Source: Utah Department of Public Safety
As just one of the many bizarre things to happen in 2020, a strange metal monolith was discovered in Utah’s Canyon Country in November and set the internet ablaze.
What made the discovery of the monolith so strange was the lack of information gained by its discovery. Nobody knew where it came from, why it was there, how long it had been there, or what it could mean. It didn’t take long for word to spread, theories to form and adventure seekers to hit the road in an attempt to find what has been dubbed the Utah Monolith.
While there are still many unanswered questions, here is a timeline:
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources was conducting an aerial survey of the bighorn sheep population in north San Juan County when they noticed an unusual tower-like structure sticking out from the ground in a very remote stretch of Utah’s Canyon Country. They did not know where it came from, how long it had been there, or why it was placed there, but believed the structure to be man-made.
The Utah Department of Public Safety issues a press release describing the unique discovery, which they refer to as a “monolith”, but keep its precise location under wraps and ask people to not attempt to visit the monolith. The department did not want an influx of visitors to the remote site. Road conditions are not made to handle high levels of traffic, and the wilderness conditions could pose a threat to unprepared adventure-seekers.
Internet sleuths worked their magic to identify precisely where in the Utah desert the monolith could be found and shared coordinates on Reddit and other sites. According to historical Google Earth images, the structure had been there since 2016.
In the following days, visitors came out to the remote corner of Utah’s Canyon Country to see the monolith for themselves. Multiple pictures and videos gained popularity across social media as the mystery of the monolith rapidly spread.
Image Source: Hyperallergic.com
The Utah Bureau of Land Management announced that someone had removed the monolith. They estimated that it had been taken down some time during the evening of November 27th.
The mystery became even more intriguing when a very similar monolith was discovered in Romania, right after the Utah monolith was taken down. This led many to wonder how many more of them might be out there, and where they are coming from.
The discovery of the monolith was already peculiar, but the buzz reached new heights after it went missing. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office announced that they would not investigate who took down the structure or who put it there in the first place.
On November 30th, a man from Colorado named Ross Bernards claimed to have been a witness to the removal of the monolith from San Juan County. He said that a group had pushed it down and taken it away in pieces. Seeing Bernards watching them, one of the monolith-movers allegedly made the statement, “This is why you don’t leave trash in the desert.”
Just like the Utah Monolith, the structure discovered in Romania also was taken down, with no evidence to show where it might have gone.
On the same day that the obelisk in Romania disappeared, another was found atop Pine Mountain in California.
Since then, there have been reports of monoliths popping up and then disappearing from various locations across the world. If monolith conspiracies are what define the last month of 2020, we’ll take it.
As the location where the first mysterious monolith was discovered, Utah’s Canyon Country wants to remind you that there are more “monumental” sites to visit and enjoy in Utah, and they haven’t disappeared!
Check out some of the amazing natural monoliths in Utah’s Canyon Country and start planning your next trip!
There is so much natural beauty and ancient history to see and enjoy among the red rock of Utah’s Canyon Country. Visitors can enjoy the many “natural monoliths” in the area all year round! The communities of Monticello, Blanding, Bluff and other San Juan County towns make great basecamps for exploring San Juan County. Check out the best hotels and unique lodging options for your stay in Utah’s Canyon Country.
Since the first monolith was discovered in Utah’s Canyon Country, there has been no shortage of theories shared online for explaining where they came from, and why they exist in the first place. From art installations to alien communication, the ideas are all over the place. Here are some of the leading theories:
Image Source: Worleygig.com
Some have noted the similarity in design between the Utah monolith and the work of artist John McCracken, who passed away in 2011. McCracken was known for minimalist-style “planks”, which he would leave in conspicuous places. He once said that he was trying to create work resembling things that could have been brought by UFOs.
Others believe the monoliths to be some kind of performance art by an artist besides McCracken, or a series of artists continuing the phenomenon. Since McCracken died in 2011, he wouldn’t be responsible for any new monoliths appearing today.
As is often the case with any unexplained phenomena, it doesn’t take long for someone to suggest that extra-terrestrial life is behind it. The monoliths do look like something that could come from space. In fact, many have noted how much the Utah monolith resembled the structures depicted in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The site where the Utah monolith was found is in the area where some filming took place for the HBO show Westworld, and some have speculated that the monolith might be a leftover piece from the set.
As of December 5th, 2020, it appears that the monolith mystery may have been solved.
A group of artists that refer to themselves collectively as The Most Famous Artist have taken credit for the original Utah monolith and others. Although, they say the Romanian structure was not their doing.
Allegedly, the monoliths really were artistic stunts. And now the group is advertising some kind of monoliths-as-a-service offering for those willing to pay. Based on the photos and statements members of The Most Famous Artist have made, it seems to check out.
But, let’s not be too quick to dismiss other possibilities… aliens?
Unfortunately, the Utah monolith is no more. Some people still want to find the site for themselves, which now remains as an empty tribute to a living meme. But there’s not much to see now, and Utah’s Canyon Country echoes the requests from the Utah Bureau of Land Management in asking visitors to be responsible and leave our wilderness clean and unharmed. Please do not go looking for the location. The monolith site is remote, and no services are available in the area.