She Was Hit by a Meteorite. Things Went South From There

Revisiting the story of Ann Hodges of Alabama
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2022 1:35 PM CST
Updated Dec 31, 2022 7:04 AM CST
She Was Hit by a Meteorite. Things Went South From There
Not what actually eventually hit Ann Hodges.   (Getty Images/solarseven)

At first, the theory was that an Alabama housewife had the misfortune of being hit with a part of an airplane that had fallen from the sky, barreled through the roof of her Sylacauga home, bounced off her radio, and hit her in the hip. She'd been napping under quilts, and the impact caused what National Geographic termed an ugly "pineapple-shaped bruise" (see a photo here.) The truth was stranger. In November 1954, Ann Hodges became the first person known to have been struck and injured by an extraterrestrial object. CBS 42 revisits her story, which doesn't seem to have been an entirely positive one. The bruising the meteorite caused wasn't enough to initially require hospitalization, but she eventually did end up in the hospital, including for what her husband, Eugene H. Hodges Sr., described as a "nervous breakdown."

He later accused her doctor of having "doped up" his still-hospitalized 34-year-old wife and later claimed she developed a prescription drug addiction that contributed to their divorce. She died of kidney failure in 1972 at age 52. By that time, the space rock had left the family's possession, but that's a tale, too: Police had immediately seized it, and the Air Force then took it. Eugene hired a local lawyer to get it back, which he did—only to have the couple's landlady argue it was rightfully hers. The Hodges hired the lawyer again and were successful in retaining it, though they paid her $500 to give up her rights to the meteorite; by the time all was settled, the initial frenzy of offers to buy it had cooled, and they ended up donating it to the University of Alabama, which paid them $25. It's still on display at the school today. (A doghouse hit by a meteorite sold for a pretty penny.)

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