One of the stranger tales to emerge last week had to be the bizarre 10- to 12-foot silver, shining metal monolith discovered in the middle of nowhere in southeastern Utah. But, just a few days after it was accidentally discovered by Utah officials, the strange art installation (or first contact device) was apparently removed by an "unknown party" sometime Friday night, according to Utah's Bureau of Land Management.
"We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the “monolith” has been removed from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands by an unknown party," BLM Utah posted on Facebook. "The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property. We do not investigate crimes involving private property which are handled by the local sheriff’s office. 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.”
The monolith was first discovered by accident on November 18th after officers with the Utah Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau were assisting the Division of Wildlife Resources to count bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah. The officers were flying by helicopter when they spotted the mysterious shining installation tucked in a redrock slot canyon south of Moab.
"One of the biologists ... spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it," pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL. "He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!' And I was like, 'What.' And he's like, 'There's this thing back there -- we've got to go look at it!'"
The exact location of the monolith was not released by authorities due to concerns over curiosity-seekers becoming stranded in the middle of the desert, however, a sharp-eyed Reddit user used Google Earth to track the monolith down and post its coordinates online.
The Bureau reminded people that it is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on public lands "no matter what planet you're from," said Utah DPS in a statement released Monday.
Photo: Utah DPS