This November, amidst pandemic news, election coverage, and vaccine updates, one story has captured the world’s attention: The mystery of the monolith. It didn’t take long after Utah state employees announced their discovery for theories explaining its existence to emerge. No one, however, has been able to determine the object’s origins.
Now, there is a new layer to the story that has made it even more mysterious. The monolith in Utah vanished, and a new one has appeared in Romania.
The Saga of the Mysterious Monolith.
For those of you just tuning in, the mystery of the monolith began on November 18.
Utah state employees spotted the shiny metal object as they were flying over a remote area of the Utah wilderness. They landed their helicopter to get a closer look and found a ten-foot-tall metal monolith firmly planted in the ground.
They had no idea of its origins, or how it came to be there. Even after announcing what they found, no one came forward to claim responsibility. They did not provide the exact location of the monolith, however, because it was in a very remote, possibly dangerous spot. As such, officials were concerned that amateur hikers would get lost or hurt trying to see the mysterious object for themselves.
Of course, it took less than 48 hours for internet sleuths to figure out where the object was situated, and within hours dozens of people began showing up at the site.
And Then It Vanished
Just as mysteriously as it appeared, the metal monolith was gone. On Saturday, November 28, the state’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that an “unknown party” removed the monolith sometime on Friday night.
“We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the ‘monolith,’ has been removed,” they said in a Facebook post. “The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property.” 
They added that the BLM does not investigate crimes involved with private property. The local sheriff’s office handles those situations. As the mystery continues to evolve, however, we have a new question. Did the monolith disappear, or did it just…move? Or are we looking at something completely different?
A Monolith in Romania
Barely more than a week after the first monolith appeared in Utah, an identical structure has now popped up in Romania. Officials found the shiny metal monolith last Thursday on Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt in northern Romania.
The monolith stands just a few meters away from the Petrodava Dacian Fortress, a well-known landmark. The ancient Dacian people built the fort between 82 BC and 106 AD. The structure in Romania stands about thirteen feet tall, with one side facing Mount Ceahlau. Locals call this mountain the Holy Mountain and is one of the most famous mountains in the country.
Romanian officials still do not know who is responsible for the object.
“It is on private property, but we still don’t know who the monolith’s owner is yet.” said Neamt Culture and Heritage official Rocsana Josanu. “It is in a protected area on an archaeological site.” 
She added that whoever installed it needed permission from their institution, and needed approval from the ministry of culture.
Where Will it Appear Next?
Officials, UFO spotters, and conspiracy theorists have all offered their own possible explanations for the mysterious monolith. Is it the work of aliens in a 2001: A Space Odyssey-style takeover? Or is it simply the work of an artist who is trolling the entire planet?
We have many questions, and very few answers. How long will the monolith remain? Will another one appear? If it does, where will the next one be?
As one enthusiast, David Surber, said, the mystery of the monolith has been a wonderful distraction.
“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 said. “It was a good escape from all the negativity we’ve experienced in 2020.” 
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