Tracking all the monoliths that have appeared (and disappeared) around the world
The saga of the mysterious monoliths – the tall, metal structures popping up and then vanishing around the world – shows no signs of stopping.
On Dec. 25, a monolith appeared at Corona Heights Park in San Francisco, except this time it was made out of gingerbread. It even came complete with icing and gumdrops.
“We will leave it up until the cookie crumbles,” San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg told KQED.
Another recent sighting: A 10-foot tall monolith appeared in a park in Ithaca, New York, according to the Ithaca Voice.
It wasn’t clear to city officials where the monolith came from – which resulted in joy paired with some frustration.
“It’s a fun light-hearted mystery but it is also frustrating to other members of the public who go through the long and arduous path through the legitimate City process to get a piece of art or other project approved by the City,” JoAnn Cornish, the city’s planning director, told the Voice.
While the structure seems sturdy, it presents a liability issue in case someone gets hurt while interacting with it, especially given that it was “not vetted” by local authorities.
Another appeared Thursday in Fort Pierce, Florida, according to a local CBS affiliate.
To help keep track of all the appearances (and disappearances) of the monoliths around the world, we pulled together a master list of each occurrence:
The first, unexplained metal monolith was discovered in Utah’s remote Red Rock Country on Nov. 18. The Utah Department of Public Safety publicly announced the discovery of the monolith on Nov. 23, which was discovered by the DPS’s Aero Bureau and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources while on a mission to conduct a count of big horn sheep in a portion of southeastern Utah.
The monolith sparked debate over the parties responsible: Some joked – or seriously theorized – aliens were to blame, while some artists took credit for the statue.
On Nov. 27, Utah monolith disappeared. Days later, travel photographer Ross Bernards revealed he was on site when four unidentified men showed up to remove the Utah monolith. Bernards’ friend, Mike Newlands, was also witness to the removal. A few days later, he spoke with one of the men responsible for the removal, who said they removed it for many reasons, including to respect the land. In a YouTube video posted the same day, Utah residents Andy Lewis and Sylvan Christensen stepped forward as being part of the team who removed the Utah monolith.
Another monolith – of a less mysterious variety – also appeared in Utah. Wesley Peay wrote on Facebook, that the “craziest thing” showed up at his house on Dec. 15: A monolith he had constructed himself over a nine day period to bring cheer to his wife, who is battling cancer, Fox News reports.
Was it aliens? Vanishing Utah monolith prompts wide-ranging conspiracy theories
‘If you think we’re proud, we’re not’:Meet the adventure athletes who say they removed the Utah monolith
On Dec. 2, another monolith was discovered on a hiking trail in Atascadero, Southern California, KEYT-TV and The Atascadero News reported. Like other monoliths before it, the California structure vanished as strangely as it appeared. According to a press release from the city of Atascadero, the 10-foot-tall monolith, which weighed an estimated 200 pounds, disappeared early morning on Dec. 3.
A group of four men have taken credit for erecting the Atascadero monolith: Travis Kenney, Randall Kenney, Wade McKenzie and Jared Riddle, according to The New York Times. The group filmed themselves putting up a replacement monolith and shared it to YouTube.
Around Dec. 5, another monolith seemed to have mysteriously appeared by Joshua Tree National Park in California, according to The Most Famous Artist Instagram page, an art collective that shares photos of the monoliths but doesn’t outright take credit for them. The page has also attempted to sell some of the structures, but it is still unclear who made them.
Around the same time, on Dec. 5 or 6, a monolith in Santa Clarita, California popped up by Highway 14 at Canyon Country Park and disappeared as quickly as it appeared, according to the Los Angeles Daily News and ABC 7.
The Los Angeles Times and The Tribune, a local San Louis Obispo newspaper, reported the county’s second monolith was spotted in Los Padres National Forest around Dec. 6 and 7.
North Carolina monolith
On Dec. 5, a 3-foot monolith also popped up in
Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The 3-foot tall structure appeared in the raised flower bed on the sidewalk in front of McKee Homes Design Studios, according to a news release from Cool Spring Downtown District.
According to Bianca Shoneman, executive director of the Cool Spring Downtown District, people have been gathering around the monolith taking pictures.
“It’s brought joy and reminded us we ‘can do’ public art and/or extraterrestrial visits,” Shoneman said. “There’s likely a very logical reason for our monolith’s appearance. But while we wait to find out if there’s a human or alien motivation behind it, we’re adopting downtown’s newest art installation as one of our own.”
Photos taken outside Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop in Pittsburgh on Dec. 6 showed a three-sided metal sculpture. But unlike the ones before it, there was no mystery: The candy store shared on social media that they built it as a “gimmick” to “remind everyone to support small businesses.”
A structure was captured on video by local news stations in El Paso’s Upper Valley early on Dec. 8 before it disappeared later that day. Footage shared to social media showed a group of people putting the object in a truck.
On Nov. 28, Andrei Carabelea, the mayor of Piatra Neamt, Romania, welcomed the discovery of a monolith in his city, which looked similar to the Utah structure. The Romanian pillar was triangular in form and found on Batca Doamnei Hill, close to the Petrodava Dacian Fortress archeological landmark.
On Dec. 1, Reuters reported that the Romanian monolith had disappeared, quoting journalist Robert Iosub of the local newspaper Ziar Piatra Neamt.
United Kingdom monoliths
According to reports from Sky News and BBC on Dec. 7, a similar sculpture was spotted over the weekend on the Isle of Wight’s Compton Beach, located off the southern coast of England. USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Compton Beach for more information.
On Dec. 9, BBC and the Daily Mail reported that another monolith was discovered by walkers on Glastonbury Tor, a hill near the southwestern English town of the same name, a day earlier. This monolith, unlike others that have popped up around the world, was seen by some walkers lying on its side with the words “Not Banksy” etched into the side despite it featuring a stencil drawing of a rat, similar in style to that of the famous street artist.
A structure, similar to the ones seen across the United States, mysteriously appeared in Savonlinna, in eastern Finland, according to Finnish news reports around Dec. 10.
On Dec. 11, wire service Agence France-Presse, citing local media, reported that a triangular monolith appeared along the Vistula river in the Polish capital of Warsaw, which was spotted by joggers.
On Dec. 10, The Most Famous Artist Instagram page shared another image of a monolith among a sea of garbage. “Hi from Poltava City, Ukraine! c/o @tmfacommunity + @cherniavskyi,” the caption read, tagging a global artist network and artist’s page. On the artist Denys Cherniavskyi’s page, more photos and video were posted of the structure, which is reportedly located in a landfill in the city.
On Dec. 11, The Most Famous Artist page posted yet another monolith photo, this time with only a location as the caption: Noarlunga, a port town in South Australia. Local media have also reported about the structure’s appearance.
Contributing: Morgan Hines, Hannah Yasharoff and Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY; Akira Kyles, The Fayetteville Observer
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