On November 30 1954 in Alabama, a nine pound meteorite broke through the ceiling of Anne Hodges' living room, bounced off her stereo system, and hit her in the side while she was asleep on the sofa. Hodges suffered a bad bruise. The National Museum of Natural History has a piece of the rock in their collection and, as Smithsonian magazine reports, it's long been thought that Hodges is the only individual in recorded history confirmed to have been hit by a meteorite. Now though, researchers at Ege University, Trakya University, and the SETI Institute report that a fellow in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq is actually the first documented case of a meteorite striking a human being. It happened on August 22, 1888 and unfortunately the falling meteorite killed the man and left another paralyzed. From the scientific paper in Meteoritics & Planetary Science:
[The evidence comes from] three manuscripts written in Ottoman Turkish that were extracted from the General Directorate of State Archives of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. This event was also reported to Abdul Hamid II (34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire) by the governor of Sulaymaniyah. These findings suggest other historical records may still exist that describe other events that caused death and injuries by meteorites.
image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell
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