Ann was an instant international star (pardon the pun).
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t exactly have a “she lived happily ever after” ending. With Cold War paranoia running high, the Sylacauga police chief confiscated the black rock and turned it over to the Air Force. Ann reportedly said. "I feel like the meteorite is mine," according to an article published by the Alabama Museum of Natural History. “I think God intended it for me. After all, it hit me!"
But, there was one more hitch. Ann and her husband were renters, and their landlady, a recently widowed woman named Birdie Guy, wanted the meteorite for herself. Claimed the rock should be hers since it had fallen on her property. The law may have been on Birdie’s side, but public opinion wanted Ann to have it. Guy settled out of court, giving up her claim to the meteorite in exchange for $500. Ann’s husband, good old Eugene Hodges, was convinced the couple could make big money off the rock. He was wrong. A couple of years later, the Hodges donated the meteorite to the natural history museum where it's still on display.
Ann later suffered a nervous breakdown, and in 1964 she and Eugene separated. She died in 1972 at 52. Eugene suspects the meteorite and frenzy that followed had taken its toll on Ann. Museum director Randy McCready state, "The Hodges were just simple country people, and I really think that all the attention was her downfall."
I don’t know if there is a Carpe Diem Life lesson here. If there is one, maybe it’s that if you’re ever hit by a meteorite, keep it quite. You see, that wasn’t the only piece of space to fall in the area that day. A one Julius K. McKinney, an African-American sharecropper, lived nearby. He’s reported to have been driving his mule wagon down a dirt road when suddenly the animals stopped. “Shaken, jittery, and nervous,” writes Emmett Burnett in Alabama Living, “The mules refused to pass a small black stone in the road. After the rock was authenticated, he sold it for an undisclosed sum but enough to buy a new house, new car, and property.”
I just thought is was an interesting piece of trivia from this date. Because what makes this story so unique is that Mrs. Hodges is the only confirmed person in the history of the world to have been hit by a meteorite. Pretty amazing.
UPDATE: Earlier this year, for the first time in recorded history, a meteorite is reported to have killed a person. The incident happened on a college campus in Tamil Nadu, a state in Southern India. But NASA has yet to confirm whether the mysterious object is indeed a meteorite.