Updated: Dec 8, 2020
The appearance of three sided monoliths has baffled and alarmed a weary public as an exhausting 2020 comes toward a gripping finale
2020 has been a difficult year. This may be a front runner for understatement of the year, but after devastating wild fires, a pandemic, tumultuous social unrest, economic disaster, political instability, the monkey escape with COVID samples and even near miss asteroid passes have led some to joke that the only thing to top the terror of the year would be an alien invasion before Christmas. Well, something is beginning to get observers decidedly uncomfortable about such churlish predictions.
First Discovery, Utah
It started on November 18th when Utah State Officials were searching the desert south of Moab for longhorn sheep. They announced they had in fact discovered a three sided stainless steel. The internet went into overdrive. The similarity to the iconic monolith in Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey were hard to ignore and the Utah State announcement made a glib reference to the idea in their statement, saying "It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you're from,".
Despite a refusal from officials to confirm the site of the artefact, internet sleuths uncovered the location by identifying the site using the rock formations behind the monolith. Google Earth data has since uncovered that the Utah monolith had been in place since somewhere between August 2015 and October 2016.
The discovery prompted wild speculation around the origin of the monolith. The New York Times presented the case that it was the work of the minimalist sculptor, John McCraken. A similar monolith by McCraken is in display in the Zwirner Gallery in Manhattan. Patrick McCraken, son of the artist has spoken of a late night conversation under the stars with his father when his father mused about leaving a series of his sculptures in remote locations to be discovered at a later date. McCraken died in 2011.
The Utah monolith then mysteriously disappeared nine days later. It was later claimed by Colorado photographer Ross Bernards that he witnessed four men arrive to dismantle the structure and even documented the event on Instagram.
On the third of December tour guide Sylvan Christensen and YouTube personality Andy Lewis (known as Sketchy Andy) published a YouTube video on Dec. 1, showing the removal process.
"We removed the Utah Monolith because there are clear precedents for how we share and standardize the use of our public lands, natural wildlife, native plants, fresh water sources, and human impacts upon them," Christensen told news outlets.
"Let's be clear: The dismantling of the Utah Monolith is tragic, and if you think we're proud, we're not. We're disappointed. Furthermore, we were too late," he said. "This land wasn't physically prepared for the population shift (especially during a pandemic)."
Second Monolith, Romania
On the very same day that the Utah monolith was removed, November 27th, Romanian news agency Ziar Piatra Neamt reported that another monolith appeared atop Batcas Doamnei Hill in the northeastern city of Piatra Neamt.
This monolith, covered in interlocking circles lasted a mere four days before also disappearing the following Tuesday.
Third Discovery, California
The following day a third monolith was discovered in California. Ray Johnson, a local hiker, came across it and told a local news agency it was not in that location the previous day.
A group of young men live streamed their removal of the California monolith, replacing it with a wooden cross.
A group of local residents then decided to replace the cross with a new monolith of their own construction.
Fourth Arrival, California
A further monolith was then encountered in Los Padres National Park southwest of Pozo. A group of friends on a camping trip when they stumbled upon the structure on Saturday morning. The group claimed to have heard engine noises near their camp site on Friday night and discovered the monolith the next morning.
The second monolith resembles the monolith in Atascadero, but the top of the monolith has “CAUTION” written in red and a picture of a UFO beaming up a human.
Fifth Installation, Isle of Wight
The fifth discovery has been reported by the BBC on an Isle of Wight beach on the island south of Hampshire. The beachfront is maintained by the National Trust. Local residents have been enthused by the appearance. The National Trust confirmed they were unaware of who had installed the structure but had no plans to remove it.
"We were unaware of the monolith's presence until this morning, but we've now visited Compton Beach and it seems secure on a wooden plinth and is made from mirrored sections of plastic or perspex material...We need to monitor over the next few days to ensure the beach remains safe and does not become overcrowded" a spokesperson said.
Sixth Monolith, Segovia - Spain
A further monolith has been uncovered, and this time, Spain has joined the party! A mysterious metal obelisk has been revealed in the ruins of the church of Santiago in Ayllon, Segovia. The mayor of the town visited the structure on the morning of Monday 7th December. She described it as a rudimentary structure formed of three metal sheets wedged together in the ground. This does not seem to meet the quality standards of previous discoveries.
Seventh structure, The Netherlands
Hikers in a nature reserve in Friesland in northern Holland. This example is of a matte finish not shiny like the early examples. A local news channel confirmed that it is unknown who installed the structure but no footprints were reported near the pillar. The local speculation is that this is a publicity stunt.
Watch this space
The possibilities of impending alien contact continue to rise, sadly, Chris De Burgh's Spaceman Came Travelling did not make the group stages of the 2020 Christmas Song World Cup. Bulldogz will continue to monitor the breaking monolith news. Hopefully, 2020 will delivery a series finale as damp and disappointing as a supremely expensive HBO fantasy series.
It has been reported that an anonymous artists collective called The Most Famous Artist has taken credit for the Utah & California installations but not the later structures. "The monolith is out of my control at this point. Godspeed to all the aliens working hard around the globe to propagate the myth" the collective stated.
Article first published 3rd December. Updated 8th December