UPDATED 12/1, 11:45 a.m. ET: According to the New York Times, four men dismantled the Utah monolith. Photographer Ross Bernards and his friend, Michael James Newlands, saw the men and documented their efforts.

“It must have been 10 or 15 minutes at most for them to knock over the monolith and pull it out,” Newlands told NYT. “We didn’t know who they were, and we were not going to do anything to stop them," adding that, "they just came in there to execute and they were like, ‘This is our mission.’”

See original story below. 

While the mysterious silver monolith found in the desert of southeastern Utah spurred alien theories, it seems that the statue has now suddenly vanished.

The state’s Bureau of Land Management said in a Facebook post that an “unknown party” uninstalled the monolith at some point on Friday night. The post continued, “We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the ‘monolith,’ has been removed" from BLM public lands. “The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property.”

The monolith was initially spotted on Nov. 18 by officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Aero Bureau. The agents were in a helicopter, counting bighorn sheep for the Division of Wildlife Resources when they first saw the tall, silver objectmonol/.

“One of the biologists ... spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told CNN affiliate 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 monolith sat in the middle of the desert, jutting out of the red rock. Hutchings surmised that it was “between 10 and 12 feet high.” It looked like it had been purposely placed. “I'm assuming it's some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big [2001: A Space Odyssey] fan," he said, referring to a scene in the 1968 film where a black monolith emerges.

Regardless, it’s against the law to plant structures or art without approval on public lands “no matter what planet you're from,” Utah DPS said in a statement released on Monday.

Authorities didn’t share the monolith’s location because they didn’t want hikers to seek it out, become lost, and need to be saved. However, the most curious ones still tracked the structure down, which was hidden in a red rock canyon south of Moab.

According to CNN, in order to reach the location, explorers had to drive in the dark over rough terrain and confirm GPS coordinates, three people told the outlet. At least one hiker got lost at the outset. They said the trip was worth the trouble, even if the monolith wasn’t placed by aliens.

David Surber was perhaps one of the first to see the monolith up close. The object’s coordinates were making the rounds on Reddit, but no one could verify that they were right—so Surber offered to find out. He later discovered that the coordinates were correct, and posted what he saw online. In his findings, he recorded that the monolith wasn’t magnetic or solid—that it sounded “like a cardboard box” when he tapped on it. He also told his followers how to locate the structure.


“At the end of the day, extraterrestrial or made through artistic expression; the monolith provided an opportunity for thousands of people to rally behind something positive again,” he told CNN. “It was a good escape from all the negativity we've experienced in 2020.”

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