It’s been a rough year so far, and people have taken their joy wherever they can. The most recent example of this coronavirus-induced fervour has centred on two mysterious metallic monoliths. The first was found in the Utah desert in late November with a second, similar-looking pillar being spotted in Romania the same month. These structures both appeared under mysterious circumstances and vanished in an equally strange manner. Speculation online has fingered aliens as the perpetrators, but there’s now other, more viable theories out there.
Let’s take a look at some of the prevailing theories about the origins and removal of the metal monoliths.
A squad of burly men dismantled the Utah monolith and carried it into the night
This is the latest theory doing the rounds, courtesy of photographer Ross Bernards. In an Instagram post, Bernards stated he travelled to photograph the Utah monolith on Friday, November 27. For two hours Bernards captured shots of the structure, but he stated he was soon interrupted by a group of four men with nefarious plans for the monolith.
In the post, Bernards states:
“4 guys rounded the corner and 2 of them walked forward. They gave a couple of pushes on the monolith and one of them said “You better have got your pictures.” He then gave it a big push, and it went over, leaning to one side. He yelled back to his other friends that they didn’t need the tools. The other guy with him at the monolith then said “this is why you don’t leave trash in the desert.” Then all four of them came up and pushed it almost to the ground on one side, before they decided push it back the other when it then popped out and landed on the ground with a loud bang.”
This appears to be the most likely theory for how the Utah monolith vanished. Internet speculation went wild when news first hit headlines and it wasn’t long before it garnered the attention of local tourists.
It now occupies a unique tier in pop culture, so it going missing isn’t a huge surprise. The theft may also may go without legal consequences, since the origin of the structure is still a mystery and nobody has claimed it as their own.
It still doesn’t explain how the monolith arrived in the desert in the first place, or how it relates to the structure found in Romania, though. Let’s take a look at some other theories.
It was left over from a TV show or film shoot
According to popular theory, the Utah monolith was established in 2016 and went unnoticed for four years. At the time, several TV shows were filming in the Utah deserts and its surrounds so there’s a chance the monolith was a film or TV prop that was accidentally left behind. Westworld was identified as a potential culprit due to its retro sci-fi stylings but John Carter and 127 Hours were also named as potential perpetrators.
So far no production house has claimed responsibility, and Utah government officials have stated they were unaware of the monolith’s existence so it’s looking unlikely this was placed for any kind of lawful filming. Film productions aren’t usually this sloppy, either. Film props are expensive to build and wouldn’t be left out in the open.
It’s a viral marketing stunt for a new product
Look, it’s 2020. The world’s gone a bit mad. We shouldn’t be surprised if an avant garde company or artist chose to advertise their product by placing illegal monoliths in the middle of the Utah desert and Romania of all places.
We know Utah government officials considered the structure to be an illegal placement so we can safely assume this isn’t a prominent brand or ‘official’ product launch — those usually go through more legitimate channels and without legal scrutiny. But guerrilla advertising is an artform and if a marketing firm is looking to send their product viral, this is the way to do it.
The Utah and Romania monoliths aren’t related
This is the logical answer, sadly. While both monoliths are angular, metallic structures, the markings on the Romania structure are wildly different to Utah’s. One is smooth, and the other is roughly textured.
The popularity of the Utah monolith is what likely led to the fervour around the Romania monolith but the two structures being similar in shape and appearance isn’t extremely unlikely. There’s only so many metallic poles sticking out of the Earth, and it’s not outside the realms of possibility that these structures just happen to look the same.
It was aliens
We want to believe, but sadly the Utah monolith is unlikely to be the creation of an alien force. Early punters noted the structure looked distinctly man-made and contained regular screws and bearings to hold it together.
While extra-terrestrial tests were never conducted on the metals making up the structure, we do have to debunk the alien theory.
Besides, they surely have bigger things to worry about than placing long metal poles in the earth. Earth is currently undergoing a global pandemic, aliens will probably want to give it a miss for now.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo Australia as the monolith mystery unfolds further. Wild theories aside it’s a fascinating development and in 2020, an unsolved mystery is what we all need to keep the serotonin alive. Long live the mysterious monoliths. We hope the mystery never dies.