Many eyebrows were raised earlier this month when a French woman claimed to have been hit by a meteorite.
The odds of a person being hit by a space rock are estimated to be about one in 700,000 to one in 100 trillion.
It’s also a fact that there has only ever been one victim of a meteorite, a 34-year-old woman from Alabama who was hit by an alien rock the size of a grapefruit 70 years ago.
Well, it may be a redundant record, but Anne Hodges is the only person in recorded history to have landed on a meteorite after dozens of geologists raced to disprove the claims of the unnamed French inhabitants.
She said she was having coffee with a friend on the terrace of her home in Chirmec, northeastern France, when she was hit in the ribs by the meteorite.
But a group of experts took the story global and said it couldn’t be a meteorite because a space rock would be jagged and jagged instead of smooth after melting in Earth’s atmosphere.
Instead, they said it was just an ordinary underground rock that fell from the roof, the wheels of an airplane, or was thrown by thieves to see if anyone was home.
The rock that hit Hodges was, of course, a meteorite.
On November 30, 1954, she was sleeping happily on the couch when an 8.5-pound, 4.5-billion-year-old space rock shot through her roof, bounced off a radio, and hit her in the thigh and arm, severely injuring her.
Hearing her daughter’s screams, the mother who was in another room rushed to her daughter’s aid.
Neither of them knew what had happened and soon the house was filled with dust.
At first they thought the chimney had collapsed or a space heater had exploded, before discovering A rock on the floor and a bruise on Ann’s body.
The two then called the police and fire department.
Shortly before the impact, several residents of Sylacauga reported seeing ‘a red light’ crossing the sky ‘like a Roman candle following smoke’.
Others said they saw a ‘ball of fire, like a giant arc’ and heard a great boom.
It was so intense that many thought it was a plane crashing into the ground.
Authorities were inundated with calls, hoping to find a crash site before Hodges identified the home as ‘ground zero’ and discovered a hole in the roof.
As they laid out all the evidence, the penny began to drop.
As it turned out, the meteor broke up when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. One fragment hit Hodges while the other was found by a farmer miles away.
Hodges’ husband, Eugene, was completely unaware of what had happened until he returned home later that day to find emergency vehicles and a crowd surrounding the couple’s home.
His wife said there was a ‘little excitement’ that day.
Although he initially did not require hospital treatment, Hodges was admitted the next day – not for bruising, but for mental distress.
Eugene later claimed that his wife’s behavior had changed in the months and years following the meteorite crash.
Her health problems worsened, her shyness turned into social anxiety, and she suffered what appeared to be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
After 10 years, the couple divorced.
Before their separation, and immediately after the incident, Ann and Eugene spent a year in a bitter legal dispute with their landlord over ownership of the meteorite that hit their home.
Although the law favored the landlord, the public got behind Hodges and she kept it after she and her husband agreed to pay a $500 (£389) settlement.
Hodges said of the legal dispute over ownership: ‘God intended it to hit me. After all, it hit me!’
Unfortunately, by the time Hodges and her husband got the rock, interest in the meteorite had waned.
They tried to sell it but couldn’t find a buyer, so at first it was used as a door step before being donated. Alabama Museum of Natural History.
A farmer had more luck when a piece of the Hodges meteorite landed on Earth.
Julius Kempis McKinney quickly sold it to the Smithsonian, allowing him to buy a new car and house with the proceeds while Hodges continued his law exams.
Decades later, in 2017, a piece of this second smaller space rock was sold at Christie’s auction for $7,500 (£5,800).
Hodges would eventually die at the age of just 52, having struggled greatly in light of his notoriety.
She died of kidney failure in a nursing home on September 10, 1972, and was survived by her ex-husband until 2012.