How to (Allegedly) Take Down an Obelisk

This is obviously a joke, and SWIM would never condone this course of action.

*Credit to the MVP Sarah Parcak @indyfromspace for the original Twitter post this is derived (i.e. stolen) from*

The key to pulling one down is letting gravity work for you. After all, it is a top-heavy obelisk. You want to get chains–not rope–and extend them tightly around the top and about a third-of-the-way (forming circles as you go).

For every c. 10ft/3m of pillar, you are going to need an extra 40-something people. For example, if your target were theorhetically 75ft high (measuring from the ground), you would need at least 300 people. 300 plus people who are all wearing safety gloves!

Most folks do not recognize the Lee Stele (?) in front of Vance Monument in Asheville, NC

You want very strong rope that is attached to the chain as rope is easier to grasp.

You probably want 150+ ft of rope x 2. You’ll want to be standing 30ft away from the the obelisk so it won’t topple on you. This gives enough slack for everyone to hold on to rope–alternating left right left right all whilst pulling in unison.

You have two groups, one on one side, one opposite, for the rope beneath the pointy bit and the rope 1/3 down the shaft. You will need to PULL TOGETHER BACK AND FORTH. You want to create a rocking motion back and forth to ease the obelisk from its back.

Parcak recommends a rhythmic song. YOU WILL NEED SOMEONE WITH A LOUDSPEAKER DIRECTING (or like a thicc drum). There can only be one person yelling. Everyone will be alternating on rope left right left right–not everyone on the same side. No one else near the obelisk. Can you imagine? “OSHA or I’ll a-show you the door!” That is what SWIM always says to me.

In Ireland they simply blew one up with some sticks of gel ignite (as the song “Up Went Nelson” goes)

The principle is simple physics and good team work. You’ve seen a vase get knocked over, right?

Start by a few practice pulls to get into it. Think of it like a paused tug of war, PULLwait…2…3…4…5…PULLwait…2…3…4…5…PULL AS ONE, pause 5 seconds. You will notice some loosening, but just keep up the pattern. Like a plunger it will work…eventually. You may need more people as everyone starts to pull.

Just keep pulling until there is a good rocking motion, and there will be more and more tilting. You have to wait more for the obelisk to rock back, and time it to pull when it is coming towards you.

Zebulon Vance was the Governor of North Carolina for the American Civil War (1861-1865)

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