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Instagrammers track down mysterious 12-foot monolith that was found in 'remote' part of Utah desert - as it's revealed similar structure appeared in Seattle park on New Year's Day nearly 20 years ago

 Curious tourists have tracked down a mysterious metal monolith that was discovered in a remote area of the Utah desert earlier this month, as it's revealed a similar version appeared nearly 20 years ago on New Years Day in Seattle.

Across the globe UFO spotters and conspiracy theorists have become obsessed with the shiny, triangular pillar that was discovered by baffled local officials counting bighorn sheep from the air last Wednesday in southeastern Utah. 

Several adventurous hikers successfully located the monolith on Tuesday and gleefully climbed the mystifying object and snapped photos with it, even though officials didn't disclose its exact location for fear people would get lost searching for it. 


Though the structure - which protrudes approximately 12 feet from the red rocks of southern Utah - was only discovered by authorities this month, Google Earth images show it has been standing since at least 2015 or 2016. 

The gleaming pillar caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick fans for its similarity to the strange alien monoliths that triggered huge leaps in human progress in his classic sci-fi film '2001: A Space Odyssey.'

But it turns out that a similar structure appeared in the morning of January 1, 2001 in Magnuson Park in Seattle on top of Kite Hill.

The object, dubbed the '2001 Space Oddity', differed from the Utah object as it was rectangular and measured one foot by four feet by nine feet, but similarly left the public awestruck. 


Curious tourists have flocked to the mysterious monolith that was found by officials during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in the Utah desert on November 18. This group of tourists climbed over the 12-foot triangular metal object on Tuesday after learning of the discovery - even though officials didn't disclose its location for fear adventurers could get lost as it's in a remote area

Curious tourists have flocked to the mysterious monolith that was found by officials during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in the Utah desert on November 18. This group of tourists climbed over the 12-foot triangular metal object on Tuesday after learning of the discovery - even though officials didn't disclose its location for fear adventurers could get lost as it's in a remote area

Tourist Adam Hennen pictured lifting Jordan Ermer onto the monolith as Liesel Schultz sits on top of the structure on Tuesday
No one has claimed responsibility for the object and it has captured the attention of conspiracy theorists

Tourist Adam Hennen pictured lifting Jordan Ermer onto the monolith as Liesel Schultz sits on top of the structure on Tuesday.  No one has claimed responsibility for the object and it has captured the attention of conspiracy theorists

Seattle in 2001: Across the globe UFO spotters and conspiracy theorists have become obsessed with the mysterious metal monolith found in the remote Utah desert this month - but a similar version appeared before nearly 20 years ago in Seattle. The structure, dubbed the '2001 Space Oddity' appeared in Magnuson Park in Seattle on January 1, 2001 and it differed from the Utah object as it was rectangular and measured one foot by four feet by nine feet. A view of the mystery monolith in Magnuson Park in Seattle pictured on January 2, 2001

Seattle in 2001: Across the globe UFO spotters and conspiracy theorists have become obsessed with the mysterious metal monolith found in the remote Utah desert this month - but a similar version appeared before nearly 20 years ago in Seattle. The structure, dubbed the '2001 Space Oddity' appeared in Magnuson Park in Seattle on January 1, 2001 and it differed from the Utah object as it was rectangular and measured one foot by four feet by nine feet. A view of the mystery monolith in Magnuson Park in Seattle pictured on January 2, 2001

Utah in 2020: Utah Department of Public Safety crew members found 'a metal monolith installed in the ground' on November 18 but said there was 'no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.' A view of a Utah state worker inspecting the triangular structure found in the remote area of red rock in Utah above

Utah in 2020: Utah Department of Public Safety crew members found 'a metal monolith installed in the ground' on November 18 but said there was 'no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.' A view of a Utah state worker inspecting the triangular structure found in the remote area of red rock in Utah above 


The monolith, which was found on the grounds of the former Sand Point Naval Air Station and appeared to be hollow, attracted swathes of curious visitors.

Just as with the Utah sighting, there was no initial clues left about the structure’s creators or its origin. 

Park officials said at the time no one obtained permits to install the structure and when they pushed against it, it would not give.

Then on January 3 it disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a concrete platform that was used to anchor it. 

In its place was a single red rose with its stem snapped into two pieces, as per KIRO7.

It was then discovered the following morning on Green Lake’s Duck Island.

