The Mysterious Metal Object Found in a Remote Desert Has Disappeared

The monolith giveth, and the monolith taketh away.

monolith stolen utah
PHOTO COURTESY OF UTAH DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

If a monolith mysteriously appears in the middle of a desert without explanation, don't expect the end of the story to make a whole lot of sense. 

The large silver sculpture... monolith... er, alien ovipositor... uh, thingy... was discovered on November 18 by Utah's Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau while the crew was out counting bighorn sheep. No one has been able to confirm how the monolithic structure appeared in the hard-to-reach area. Nonetheless, as mysteriously as it appeared it has disappeared, according to the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM). 

The Bureau isn't sure who put it there. It also isn't sure who removed it at some point on November 27. "The illegally installed structure, referred to as the 'monolith' has been removed from [BLM] public lands by an unknown party," it wrote on its Facebook page

The disappearance may mean that the mystery of its appearance is never solved.

And it's quite a mystery. The monolith wasn't just a structure sitting on the rock. The 12-foot-tall structure had been embedded into the rock. Whoever put it there had to transport the tall metal object and needed some serious tools to cut into the rock with precision.

Officials have speculated that it's most likely a work of art rather than aliens trying to communicate to us through the language of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Some have speculated that it may even be a work created by the late sculptor John McCracken.

The BLM also notes that it considers the monolith private property. It doesn't investigate crimes involving private property. That's left up to the local sheriff's office. Oh, and, naturally, Reddit, where this will undoubtedly be discussed until a satisfactory answer surfaces. 

For the wildlife surrounding the short-lived monolith, the disappearance is likely a blessing. The area has not been developed for tourists, and despite not disclosing the site, it was, of course, discovered and visited.

"Visitors who flocked to the site parked on vegetation and left behind human waste as evidence of their visit," the BLM says. "The undeveloped area does not have restrooms or a parking lot. The BLM recommends that visitors not attempt to visit the site, which has no cell service and requires high clearance vehicles; passenger vehicles have already been towed from the area."

It may almost be December, but the monolith is a reminder that this year is determined to be the strangest 365-day run of most of our lives. 

h/t New York Times

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.
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