How the third monolith to arise last month got to the top of Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California, where it was located discovered by a hiker Wednesday, Remains a mystery.
It’s no secret: Several young men who officials said had apparently driven five hours from Southern California live watched each other tear apart the shiny three-sided steel structure of Stadium Park early Thursday morning, then leave a plywood cross in its place.
“Christ is King!” the men, wearing night vision goggles and camouflage gear, chanted in the grainy video as they knocked over the shiny structure, in a video that was posted to the DLive.tv streaming site by someone using the name CultureWarCriminal, but later deleted, according to The Tribune de San Luis Obispo. The Tribune described the video as “sometimes racist and homophobic” and said the men sang country songs.
One of the men said in the video that they removed the structure to “tell the alien lords they weren’t welcome,” according to The Tribune. Another claimed they were operating “on the direct orders of QAnon and President Trump himself”, referring to the conspiracy theory which falsely claims that Mr. Trump is being undermined by a group of Democratic pedophiles. More than 600 people were watching at one point, according to the newspaper.
A second video posted shortly after the first shows the men dragging the monolith down the hill shouting “America First!” and referring to themselves as military veterans, according to the newspaper.
The California Monolith was the third shiny metal structure to appear in the past month. The first structure, which gained wide attention, was discovered in a remote part of the Utah desert on November 18 and was initially believed to be the work of minimalist sculptor John McCracken – or aliens.
Four men dismantled the curiosity about Utah that had captivated the country just 10 days after its arrival, but not before it appeared to be spawning imitators. A second structure appeared in the mountains of Romania on November 26, shortly before the one in Utah disappeared. But the Romanian monolith also disappeared on Tuesday, the Reuters news agency from Bucharest reported.
Like the structure in Romania, the California structure appears to be a copy of the Utah original. He was about 10 feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds, according to the town of Atascadero. As the Utah structure was firmly mounted, The Atascadero News reported that the California monolith was a bit wobbly and looked like it would be possible to push it.
Atascadero officials had already marveled at the arrival of the monolith. Terrie Banish, deputy city manager for the small town of about 30,000 people on the central coast of California, said in an interview Thursday morning that anyone who set it up should have walked to the site, which has an elevation of about 1300 feet. and is about three kilometers from the nearest parking lot.
On Thursday afternoon, city officials deplored his withdrawal.
“We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive five hours to come into our community and vandalize the monolith,” Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno said in a statement. “The monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time.”
The city police department remained uncertain of who installed the monolith and was reviewing the video and examining the incident in more detail, the statement said.
Serge Kovaleski contributed to the report.