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For the first time, someone has taken credit for erecting one of the monoliths that have popped up in the past few weeks, riveting the world.

A group of four artists and fabricators unveiled themselves Saturday as the creators of the stainless-steel curiosity that was placed atop Pine Mountain in Atascadero, Calif., last Tuesday — and shared in a YouTube video of a newly made replacement going up after some young men unceremoniously toppled the original and put a cross in its spot, livestreaming themselves in the process.

\"We intended for it to be a piece of guerrilla art. But when it was taken down in such a malicious manner, we decided we needed to replace it,\" Wade McKenzie, one of the California monolith's creators, said in an interview Sunday evening.

The news of the origins of the monolith was first reported by the website YourTango.

McKenzie said he built the three-sided steel structure with the help of his friend Travis Kenney; Kenney's father, Randall, and Jared Riddle, a cousin of Travis Kenney.

Early Friday, another shiny steel tower was discovered in downtown Las Vegas under the Fremont Street Experience, a five-block entertainment district in the city's casino corridor.

And yet another was found Saturday morning in Los Padres National Forest by campers at a site about 100 miles southeast of the one in Atascadero. The Los Padres monolith has \"Caution\" written in red letters at the top and features an image of a UFO. The creators of the Atascadero monolith told the news outlet Sunday that they had not placed the monolith there.

The fascination with the monoliths, named for their resemblance to those in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film \"2001: A Space Odyssey,\" began when the first was discovered in the Utah desert Nov. 18. Four unknown men dismantled it Nov. 27 and carted it off in pieces in a wheelbarrow.

Then two apparent copycats appeared: the first atop a mountain in Romania, and the Atascadero sculpture next. Both were taken down within days, the Romanian one anonymously and the California one by the men who dragged it down the mountain Thursday morning chanting, \"Christ is king!\"

Atascadero, a city of 30,000 people near the central coast, is the lifelong home of three of the men who installed the Pine Mountain artwork.

Terrie Banish, deputy city manager of Atascadero, said Sunday evening that the city is happy to see it return. \"It brings back that joyful spirit that was taken away, and it gives something for people to look forward to\" in a difficult time, she said.

New York Times