The internet went wild when a strange 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque metal monolith was found in the Utah desert. Later, devoted Reddit sleuths would discover more about the monolith and its potential origins.
But now, according to officials from the Bureau of Land Management in Utah, the strange metal object is gone.
“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,” read the statement, posted on Facebook.
“The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property.”
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The Utah Department of Public Safety had initially discovered the object, in a helicopter in a remote region of southern Utah while counting bighorn sheep.
“I’d say it’s probably between 10 and 12 feet high,” pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL, back when it was initially discovered. “We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then I guess the rest of us make a run for it.”
But in the wake of the discovery dedicated folks on Reddit took made an attempt to discover the origins of the monolith. First they located the monolith on Google Earth, then they used historical imaging data in an attempt to discover exactly when the object first appeared in the desert. Using this data they discovered the monolith first appeared between August 2015 and October 2016.
Around that time, sci-fi drama Westworld was filming in a nearby location, which has led many to speculate the monolith is an old movie prop.
Considering the location had also been used in a number of other TV shows and movies — from recent films like 127 Hours and Mission: Impossible 2, to classic westerns in the 1940s and 1960 — it is a possibility.
Regardless, as of right now, the monolith is gone. The Bureau of Land Management has said it has no plans to investigate the disappearance, stating that’s the business of the sheriff’s office.