Ann Hodges – History’s Only Known Meteorite Victim

In A Nutshell

In 1954, Ann Hodges was struck by a significantly sized meteor. Fortunately, it only left her with a substantial amount of bruising on the outside of her left thigh, and didn’t lead to any catastrophic injuries. However, the fact that she’s the only human to have ever been hit by a piece of space rock, highlights the slice of bad luck that she was served roughly 63 years ago.

The Whole Bushel

As humans, we never expect our lives to be at risk from objects in outer space, but the Ann Hodges situation proved that it’s always a possibility. Back on one afternoon in 1954, Hodges was deep in relaxation on the couch in her Alabama home, completely oblivious to what was happening outside of those four walls. You see, a meteorite was on its course to Earth at a staggering pace, disintegrating into pieces along the way.

According to eyewitnesses, the accompanying fireball was so bright, that it could be seen from three different states. Now, the harsh atmosphere of the Earth did a wonderful job of purifying the rock, but one softball-sized portion managed to continue its journey. As it gathered speed, it started homing in on the Sylacauga area of Alabama, and subsequently Hodges’ house.

It crashed through the ceiling, pinballed around her living room, and eventually collided with her body as she slept. Other than the horrific bruising she suffered on her leg, the only other worries Hodges had was the attention from the media. There were appearances on TV shows, pieces about her in the newspapers, and a brilliant article in LIFE magazine. Plus, everyone wanted to get their hands on the space-born rock.

The interest ranged from Air Force Intelligence, who desperately wanted to ensure the rock wasn’t spy equipment from another country, to the Smithsonian Museum, who wanted to conduct studies on it. However, with influence from her husband, Hodges went down the route of cashing in on it. But, she soon encountered a stumbling block, when her landlord Bertie Guy opened up a legal dispute.

Guy felt that any foreign object that landed on her property was considered as her belongings. Unfortunately, as the court case lasted so long, the value of the piece of meteorite plummeted, and even though Hodges won the battle, she decided to donate it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Despite miraculously surviving a blow from a meteorite, Hodges struggled to cope with the legal dispute and the bombardment from the media. As a result, her health started to decline, and so did her marriage. Sadly, Hodges split from her long-term Husband, and then died a few years later at the age of 52.

Ann Hodges is still the only recorded human to have been a victim of a meteorite strike. But, history always finds a way of repeating itself. So, if there’s one thing that you should take away from this, it should be – always listen out for an incoming meteorite!