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Home > Science > Meteorite of Sylacauga

Meteorite of Sylacauga

This page tells the story of Anne Hodges - who was hit by a rare meteorite inside her home!

Anne Hodges after being hit by the meteorite

It Started as a Normal Day...

Ann Hodges was enjoying a well-deserved nap in her farmhouse on the afternoon of November 30, 1954, in Oak Grove, Alabama, near the town of Sylacauga. It was a cool fall day, typical in Alabama for that time of year. The typical fall afternoon, however, would quickly became anything but typical. At 12:46 P.M., a large object came crashing through the roof of the farmhouse. It crushed a wooden radio before hitting Mrs. Hodges. The object that fell was about the size of a grapefruit. It left a nasty bruise on the left thigh of Mrs. Hodges, but otherwise, left her uninjured.

What was it?

Before the object came crashing through the roof of the farmhouse, people across eastern Alabama reported a fireball streaking through the sky. Others heard loud booming noises. Many believed it was a plane crash or even a UFO. A government geologist was called in to investigate. He quickly concluded that the object that fell was a meteorite. Thus, Ann Hodges made history that day. She was the first documented person in history hit by an object from space. While meteorites entering the Earth’s atmosphere are relatively common events, large, intact meteorites are exceedingly rare. Most fall into the ocean or break up into tiny parts. Soon, people from across Alabama descended upon the Hodges house to see the meteorite for themselves. Ann Hodges was so overwhelmed by the attention that she was transferred to a local hospital.

Now, for the Money!

The final question that soon arose concerning the meteorite involved ownership. Who owned the meteorite? While the United States Air Force initially collected the meteorite, both the Hodges' and their landlord claimed ownership. Eventually, the two parties compromised and the Hodges paid $500 to their landlord for the meteorite. The Hodges had hoped to sell the meteorite, but by the time their ownership was established there was little public interest in and they were unsuccessful in finding an owner. They decided to donate the meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.


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