Part of a Georgia monument despised by right-wing conspiracy theorists was reduced to rubble on Wednesday morning by an explosion, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
The bomb attack targeted the Georgia Guidestones, a set of mysterious, 19-foot tall tablets inscribed with messages that appear to offer advice on how humanity should recover from an apocalyptic event. Pictures of the site on social media appeared to show that one of the monument’s four main tablets had been destroyed in the bombing.
The blast was carried out by “unknown individuals” around 4 a.m., according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. A local TV station reported that nearby residents heard an explosion-like sound around the same time.
The Guidestones, which sit in a field in rural Elberton, Georgia, have been a focus of attention for conspiracy theorists since they were erected in 1979 at the behest of an unknown patron. The tablets are inscribed with a series of admonitions, including a call to keep the global population under 500 million people—advice that conspiracy theorists like InfoWars chief Alex Jones have taken as proof of an elite plot to kill off most of humanity.
Jones reacted to the attack on a Wednesday broadcast of his online show, saying he appreciated the image of the bombed-out monument “on an animal level,” but criticized the destruction itself.
“We need that evil edifice there as a confession letter led by a consortium of eugenicists,” Jones said.
While the guidestones were targets of on-and-off criticism from pastors for decades, fearful that they would become the site of Satanic worship, the attacks on the guidestones reached a new fervor in the past decade. Kandiss Taylor, a former far-right Republican gubernatorial candidate, tried to turn the guidestones into a campaign issue before her primary defeat earlier this year. Taylor recorded a video of herself driving to Elberton to “confront” the guidestones, and vowed to issue an executive order if elected to order them destroyed.
Taylor appeared to welcome the bombing in a tweet on Wednesday.
“God is God all by Himself,” Taylor tweeted. “He can do ANYTHING He wants to do. That includes striking down Satanic Guidestones.”
This isn’t the first time the guidestones have been targeted by vandals, though the attacks have never reached this level before. In the past, vandals have graffitied the guidestones with messages about the “New World Order” and the devil. As a result of those earlier crimes, a security camera was mounted near the guidestones.