Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Mysterious desert monolith disappears, heralding either doom or reveal of viral ad campaign

Illustration for article titled Mysterious desert monolith disappears, heralding either doom or reveal of viral ad campaign
Screenshot: HeavyDSparks

Last week, a mysterious metal monolith was discovered in a remote area of Utah. A few investigators, failing to heed the lessons of basically every sci-fi and horror story ever told, arrived, proceeded to touch the thing, and announced basically that none of them knew how the hell it had come to be implanted in the desert floor. Now, the monolith has disappeared just as inexplicably as it arrived.


Utah’s Bureau Of Land Management tweeted on Saturday that “the illegally installed structure, referred to as the ‘monolith’ has been removed by an unknown party.” The account recently followed up on that message to say only that, “we may not know if an extraterrestrial or earthling installed the ‘monolith’ structure, but we can confirm that it has been taken by an unknown party or parties.”

This cheeky tone suggests that the government either doesn’t really care about the weird monolith or that they know exactly what it is and are covering up its removal to a secret underground base where 12-foot tall reptiles are eager to have it back so they can continue watching alien sitcoms through its holographic display. Even if our officials won’t give us any answers to the many questions the monolith raises, though, people like a YouTuber who goes by Heavy D (hell yeah, brother) are trying to fill in the blanks. Heavy D filmed himself locating the thing “in the middle of nowhere,” noting that one of its GPS coordinates contains the numbers “666.” He was disappointed to discover it looked to be made with human technology.

Now that it’s gone, this might be all the information we’re going to get on the monolith. Our natural inclination is to suggest that its disappearance is part of a secret alien-government conspiracy that will culminate with the arrival of an apocalyptic alien invasion fleet on New Year’s Eve and the transformation of Earth into an intergalactic resource-extraction hub where humans toil endlessly in service of evil extra-dimensional monsters. Another part of us knows it can all be chalked up to something more banal—the creation of a dedicated Kubrick fan or a viral ad campaign for Tenet’s home video release.

This is the modern day and if the end times are coming, we sure as hell can’t separate the signs of our species’ impending doom from the work of obsessive hobbyists or marketing campaigns.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.