A Bewildered Expression
The man had been rather enthusiastic on the phone. He had been using the rock as a doorstop but needed to see it as soon as possible. The hour had felt like an eternity, and he scrambled out of the car as soon as it stopped.
The expert looked at the rock with a bewildered expression. “Do you know what this is?” he asked. That’s when Ben realized his life was in for a big change.
Ben smiled at the old couple as they settled on a price for the old farmhouse and its surroundings. They shook on it, and he could move in immediately. It was now his farm. He had always dreamed of “the life,” and now it was his.
He just needed to fill it with cows and pigs and look after the crops like the old-timer had done his whole life. He had never owned a farm before, but he was keen to learn the ropes. But as they walked outside, something caught his eye.
The Strange Object
Ben knew that the farm he wanted to purchase in Dexter, Michigan, wasn’t exactly in the best shape, but he still wanted to know what he was getting himself into.
But, after a while of touring the property, he just couldn’t help himself. He thought it might be a silly question to come round looking at a property and ask about a doorstop instead. But the straight-faced answer he got from the owner only baffled him more.
As Ben walked outside the farmhouse with a grin on his face, he noticed something odd. He turned to the old man, whom he had just bought the property from, and asked him what it was.
The man smiled and told him it was a doorstop. They had been using the piece of rock for over 50 years to keep the barn doors open. The old man’s father had told him it was special, but he used to suspect that it was probably just to keep him excited about feeding the pigs.
Ben shook his head and shook the old man’s hand again. The old man told him to keep using the rock and that it was valuable to him. He winked as he walked to his old truck. Ben had no idea what he was talking about but decided to honor his request.
After the couple and real estate agent left, he was alone on the farm. He had the keys to the front gate and to all of the doors in the house. He was so chuffed with his purchase that he decided to take a walk around his property.
Ben Olsen always dreamed of owning a farm. When he was young, his father was forced to sell the land they were on and ever since then, he dreamed of getting that lifestyle back – even if he couldn’t get the same property.
He knew his father would be ecstatic. And, as part of his retirement, Ben would offer him a home on the property and allow him to help out if he wanted. He knew his father would love it. But he had no idea there was more to this new farm than met the eye.
Taking A Walk
Ben could smell the wet compacted dirt and the rain in the trees as he took a stroll around his property. There was a nice open field behind the barn where he imagined he could grow any crops his dad wanted.
It was curious that the previous farmers hadn’t already grown crops there. But after getting closer, something caught his eye. Something very strange was in the field, and he would need answers.
Ben saw a small crater in the middle of the field. It was clear that this was the reason why they hadn’t grown their crops there, but why hadn’t they filled it in? It was also clear that it was no normal crater.
Arizona Timless Tourist
He decided to give the previous owner a ring then and there. He needed to know what was going on – and the old man was the only person who could give him the answers he was looking for.
When the old-timer finally answered on the other end of the call, he seemed surprised to hear from Ben just an hour after he had bought the property. But once Ben explained why he was calling, the man seemed to go silent.
He was never chatty, but Ben could tell he didn’t want to say anything. Had they scammed him when he bought the property? Then the man gave him more of a riddle than an answer. He simply told him that it all circled back to the “rock.”
Unlike Anything He’d Seen Before
The rock in question was unlike any rock or stone Ben had ever seen before. “What about the rock?” Ben asked, trying to get the man to talk. That’s when the farmer revealed that it wasn’t of our world at all.
The rock had a long story behind it, one that seems straight from a novel or a movie, but the farmer recounted his tale with sincerity and seriousness.
The old man sighed and told him about the strange sightings that began in Michegin in the mid-1960s that finally culminated in one of the most famous legends of the Dexter area.
At around 8:30 PM on March 20, 1966, Frank Mannor – the man’s father – was spending a quiet evening at home in their farmhouse when he and his teenage son saw lights in the night sky.
A Strange Light
As the old man explained it, his father and older brother Roland watched from the farmhouse windows as a strange object appeared to land on their farm. Frank and Roland immediately dashed out to investigate, but they were completely blindsided by what they saw.
