Unexplained Monolith Discovered in Rural Utah's Red Rock Country

Illustration for article titled Unexplained Monolith Discovered in Rural Utah's Red Rock Country
Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety

Officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety discovered a shiny metallic monolith in rural Utah’s Red Rock Country on November 18 while surveying big horn sheep by helicopter. The monolith has drawn comparisons to the black monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the helicopter crew said there’s “no obvious indication” of who may have placed the object there.

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The Utah agency published photos and videos to its website, showing the team’s investigation of the strange looking object. The monolith appears to have three sides and measures roughly 10-12 feet high, according to the people who found it. The crew did note that it’s firmly planted into the ground and didn’t appear to have been dropped from above. It would seem someone really wanted that thing to stay anchored into the rock.

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” helicopter pilot Bret Hutchings told local news station KSL-TV. “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 was at the bottom of a red rock cove and appeared relatively difficult to reach, even with the assistance of a helicopter. The helicopter crew’s quasi-military looking uniforms made the descent appear even more surreal, like something out of a 1950s “Twilight Zone” episode where astronauts have landed on a distant planet.

Utah Public Safety is declining to share the exact location of the bizarre monolith out of fear that people will endanger themselves by trying to visit such a secluded part of the country. And that, of course, leads to even more questions about how someone got out there in the first place, deep into Red Rock Country, to install the thing.

“The exact location of the installation is not being disclosed since it is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” the agency said in a statement published online.

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The people who discovered the monolith joked about making a run for it if one of them disappeared in front of the others. But alien jokes aside, there was genuine concern that perhaps it was part of a legitimate scientific experiment.

“We were, like, thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something? Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?” Hutchings told KSL-TV.

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The bureau posted a photo of the monolith to Instagram, along with images of big horn sheep in the area. Some users on the social media platform insist that they see visions of faces in the rocks behind the monolith and various other indications that people have made markings in the red rocks.

“Someone appears to have been there when the mud was wet, because at the base of it, in this video at 0:25, there are deep cut marks made parallel to the faces,” one user wrote. It’s not really clear where the “faces” are supposed to be, but multiple social media users insist they see them.

Whether there are faces or not, the metallic monolith is weird enough on its own. Anyone who’s seen the black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey knows that it’s a sign of an alien civilization, but there’s no indication that this particular monolith in Utah is anything but human-made. At least so far.

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The U.S. military has slowly released videos over the past few years of unexplained aerial phenomena recorded by Air Force pilots. The New York Times has also reported the potential existence of materials—so-called “alien alloys”—in U.S. government custody that are supposedly not of this Earth.

The Utah Department of Public Safety says whoever (or whatever) placed the object there was doing so illegally, complete with a tongue-in-cheek reference to potential alien involvement.

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“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from,” the agency said in a statement.

The federal Bureau of Land Management has taken over the investigation and will determine if something needs to be done, according to the agency.

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We’re not saying it’s definitely aliens, but it’s definitely aliens. We’re ready to go home, aliens, but be careful when you come back to Earth. We wouldn’t want you to get covid-19, a disease that has so far afflicted over 59 million humans and killed 1.39 million on this stupid planet of ours. On second thought, just vaporize us if you need to.

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

DISCUSSION

rvincent1960
Times up, time to leave!

Quite obviously a Vogon survey marker for the extension of the hyperspace expressway. Demolition should begin shortly.

Last orders please!