Seamons relates how, initially, the theory was that a housewife had the misfortune of being hit with a part of an airplane that had somehow fallen from the sky, barreled through the roof of her Sylacauga, Alabama home, bounced off her radio, and then smacked her right on the hip.
It seems she had been napping under quilts, and the impact caused what National Geographic at the time termed an ugly "pineapple-shaped bruise" But it turns out that, in this case, the truth was stranger than fiction.
It was November of 1954, and Ann Hodges became the first person known to have been struck and injured by an extraterrestrial object. Sadly, the episode seems to have set off a domino effect on her health – hospitalization, a nervous breakdown, and a resultant prescription drug addiction eventually led to kidney failure and a premature death at age 52.
As if to add insult to injury, by that time, the space rock had left the family's possession. It seems the police had immediately seized it, only to have it confiscated by the U.S. Air Force.
Her husband hired a local lawyer to get it back, which he eventually did - only to have the couple's landlady argue it was rightfully hers. Another lawyer was hired; and once again, he was successful in retaining it, though the Hodges were paid $500 to give up the rights to the meteorite.
The article then states that, by the time everything was settled, the initial frenzy of offers to buy it had cooled off, and in the end, the meteorite wound up being donated it to the University of Alabama, which paid the Hodges family a whopping $25. One can still view the extraterrestrial object there to this day.
I will admit that I was saddened by the revelations contained within the article. One would like to think that the first couple known to have been impacted by a heavenly object would have suffered a better fate. And yet, as distressing as it is to know how things turned out for Mr. and Mrs. Hodges, I am aware of another couple impacted by a Heavenly Body that seems to have fared better.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that this story appeared the day after Christmas. For in is in the story of the birth of Jesus that we read about a couple named Joseph and Mary who had their lives impacted by a Heavenly being in the form of a small human body.
And while their earthy lives may not necessarily be esteemed as enviable by very many people, there is no doubt that it was a singular blessing to have been chosen to birth and raise the Christ Child. As we read in the New Testament Gospel of Luke (chapter 1, verses 26-35):
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin pledged in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. The angel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. So the angel told her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end!”
“How can this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”
While little else is known of the lives of Mary and Joseph beyond the opening chapters of the Gospels, these verse contain enough information to assure us that the two of them were truly blessed to have been chosen to be the first people on earth to have their lives impacted by the Heavenly Being who was the Only Begotten Son of God!
But alas! They may have been the first, but not the last! For I too have had my life impacted by an encounter with this same Heavenly Being. As Bill Gaither put it, I was:
“Shackled by a heavy burden,
'neath a load of guilt and shame;
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.
He touched me, O, He touched me,
And O, the joy that floods my soul.
Something happened, and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.”
Have you been touched by the Heaven sent Being? If not, I hope you will be. For once you have been, you will no longer be the same!