Wildlife officials in Utah found a strange metal monolith in a remote part of the state during a routine helicopter flight on Wednesday, Nov. 18, and they have no idea where it came from.
Officials from the Utah Department of Public Safety's Aero Bureau were flying by helicopter last Wednesday, helping the Division of Wildlife Resources count bighorn sheep in south-eastern Utah, when they spotted the mysterious object.
Upon further investigation, the officials found the shiny, silver metal monolith rising out of the ground, estimated between 10 and 12 feet high, in sharp contrast to the enormous red rocks which surrounded it.
Video footage shared on Twitter shows uniformed officials climbing down a rock cavity and approaching the object to investigate. "The intrepid explorers go down to investigate the alien lifeform," the man filming the video can be heard saying.
'Strangest Thing I've Come Across'
The helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, told local news outlet KSLTV that the monolith was the "strangest thing that [he's] come across out there in all [his] years of flying."
"One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it," Hutchings said. "He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!' And I was like, 'What?' And he's like, 'There's this thing back there – we've got to go look at it!'"
"We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it," he added.
Aliens or Art?
News of the mysterious monolith has fueled speculation on Twitter that it may be extra-terrestrial in nature. Some users drew comparisons with the monolith that featured in Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi epic, '2001: A Space Odyssey,' in which a group of apes encounter a giant slab. Meanwhile, others believed the shiny object was a sign of an impending alien invasion. Here are some of the reactions:
Although Hutchings believes the monolith was placed by an artist instead of an alien, it is still illegal to install structures or art without authorization on public lands no matter what planet you're from," said Utah DPS in a statement released Monday.
The location of the monolith has not yet been disclosed, and it is not yet clear who, or what placed the monolith there, according to DPS. The Bureau of Land Management will be deciding whether further investigation is needed.