Artist Caleb Schaber then came forward as a spokesperson for the monolith saying he and a band of anonymous collaborators calling themselves 'Some People' made the object and several smaller versions that were placed around the Seattle.

But he said his group had nothing to do with the monolith’s disappearance.

Park Director C. David Hughbanks said at the time he didn’t know what happened to the object.

He suspected at the time the monolith was another example of Seattle’s long history of guerrilla art.

Utah Department of Public Safety crew members found 'a metal monolith installed in the ground' on November 18 but said there was 'no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.' 

'It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you're from,' warned the agency in a tongue-in-cheek press release Monday.

Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it’s been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. 

Officials refused to disclose the object's location out of fear that curious sightseers would flock to the remote wilderness, but adventurous tourists like Emery House and her friends, who were visitng Utah from Minnesota, managed to find it this week.

The group drove two hours and hiked for 20 minutes from Moab until they finally found the gleaming structure hitten in the red rock formations.

They snapped photos of themselves gleefully sitting on top of the pillar and climbing it.   


A view of the mysterious metal monolith above on Tuesday as captured by tourists. Emery House and her friends were visiting Utah from Minnesota when they learned of the monolith's location. They drove two hours and hiked for 20 minutes from Moab until they finally found the gleaming structure

A view of the mysterious metal monolith above on Tuesday as captured by tourists. Emery House and her friends were visiting Utah from Minnesota when they learned of the monolith's location. They drove two hours and hiked for 20 minutes from Moab until they finally found the gleaming structure

Emery House, a tourist from Minnesota, pictured posing on top of the monolith on Tuesday

Emery House, a tourist from Minnesota, pictured posing on top of the monolith on Tuesday

Adam Hennen pictured sitting on top of the monolith on Tuesday after he and his friends discovered the 12-foot pillar during a hike

Adam Hennen pictured sitting on top of the monolith on Tuesday after he and his friends discovered the 12-foot pillar during a hike

Jordan Ermer and Liesel Schultz pictured sitting on the monolith
Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long the structure has been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it.

Tough climb! Jordan Ermer and Liesel Schultz pictured left sitting on top of the towering pillar and on the right, struggling to climb it. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long the structure has been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it

A view of the monolith from the rocks above it pictured on Tuesday as Emery House and her friends descended upon the mysterious pillar

A view of the monolith from the rocks above it pictured on Tuesday as Emery House and her friends descended upon the mysterious pillar

Found it! Adam Hennen could hide his joy upon finding the shiny metal pillar. Lieutenant Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said it's possible the structure has been there for '40, 50 years, maybe more'

Found it! Adam Hennen could hide his joy upon finding the shiny metal pillar. Lieutenant Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said it's possible the structure has been there for '40, 50 years, maybe more'

Internet sleuths also managed to pinpoint the pillar's position within hours of the announcement of the discovery

Reddit user said they had managed to geo-locate the obelisk using surrounding rock formations.

Sharing the Google Earth location - where a small structure can be seen, roughly six miles from the nearest road - the user said the structure was first photographed by Google in 2016. 

Some satellite images of the monolith date back to a year earlier in 2015.  

Lieutenant Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said it's possible the structure has been there for '40, 50 years, maybe more.' 

'It's the type of material that doesn't degrade with the elements. It may only be a few years old, who knows. There's no real way based on the material it's made out of how long it's actually been there,' he said on Tuesday.

The mystery has sparked a number of theories of how it got there, from an alien invasion to a late artist's undiscovered work. 

Some pointed out the object's resemblance to the avant-garde work of John McCracken, an American artist who lived for a time in nearby New Mexico, and died in 2011.

McCracken was known for his freestanding sculptures in the shape of pyramids, cubes, or sleek slabs.

The monolith most closely resembles McCracken's plank-like sculptures featured at his exhibit at the David Zwirner art gallery in New York. 

On Tuesday a spokeswoman for David Zwirner said it was not one of McCracken's works, but possibly by a fellow artist paying homage.

