The Mysterious Monolith

The Mystery of the Monolith

On November 18, 2020, state biologists of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources were in southeastern Utah carrying out a survey of bighorn sheep from a helicopter when one of the biologists spotted a metallic structure embedded in a red sandstone slot canyon in Lockhart Basin, a remote area of public lands. The site has no public services such as parking, restrooms, or cell phone service.

The exact location of the #monolith was not disclosed by the DPS to prevent people becoming lost while trying to find it, but within a few hours, the location had been determined by users on Reddit using Google Earth. Within 48 hours of the DPS announcement, members of the public had reached the site and uploaded photographs and videos of the monolith to social media. Local business owners feared a surge in foot traffic could damage local Native American sites and artifacts.

The metal structure stood 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall above the bedrock, with each of the sides being 23 inches (58 cm) wide. A triangular prism, it had three sides, was not magnetic, and appeared to be made of 1/8th inch stainless steel or aluminium sheets, joined with rivets, with a hollow interior. There was silicon caulk or epoxy along the base, and striking the metal produced a dampened sound indicating some type of insulation inside.

On first discovering the pillar, the DPS described it as a monolith, a term since repeated by other major media outlets. Although the word monolith refers to a single great stone, the word has also become closely associated with the Monolith from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, to which the Utah monolith bears circumstantial resemblance. The pillar had blind rivets, suggesting a human origin, although no artist or group has stepped forward to claim ownership. The DPS released a statement quoting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations that it is illegal to install structures (including art), on public lands without permission, “no matter what planet you’re from”. While the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts declared placement of the object an act of vandalism, the topic became moot on the evening of November 27th, 2020 when the object disappeared.

But the story doesn’t end there. The next day, November 28th, 2020, a similar object was spotted at Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt in northern Romania. Unlike the largely featureless Utah slab, the European version sports a spiraled design across its (apparently) aluminum surface. The Romanian officials had a similar view as those in Utah; the object was on private property and the owner/creator would have needed an official permit to install it. While officials were still trying to determine who the responsible party might be and what to do about it, the object once again disappeared just four days later.

If you think we are done with this intriguing story, you are mistaken! On December 2nd, 2020, ET phoned home! The monolith came back to the United States, this time taking up residence at the top of Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California. At this time, no one, not a marketing company or NASA or artists or pranksters or a movie studio or aliens, has come clean as the culprit behind the strange appearances. Flash: Just one day later, the #monolith is apparently on the move again. It has disappeared from Pine Mountain as mysteriously as it appeared. Where and when will it appear next. Stay tuned….

When I first read about this, I, too, thought about the movie 2001. Then I thought “Oh, here come the wierdos claiming proof that aliens have visited us (as if any advanced alien would want anything to do with us). Then I thought, “This is great!” At the end of a year that has been nothing short of a disaster, something to relieve the boredom. I hope this is the work of an international body of avant garde artists and is their Christmas gift to us. Everyone needs a little sense of wonder, a touch of magic and a bit of mystery to relieve the stress of day to day life. Especially after a year like we have had. Thank you guys!! Keep up the good work! I look forward to your next appearance.

  • November 18, 2020 Lockhart Basin, Utah, United States
  • November 28, 2020 Batca Doamnei Hill, Piatra Neam, Romania
  • December 2, 2020 Pine Mountain, Atascadero, California, US
  • December 4, 2020 Austin Community College, Austin, TX, US