News & Politics

As Mysteriously as It Appeared, the Utah 'Monolith' Has Disappeared

(Image credit: Utah Dept. of Public Safety)

Cue the Twilight Zone theme.

The statue in the Utah desert discovered by the Utah Department of Public Safety on November 18 while doing a routine count from the air of bighorn sheep has disappeared, according to the Bureau of Land Management in Utah.

It’s actually quite a relief to realize the aliens have pretty much the same sense of humor that we do. On the other hand. they may see the whole episode as the beginnings of a torture regimen — their version of waterboarding.

Whatever, however, it’s gone, although at least one enterprising Reddit user found it before it disappeared.

CNN:

The trek involved driving in the darkness over rocky terrain and verifying GPS coordinates, according to three people who went to see it. At least one explorer got lost at first. But the trip was worth it, they said, even if the monolith wasn’t the work of aliens.

David Surber may have been among the very first to view the monolith in person. The coordinates to the monolith were circulating on Reddit, but none of the users could confirm they were correct. Surber volunteered to find out.

Surber described the structure in his Instagram post as :

Aluminum
-Not 🧲 magnetic
-Three pieces riveted together
-Two rivets missing up top

“The monolith wasn’t magnetic or solid (he said it sounded ‘like a cardboard box’ when he knocked on it).”

“At the end of the day, extraterrestrial or made through artistic expression; the monolith provided an opportunity for thousands of people to rally behind something positive again,” he told CNN in an email. “It was a good escape from all the negativity we’ve experienced in 2020.”

The artwork was removed on Friday night by a person or persons unknown. The BLM swears they had nothing to do with removing it, saying that it was private property and they couldn’t touch it.

Some were not as amused or pleased with the artwork as others.

KSL:

The monolith is made out of a stainless steel-like material and cut into the rock with visible saw marks, providing further evidence that it was likely made by an earth-residing artist. However, it has brought controversy about public art coexisting with natural art.

“While the monolith has better craftsmanship than graffiti, this is still vandalism,” said the Utah Department of Heritage & Arts. “It irreversibly altered the natural environment on public lands. While the monolith is interesting, we cannot condone vandalism of any type.”

That may be true, but to call it “vandalism” is silly. Man is a creature of the earth. We leave a mark wherever we set foot. The artist wasn’t strip-mining the place. In a couple thousand years — long after the curmudgeons in the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts have turned to dust — the wind and weather will have returned the rocks to their pristine condition. That’s not even an eye-blink in the history of the rocks.

To cap off the mystery, it appears that people have been leaving their own monuments to the “monolith.”

The pile of rocks left behind might have been left by the individuals who removed it on Friday night or the growing number of tourists who had discovered its location. Just one more mystery on top of a slew of mysteries already perplexing us.