[meteorite-list] The large meteorite of 1859: anyone know if thishas a grain of truth?

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 16:58:30 -0600
Message-ID: <00a701c76042$f6290560$4043e146_at_ATARIENGINE>

Hi, Chris,

    An interesting folkloric problem: do folktales
evolve (or possibly devolve) from the seed of
an actual event? Or the misconceptions about
an actual event?

    I suggested the New Concord, Ohio meteorite:
it fell only 15 miles away from Coshocton, on
May 1, 1860, and killed a horse, was witnessed,
and probably generated a lot of talk with its 227
kilos of space rock! (New Concord is the birthplace
of John Glenn, BTW.)

    In the newspaper articles archived by Mark
Bostick, there are a pageful about New Concord:

    One says: "A meteoric shower, which appears
to have extended over the greater part of Eastern Ohio,
fell on Tuesday last." Another newspaper says the
pieces were found up to 50 miles apart, and another
reported the event as an major earthquake which was
accompanied by "the fall of four meteoric stones."
(Formed by earthquake lightning, I suppose...)

    The other twilight zone feature is the date: your
article predates the New Concord event!

    Looking through the index of Mark's archive,
it's remarkable how many Ohio newspapers are
listed. Maybe they just liked meteorite stories or
maybe there are more surviving old newspapers
in Ohio.

    The Smithsonian has many clippings about
meteorites in the papers of C. U. Shepard, who
once had the largest American meteorite collection:
You'd have to go there and get them to let you
look at the clippings, though...

    It may be relevant that 1859 is the year that Evans
submitted the sample (Imilac) of the Port Orford
GIANT METEORITE!! announced the previous year.
I use capitals because that's the way it was presented
by Evans, as a major event (worthy of more funding).

    It appears from your transcription that the
Coshocton newspaper is quoting a story from
the Oswego (NY) Palladium. I found no 1859
meteorite story on-line from "The Palladium,"

    One of Mark's articles from 1859:
says, "We have a lively recollection of the Oswego
meteor hoax. It would have required a larger stone
than that was represented to have been..." and this
mention of the Oswego Meteor Hoax in the NYTimes:

    I can't find any further description of the Oswego
meteor hoax by Googling. Perhaps you have found
a copy of it. The reference to the size of the "stone"
suggests the exaggerated size of your report. I think
you've found a text of the "Oswego meteor hoax."
(Oswego was also the target or source of a hoaxed
snow picture just this year, February, 2007). Or it
could be an independent hoax inspired by Oswego.

    But certainly your clipping belongs in the archive
of great old time meteor hoaxes.

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: "chris aubeck" <caubeck at gmail.com>
To: "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb at sbcglobal.net>
Cc: <Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 2:10 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] The large meteorite of 1859: anyone know if
thishas a grain of truth?

Hi Sterling,

Well, it wasn't because of the details but the date and place. I
believe I have traced the folkloric development of this story over
time, over the following thirty years in fact, until it became a UFO
tale. But I wanted to know whether it had grown out of some actual
fall report, as many of these stories did.

Still, you've answered my question, I think!



On 3/6/07, Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Hi, Chris
> You have to ask? An 80-foot high meteorite
> covering 0.5 acre (100' x 200')? Which was
> originally a 22 meter iron sphere?
> That object, at the slowest entry speed (12
> km/s), gets you a 1 MegaTon (TNT) impact
> and a 1650-foot crater, 352 feet deep!
> I think SOMEBODY would have noticed.
> Coshocton, Ohio, just LOVES meteorite
> stories! Last one in 02-15-07, another in 2004.
> Mark Bostick's site shows old ones in 1939, 1930,
> 1925, 1916. Meteoric Tall Tales seem to a strong
> Coshocton tradition... Or at least a tradition of
> Coshocton newspapers, a proven circulation
> booster, perhaps?
> Maybe they're jealous of the New Concord
> meteorite in the next county over.
> Sterling K. Webb
> ------------------------------------------------------
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "chris aubeck" <caubeck at gmail.com>
> To: <Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2007 2:35 AM
> Subject: [meteorite-list] The large meteorite of 1859: anyone know if
> thishas a grain of truth?
> Was there a meteorite in this location, at that time?
> Best,
> Chris
> 1859 07 06 Coshocton Progressive Age [Ohio]
> July 6, 1859
> Great Natural Phenomenon.
> >From the Oswego Palladium.
> On Wednesday (yesterday) morning [June 29]
> the inhabitants of the towns of Boylston and
> Redfield, in this county, were startled by the
> occurrence of a most remarkable phenomenon
> -- the descent from the heavens of an immense
> meteoritic mass. The body struck the earth
> between the hours of three and four A.M.,
> with a crash that was truly terrific, and the
> shock was sensibly felt and people aroused
> from their sleep at a distance of five miles from
> the scene. The body fell upon the farm of
> Horace Sanger, situated on the line of Boylston
> and Redfield, striking in a meadow and partially
> on the highway. It is estimated by our informant
> to cover half an acre of land. The earth was
> torn up in a terrible manner, and large fragments
> were thrown a distance of two-thirds of a mile.
> The mass is very irregular in shape, and rises at
> some points to sixty to eighty feet in height, and
> is supposed to be imbedded in the earth many
> feet. The surface generally has the appearance
> of iron ore. The excitement occasioned by the
> event among the inhabitants was intense, and
> the crash is said to have been terrific beyond
> description. Many supposed that the final
> winding up of terrestrial affairs had truly arrived.
> I was awakened about three o'clock on
> Wednesday morning, by the room in which I
> slept being filled with light, and immediately
> heard a rushing sound like the coming of a great
> wind. This did not last above a few seconds
> after I was awake, when an explosion followed
> of which I can give no description -- it was
> terrific. The whole house shook as if a hundred
> cannon had been fired under the windows;
> quite a number of panes of glass were broken
> out of the windows, and the plastering of the
> room I was in came tumbling about me. The
> light, which was so brilliant that I could plainly
> see every object in the room, was at once
> extinguished. The window of my room is on
> the opposite side of the house from the place
> where the meteor fell, so that I can only judge
> of its direction. The light seemed to come from
> some body moving very rapidly and from south
> to north, and seemed to increase rapidly during
> the brief space that preceded the explosion.
> The aerolite struck the earth in some timber
> land belonging to Mr. Sanger, in a thinly
> inhabited portion of the town. We believe Mr.
> Hadley's is the nearest dwelling. It seems to
> have been an almost spherical body of, as
> near as we can judge from the fragments
> remaining, about seventy-five feet in diameter.
> Its course was from southwest to northeast,
> and descended at an angle of not more than
> thirty degrees from the horizon, which is proved
> by its track through the heavy hemlock trees
> before it touched the earth.
> The trees are cut through as a cannon ball would
> cut through a hedge, leaving a clear track. The
> velocity must have been immense. The earth is
> torn up for several rods, and the huge trees are
> splintered and piled up like brush. One large
> hemlock, at least four feet in diameter, near whose
> roots the meteor struck, was thrown bodily for
> eighty yards, crushing the surrounding trees like
> pipe stems. Fragments of a huge sandstone
> boulder which lay in its course were thrown in
> all directions, and one weighing half a ton was
> found on the road three-fourths of a mile away.
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Received on Tue 06 Mar 2007 05:58:30 PM PST

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