German police have opened an investigation into the disappearance of a large wooden sculpture of a phallus from a mountainside where it appeared without explanation several years ago.
The two-meter-high sculpture appears to have been cut down over the weekend, local newspaper Allgaeuer Zeitung reported on Monday, leaving only a pile of sawdust on the 1,738-meter-high Grünten mountain in the south. Bavaria, 140 km south-west of Munich.
The homage to male genitals had gained celebrity status in recent years as a destination for hikers, and even featured on Google Maps, where it was listed as a “cultural monument”. Local tradition has it that it was made as a prank birthday present for a young man whose family did not appreciate the gift, so that the 200 kg (440 lb) sculpture was hoisted up the mountain and left there.
In recent weeks, the sculpture has seen mixed fortunes, being overturned and replaced, but also a beer dedicated to it by the local brewery (“a tangy and natural red beer”).
German news agency dpa reported that police in the Bavarian town of Kempten were investigating the disappearance, although it was not clear whether a crime had been committed. The owner of the sculpture is unknown.
These have been difficult days for the mysterious unorthodox monuments. The 3.5-meter (11-foot) stainless steel monolith in the Utah desert that has attracted so much attention since its discovery a fortnight ago is also missing.
The San Juan County Sheriff said the office did not have the resources to spend a lot of time and energy investigating who took the item, which was initially illegal.
Hundreds of people have traveled to find the monolith, which was spotted on Nov. 18 by state helicopter crews helping wildlife biologists count bighorn sheep. Utah officials did not specify where the monolith was located, but people quickly found it using satellite imagery from 2016 and determined its GPS coordinates.
with Associated Press