‘Obelisk’ in US desert draws wild theories from UFO spotters

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A mysterious metal “obelisk” found in the remote western United States desert has inflamed the imaginations of UFO spotters, conspiracy theorists and film director Stanley Kubrick’s fans around the world.

The shiny, triangular pillar, which protrudes approximately 12 feet (3.6 metres) from the red rocks of the southern part of Utah, was spotted last Wednesday by baffled local officials counting bighorn sheep from the air.

Landing to investigate, Utah Department of Public Safety crew members found “a metal monolith installed in the ground” but “no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.”

“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from,” warned the agency in a tongue-in-cheek press release.

News of the discovery quickly went viral online, with many noting the object’s similarity with strange alien monoliths that trigger huge leaps in human progress in Kubrick’s classic sci-fi 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In the film, an alien monolith is a recurring symbol that appears to play a key role in man’s evolution from the apes.