The strange ball of light was silently hovering over a marshy area of their farm. In Frank’s account, the object disappeared, only to reappear around 500 yards away just seconds later. Frank recalled hearing a sharp sound, like a “rifle bullet ricocheting off an object,” then, the light disappeared.
When Frank Mannor called the police to make a report, they learned that they weren’t the only ones who had witnessed something strange that night.
The Sun Times News
A few police officers who had been patrolling the area had also seen something – and other people had been reporting sightings all week. Dozens of people saw something in the night sky, and Dexter, Michigan, appeared to be the epicenter.
The sightings were widespread and included credible accounts from senators, law enforcement officials, and governors. Soon, J. Allen Hynek – an astrophysicist from Northwestern University – was sent out to Dexter to investigate.
The Sun Times News
He concluded that the people had “seen something,” but put the sightings down to rotting vegetation in the marshes creating gases that, when released, could produce light and even sound. But the old man’s tale only got weirder from there.
A Tall Tale?
The old man went on to say that a few weeks after the sightings, his father and older brother had seen something come down at night on their property, and it had made a “heck of a noise when it hit.”
In the morning, his father had found the crater and dug the strange object out. “It was still warm,” the old man recalled. But something wasn’t adding up for Ben: why was it being used as a doorstop?
More Questions Than Answers
After Ben ended the call, he felt that he had way more questions than answers. The old man had finally told him about the doorstop that was used to keep the barn doors open. He decided to take a closer look at it.
He made his way back to the barn and found the rock sitting on the ground. He could tell the rock had been lying there for a while since it was covered in mud. But still, there was something compelling about it.
Just A Doorstop
The thought of the strange rock being used as a doorstop may have colored Ben’s opinion of the dull object. If, for thirty or forty years, someone had used something as a valueless object it clearly wasn’t actually worth anything, right?
And so, for the next eight years, the ‘rock’ remained as it had for decades – on the floor in the dusty barn, propping open the door. Until a meteorite shower occurred.
A Meteor Shower
Ben had a family now, and they all knew the rock was special in an unrealized and overlooked kind of way. They basically took a piece of another world completely for granted until more rocks fell from the sky and people began featuring them on the evening news.
People all over Michigan were finding meteorites in their own backyards following a meteor shower in 2018, and they certainly weren’t using them as doorstops.
Prompted By Unseen Riches
More than a few people had realized that there was an opportunity to earn a neat sum of money from the little space rocks scattered across Michigan.
Detroit Free Press
Prompted by the sudden wave of excitement in meteorites,Ben decided that there may be more to the rock that his children had taken to school for show-and-tell all these years.
But Was It Real?
But first things first. Ben had to see whether his strange stone was, in fact, the real deal, or just a tall tale told by a farmer making up stories to spice up his quiet country life or add intrigue and mystery to the farm he was selling.
So, was this a true meteorite, or just an unusual rock? Ben knew that he needed to make a phone call to get to the bottom of things.
Calling The Right People
It wasn’t difficult to find out who was the right person to contact in the event that you find a meteorite, especially since Ben had a friend who had once studied geology at Central Michigan University.
Facebook/Central Michigan University
He was soon on the phone to Dr. Nestor, a professor at CMU. She agreed to examine the rock but wasn’t optimistic as to its outcome. She was about to be proven very wrong.
What the old farmer had told him was enough for him to know who to call next. He called another professor from the state’s university.
But once he described the rock to the man, he seemed to immediately get nervous. What was going on with the rock that two people were now in on it but not him? The professor told him he’d be down to the farm to look at it in the next hour.
A Big Deal
It must have been a big deal to the man on the phone – he had dropped everything to come out and look at the rock that he had been using as a doorstop. Finally, after an hour, the car arrived and the man got out.
But when the expert took one look at his rock, he stammered the words: “Do you know what you’ve found?” It was then that Ben knew that there would be no coming back from this. His life was about to turn upside down.
