Thursday, July 27, 2017

What ever happened to the Alexander Mystery Stone of Conecuh County?

Walter Alexander points to 'strange object'
What ever happened to the Alexander Mystery Stone?

It’s hard not to ask yourself this question when you read about the events that happened in Conecuh County over 60 years ago. The mystery surrounding this unusual object was so strange that it was front-page news in The Evergreen Courant for two weeks during the summer of 1955.

According to a story in the June 16, 1955 edition of The Courant, Walter Alexander, 75, and Miss Elitha Smith found a “strange object” in a corn field near Alexander’s Grist Mill, which was about 10 miles northeast of Evergreen. Alexander was one of the operators at the gristmill, and Smith had lived with the Alexander family for nearly 40 years up to that point. The object they found weighed 42 pounds, was 18 inches long, 12 inches wide and four inches thick at one point.

They found the unusual object on April 15, 1955 in a field that had been plowed a couple of days before. A “big rain” came after the field was plowed, and Smith first spotted the object while looking over the field a day or so later. The object was almost completely buried, and only a few inches of it showed above the surface. There were no other rocks or objects of that size in the field, Smith said.

Small pebbles and sand appeared to be imbedded in the object, similar to the sand and pebbles found in the field. Smith and Alexander both believed that the object hadn’t been there for very long. The field had been in use for many years up to that point, and no one had ever seen anything like it in the field before, they said.

Smith didn’t report the object for nearly two months because she and Alexander “thought it was a big rock picked up in a storm or tornado and dropped in the field,” Smith said. That all changed though in early June when some Auburn students arrived at the gristmill to examine the strange object. They theorized that the object could have been a meteorite because “it had the appearance of being burned.” Others who saw the object said it was just a low-grade piece of iron ore, similar to other rocks of that type found elsewhere in the county.

With the help of The Courant, Smith and Alexander sent a specimen of the object to State Geologist Walter B. Jones in Tuscaloosa in hopes that he’d be able to analyze the object and give them some answers. They didn’t have to wait long because in the following week’s paper, in another front-page story, it was reported that The Courant had received a reply from Hugh D. Pallister, who was a Senior Geologist of the Geological Survey of Alabama, at the University of Alabama.

“I am sorry to report that the specimen which you sent us is not a meteorite,” Pallister said. “I know that the people will be disappointed. The sample consists of quartz pebbles cemented together with iron stained silica.

“We also tested the sample on our laboratory Geiger counter and found no evidence of radioactivity. I thought you might be especially interested in that, as we usually test all samples which come through our hands.”

In the end, we’re left wondering as to what ever happened to the Alexander Mystery Stone? Is someone today using it as a doorstop? Is it sitting on a shelf somewhere? I’d be interested to know, so if you happen to know of this object’s whereabouts, shoot me an e-mail.

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