Key Takeaways:

  1. Credible records of a person killed by a meteorite have been found in historical archives, marking the first known proof of such an event.
  2. In 1888, a meteorite struck Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, killing one individual and paralyzing another, according to Ottoman Turkish documents.
  3. Earth experiences a constant barrage of meteors, with up to 17 potentially reaching the surface each day.
  4. Previous incidents lacked material evidence, hindering confirmation of meteorite involvement in accidents.
  5. The discovery highlights the need for interdisciplinary research and exploration of non-English historical documents.

In a breakthrough revelation, researchers have unveiled the first substantiated instance of a person meeting their demise due to a falling meteorite. This groundbreaking discovery stems from meticulous examination of Ottoman Turkish documents dating back to 1888, stored in the General Directorate of State Archives of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. These records recount an extraordinary event in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, where a plummeting meteorite claimed one life and left another individual paralyzed. This revelation challenges the notion of Earth’s imperviousness to celestial assaults, shedding light on a previously uncharted territory in historical records.

Despite Earth encountering millions of meteors daily, instances of fatalities resulting from these encounters have remained conspicuously absent from documented history. Even the colossal Chelyabinsk meteorite’s detonation in 2013, which unleashed fragments weighing over a thousand pounds, led to no casualties attributed to the falling debris. Past difficulties in providing historical evidence arise not from the scarcity of relevant incidents, but rather from the dearth of verifiable proof linking the accidents to genuine meteoric objects.

(Unsalan et al., Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 2020)

The sole confirmed survivor of a meteorite strike is Ann Hodges, who, in 1954, was resting on her couch when a meteorite pierced through her roof, striking her hip. Although there’s no remaining rock to authenticate the 1888 report, the unearthed archival documents stand as compelling evidence. These letters from local authorities meticulously detail the event, reporting a massive fireball in the sky around 8:30 pm, followed by a ten-minute torrent of meteorites raining down on the village, resulting in the tragic loss of an unnamed man and severe injury to another.

The significance of this discovery extends beyond its historical import. It underscores a glaring gap in our knowledge, urging a more comprehensive study of historical documents in languages beyond English. Bridging this gap necessitates extensive interdisciplinary collaboration with historians, librarians, and translators. The researchers are committed to delving further into the archives, seeking potential correspondences from the Sultan that may shed additional light on this unprecedented event. This revelation not only unravels a century-old mystery but also beckons us to explore the untapped wealth of information residing in historical records across the globe.

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