The man must have thought it was something important for him to drop everything so suddenly and drive through to see the rock he'd been using as a doorstop. An hour had passed before he heard the car arrive and watched the man step out.
The expert froze when he examined the rock, eyes wide. "Do you have any idea what you have found?" the man asked, no doubt in awe. After hearing the question, Ben knew he had found something that would change his life forever.
The old couple agreed on a price, and Ben smiled at them as they stood in front of the old farmhouse and its surroundings. He had bought the farm, and he could move in whenever he liked. His dream life was finally starting to materialize.
As previously done, he needed to care for the crops and fill the grounds with pigs and cows. He was eager to learn despite never owning a farm before. He decided to walk inside his new home, and that's when he saw something odd.
The farm was located in Dexter, Michigan, and Ben knew it needed some work, but he wanted to see exactly what had to be done.
He spent some time touring the property and came across a doorstop. He found himself fascinated by it, and instead of asking the couple about the rest of the property, he asked them about the doorstop. He wasn't expecting the answer he was given.
The Man's Answer
Ben was smiling as he made his way to the farmhouse's exit, and that's when he noticed it. The property's previous owner was still there, so Ben asked him what it was.
The man gave a simple reply at first and said it was a doorstop. Then he explained further: The piece of rock had been used during the last five decades to keep the barn doors from closing. The old man was told that the rock was unique, but he thought it was because his father was trying to get him to feed the pigs.
A Piece Of Advise
That wasn't what Ben had been expecting to hear, but as he said goodbye to the man, he told Ben that the rock was valuable and that he should continue using it. Ben was confused as he watched the old man get in his truck and wink at him, but he decided to do as he was advised.
The couple and the real estate agent had left, and Ben was alone with the keys to the property. He was so excited he couldn't help but walk around the grounds again. He had access to every door and gate in the house.
When Ben Olsen was younger, they had land his father was forced to sell. He dreamed of owning a farm to return to that lifestyle by any means necessary. All he needed was a farm.
Ben knew how happy his father would be and was planning to offer him a place on the property because he was retired. He knew his father would love to help out where he could. Ben had no way of knowing that there was more to the farm than he thought.
As he explored more of the property, he could smell the earth and the rain in the trees. After a while, he found an open field behind the barn that would be perfect for growing any crops his dad would want.
He wondered why the previous owners hadn't used the spot and decided to look closer. That's when he found something so odd; he thought he needed to find answers.
Looking For Answers
It became clear why they hadn't grown crops there when a small crater was in the middle of the field. The crater was a strange one, unlike one he'd seen before. But Ben wondered why they hadn't filled it in.
He needed answers, and he needed them at that moment. The only person he could think of to call was the previous owner to find out if he had the answers he was looking for.
It had only been an hour since Ben had purchased the property, so the old man was surprised to hear his phone ring so soon afterward. But the man fell silent when Ben explained the reason behind the call.
Ben knew the old man wasn't one for talking, but he did not speak a word. Was he hiding something? Had it all been a scam? The old man finally told Ben to look at the rock again instead of giving him a definite answer; like a riddle, he had to solve.
Back To The Rock
Looking at the rock, he could tell it was unlike any he had ever seen. "What am I looking at exactly?" Ben asked the man. The man told Ben that the wrong wasn't from our planet.
Ben could tell the man was serious as he spoke, but the long story reminded him of a novel or something out of a movie. Was what he was saying true?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
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 enough to help him get all the things he needed on the farm.
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.