As far as we have come in space exploration, we have barely scratched the surface. We have been to the moon, we have satellites in space to let is get a look at other planets, but we still don’t understand a lot about what is out there. We continue to try to learn what we can, but we may never know all that there is to know.
It is very uncommon for a meteoroid to reach Earth. In most cases, they burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere. If one does make it to Earth, the results can be catastrophic. Past collisions have made it to the Earth has caused huge craters in the ground. It is also believed that it was a meteoroid that killed the dinosaurs. In 1954, a meteorite made it to Earth and did something incredibly bizarre.
In 1954, most of the United States was focused on Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, which resulted in segregation in schools being outlawed. In the small town of Sylacauga, Alabama had something more incredible on their minds.
On an afternoon in autumn, residents of Sylacauga spotted something in the sky that looked like a Roman candle. It had smoke trailing behind it. Many people believed that what they were seeing was a Cold War weapon set off by the Soviets. The space rock made its way into the Earth’s atmosphere and came down right by a farmhouse in Alabama. When it landed, it landed hard.
Earlier that afternoon, a 32-year-old woman named Ann Hodges laid down on the couch to take a quick nap before her husband got home from work. Rather than her being awoken by him coming in the door, she was awakened with a violent thud. When she woke up, she didn’t know what happened. All she know was that she had a football-sized injury on her left side. She tried to get off the couch so that she find out if she was in danger. What was strange was that Ann’s living room was in perfect except for her radio that was on its side, with a massive crack in the side and the pieces were falling out.
The Neighbors Help
When the neighbors heard the blast, they ran to Ann’s house to check on her. They helped her off the couch and called the police. When they arrived, they found a gaping hole in the ceiling, and a large meteorite stuck in the ceiling. The rock hit the roof of the house, ricocheted off the radio, and hit Ann while she was sleeping. A geologist was called to the scene, and he was shocked. No person in history had ever been hit by a meteorite. The only human ever struck by a meteorite was affected in ways that are still troubling scientists.
Ann’s Husband Comes Home
When Ann’s husband Eugene got home from work, he panicked when he saw the crowd and the police in front of his house. He couldn’t believe that his wife had been hit with a meteorite. This was something that didn’t happen every day. According to astronomer Mike Reynolds, you have a better chance of getting by a tornado, a bolt of lightning, and a hurricane all at the same time than you do of getting hit by a meteorite.
Ann and Eugene thought that they could make a fortune off the space rock; however, legal complications could have prevented that. They didn’t own the land where the meteorite crashed; they were renting the house. Their landlady sued them for possession of the rock because it landed on her property. Rather than fighting it out in court, the couple paid her $500, which was a lot of money for an Alabama working-class couple. They were sure that it would sell for a lot, so they thought that it was worth it.
The Smithsonian offered to buy the meteorite from Ann and Eugene. They didn’t offer them millions, so they decided to hold out for a buyer who would. They sat by the phone waiting, but the call never came. The media wouldn’t lave the couple alone, and they were in trouble financially. All of the stress caused Ann to have a nervous breakdown. She was never the same, and always felt weak. In 1964, Eugene couldn’t take it anymore, and he left his wife.
Ann had no children to care for her, so she went to a nursing home. For the next 8-years, her condition worsened. She died at 52-years-old of kidney failure. Shortly before she died, she donated the meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History. In the end, the meteoroid didn’t make her rich; it just ruined her life.