Over the past couple weeks we've been covering the saga of the mysterious monolith discovered in the Utah desert on Nov. 18. It was spotted gleaming in the sun by helicopter pilots counting longhorn sheep, and over the following 10 days captured the attention of the entire internet, which speculated wildly about its origin. Then, on Friday, it vanished without a trace. Or so it seemed.
Today we learned of two new developments in the monolith case: 1) a photographer who was in the desert at the structure on Friday has claimed he saw four guys roll up and just knock it over before carting it away in wheelbarrows, and 2) a second monolith, which mysteriously appeared Friday on a hillside in Romania, has also disappeared.
The first point seems pretty straightforward. Photographer Ross Bernards told The New York Times that he was at the monument taking photos of his pals climbing on it, as one does, when the men appeared. While it's unclear whether or not they were involved with installing the monolith in the first place, they seemed singularly focused on removing it as quickly as possible. According to Bernards, they formed teams of two and rocked the thing back and forth a few times before it came crashing to the ground. "This is why you don't leave trash in the desert," one of them told Bernards.
Bernards didn't try to stop them, he told the paper, because he was worried about the possibility of getting into a fight with four potentially armed strangers at night in the desert. He added on his Instagram post that he believed the monument had been attracting tourists who didn't respect the desert, and that "Mother Nature is an artist, it’s best to leave the art in the wild to her."
The second development comes from the Romanian city of Piatra Neamț, where local news outlets report that a 10- to 12-foot monolith that looked to be identical to the one in Utah mysteriously appeared on a hill overlooking the city. It was found on Friday close to an archeological site on the Bâtca Doamnei plateau. International news outlets began covering the Romanian monolith on Monday, and by Tuesday it had disappeared, leaving only "a small hole covered by rocky soil," according to a local journalist who spoke with Reuters.
This flurry of developments doesn't do much to help solve the overarching mystery of the monoliths, which large portions of the internet believe were put there by aliens. And if aliens are the culprits, the mayor of Piatra Neamț, Andrei Carabelea, seems to have violated the first rule of human-alien contact: Do not drag our future overlords, lest they decide to speed up the destruction of our tiny dumb planet.
"My guess is that some alien, cheeky, and terrible teenagers left home with their parents' UFO and started planting metal monoliths around the world," Carabelea wrote in a Facebook post.
And that could be how the world ends: at the hands of aliens angry that their monoliths were rudely torn from the Earth days after a mayor called them terrible teens.