New details have emerged about the disappearance of a 10- to 12-foot monolith that mysteriously appeared in the Utah wilderness earlier this month.
An eye witness apparently saw four men removing the single standing rock and hauling it away, according to The New York Times.
Ross Bernards, a 34-year-old photographer from Colorado, told the newspaper that he went to the site on Friday in hopes of getting a glimpse of the monolith. He said he saw the men push the shiny structure to the ground, break it apart, and haul it away in a wheelbarrow.
“As they walked off with the pieces, one of them said, ‘Leave no trace,’” Bernards told the paper.
James Newlands, who traveled with Bernards to the site, gave more details.
“It must have been 10 or 15 minutes at most for them to knock over the monolith and pull it out,” Newlands said. “We didn’t know who they were, and we were not going to do anything to stop them.”
While Bernards snapped no pictures, Newland reportedly grabbed a few cellphone images of the men.
“The photos are blurry, but they fascinate, nonetheless. Here are images of several men working beneath the cover of darkness, wearing gloves but not face masks, standing above the fallen monolith. We can see its exposed insides. It turns out to be a hollow structure with an armature made from plywood,” the Times reported.
The 10- to 12-foot shiny monolith, reminiscent of the one featured in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” was first discovered on November 18. Utah’s highway patrol shared a picture of the find on Instagram, along with the caption: “Counting big horn sheep with DWR this week. During the counts we came across this, in the middle of nowhere, buried deep in the rock. Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?”
“The crew said there was no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there,” the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) said in a statement.
The new details follow another report from hikers Riccardo Marino and Sierra Van Meter, who sent to the site on Friday.
Hoping to take some pictures, they drove eight hours to a trail that leads to the spot, located south of Moab and just east of Canyonlands National Park. But they made a startling discovery when they got there, which Marino detailed on Instagram.
“We’re gonna get some sweet photos, potentially some alien-type photos with the ground. We’re gonna have to cross through a little bit of a brush in Canyon country to get there, but without further ado, let’s hike to the Utah monolith,” Marino said.
Then they hiked to the site.
“We believe we might be the first people to come to the Utah monolith and have it not be here anymore. Unfortunately. But what we do see, though, is someone wrote ‘bye b****’ and clearly took a pee on where the monolith once stood. On the ground here you can literally see fresh tracks of some kind of wheel that pulled this thing out of here. And we’re literally walking down this trail,” Marino said.
“It was just taken tonight. Crazy. It’s very faint but you can see that it was definitely hauled out of here on some kind of wheel. But what was more unique, when we were driving in, we saw a truck with the tailgate folded back and a large object in the back. And that was probably about 30 minutes before we got to the trailhead. And we didn’t want to believe that maybe somebody was taking it or stealing it.”
The pair were there the day after Thanksgiving, and Marino said sadly: “No longer is the Utah monolith standing at this point.”