and always wanted to check it out. Basically it’s a castle created by a five foot tall one hundred pound man. That’s not that interesting. The interesting part of this story is the fact he built the castle in the 1920’s with no modern technology or equipment and since he worked on it in the dead of night he also had no witnesses. Some of the stones used to create the outer walls are as much as 30,000 pounds and no one has any idea how he managed this feat on his own. Some people blame aliens. Because that’s clearly what I’d do if I were visiting earth for the first time – I’d appear to one random old man and tell him to build me a castle in the dead of night!
The castle itself is beautiful. He managed to carve moons, stars, and other planetary shapes all around the place, not an easy thing to do in the particular stone he was using which is actually coral. There are three moving stones on the premises, a rocking chair and huge door and a triangular gate that weighs 6,000 pounds and can be pushed by any visitor who wants to try it. I of course decided to try it and believe or not it didn’t take much effort at all, the whole thing just slid as easy as could be (and I am not that strong!)
Of course when you look around you realize this was made as this man’s home. He had a tool shed and a bedroom in a structure that looks very normal and house like (other than the materials it’s made out of ) and then he made all sorts of open air rooms out and about. There were living spaces, a table shaped like a heart, writing desks, a repentance closet with another chair, a bunch of little pools, a bathtub, a drinking well, a kitchen, and a bedroom, complete with adult and child sized beds, including a crib, which freaked me the hell right out, especially knowing he didn’t have any real children – just the ones he imagined up. Apparently there were five of those…
Of course the most interesting part of this whole thing was the fact the man who created it was completely fucking crackers. He had a crush on some heiress, who probably didn’t know of his existence, and he believed she was sending him messages through a newspaper comic. He also was a recluse, pretty much only dealing with people when they came to his little castle and paid ten cents to look around. He must have done this little tour a lot though because by the time he died he managed to amass several thousand dollars. It gave me a lot to go over in my mind. I have yet to figure out why a creative and super intelligent mind is so often disturbed.
The place was small but amazing if you’re one to ponder. The little automated tours were long-winded and boring but the rest was cool. It was also covered in lizards, both native and not and it took every ounce of my willpower not to try and catch one. When I was a kid I spent so many hours learning to catch everything I could… chickens, turtles, frogs, wild birds, you name it. A lizard would have been fun… but I captured them in photos instead. They were adorable and fast.
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