Just when you thought 2020 couldn't get any weirder, mysterious metal monoliths began taking over the world. Since a shiny metal slab first appeared in Utah's Moab dessert back on Nov. 18, similar structures have cropped up in Romania, California, the Netherlands, and as of Dec. 6, on England's Isle of Wight. While no one has officially claimed responsibility for the monoliths, these tweets and memes about monoliths showing up to close out 2020 have people joking their way through the discovery of the puzzling structures.
On Sunday, Dec. 6, locals reported a silver monolith appeared on Compton Beach, which is located on England's largest island, according to CNN. This comes days after similar metal slabs made appearances on Nov. 27 on the Batcas Doamnei Hill in Patra Neamt, Romania, and on Dec. 2 atop Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California, following the monolith first discovered Utah. The newest fixture found on the Isle of Wight appears to look slightly different than its predecessors with a more pointed top and a shorter size, according to Insider. But it follows the similarly strange appearances as the other monoliths. On Dec. 7, a National Trust spokesperson representing the area where the monolith was placed told CNN the group did not know who had put it there.
Initially, some people believed the monoliths had extraterrestrial origins as they seemingly disappear without a trace and then shortly appear in their next spot. However, different groups have since taken credit for removing the sculptures, either as stunts or to protect the natural beauty of the landscape, according to The New York Times.
While people have their own theories about the origins and creators of these mysterious metal objects, that hasn't stopped the internet from doing what it does best. In addition to sharing photoshopped creations of monoliths around the world, people are also pointing out that everyday objects like blocks of cheese and telephone booths could double as a monolith. TBH, in a year marked by total uncertainty, these monolith memes fit right in.
At first, people couldn't believe their eyes:
But as more and more monoliths popped up, the jokes started flowing:
TBH, when it comes to memes, anything is a monolith.
All jokes aside, the monoliths appear to be some form of Net Art or Land art, according to Insider, but there is some skepticism that all the monoliths were created by the same person. A community of artists in New Mexico that are known as The Most Famous Artist have appeared to take credit for creating the Utah monolith, which state officials first stumbled across in the Moab desert while looking for bighorn sheep. After causing a sensation, the structure was gone just nine days later.
After sharing photos of the monoliths in California and Utah on Dec. 5, the @themostfamousartist account responded to Instagram commenters asking "Was it you?" by responding, "if by you you mean us, yes."
While The Most Famous Artist has appeared to try to monetize the fame of the monoliths by selling $45,000 copycats, founder Matty Mo (whom art fans might know for transforming the Hollywood sign into "Hollyweed") was vague about his contribution when asked by Mashable if he was responsible for the mysterious structures.
"I can say we are well known for stunts of this nature and at this time we are offering authentic art objects through monoliths-as-a-service. I cannot issue additional images at this time but I can promise more on this in the coming days and weeks," Mo told the publication.
However, according to a Facebook exchange with the New York Post on Dec. 6, which the group has since shared on Instagram as its official statement, the artist appeared to hint that other people were also getting involved and creating their own monoliths.
When asked if he was responsible for the Isle of Wight monolith, which looks different than its predecessors, Mo wrote, "The monolith is out of my control at this point. Godspeed to all the aliens working hard around the globe to propagate the myth." Mo also hasn't commented on whether he was responsible for a fourth monolith that was discovered Dec. 6 in a Dutch nature preserve.
Aliens or not, the never-ending monolith sightings (and resulting questions) are very on-brand for the head-scratcher of year 2020 has been — but at least you have some memes to get you by as everyone tries to figure out what's actually going on.