Seattle: The mystery monolith, similar to the Utah one, appeared on January 1, 2001 in Magnuson Park in Seattle on top of Kite Hill and attracted hundreds of curious visitors. A view of visitors on January 2, 2001

Seattle: The mystery monolith, similar to the Utah one, appeared on January 1, 2001 in Magnuson Park in Seattle on top of Kite Hill and attracted hundreds of curious visitors. A view of visitors on January 2, 2001

Seattle: Artist Caleb Schaber then came forward as a spokesperson for the monolith saying he and a band of anonymous collaborators calling themselves 'Some People' made the object and several smaller versions that were placed around the Seattle. A lone visitor pictured blurred visiting the monolith at Kite Hill in Magnuson Park in Seattle in January 2001

Seattle: Artist Caleb Schaber then came forward as a spokesperson for the monolith saying he and a band of anonymous collaborators calling themselves 'Some People' made the object and several smaller versions that were placed around the Seattle. A lone visitor pictured blurred visiting the monolith at Kite Hill in Magnuson Park in Seattle in January 2001

Seattle: Then on January 3 it disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a concrete platform that was used to anchor it. In its place was a single red rose with its stem snapped into two pieces

Seattle: Then on January 3 it disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a concrete platform that was used to anchor it. In its place was a single red rose with its stem snapped into two pieces

Utah: Officials have refused to disclose the metal obelisk's location out of fear that curious sightseers would flock to the remote wilderness, but internet sleuths managed to pinpoint its position nonetheless. Google Earth images show it has been there since 2016 or 2015

Utah: Officials have refused to disclose the metal obelisk's location out of fear that curious sightseers would flock to the remote wilderness, but internet sleuths managed to pinpoint its position nonetheless. Google Earth images show it has been there since 2016 or 2015 

The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah
It is unknown how the monolith got there and how long it's been standing

Utah: The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah on November 18. It is unknown how the monolith got there and how long it's been standing


However later in the day Zwirner gave another statement in which he suggested the piece was indeed by McCracken, meaning it had lain undiscovered in the desert for nearly a decade.

'The gallery is divided on this,' Zwirner said. 'I believe this is definitely by John.'

He added: 'Who would have known that 2020 had yet another surprise for us. Just when we thought we had seen it all. Let's go see it.' 

On social media, others remarked on its discovery during a turbulent year that has seen the world gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, and optimistically speculated it could have a different function entirely.

'This is the 'reset' button for 2020. Can someone please press it quickly?' joked one Instagram user.

'Up close it reads: "Covid vaccine inside"' wrote another.

Bret Hutchings, the pilot who happened to fly over the obelisk, speculated that it had been planted by 'some new wave artist.'

Officials suggest it could be have been constructed by an artist or a huge fan of 2001: Space Odyssey - the structure resembles the machines found in Arthur C. Clarke's story (pictured)

Officials suggest it could be have been constructed by an artist or a huge fan of 2001: Space Odyssey - the structure resembles the machines found in Arthur C. Clarke's story (pictured) 

Some observers also pointed out the object's resemblance to the avant-garde work of John McCracken (pictured) an American artist who lived for a time in nearby New Mexico, and died in 2011.
He was known for his freestanding sculptures in the shape of pyramids, cubes, or sleek slabs

Some observers also pointed out the object's resemblance to the avant-garde work of John McCracken (left) an American artist who lived for a time in nearby New Mexico, and died in 2011. He was known for his freestanding sculptures in the shape of pyramids, cubes, or sleek slabs (right)

Either way, Hutchings admitted it was 'about the strangest thing I've come across out there, in all my years of flying.'

'We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it,' he told local news channel KSLTV.

Utah has a history of 'land art,' unusual installations that cropped up far from population centers in the 1960s and '70s.

The most famous, Spiral Jetty, a 1,500-foot-long coil by artist Robert Smithson in 1970 that's composed entirely of mud, salt crystals and basalt. 

Located on the northeastern edge of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point, the jetty appears and disappears depending on water levels.

So far, no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the monolith, though. 

The workers took video and photos of the object, but left in place.

So far, it hasn't disturbed the bighorn sheep that live in the southern half of Utah.

Their population was once down to under a thousand in the 1970s, but conservation efforts have seen them make a big comeback in recent decades. 

On social media, others remarked on its discovery during a turbulent year that has seen the world gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting them to suggest an alien invasion is not impossible

On social media, others remarked on its discovery during a turbulent year that has seen the world gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting them to suggest an alien invasion is not impossible

The monolith is located inside a red rock cove but workers have withheld details about its exact location to prevent others from endangering themselves trying to get a closer look

The monolith is located inside a red rock cove but workers have withheld details about its exact location to prevent others from endangering themselves trying to get a closer look

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