2020 Monolith Clues: Group that Removed Utah Structure Revealed

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Two strange monoliths have popped up on totally different sides of the world. Both the monolith in Utah and the one in Romania have disappeared, and one photographer says he saw a group of four men taking the Utah monument away after breaking it into pieces. Now a man from Utah, Sylvan Slacks, said he was part of the group that took it away, but was not involved in making the structure.

Here are all the clues we have so far about the origin and removal of the Utah and Romania monoliths. Click To Tweet

Although these monoliths aren’t ushering in an apocalypse (as far as we know), they are taking place in 2020, which feels pretty apocalyptic all by itself. Here’s a look at all the clues we have so far about these odd 2020 monolith sightings.

TikTok User Says They Removed the Utah Monolith, But We Still Don’t Know Who Made It

The Utah Monolith was first discovered on November 18 and just 10 days later, it was gone, Seattle Times reported. It was first found when the Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau was working with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on a project that involved counting big horn sheep in the area, the Bureau of Land Management for Utah reported. They found a metal monolith installed on a remote area of red rock.

But on the evening of November 27, the structure was taken.

Photographer Ross Bernards of Edwards, Colorado, visited the monolith on the night it was taken. He shared his story on Instagram. You can see one of the cell phone photos in the Reddit story below.

"Michael James Newlands said he took a cellphone photo of four men taking down the monolith on Friday night. “They just came in there to execute and they were, like, ‘This is our mission,’” Mr. Newlands said." Photographer: Michael James Newlands [Utah, United States of America] from HighStrangeness

He said that four men dismantled it around 8:40 p.m. They tried to push it down to uproot it and once it fell, they broke it into pieces and took it away in a wheelbarrow. He told Seattle Times that he heard the men saying, “This is why you don’t leave trash in the desert,” which indicated they might not have been affiliated with the monolith at all, but just wanted it gone. He said he heard another saying, “Leave no trace” as they hauled it away. He said he didn’t take any photos of the men, but his friend Michael James Newlands took some pictures on his phone.

He wrote on Instagram: “If you’re asking why we didn’t stop them well, they were right to take it out. We stayed the night and the next day hiked to a hill top overlooking the area where we saw at least 70 different cars (and a plane) in and out. Cars parking everywhere in the delicate desert landscape. Nobody following a path or each other. We could literally see people trying to approach it from every direction to try and reach it, permanently altering the untouched landscape. Mother Nature is an artist, it’s best to leave the art in the wild to her.”

TikTok user Sylvan Slacks later posted a video on TikTok saying they were the ones who took it. You can see the video below, where they show clips showing their group removing the monolith.


Stay tuned for more info #fyp #utahmonolith #leavenotrace

♬ Stranger Things (Main Theme) – I Love TV Themes

MrSlackline on YouTube posted the same video.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Andy Lewis, a BASE jumping guide and slackliner who’s local to the area, posted that he was part of the group that removed the monolith. Lewis performed at the 2012 Super Bowl, showing his slacklining skills during Madonna’s performance.

Bernards told The Salt Lake Tribune that the structure was removed to help the environment. Lewis told The Salt Lake Tribune that they weren’t happy to dismantle the structure, but had to do it because of damage from crowds coming to see it.

Google Earth images indicated that the monolith had been in place since 2015 or 2016 at least. Lt. Nick Street of the Department of Public Safety told Daily Mail it could have even been there for 40 or 50 years because the material doesn’t degrade with the elements over time.

This led some to wonder if it was the artwork of John McCracken, who died in 2011. He was known for making similar structures as part of his work. His plank sculptures are featured at the David Zwirner art gallery in New York. A spokeswoman told Daily Mail that people there were divided, and some believed it was by McCracken and others said it was not.

Second Monolith in Romania: Facts, Clues & Photos

On November 26, a second monolith was found — this time on the Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt, Daily Mail reported. It was just a few meters from the Petrodava Dacian Fortress, which was built between 82 BC and AD 106. This monolith was nine feet tall and one side faced Mount Ceahlau (the Holy Mountain), one of the most famous in Romania and a natural wonder in the country, Daily Mail reported.

Rocsana Josanu of Neamt Culture and Heritage said the monolith was on private property, in a protected area of the archeological site, and they didn’t know who owned it.

Then by November 30, just about four days later, the Romania structure had disappeared too. Journalist Robert Iosub of the Ziar Piatra Neamt wrote: “The 2.8 metre (9ft) tall structure disappeared overnight as quietly as it was erected last week. An unidentified person, apparently a bad local welder, made it … now all that remains is just a small hole covered by rocky soil,” CNET reported.

Could the 2001 Seattle Monolith Have Been the Original?

A lot of people have forgotten that there was once a mystery monolith in Seattle too, that ended up having manmade and less mysterious origins. The monolith was a replica of the one from 2001: A Space Odyssey and had appeared on New Year’s Day 2001 in Magnuson Park in Seattle. It ended up being a piece of guerilla artwork created by local artists. It was made by Louie Raffloer and was nine-feet-tall and hollow. The artists involved (who called themselves “Some People”) intended for no one to learn who made it. But then the monolith was moved to another park on Duck Island. Eventually the group came forward and shared that about 50 people total were involved. Some of the people leading the experience were Chris Lodwig, Titus Grupp, and Eric Leuschner, and Caleb Schaber was as spokesperson for the group who later ran for mayor. Schaber died of suicide in April 2009 at the age of 36, after suffering PTSD. In 2004, he had worked as a combat journalist in Iraq.

Lodwig recently shared that he has had nothing to do with the most recent monolith.

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Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. Her favorite shows of all-time are Attack on Titan, Battlestar Galactica and Lost, and she's always happy to talk about her cats. 🙂 She's a licensed attorney (currently not-practicing) and has a master's in science and technology journalism.

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