Desert mystery deepens: Did the Utah monolith go to Romania?
Ten days after wildlife biologists spotted a mysterious monolith in the Utah desert, it has disappeared. No one knows where it came from or where it has gone. Meanwhile, a similar structure has appeared in the hills of Romania.
| Salt Lake City
A mysterious silver monolith that was placed in the Utah desert has disappeared less than 10 days after it was spotted by wildlife biologists performing a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep, federal officials and witnesses 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,” on Nov. 27, BLM spokesperson Kimberly Finch said in a statement. The agency did not remove the structure, she said.
Utah’s state’s Department of Public Safety said wildlife biologists counting bighorn sheep from state helicopters spotted the monolith on Nov. 18, a report that garnered international attention. It was about 11 feet tall with sides that appeared to be made of stainless steel.
Meanwhile, another silver monolith has popped up in the hills of Piatra Neamt, Romania. The town’s local newspaper reported that this structure is 10 to 12 feet tall and reflective, like the one found in Utah, according to NPR.
“My guess is that some alien, cheeky and terrible teenagers left home with their parents’ UFO and started planting metal monoliths around the world. First in Utah and then at Piatra Neamt,” said Andreai Carabelea, the town’s mayor, in a statement posted to Facebook. “I am honored that they chose our city.”
Back in the United States, Utah police said they won’t be opening a major investigation into the disappearance of their mysterious silver-colored monolith that generated international attention and a mess when curious visitors made their way to the site of the discovery in the Utah desert.
The sheriff in San Juan County says the office doesn’t have the resources to devote much time and energy to the taking of the object, which was illegal to begin with because it was placed without permission amid red rocks on a remote section of public land. Its creator also remains a mystery.
Utah officials did not say specifically where the monolith was located, but people soon found it through satellite images dating back to 2016 and determined its GPS coordinates.
Hundreds of people came to see it after the gleaming, almost otherworldly object garnered widespread attention as a literal bright spot in a sea of grim news during the pandemic. Authorities are accepting tips from anyone who saw anything suspicious related to the discovery.
Visitors parked vehicles on plants and left behind waste, according to the BLM. The site doesn’t have a parking lot, bathrooms, or cellphone coverage, and some passenger cars had to be towed from the remote area after getting stuck.
The site is now empty except for a piece of metal covering a hole where the monolith had stood. The land agency reminded any would-be visitors that driving off designated roads in the area is illegal.
Reporters with The Salt Lake Tribune hiked to the spot on Saturday and confirmed that it was gone.
Spencer Owen of Salt Lake City said he saw the monolith Friday afternoon and camped in the region overnight, but as he hiked to the area again on Saturday people passing him on the trail warned him it was gone, the Tribune reported. When he arrived at the spot, all that was left was a piece of metal covering a triangular-shaped hole in the rocks.
“I was really bummed,” said Mr. Owen, who posted a video on his Instagram. “It was so pretty and shiny. I wanted to go see it again.”
Riccardo Marino and his girlfriend Sierra Van Meter were traveling from Colorado to California on Friday and decided to stop and see the object after finding the GPS coordinates online.
“This was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we couldn’t miss out,” Mr. Marino told KUTV.
On the way, they passed a long-bed truck with a large object in the back and he said he joked “oh look, there’s the Utah monolith right there.”
When they arrived at the spot, it was gone.
Steve Adams said he left Helper, in central Utah, at 7 a.m. Saturday to drive to the area. When he arrived and asked someone for directions, he was told the tower was gone. He and some friends made the hike anyway.
“It was pretty disappointing,” he told the Tribune. “We were really excited to go down and have an adventure to see it. It feels like it was everybody’s and then it was nobody’s. It’s gone.”
This story was reported by The Associated Press.