A historical note - this week marks the 50th anniversary of the arrival in Alabama of the Hodges meteorite, so named after its victim - who was for many years the only person clearly documented to have been struck by a meteorite. Actually it might have been a meteor at that point, not having quite reached the ground and zero relative velocity. This happened on November 30, 1954, in Sylacauga, with the daylight trail of entry visible across at least two states. For those interested and close enough, I'll point out that there will be a commemorative event at the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa, current site of the rock's incarceration for assault and battery. The press announcement says:
"One of the world's most famous "rocks" - a meteorite that struck an Alabama woman 50 years ago this month - is the subject of a Nov. 30 presentation sponsored by UA's Alabama Museum of Natural History, home to the legendary stone. The "Hodges Meteorite" fell from the sky on Nov. 30, 1954, punching a hole in the roof of a house in the Oak Grove community, near Sylacauga, smashing a wooden radio cabinet and then landing on 31-year-old Ann Hodges, as she lay dozing on her couch. The meteorite, which weighed about 8.5 pounds, hit Hodges' hand and hip and caused extensive bruising, according to published reports from the period. The only confirmed occurrence of a meteorite hitting a human, the incident resulted in an Air Force investigation, a mini bidding war, a flurry of media attention and a lawsuit. Hodges donated the internationally publicized meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History in 1956, according to Dr. John C. Hall, a UA geologist who is retired from the museum. Hall will speak on "The Day the Star Fell on Alabama," at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 30 in room 205 of Smith Hall. The public is invited, and admission is free. A reception will be held in the Museum's Grand Gallery following the talk."
The lawsuit mentioned there was between the Hodges and their landlady, who sued for possession of the meteorite on the grounds that the lease did not include mineral rights. This being Alabama, the judge found in favor of the landlady, who then sold the rock back to the Hodges. The whole incident was reported in Life magazine, including a monumentally unflattering two-page picture of Annie Hodges in the hospital bed with her doctor pulling up the sheets to reveal a foot-wide (that would be 30 cm) bruise on the side of her hip. Harold Povenmire was at one point working on a book about the strike and its aftermath, but it's been years and we haven't heard any more.