A third mysterious monolith has popped up, this time atop a California mountain just days after similar structures made headlines in Utah and Romania.
The metal structure appeared seemingly out of the blue on Wednesday morning on Pine Mountain in Atascadero, the Atascadero News reported.
Its appearance drew visits from dozens of hikers who ventured out to catch a glimpse of the structure, which has three sides and appears to be made of stainless steel, according to the outlet.
Terrie Banish, deputy city manager of Atascadero, told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that it stands about 12 feet tall, and called it “a mystery indeed.”
Its sudden existence comes after two other monoliths appeared and garnered international headlines, first in a remote Utah desert, and then again in Romania.
The appearance of the Utah monolith set off something of a frenzy after its discovery was announced on Nov. 23, and within five days, it had disappeared.
A group led by TikTok user Sylvan Christensen took credit for the structure’s removal, and told CNN in a statement they felt it did not belong there, as it was not part of nature.
"We removed the Utah Monolith because there are clear precedents for how we share and standardize the use of our public lands, natural wildlife, native plants, fresh water sources, and human impacts upon them," the statement said. "The mystery was the infatuation, and we want to use this time to unite people behind the real issues here — we are losing our public lands — things like this don't help."
Photographer Ross Bernards told CNN that he and three of his friends watched a group of men knock down the monolith, break it down into pieces and whisk it away in a wheelbarrow on Friday night.
Its origins remain unknown, and while it was illegally placed, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office said earlier this week that it would not be investigating its installation due to a lack of resources.
Meanwhile, the second monolith appeared in the Romanian city of Piatra Neamt on Nov. 26, ABC News reported.
Just like in Utah, however, it disappeared less than a week later.
According to NPR, local reports said that structure was between 10 and 12 feet tall, and made of a dimly reflective metal.
"My guess is that some alien, cheeky and terrible teenagers left home with their parents' UFO and started planting metal monoliths around the world,” Piatra Neamt Mayor Andrei Carabelea reportedly said. “First in Utah and then at Piatra Neamt. I am honored that they chose our city."
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