The Sylacauga meteorite
fell on November 30, 1954 at 2:46pm (18:46 U.T.)
near the town of Sylacauga
. Although officially known as the Sylacauga meteorite, it is often referred to as the Hodges meteorite
because a fragment of it struck Ann Elizabeth Hodges (1923–1972).
The Sylacauga meteorite is the first documented extraterrestrial
object to have injured a human being
. The grapefruit
-sized fragment crashed through the roof of a frame house in Oak Grove
, bounced off a large wooden console radio
, and hit Hodges while she napped on a couch. The 31-year-old woman was badly bruised on one side of her body but able to walk. The event received worldwide publicity.
The Sylacauga meteorite is not the only extraterrestrial object to have struck a human. In 1992 a very small fragment (3 g) of Mbale meteorite
hit a young Ugandan boy,
but it had been slowed down by a tree and did not cause any injury.
made a fireball visible from three states as it streaked through the atmosphere
, even though it fell early in the afternoon.
he United States Air Force
sent a helicopter
to take the meteorite. Eugene Hodges, the husband of the woman who was struck, hired a lawyer to get it back. The Hodges' landlord, Bertie Guy, also claimed it, wanting to sell it to cover the damage to the house. There were offers of up to $5,000 for the meteorite. By the time it was returned to the Hodgeses, over a year later, public attention had diminished and they were unable to find a buyer willing to pay.
Ann Hodges was uncomfortable with the public attention and the stress of the dispute over ownership of the meteorite. Against her husband's wishes, she donated it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History