Romanian monolith mystery solved: two blokes carried it off

Stephen McGrath
The Romanian monolith - AFP
The Romanian monolith - AFP

You wait for ages for an era-defining monolith created by an unseen alien race to appear out of nowhere, then two turn up at once.

After the mysterious emergence of a shiny metallic plinth in the Utah desert piqued the imaginations of sci-fi fans across the world last week, another appeared just a few days later in rural Romania.

And just like its American cousin, it has vanished - seemingly without a trace.

Andrei Carabele, the mayor of the northern Romanian town of Piatra Neamt where the structure appeared initially told people there was 'no reason to panic'.

But when he went to visit the structure Tuesday he noticed it was gone.

“On Sunday afternoon it was there — and now it’s disappeared,” he told The Telegraph.

The monoliths in Utah and Romania - AP/YouTube
The monoliths in Utah and Romania - AP/YouTube

The objects in Utah and Piatra Neamt have touched off international sci-fi speculation, recalling the classic Stanley Kubrick 1968 film, "2001: A Space Odyssey."

In the Kubrick movie, an alien monolith is a recurring symbol planted by mysterious aliens that appears to be a catalyst in the development of human evolution.  

“I like the idea that it could be some alien teenagers who are planting monoliths around the world,” the mayor said.

He had earlier said on Facebook that he was honoured that aliens had "chosen our city" but it would have been better if they had obtained a building permit first. 

The Romanian monolith that appeared to be covered in concentric circles and triangular at the top, was just a stone’s throw from the Petrodava Dacian Fortress, an important ancient fortress built by the Dacians between 82 BC and AD 106.   

Many have speculated that it was originally intended as a form of conceptual art, or ‘land art’.

Vasiliu George Lucian, a representative at the Museum of Art in the centre of Piatra Neamţ, is quick to shoot down both of these theories for the more recently discovered lump of metal in his own town.

“It has nothing to do with aliens or the Dacians, and I haven’t heard of any artists involved from Neamt County,” Mr Lucian told The Telegraph.

“I think it’s much simpler than that — I think it’s a hoax. There are some scrap metal yards just outside the city,” he added.

Romanian monolith being removed. The photographer said two men tore down the monolith, broke it apart and ferried it off in a wheelbarrow
Romanian monolith being removed. The photographer said two men tore down the monolith, broke it apart and ferried it off in a wheelbarrow

The mayor had hoped that the structure could potentially become a tourist attraction for Piatra Neamt, a picturesque mountainous town with a population of around 100,000. But he offers up a more sobering theory as to why the monolith disappeared in a matter of days.

“Whoever placed the monolith would have suffered legal consequences because we can’t allow structures without legal authorisation,” he said.

“It’s quite a mystery that this came up in a week that I had a chat with some local investors who don’t obey construction laws — it’s absolutely a bizarre coincidence,” he added.

Utah's monolith came to an ignoble end, according to the New York Times. Its disappearance had been a mystery until a photographer claimed to have witnessed it being pulled down.

They told the newspaper two men tore down the monolith, broke it apart and ferried it off in a wheelbarrow.

“It must have been 10 or 15 minutes at most for them to knock over the monolith and pull it out,” they said. “We didn’t know who they were, and we were not going to do anything to stop them.” 

He added: “They just came in there to execute and they were like, ‘This is our mission.’”

Blurred pictures appear to show the structure is hollow, with the New York Times claiming that  its armature is made from plywood.