Last week a large metal monolith appeared in the Utah dessert prompting visits from hikers and rumours of extraterrestrial activity. However, after much confusion and speculation of whether the monolith was the work of an obscure artist or some kind of alien marker, it disappeared.
The Bureau of Land Management released a statement stating that the structure was mysteriously moved on the 27th by an unknown third party. The statement read:
We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the “monolith” has been removed from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands by an unknown party. The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property. We do not investigate crimes involving private property which are handled by the local sheriff’s office. The structure has received international and national attention and we received reports that a person or group removed it on the evening of Nov. 27.
The monolith was discovered on the 18th of November by officials of the Utah Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau, who were passing over the site by helicopter. Pilot Bret Hutchings told CNN affiliate KSL:
One of the biologists ... spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it. He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!' And I was like, 'What.' And he's like, 'There's this thing back there -- we've got to go look at it!'
The pilot went on to describe that the object must have been between 10 to 12 feet high and looked like it had been planted in the ground. He continued:
I'm assuming it's some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan.
Authorities refused to reveal the exact location of the monolith as they didn’t want any potential adventurers to get themselves stranded in the desert. However, many outwitted authorities and managed to track down the coordinates and post them online, prompting many to travel far and wide to witness the strange addition.
Monolith found in Romania
Now, it looks like those desperate to see a sheet of metal may once again be in luck as the monolith has been discovered again...This time in Northern Romania.
That’s right, another cryptic 13 ft high triangular metal structure has been found sitting on top a mountain in Romania.
This time the piece has settled on one of the most famous mountains in Romania, called Mount Ceahlau, or the Holy Mountain.
However, despite all the media hype, officials in Romania still don’t know who planted the monolith or how it got there. Neamt Culture and Heritage official Rocsana Josanu has come forward with a statement saying:
We have started looking into the strange appearance of the monolith. It is on private property, but we still don't know who the monolith's owner is yet. It is in a protected area on an archaeological site. Before installing something there, they needed permission from our institution, one that must then be approved by the Ministry of Culture.
To get to the Romanian site would require a 45-minute off-road drive many miles from any major town as well as a 15-minute hike up a dry stream bed. Depending on how much the monolith weighed it must have taken some impressive equipment and many people to move the aluminium pillar.
The Utah monolith may have been standing for many years
Google Earth images show that even though the Utah Monolith was discovered very recently, it has actually been standing since 2015 or 2016.
Another mysterious monolith had actually been discovered about 20 years ago on New Years Day in Seattle prompting theories that the Utah monolith may have been standing for at least 50 years.
Lieutenant Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety spoke:
It's the type of material that doesn't degrade with the elements. It may only be a few years old, who knows. There's no real way based on the material it's made out of how long it's actually been there.
Others have pointed out the resemblance of the monolith to the work of John McCracken, an American artist from nearby New Mexico who died back in 2011.
A spokesperson for the David Zwirner gallery in New York claimed that it wasn’t on of McCracken’s pieces but it could have been another artist paying homage.
However, another release from the gallery later in the day proved that the gallery was actually torn on the issue and many believed that it may have been one of the artists undiscovered pieces.
But, if the artwork was, in fact, a years-old sculpture from a deceased artist it doesn’t explain how another one ended in up in Romania.