It seemed every Tom, Dick, and Harry had come to the Geology professor over the years and he had examined hundreds of suspected meteorites. But only a small handful of those “extraterrestrial objects” turned out to be anything other than mere ordinary rocks.
“People bring meteorite suspects all the time, but it turns out they’re not meteorites; they are meteor-wrongs for the most part,” Dr. Deatone said. The moment he laid eyes on the ‘doorstop’, he knew it wasn’t any old rock. Tests were needed to confirm anything further.
Not Just A Doorstop
The expert explained to Ben that what had been used as a doorstop for 50 years was something much, much older than that. Any specialists in the community would be fuming if they knew it had been used for such an arbitrary purpose.
Ben asked him what implications it had on him. The expert told him that to discover something this big was like the Holy Grail in his field. And it would also be worth a great deal just to get his hands on it.
The professor then sent two small slices of the rock to Dr. Mona Sirbescu at the Smithsonian for confirmation. “I could tell right away that this was something special,” he said. “It’s the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically.”
The professor believed that if it was what they thought it was, it could easily fetch up to $100,000! Ben was floored by the revelation.
The Sixth Largest
Weighing over 22 pounds, Ben’s meteorite was thought to be the sixth-largest space stone of its kind to be recovered in Michigan.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
With a pedigree like this, Dr. Deatone was confident that the rock could fetch a ton at auction. But just before he sent the specimens away, he recounted his initial process.
“Just before I did that, we used an x-ray fluorescence instrument—or XRF—to connect the chemical composition, and that fell right in the field where it belongs to in terms of concentration of iron and nickel.”
Facebook/Central Michigan University
“Separately, Dr. Cari Corrigan at the Smithsonian conducted another microscopy, and she confirmed without a doubt that it is an iron meteorite.”
What Does it Look Like?
What does this rock look like? Dr. Mona Sirbescu goes on to explain, “The whole meteorite is basically a metallic object. It has a very irregular shape. It has the typical little indentations like thumbprints which are caused by partial melting as the meteorite burns.”
The Washington Post
And it is without a doubt 100% authentic, the specific pattern called widmanstätten proves that. Here is how.
Can’t Be Faked
“That widmanstätten pattern is revealed on the fresh surface that I cut after adding a bit of acid with a certain concentration.”
“That pattern is unique. You cannot reproduce it on Earth. It cannot be faked.” Dr. Mona Sirbescu finished.
What the expert was talking about was the best meteorite find he had ever made. It would be worth a fortune just so that it could be studied and looked at using expert tools. Ben couldn’t believe his luck. The rock was special.
But after seeing how much it meant to the geologists, he felt torn. On the one hand, it was the most special thing he had ever owned. But on the other hand, he knew that the scientific community could really use it. What would he do?
Geologist Catherine Corrigan was the first person to examine the stone. It only took a few tests to confirm it. Now she could corroborate Dr. Sirbescu’s findings and wait to see what would become of Ben’s incredible find.
Central Michigan Life
He had two options if he wanted to sell the meteorite – he could sell the stone to a museum, or sell it to a private collector looking to turn a profit. Either way, Ben was determined to put the proceeds from the meteorite to good use.
To Be Appreciated By All
Ben was assured that the meteorite would be sold to a museum like the Smithsonian after it was studied. That meant that thousands of people could look at and appreciate the rock just like he did.
He felt that it was only fair to let other people enjoy the meteorite and not just hang onto it himself. And as a nice bonus, he’d be able to refurbish his farm equipment and open a college fund for his kids.
A Nice Head Start
Ben made up his mind. He decided that he would sell the rock to the museum after it was studied. The enormous figure he was being offered was more than enough to help him get all of the things he needed on the farm.
YouTube/Southwest Meteorite Laboratory
Samples of the meteor were sent off to another lab, and it ended up having rare elements that increased its value even more. Ben counted his lucky stars that his property came with more than just a farm – It came with a secure and promising future for him and his family. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.