A Georgia monument, seen by some as satanic, was damaged from a predawn explosion

A rural Georgia monument that some conservative Christians criticized as satanic and others dubbed

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 "America's Stonehenge" was demolished Wednesday after a predawn bombing turned one of its four granite panels into rubble.

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The Georgia Guidestones monument near Elberton was damaged by an explosive device, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said, and later knocked down

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for safety reasons," leaving a pile of rubble in a picture that investigators published.

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Surveillance footage showed a sharp explosion blowing one panel to rubble just after 4 a.m. Investigators also released video of a silver sedan leaving the monument

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After prior vandalism, video cameras connected to the county's emergency dispatch center were stationed at the site, said Elbert Granite Association Executive Vice President Chris Kubas.

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The enigmatic roadside attraction was built in 1980 from local granite, commissioned by an unknown person or group under the pseudonym R.C. Christian.

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"That's given the guidestones a sort of shroud of mystery around them, because the identity and intent of the individuals who commissioned them is unknown,

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said Katie McCarthy, who researches conspiracy theories for the Anti-Defamation League.

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"And so that has helped over the years to fuel a lot of speculation and conspiracy theories about the guidestones' true intent."

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The 16-foot-high (5-meter-high) panels bore a 10-part message in eight different languages with guidance for living in an "age of reason

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One part called for keeping world population at 500 million or below, while another calls to "guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.

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It also served as a sundial and astronomical calendar. But it was the panels' mention of eugenics, population control and global government that made them a target of far-right conspiracists.

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