It all started on November 18th, 2020 in the state of Utah, United States..
A group of officials who work for the Utah Department of Public Safety and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spotted an “unusual metal” object from the helicopter while they were counting sheep (don’t ask).
A statement by the Utah Department of Public Safety read:
“The crew members found a metal monolith installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock. The crew said there was no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there. But it is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands.”
Consequently, the Utah Department of Public Safety chose not to disclose the location of the installation because it was located in a a very remote area and “if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue.”
At this point, the people had questions that remained unanswered: who made the Monolith? What was it for? How long had it been around? And Did the sheep like it?
But why Name it the Monolith?
Apparently, the metal body was named that because of its resemblance to an object in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey
(Photo below is of the monolith in the movie. Wow, they really DO look alike)
The Disappearance of the First Monolith
On November 27th, It was reported that Utah’s Monolith has vanished from its location the same way it was discovered: MYSTERIOUSLY.
At this point, the internet started really working their brains and conspiracy theories started to form.
Was it the aliens? Was it a PR stunt? Honestly, any of these assumptions would have been SO COOL. Sorry to burst your bubble though, because it looks like otherworldly creatures didn’t actually take the monolith back to their home planet. Rather, some pissed off locals seemed to be behind the heist after all.
The group responsible for the disappearance of Utah’s Monolith posted this clip, explaining in the caption why they did it:
View this post on Instagram
The Second Monolith: Romania
The day the Monolith disappeared in Utah (actually on November 28th to be exact) a second Monolith appeared on Batca Doamnei, a hill close to the town of Piatra Neamt, Romania.
But then guess what on December 1st? THAT’S RIGHT A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER, ROMANIA’S MONOLITH DISAPPEARED TOO.
A shiny metal monolith vanished from Romania’s mountainous Neamt county, four days after its sudden appearance close to an ancient Dacian fortress sparked speculation it may be related to a mystery structure seen in the United States https://t.co/3gAljvbVoO 1/4 pic.twitter.com/x9jRy0GD1t
— Reuters Science News (@ReutersScience) December 1, 2020
Another Day, Another Monolith: Atascadero, California
In case you lost count, we’re now on our third Monolith, ladies and gentlemen. This one was discovered on December 2nd (One day after the disappearance of the second Romania Monolith. So perfectly timed out and very suspicious to be a coincidence? Perhaps!
The third Monolith emerged on top of Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California. Again, this monolith was quite similar to the others. It was made of stainless steel and was 10-feet tall and about 18-inches wide.
2020: And now for my usual magic trick – I’m going to make the third Monolith disappear!
Yeah, no, again, it wasn’t aliens.
Considering the amount of attention it has received, it was revealed that this one was torn down (some say stolen) by a group of young men, who replaced the metal structure with a wooden cross. Good ol’ edgy Californians..
The Fourth (and of this day, the final) Monolith: Isle of Wight, England
On Dec. 6, another Monolith was spotted at the base of a cliff on Compton Beach on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.
HOWEVER, it was shorter than the other three. This was about 7.5 feet high and 2 feet wide, according to the BBC. The country’s National Trust told the broadcaster it would investigate. But they didn’t actually have to..
— ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2020
BUT THEN, An Isle of Wight artist had stepped forward to claim he created the monolith at Isle of Wight.
Tom Dunford, an English local designer, told the BBC he created the structure in tribute to others which have popped up around the world, saying “I did it purely for fun. I was convinced it would be stolen in the first couple of hours.”
Mr Dunford, who works for a design company, also said: “When I saw the first one pop up [in Utah] I thought it was brilliant, the second one popped up and I had a text from a friend which said ‘you’re the man that can do this on the island’.
“I’m absolutely fascinated in futuristic design, science and space. The actual idea sparked when I was walking back to the office and we had an old sheet of mirrored perspex.”
Tom Dunford said he told a few trusted friends and relatives about his plan before he drove down to the beach to install it. “I’m one of these guys, once I get a creative streak I have to just go for it,” he added to the BBC.
Conspiracy Theories That Make Sense
Now, it’s important to note (for the sake of keeping the fun and mystery going) that although that last Monolith was attributed to a local artist, the other three are still AN ENIGMA. And no one knows where they came from.
Aside from the whole aliens shenanigans (which we’d honestly love to believe, but our integrity and reputation doesn’t allow it). So yeah, aside from that, there were actually a couple of PLAUSIBLE theories as to where the metal objected came from.
In light of the aesthetic, location and rough timing for the original monolith’s appearance, Internet sleuths narrowed down some of the wilder theories to two frontrunners: The monolith could be either:
1. A leftover prop
2. Or the work of minimalist sculptor John McCracken.
For the first theory: According to Vice Magazine, a Redditor who goes by the name “Bear__Fucker” dug into the Google Earth archives and long story short, craftily found convincing evidence that the structure was installed around five years ago.
As for the second theory associated with a sculptor, as told on CNet:
In light of the aesthetic, location and rough timing for the original monolith’s appearance, Internet sleuths narrowed down some of the wilder theories to two frontrunners: The monolith could be either a leftover prop, or the work of minimalist sculptor John McCracken.
— David Zwirner (@davidzwirner) November 25, 2020
But there’s one significant problem for this theory:
McCracken passed away in 2011, at least four years prior to the monolith’s appearance in Utah.
While some close to McCracken reportedly think it’s unlikely he would have left this artwork in a desert, the artist’s son, Patrick McCracken, told The New York Times that news of the monolith reminded him of a conversation with his father back in 2002.
“We were standing outside looking at the stars and he said something to the effect of that he would like to leave his artwork in remote places to be discovered later,” Patrick McCracken told the Times. “This discovery of a monolith piece — that’s very much in line with his artistic vision.”
So, even if we accept the possibility of the monolith being an authentic McCracken, the questions remain: Who put it there — and why?
Update – Dec. 8: We have an answer!
A group of artists have recently took credit for the 2 monoliths that appeared in the United States and began selling them for $ 45,000, about 900,000 Mexican pesos. These are the structures found in Utah and on top of Pine Mountain, in Atascadero, California .
The group call themselves “The Most Famous Artist” and have shared images of the monolith’s realization on Instagram to prove it. In another video posted on YouTube, they were seen installing a new monolith in California to replace the one that was destroyed by locals.
The Internet Reacts!
When life gives you monolith, make mono-memes! The world is a creative, creative place.
Here’s how social media users (and brands) added their own touch to the Monolith mystery.
welcome to McDonald’s what can i get you? pic.twitter.com/iIgd8J5QIW
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) December 1, 2020
BREAKING: Monolith Inexplicably Returns… With Stories pic.twitter.com/If61Aj0iaC
— Tim Quirino (@timquirino) November 30, 2020
The mysterious monolith has appeared on the TED stage. pic.twitter.com/2jrp0Ml4tE
— TED Talks (@TEDTalks) December 1, 2020
the monolith has fallen down the stair at the met gala pic.twitter.com/IZDYB9d3KF
— Leah Williams (@leahgwilliams) December 6, 2020
BE the monolith! pic.twitter.com/AlAg8aOHWI
— SpongeBob (@SpongeBob) December 3, 2020
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) November 29, 2020
And now you know all the scoop about the Monolith!