The shiny metal monolith found in the remote wilderness of southeastern Utah – sparking wild rumors and viral speculation about aliens and UFOs – has gone missing, adding a further twist to the bizarre mysteries surrounding the glistening 10 to 12 foot object.
However, it appears that government officials played no role in the removal of the monolith, which was discovered Nov. 18 by a Utah Department of Public Safety and Division crew during an aerial count of bighorn sheep and subsequently discovered to have been placed in the area at least several years ago.
Ricardo Marino and Sierra Van Meter were among the hundreds of snap-happy visitors hoping to visit the monolith and take some photos for their Instagram accounts at the site located near Canyonlands National Park south of Moab.
However, when the two arrived at the remote location on late Friday night, they found that the monolith had disappeared.
Marino claims to have seen a pickup truck with a large object in its bed driving in the opposite location while they were en route to the location.
Marino and his companion also noticed that someone wrote “Bye B*tch!” and appeared to have urinated on the spot where the piece – which is believed to have been abstract art – formerly stood.
A user on Reddit also visited the spot on early Saturday morning, and said that it was still gone.
In a statement, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said:
“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.”
Since the disappearance of the monolith, visitors have stacked rocks around the site where it once stood, along with a top piece that was left behind by whoever picked up the object.
Officials had warned the public to avoid trekking out to the monolith, which was located in an area that was so remote that people could possibly become stranded while trying to locate it and require a rescue.
In a press release last Monday, the agency warned: “It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from.”
The tongue-in-cheek warning was a reference to viral buzz surrounding the strange object, with many comparing the monolith to those that trigger massive leaps in human progress in the classic Stanley Kubrick sci-fi film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Others bemoaned the discovery of the object in the turbulent year 2020, with some social media users complaining that the discovery of the monolith had triggered their anxiety over worsening fortunes in the year, including a possible extraterrestrial invasion.
“This is the ‘reset’ button for 2020. Can someone please press it quickly?” one social media user joked.
Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]