Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges

Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges (also known as Mrs. Hodges, Mrs. Hewlett Hodges, and Mrs. Huelitt Hodges;[3] February 2, 1920 – September 10, 1972) was an American woman known for being the first documented individual to not only be struck by a meteorite, but also live through the encounter.

Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges
Ann Elizabeth Hodges.jpg
Ann Hodges with the bruise sustained from the Sylacauga meteorite in November 1954
Born(1920-02-02)2 February 1920
Alabama, United States[1]
Died10 September 1972(1972-09-10) (aged 52)
Resting placeCharity Baptist Church Cemetery, Hazel Green, Madison County, Alabama, USA[2]
Known forMeteorite fall
Spouse(s)Eugene Hodges

Meteorite impactEdit

At 12:46 pm (CST)[4] on November 30, 1954,[5] a meteorite fell through the skies of Sylacauga, Alabama. It split into at least 3 fragments,[6] with one of the fragments falling through a roof, hitting and bouncing off a radio, then landing on Mrs. Hodges who was napping on her couch.[5] She recalled the meteorite came through her roof around 2:00 pm local time,[4] although the official time the meteorite flew through the sky was 12:46 pm.[6] The meteorite left a three-foot wide hole in the roof of her house,[4] bounced off of a radio and hit her around her upper thigh and hand,[5] giving her a large bruise.[7]

Mrs. Hodges and her mother, who was in the house at the time, thought the chimney had collapsed as there was a lot of dust and debris. Once they noticed the large rock, they called both the police and fire department.[8] Her husband, Eugene Hodges, came home later that evening at about 6:00 pm local time, unaware of what happened to his wife.[4] Mrs. Hodges filled him in by indicating there was a "little excitement."[4] That night she did not sleep well and ended up going to the hospital the next day due to being distressed from the incident, rather than from her physical injury, which was said to only be the large bruise on her upper thigh.[9]

After the incidentEdit

 
A slice of the Sylacauga meteorite on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC

Members from the Maxwell Air Force Base went to the Hodges home to look at and confiscate the meteorite.[9] They confirmed its identity as a chondrite meteorite, and the Mayor of Sylacauga Ed J. Howard, originally intended to give it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History (AMNH) of the University of Alabama.[4] Mr. Hodges stated that he had "enough evidence that the thing fell in my house"[4] and the meteorite was eventually given back to the Hodges.[8] Although the meteorite had crashed through the Hodges home and hit Mrs. Hodges, the owner of the house, Birdie Guy, declared ownership.[citation needed] With a lengthy year-long legal battle,[9] Mrs. Guy and the Hodges agreed on a $500 settlement and Mrs. Hodges was able to keep the meteorite.[citation needed]

Ann Hodges had immense, although short-term, notoriety for the incident. About 200 reporters were waiting to talk to her outside of her house, most of which was unwelcome.[7] Ann was invited to, and attended, the show "I’ve Got a Secret" hosted by Garry Moore. Mrs. Hodges also received lots of fan mail and questions, although she did not reply to them.[9]

Mr. Hodges indicated they had received several offers for the meteorite while it was at the Air Force Base, but could not accept offers since it was not in their possession. One offer, he states, was close to $5,500.[10] By the time the meteorite was returned to Ann, after the legal battle with Mrs. Guy, they could not find a buyer after the excitement of the event had dwindled. In 1956, Mrs. Hodges decided to sell the meteorite to the Alabama Museum of Natural History,[11][5] against her husband's wishes, and as he recalled, for about $25.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Ann and Eugene Hodges would later get divorced in 1964.[9]

DeathEdit

Hodges died in a nursing home[12] from kidney failure[13] on September 10, 1972.[14] Her ex-husband died in 2012.[11]

LegacyEdit

The meteorite that flew through the sky that night was named the Sylacauga meteorite and the fragment that hit Mrs. Hodges was aptly named the Hodges Fragment.[6] Another fragment from the original meteorite was sold to the Smithsonian, while the Hodges Fragment remains on exhibit at the Alabama Museum of Natural History.[8][15]

The radio that was hit by the meteorite was later loaned to the American Museum of Natural History in 2005 by Eugene Hodges, fifty years after the impact event.[11]

The titular poem in Space Struck by Paige Lewis was inspired by the event, describing its aftermath from Hodges' point of view.[16]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Ann Elizabeth (Fowler) Hodges (1920-1972) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree". www.wikitree.com. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  2. ^ "Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges (1920-1972) - Find A..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Ann Hodge". Arctos. 4 October 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "The Tuscaloosa News - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Ann Hodges: The Woman That Was Hit By A Meteorite, retrieved 4 October 2021
  6. ^ a b c "1995LPI....26.1133P Page 1133". articles.adsabs.harvard.edu. Bibcode:1995LPI....26.1133P. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  7. ^ a b "UA Museum to Observe 50th Anniversary of Hodges Meteorite | University of Alabama News - The University of Alabama". 23 August 2014. Archived from the original on 23 August 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Magazine, Smithsonian; George, Alice. "In 1954, an Extraterrestrial Bruiser Shocked This Alabama Woman". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d e "In 1954, an Alabama woman became the first known person to be directly hit by a meteorite — here's her strange story". Business Insider Australia. 29 June 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  10. ^ a b Writer, Adam Jones Staff. "A star fell on Alabama". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  11. ^ a b c "University of Alabama searching for family of owner of radio struck by meteorite". www.forsythnews.com. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Meteorite hit woman November 30, 1954 and ruined the rest of her life – Alabama Pioneers". www.alabamapioneers.com. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  13. ^ Magazine, Smithsonian; George, Alice. "In 1954, an Extraterrestrial Bruiser Shocked This Alabama Woman". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges (1920-1972) - Find A..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Exhibits – Alabama Museum of Natural History". Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  16. ^ Lewis, Paige (2019). Space Struck : poems. Louisville, KY: Sarabande Books. p. 50. ISBN 9781946448453.

External linksEdit