The Only Person To Ever Be Hit By a Meteorite

On November 30, 1954, Ann Hodges from Sylacauga, Ala., was taking a nap when her sleep was interrupted by an 8½-pound rock from out of this world that slammed into her. It is believed that the piece broke off the asteroid 1685 Toro, a mid-sized asteroid that’s been classified by NASA as a “Near Earth Asteroid” because of its close proximity to Earth. Its size is similar to that of the island of Manhattan. Locals in Sylacauga reported seeing a bright streak in the sky and thought they were witnessing a plane crash. Hodges and her husband rented the house in the Oak Grove community — incredibly, across the street from Comet Drive-In Theater, which had a neon sign depicting a comet falling through the sky. Hodges, who was 34 at the time, said the meteorite came down through the roof in the living room and ricocheted off a stand-up console radio that was in the room and landed on her hip. Her mother, who was in another room, ran into the living room when she heard Ann scream. Neither of the women knew what had happened. It wasn’t long before everyone in town was surrounding the house to see what happened. A doctor and police were called to the home, at which time they discovered a grapefruit-sized bruise on Ann's hip. She was taken to the hospital, where she was checked out and discharged. With her 15 minutes of fame firmly intact, Hodges didn’t object to the Air Force confiscating the meteorite, but her landlord, Birdie Guy, did. She sued the Air Force for funds to fix the house’s roof and won a settlement of $500. When Hodges finally got the meteorite back, she opted to donate it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History. Unfortunately, the meteorite created problems between Hodges and her husband, Eugene. Her husband wanted to make money off the meteorite but failed to secure a buyer. The two eventually divorced in 1964. In 1972, at age 52, Hodges died of kidney failure in a nursing home.