On November 18th, during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, a strange silver object was spotted from above.
The crew decided to descend in order to find out exactly what this alien looking obelisk was doing in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a red rock landscape reminiscent of Mars.
Standing 10-feet tall, and made out of what is believed to be aluminum, a shiny three-sided surface, this triangular monolith brings Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey quickly to my mind. What’s strange is that this object was firmly mounted into its rocky landscape. A science fiction scene playing out that would make Elon Musk proud.
Placed on public land with no granted permission, and due to all the “unwanted attention”, the exact location of the Utah monolith was so remote the Bureau of Land Management kept its location a secret for fear that mystery hunters and the curious would venture out only to be stranded and eventually needing rescue.
As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the structure. Theories range from aliens showing their teleportation powers to the powers that be to a Bansky-like artist ushering in a new age of the art display to a marketing stunt for an upcoming IPO launch, or a movie or television show.
And as quickly as this obelisk was discovered and hit a firestorm of social media attention, something else happened. Nine days later, people flocked from up to fifteen hours away to see it, only to discover in dismay that it had quickly disappeared.
Under the cover of darkness, a group of four people, working in teams of two, have since toppled the structure. A photographer hearing them saying, “This is why you don’t leave trash in the desert” and “Leave no trace”. One of them, Ross Bernards of Colorado, has since claimed responsibility for the dismantling of the monolith. As of this writing, a rock pile and a mini-metal pyramid, appearing to be made of the same material, now reside in its place.
Across the planet, an almost identical monolith materializes in Romania. This one, with circular swirled abrasions spread across its surface. Residents of the city of Piatra discovered the strange object. It was reportedly found standing on the Bâtca Doamnei plateau, near an archaeological site overlooking the city. One of its three sides facing a mountain that is considered holy by the locals. Is it aliens trying to tell us something?
As quickly as it appeared, days later, this Tuesday it disappeared. What is going on? Where did it go? As I write this - another monolith has emerged on a mountain top in Atascadero, a city situated in California’s central coast!
The mountain-top monolith gleaming above Pine Mountain is the third such mystery in recent weeks. Who is doing this? And why are they using a monolith? It must have meaning. We know that it is not aliens at this point. The monolith has been welded with exposed rivets holding the stainless steel in place.
And like it’s houdini predecessors - this California monolith pulls off the same disappearing act...it has now disappeared! Reportedly taken down by the same amount of men as the Utah one, four. Coincidence? It was quickly replaced with a cross, which was then swiftly removed.
Why are these monoliths appearing in these specific locations? Are they special? Are they sacred?
What’s the connection to all of these locations?
My theory and that of many others is that this has something to do with art, no aliens. And trust me - I wish it was aliens more than anyone. These structures are believed to be the creation of sculpture artist John McCracken.
As his wishful dying legacy, McCraken had the idea of creating sculptures and leaving them in remote places for people to discover. To top it off, he was a lover of science fiction.
So, it seems like a simple enough explanation right? It was McCracken. Well, not so fast. He passed away in 2011. Coupled with the fact that, based on the magic of Google Earth satellite imagery, this solo standing structure in Utah was constructed and or installed between 2015 to 2016, four to five years after John McCraken’s death.
So either a gallery or a group of artists are carrying on his legacy or this is something else. I for one think this is linked to McCraken. All signs point to him. Either by inspiration or through a united artist attempt to carry this idea forward in a time where travel, nature, exploration and adventure have been put into a holding pattern.
So what about Romania and California? Will there be more places where this pops up? Are we just looking at copycats? At this stage of the game, with the international attention on this towering mirrored triangle, people may want to get into the game. Is it a game? Is this for a movie? Or is it just the nature of how things go viral in this world of social when we can’t be social?
During this historic year where the pandemic has shuttered businesses and travel, instilled fear and anxiety throughout the world, this teleporting piece of art has grabbed the world’s attention and when we can’t get into the museums or art galleries, we can get into nature and into the woods. Someone is bringing the art to us, bringing us into nature and into remote places that are meant to be explored and experienced.
Whether this is a marketing stunt for the upcoming cryptocurrency Libra from Facebook in January or some Space-X / Tesla / NASA partnership, this is the escape we need as we close out the end of this tumultuous year and head into a new adventure that is 2021.
Everyone loves a good mystery and “Hindsight being 2020”, might have a whole new meaning.
Cheers to 2021!