Was a 1905 Cowichan meteor a message from outer space?

For all my visits to Mounts Prevost and Sicker to enjoy the panoramic views of the former and to ferret out the history of the latter, I’ve never seen a UFO or a Sasquatch.

Nor have I seen anything that remotely qualifies as either of the above anywhere else in the Cowichan Valley during my 40 years’ residency. I must be blind – if you accept the many claims of others of having observed extraterrestrial traffic and evidences of Bigfoot incursions. That said, I’m neither believer nor disbeliever. I mean, after all, they’re great fodder for my writings and who am I to look a gifthorse in the mouth?

Thus it was that a front-page newspaper article of Sept. 5, 1908, caught my attention. Entitled, A Message From Mars, it’s so fascinating that it’s worth quoting in its entirety: "Willie McKinnon, the 14 year old son of Mr. Angus McKinnon underwent a most startling experience and had a miraculous escape from death on last Thursday morning.

While working in his father’s garden about half past 11 o’clock, a meteor about 10 inches in diameter was hurled through space and buried itself in the ground about eight feet from where the boy was standing.

The meteor could be heard from for several minutes before it struck the earth, but the lad, thinking it was a train passing, took no notice until the celestial visitor struck the earth, sending the rocks flying in every direction and causing an effect like an earthquake in that vicinity. The boy was naturally greatly alarmed at the occurrence and rushed into the house to acquaint his parents with the very strange happening. On visiting the spot it was found that the meteor was intensely hot, and not for over half an hour could it be handled.

The meteor or whatever it was that fell was almost as round as a marble and the surface was deeply scored with what resembled hieroglyphics.

The meteor had passed through the branches of two trees in its flight, snapping them off like matches. It fell at an angle of about 45 degrees and was travelling in a north-westerly direction when it struck the earth.

Mr. McKinnon has spent most of the time since the incident in trying to interpret the meaning of the markings on the stone and will be glad if someone who has a knowledge of these things, will try to help him out."

A month later, it was reported that the Dept. of Mines, Geological Survey, in Ottawa, was seeking "fuller particulars than those contained in the [Cowichan Leader] despatch: the time of day, the nature of the sounds emitted by the falling body, their duration and the direction from which they seemed to come, the depth of the hole and the nature of the soil as well as the direction in which the earth was thrown by the impact."

Quite an order for young Willie who must have been startled out of his wits at having escaped death by a mere eight feet. The questionnaire included an offer of purchase if terms could be arranged. Whether, in fact, this meteor did make it to Ottawa and public preservation, I can’t say, alas, other than that it’s a matter of record that Willie’s father, Angus McKinnon, was known to be, at the very least, argumentative, and this suggests that negotiations would be challenging. As for the so-called hieroglyphics? Was it, in fact, a Rosetta Stone from Outer Space?

Logically, the markings on the surface of the meteor were just the finished product of its melt-down as it soared through space. Whatever the case, did it find its way to some cubbyhole in Ottawa? Or is it still in a family descendant’s possession? That 10-inchround "marble" with its strange markings would be a great conversation piece all these years later. www.twpaterson.com

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

Most Read