In Brief

Mysterious monolith pops up in Romania as Utah version vanishes

Authorities in both Europe and US baffled by unexplained additions to landscapes

Conspiracy theorists have been handed an early Christmas present in the form of the mysterious appearance of metal monolith on a hillside in Romania as a similar unexplained structure vanishes from the Utah desert.

The giant triangular pillar in Romania was found on Batca Doamnei Hill, facing Mount Ceahlau - known locally as the Holy Mountain - in the northern city of Piatra Neamt last Thursday. 

The 13ft-tall structure “is covered in a looping scrawl” and “bears a resemblance to the Utah monolith which was spotted in a remote cove” by a passing helicopter a couple of weeks ago - “leading people to wonder if the monuments are linked”, says Sky News.

“In a bizarre twist”, the Utah Bureau of Land Management says the desert pillar was removed by “an unknown party” last Friday, the broadcaster adds. 

The authorities in Romania are equally baffled by their “peculiar find”, which stands on protected land just metres from the site of a famous ancient fortress, says the Daily Mail.

So as the newspaper asks, “who (or what) put it there?”

Some armchair-sleuths have suggested that the metal slab may be “the work of aliens”, while others believe it was probably created by a prankster inspired by science fiction novel 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Arthur C. Clarke’s classic book, a monolith appears on Earth and seems to accelerate the learning of a tribe of ape-men.

Some eagle-eyed observers have also compared the unexplained structures to works by American minimalist sculpture John McCracken, who died in 2011.

Whatever the explanation, “it has been a tough few days for unorthodox, mystery monuments”, says The Guardian.

Police in Germany are investigating the disappearance of “a large wooden sculpture of a phallus” from a mountainside in southern Bavaria that “appeared without explanation several years ago”, the newspaper reports.

The giant penis is not believed to be linked to the metal monoliths, however.

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