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Monolith tale now tarnished

An ugly hole was left where a shiny monolith appeared in the Scripps Ranch Marketplace shopping center the morning of Dec. 8. It was uprooted and taken that night. (photo by John Gregory)

Monolith tale now tarnished

The story of the shiny monolith that mysteriously appeared in Scripps Ranch on Dec. 8 ­– and was removed later that night ­– has become murky and convoluted.

The gleaming monolith was spotted by shoppers and employees the morning of Dec. 8 on a corner in the Scripps Ranch Marketplace shopping center next to Nutmeg Bakery & Café, 10755 Scripps Poway Parkway. It stood in place less than 24 hours. A group of brazen young people removed it that same evening.

It remains a mystery about how the monolith appeared on the property overnight, but there is no mystery about how it was taken. Videos captured the act in progress at about 8:30 p.m. Dec. 8, as well as the faces of those involved – none wearing masks to stem the spread of COVID-19. They were also filmed hauling it away.

It was originally installed in an area that has several plants, ground cover and other landscaping near the busy corner. Whoever placed the monolith was very stealthy and left the area in immaculate condition. Those who removed it were raucous and left a messy hole in the ground with roots from the landscaping torn and exposed.

The story of the monolith’s fate has become more tangled by the day. More videos have surfaced on local television news as well as on social media – with the content of most being difficult to verify. Some say those who removed the monolith attempted to sell it in pieces. One video shows a group of young males late at night attempting to re-install the monolith at the spot from which it was taken, but a security guard interferes, and they are shown loading it back into a vehicle – if the sequencing of the video is to be believed.

A Fox-5 News television report broadcast Dec. 9 involves a group of four males, all wearing masks. The group explained that they obtained the monolith, rebuilt it and that they are planning to install it in another location in San Diego County at another time.

Accounts on social media by those who saw the monolith in person – and those who learned about it through other means – were unhappy that it was removed.

Earlier Dec. 8, visitors to the shopping center were seen gathering near the monolith, chatting, taking photos and video. Local TV news teams were on the scene filming for their daily newscasts.

The Scripps Ranch monolith provided a brief reprieve from the stresses of the year 2020 for residents. There was speculation that the discovery of the monolith would go viral and that Scripps Ranch would soon be known around the globe – as was the case for a few other areas in which comparable monoliths appeared in recent weeks.

The Scripps Ranch monolith was similar to the others spotted across the world. It was approximately 10-feet-high, with three tall, shiny metal sides.

The first was discovered in late November by state officials counting bighorn sheep in an isolated canyon of Utah’s Red Rock Country. A few days later a similar monolith was found in Romania. Another appeared near Atascadero in Central California. Another was spotted on the Isle of Wight off the coast of the United Kingdom, and another was seen in a northern province of the Netherlands. Since then, two others were reportedly discovered – one in Pittsburgh near a candy shop and another near a pizza restaurant in El Paso, Texas.

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