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Mysterious monolith is missing, and people have theories

What the monolith heist might have looked like: One artist's impression.
What the monolith heist might have looked like: One artist’s impression.

Image: Shutterstock / Limbitech

By Siobhan Neela-Stock

The metal monolith, planted by unknown sources in the Utah desert at some point before last week, has gone the same way it arrived: shrouded in mystery. 

Officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources discovered the three-sided silver structure on Nov. 18 via helicopter, while on a routine mission to count bighorn sheep.

Now the monolith is no longer — except for some remaining rocks and a triangular piece of metal, according to visitors who posted photographs online Saturday. 

The “monolith” obelisk met a swift fate before we arrived. Only the triangular top remained as well as parts of the below-ground base. If I ventured a guess, it was probably dismantled by someone determined to prevent careless curiosity that tends to ruin alluring sites. pic.twitter.com/kXP5KypmlS

— Jack Waters 🌹🇸🇪 (@h2oetry) November 29, 2020

With no clear explanation for the disappearance in sight, Twitter users began speculating on the latest strange twist in a very strange year. 

If that metal monolith in the Utah desert was not left and then disappeared by aliens, 2020 did not fully deliver.

— Lindsay Stidham (@lindsaystidham) November 29, 2020

Relax. The prophesy foretells that we’ll be fine as long as nothing happens to the mysterious monolith in Utah.

— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) November 29, 2020

I’ve been suspecting the Utah Monolith was a college prank, like where some geeks stole an architectural feature off their dorm, drove out, planted it, and when things got viral they had to go undo it or they’d get caught by a serial number or something.

— justanyone (@justanyone) November 29, 2020

One leading theory is that the monolith was the work of a California artist who died in 2011 — and was a friend of Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy. In its sudden disappearance, however, some detected the hand of another more prank-friendly artist. 

Who else thinks that the disappearing Utah monolith is a Banksy?

— TomHorwitz (@TomHorwitz) November 29, 2020

So far as we know, there was no attempt to vandalize the monolith — though it seems like the kind of thing humanity would do to its first alien visitor. 

On Saturday, Utah’s Bureau of Land Management confirmed that the mysterious metal monolith in the desert has disappeared. Hours later, the monolith sent a message from outer space stating, “I was perfectly happy on Earth until one of you tried to spray paint me with a penis.” pic.twitter.com/LC1xlk3aQ9

— Jarrett Bellini (@JarrettBellini) November 29, 2020

With no leads in the case, local authorities — specifically, the Sheriff’s Office in San Juan County, Utah — declined to investigate. But they did decide to have some fun on Facebook.

Mysterious monolith is missing, and people have theories

Image: facebook screenshot

Wherever the monolith dwells now, it’s clear that 2020 isn’t done with its surprises. Perhaps we shall see this modern version of the crop circle again before the year is out. 

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