Utah Monolith Phenomenon


Courtesy of CNN

The monolith in all its glory standing in the red rock.

Nikole Galea, Photojournalist

If our year hasn’t been crazy enough someone, just add a huge monolith on top of our list. This metal pillar has seemed to grasp the attention of everyone, both internationally and nationally. Almost as soon as it was discovered, it disappeared. Nonetheless, many people are wondering whether this phenomenon was just a silly prank.

This pillar was first encountered on November 18th in the desert near San Juan County, Utah. It was seen by officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Aero Bureau whilst they were helping the Division of Wildlife Resources count bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah. They were flying overhead when they spotted something that seemed right out of an alien movie. 

The location of this mysterious monolith had not been disclosed to ensure public safety. Although, being the nosy, curious people most are, many managed to locate the monolith for a quick visit. According to some of its visitors, the trek involved driving in the darkness over rocky terrain and verifying GPS coordinates. 

Though the fun that was shared in the journey would soon be defined as ancient history. Ten days after its initial discovery date, the monolith was pronounced poached. Though it is not completely clear as to who took the monolith because of some photos taken by a photographer and his friend. The photographer, Ross Bernards, and his friend who had accompanied him, Micheal Newlands, were leaving the site in order to give the next people some privacy when they noticed something odd and chose to stick around for a little bit. Ross stated that the four men who had come to see the monolith all began articulating how it had been “trash in the desert” and suggesting that it was an eyesore, a pollutant to the landscape, according to Mr. Bernards. Although the photos taken were clearly not taken by the photographer and his camera. In an interview, Bernards stated he had not wanted to “start confrontation” with the men and refused to take photos with his big camera, so his friend chose to take some with an iPhone.

The culprits are not the only people with such feelings over this mysterious situation. Carlie Nelson (9) states, “I believe that people have gotten so bored that they will do anything to cause news of something strange. I’m not sure if it’s a group or just one person, but whoever it is must be laughing at everyone. I’m honestly shocked that everyone is this fixated over a piece of metal.” Carlie has an interesting point when she says that they “must be laughing at everyone”. 

After the removal of the monolith, people have gone overboard coming up with conspiracies of who could’ve planted this great silver mass. One includes an old and deceased artist by the name of John McCracken, who they believe made and instructed others to plant said monolith. The only evidence they have is the resemblance between his work and the monolith. The addition of all of these conspiracies and theories have indefinitely worked up the mystery. In addition, more and more monoliths have been appearing up and out of the ground all over the world normally being named a “copycat”. However, in all actuality should we really think this is a copy cat or is there a bigger scheme in place?