It's hard to imagine that 160 years ago, right here in eastern Cabarrus County, an event occurred of such significance that it is recorded and remembered around the world.
What's more amazing is that you probably know nothing about the meteorite that hit in Midland in 1849.
Local amateur historian Janet Morrison learned about it by accident. She was researching another topic, reading letters to the editor published in the Concord Times since 1907 when she saw mention of a meteorite that fell Oct. 31, 1849.
Intrigued, Janet began trying to determine whether it was fact or a local legend. She asked around, but no one knew anything about it.
So she began digging. She found accounts describing the event. Witnesses - in an area 250 miles north to south and 60 miles east to west - saw and heard the space rock streaming toward Earth.
That means people as far away as Atlanta saw the light of the meteorite headed toward Midland.
Janet found accounts by Davidson College workers who heard a tremendous rumbling. She found eyewitness recollections of alarm to women and men, dogs and horses countywide.
The meteorite struck Hiram Bost's property in Midland. Janet said Bost recalled hearing a noise like an anvil flying through the air. The next morning he found the 19-pound meteorite lodged in the ground where it had landed after hitting and passing through a pine tree.
Janet has been unable to determine exactly what happened to the meteorite over the years. She has found the location of Bost's property, so we know it landed near Jim Sossoman Road in Midland.
Janet said meteorites are usually named for the town closest to where they're found. But there was some confusion about our meteorite: It was named Monroe.
With the help of the Internet, Janet has found pieces and fragments of the Monroe meteorite. Bits of it are all over the world, in such cities as London, Budapest, Calcutta and Berlin. The Vatican owns two pieces of it. Harvard and Yale universities have pieces, as does the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
But no piece of the Monroe meteorite remains in North Carolina. Janet thinks that is a shame and hopes someone will pay to bring a piece of our history back.
I had no idea individuals could buy pieces of meteorites, but for less than $1,000, you can buy your own slice of rock from heaven.
A Halloween night meteorite strike that no one had heard of seemed implausible to Janet when she began doing her research. But her work was rewarded, teaching us a piece of local history.
Everyone and every place has a story to tell. Thanks to local historian Janet Morrison for telling this one.