Monolith spotted beside highway intrigues Calgary family

Shiny structures known as monoliths have mysteriously appeared, seemingly from nowhere, all over the world — and that includes southern Alberta.

Mysterious appearance of shiny structures has fascinated people around the world

A monolith has materialized in Alberta off of Highway 22 at the Oldman River crossing, and so far has withstood the 90 km/h gusts that are blowing through the province. (Submitted by Noelle Sander)

Tall, mysterious and shiny in sometimes barren landscapes, structures known as monoliths have mysteriously appeared seemingly from nowhere all over the world — and that includes the Prairies.

A monolith has cropped up in Alberta off of Highway 22 at the Oldman River crossing, and withstood winds that are gusting through the province and blowing over semi-trailers.

It was spotted by a Calgary family on Sunday as they were driving, and Noelle Cameron told CBC News her husband, Robin, instantly recognized it with excitement.

"It was really funny, we were driving down the highway and my husband was like, 'Hey! It's one of the things, it's one of the things!'" she said.

"All of a sudden, [it was like] slam on the brakes, turn in, we gotta stop, we gotta see it, everybody jump out. So, it was full of excitement."

Holden Cameron, 8, stands with his dad, Robin Cameron, right, in front of the monolith they noticed while driving down the highway. (Submitted by Noelle Cameron)

The mystery that launched 1,000 theories

The first monolith was discovered in the remote Red Rock County area in Utah on Nov. 18.

With its meaning and origin story cloaked in mystery, it quickly sparked interest on the web as people began to wonder who put it there, and why.

That interest gained even more momentum when the monolith suddenly vanished about 10 days later.

And since November, monoliths have continued to pop up in different parts of the United States and in several other countries including Colombia, the Netherlands, England and Romania.

Closer to home in Alberta, they have appeared in Edmonton and Lethbridge.

Speculation about who is putting them up has led to wild theorizing around the world, but there is still no confirmation of who is responsible for this worldwide trend — though aliens are a popular theory.

A little joy, a little mystery

Noelle said that her husband had heard of the unexplained structures, but she and her son Holden, 8, had no idea what he was talking about at first.

"None of the rest of us had ever heard anything," Noelle said.

She describes the monolith they found as a triangular prism that stood about 12 feet tall (3.7 metres), and seemingly without disturbing the earth or the grass.

"It wasn't in the ground at all, from what we could see," Noelle said.

"I think it was really neat that it's in a spot where semi-trucks regularly tip over from the wind … and this was just standing there. It didn't look heavy, it's made of really thin metal."

Regardless of where it came from, the mystery of the monolith delighted the Camerons — and Noelle said she thinks that's the whole point.

"I think it's just to bring a little joy and mystery into peoples lives when we are living in such crazy times," Noelle said. 

"I still hope it's aliens, though."

Noelle Cameron described the monolith they found as a triangular prism that stood about 12 feet tall. (Submitted by Noelle Cameron)

With files from Alexia Sabau and Natalie Valleau.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?