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Utah’s metal desert monolith mysteriously vanishes...maybe to the stars

By Benjamin Bullard

Almost as soon as it manifested in the stark remote Utah desert, the gleaming metal monolith that inspired comparisons to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and other far-out sci-fi tales has disappeared — and the official line is that know one knows how...or why.

The shining structure was first spotted from above on Nov. 25, when a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter spied something unnaturally reflective and bling-y, down in a red rock canyon somewhere in the southeastern corner of the state. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Utah wouldn’t pinpoint the structure’s exact location for the public, citing safety concerns due to the monolith’s far-flung and desolate installation.

That was less than a week ago, and now — as if called home by a disembodied cosmic voice — the sleek slab has vanished. BLM acknowledged on Saturday that the “illegally installed structure” had indeed been removed “by an unknown party,” and that BLM itself was not involved in the monolith’s disappearance — since it was located on private property.


“We do not investigate crimes involving private property which are handled by the local sheriff’s office,” BLM said in a tweet revealing the bewitchingly beveled block’s disappearance. “The structure has received international and national attention and we received reports that a person or group removed it on the evening of Nov. 27.”

Not long after its discovery, the slab set intrepid internet sleuths to work on discerning its precise location, with a gang of dedicated Reddit detectives narrowing down its purported coordinates to a site south of Dead Horse Point State Park — an area favored by location scouts for sci-fi productions like Disney’s John Carter and HBO’s Westworld. One hiker managed to document his inquisitive pilgrimage to the site before the monolith vanished, indicating (as shown in the video above) that its non-magnetic properties suggest aluminum construction, pieced together as three riveted panels.

For now, questions still linger about the astronomically alluring artifact, and unless someone (or some…thing) makes contact with the rest of the world and sheds new light on the monolith, its exact nature and purpose still remain a mystery. Maybe for us mere Earthlings that’s a good thing. After all, we’re not sure that the obelisk enlightenment in 2001: A Space Odyssey left its primate (or human) witnesses in the happiest of places.


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