A Case of Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time?


In 1954, an Extraterrestrial Bruiser Shocked This Alabama Woman

by Alice George/Smithsonian.com

On November 30, 1954, Ann Hodges experienced a rude awakening. As the 34-year-old lay napping cozily under quilts on the sofa in her Alabama home, she awoke with a jolt as she became the only human being known to have suffered an injury after being struck by a meteorite.

The approximately 8.5-pound, 4.5-billion-year-old interplanetary traveler shot like a bullet through her Sylacauga house’s roof at 2:46 p.m. It banged into her large radio console and bounced onto her body, causing a large bruise on her left side.

Experts estimate the odds of being hit by a meteorite are 1 in 1.6 million. “You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time,” Michael Reynolds, a Florida State College astronomer told the National Geographic. Apparently, a larger meteorite split in two as it fell toward the ground. One piece hit Hodges and the other landed a few miles away. The second meteorite can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Moving at approximately 200 kilometers per hour, the meteor lit up the sky in parts of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

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  1. This unlikely event shows that although the chance of it happening was very small, it did in fact occur. The probability of events varies from zero 0, which means they would be prohibited to one 1 where they would be an absolute certainty. Many people believe that just because the chance of an event is small, it can’t happen. This event shows that to be wrong. The only events which are prohibited are those with exactly zero probability and those are relatively few. This particular event was also very well documented. There are likely many others which are never documented at all all over the world. What is interesting about this one is that the remains of he meteorite can be scientifically tested for its chemical content. So far as I know none have ever been found to contain elements of the Periodic Table not already known on Earth. Without scientific proof, one might think there could be new elements billions of light years away from Earth but so far that does not seem to be the case. If it burns up in the atmosphere there is nothing left to test. Unlikely events can and do occur every day and likely events can and do fail to happen every day.

  2. The “200 kilometers per hour” meteor velocity has to be a mistake. That’s approximately 125-130 miles per hour, far to slow to light up the night sky. Meteors, or other objects entering the atmosphere at ballistic velocities burn up in the atmosphere because of friction. More likely, the velocity was 200 kilometers per minute.

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