CEDAR CITY — The mysterious monolith that suddenly appeared in Iron County right before Easter weekend has since vanished, seemingly without a trace.
Cedar City News confirmed the object’s disappearance Monday morning by making another visit to the site, located just south of a landmark called Easter Rock, within the off-road trail system in the Three Peaks Recreation Area.
Cedar City News had also verified that the object was still in place just before sunset Sunday evening, when between 30 and 40 people were seen milling around and taking pictures. At that point, the button’s counter mechanism was at more than 1,500, marking an increase of more than 1,000 pushes since the previous evening.
Recreationists who had been camping in the area said they had seen a steady stream of visitors, possibly hundreds of people, flocking to the site throughout the day on Sunday; however, back at the scene just before noon on Monday, Cedar City News saw little evidence that the installation had ever been there, with only a small cairn of rocks marking its former location.
Cedar City News spoke at the scene with Natalie Andreasen, who said her 15-year-old son Cam was one of the first to learn about it on Friday afternoon.
Cam Andreasen said he was riding in the area on a motorcycle when he noticed the shiny panels around 2 p.m. Friday. At that point, the counter was at about 150, he said, adding that he had not noticed the object when he’d driven by that spot days earlier.
“When you pressed the button, the drawer would pop out,” he said. “If you pressed the button while the drawer was opened, a keychain would be dispensed.”
Each of the keychains consisted of five small copper strips joined together by a small loop of chain. Those strips each bore the same cryptic message as that of the strip embedded inside the drawer: “HUMAN MAY 4TH | 37.3179604 | 114.9597835.” As previously reported in Cedar City News, those GPS coordinates point to a location in China.
Natalie Andreasen said the mechanism stopped dispensing keychains on Saturday after the count had reached about 250.
As for the word “Human,” bystanders on Saturday noted that the installation appeared to have a working WiFi built into it, with the designation “HUMAN.” The WiFi system did not appear to still be operational on Sunday evening, when even the blue LED light inside the drawer had stopped coming on, presumably due to lack of sufficient power from the solar batteries.
The installation primarily consisted of three large upright panels, each measuring at least 10 feet high and approximately 4 feet across, joined together in the shape of a triangular prism.
Based on a closer observation of the panels Sunday night, Cedar City News determined that they were actually made of some type of sheet plastic that had been coated with a metallic film, giving them the appearance of polished metal. Two of the panels had more of a brushed aluminum look, while the third side, the one with the drawer, had a highly reflective film on its surface, much like a mirror.
The object also appeared to have been free-standing, meaning it was not anchored to the ground. With the panels being made of plastic, it was therefore much more lightweight and therefore more portable than a more permanently anchored metal sculpture would have been, such as the one found in southeastern Utah last November.
The installation’s sudden disappearance, first reported early Monday morning, leaves a number of unanswered questions, such as: what was the meaning behind it all? Was it some kind of prank or social experiment? An art student’s project? Future fodder for a viral video? Maybe some kind of advertising gimmick to drum up interest for some future event to be announced, perhaps on May 4?
Cam Andreasen said he almost wishes he could rewind the clock back to the time of his initial discovery on Friday.
“I wish I’d kept it a secret,” he said, adding that he believes the whole thing may have been the work of a university art student. “It was a fun moment to be the only one who knew.”
So long as unanswered questions remain, can the case ever be considered closed? Time will tell.
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