Today in 1954, a woman in Sylacauga, Alabama, Elizabeth Hodges, greeted her husband when he came home from work by saying “We had a little excitement around here today.”

That was a big understatement.

On that day, Hodges became the first person in modern history to be hit by a meteorite.


It was at about 2:30 that afternoon.

Hodges was taking a nap on the sofa under some quilts in a house she and her husband rented.

People across eastern Alabama said they saw a bright light in the sky, almost a fireball.

It was a meteorite, which broke through Hodges’ roof, bounced off their large radio set and hit her, hard enough to leave a large bruise on her left side and hip.

At first she and her mother thought the chimney had collapsed; it wasn’t until later that they saw the meteorite.

Once the story got out, and news media started coming to town for interviews, there was a dispute between Hodges and her landlord as to who should get to keep it.

Hodges and her husband ended up with the thing, but unlike another local who found and sold a piece of the space rock, they didn’t make any money.

Eventually they donated it to a museum, long after the news moved on to other topics, and after they had reportedly used the meteorite that had visited them as a doorstop.


Today in 1835 Mark Twain was born.

Once, for a print column, he was asked “If it would take a cannon ball 3 1/3 seconds to travel four miles, and 3 3/8 seconds to travel the next four, and 3 5/8 to travel the next four, and if its rate of progress continued to diminish in the same ratio, how long would it take it to go fifteen hundred millions of miles?”

Twain’s reply in full: “I don’t know.”

In 1954, an Extraterrestrial Bruiser Shocked This Alabama Woman (Smithsonian)

Asked and Answered (Futility Closet)

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