A mysterious, three-meter-high object made of some kind of metal, seemingly man-made, was stumbled upon by state employees in a remote part of Utah as they were counting sheep from a helicopter; the monolith set off a frenzy of speculation as to its origins.
The mysterious metal monolith discovered recently in the Utah desert by public safety workers has disappeared, officials said on Saturday.
In its statement, the federal Bureau of Land Management’s Utah office said the three-sided metal structure was removed on Friday evening “by an unknown party” from the public land it was found on.
On 23 November the Utah Department of Public Safety claimed it had stumbled upon the seemingly man-made object during a helicopter survey for bighorn sheep.
According to Lt. Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, the fact that the monolith had been embedded into the rock had triggered speculations as to how it had been installed in the first place.
According to officials, the structure was most likely a work of art and its installation on public land was illegal.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it would not investigate the disappearance of the mystery slab as “crimes involving private property” are managed by the local sheriff’s office.
From Art to Aliens
After images of the object started circulating on the internet, many in the art world speculated whether it could be the work of John McCracken, a minimalist sculptor with an affinity for science fiction, who died in 2011.
The David Zwirner gallery, which has exhibited the artist’s work, asserted that the mystery monolith was a bona fide McCracken, with the artist’s son, Patrick McCracken, telling The New York Times that his father had told him in 2002 that “he would like to leave his artwork in remote places to be discovered later.”
However, a mundane explanation didn’t sit well with a great many fans of the more outlandish theories.
Some people thought the column might be a tribute to the monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
Of course, something as tantalizing as the silvery slice of metal spotted amidst the red-rock canyons of the Utah desert couldn’t but spawn a plethora of wild theories linking the object to UFOs and aliens.
Despite officials doing their utmost to conceal the monolith’s location, claiming it would be dangerous for people to attempt to reach the outlying site, some nevertheless tracked it down.
David Surber trekked to the structure this week and posted videos of it on Instagram, saying it was located near Lockhart Basin Road, which is south of Moab.
He was the one to make a post about its disappearance on his Instagram story on Saturday night.
The Instagram post by the Bureau of Land Management set off a thread of comments by users, who speculated on whether it might “show up somewhere else”.
Some wondered if, perhaps, it was a “relic and secret location for some alien cult ceremonies”.
Others simply agreed that whatever its origins, it had provided a “cool diversion while it lasted”, and that it was “nice to have some mysteries in life.
On Twitter, users were similarly intrigued by the disappearance of the monolith.