|In terms of historical meteorite falls, it doesn't get any better then
Ensisheim! This is THE most historical meteorite fall of the Western
Hemisphere. Does the year 1492 sound familiar? It should.
Christopher Columbus was busy "discovering" the new world that year!
The arrival of the meteorite was signalled by a loud thunderclap and history
records that a young boy actually saw a single stone fall from the sky and
land in a wheat field. A crowd of people soon surrounded the stone,
which weighed approximately 150 kilogram (thank goodness it didn't
actually hit the boy) and eventually the stone was lifted out of it one meter
deep hole. People then began breaking off piece of the stone for luck.
The story goes that the mayor put a halt to the stone chipping and the
meteorite was placed in front of the parish church.
Here is where the storey really gets interesting! It seems that King
Maximilian of Austria heard of the stone that fell from the sky and since
he was engaged in nearby battles with the French, he decided to take a look
at the stone for himself. Not wanting to miss a good opportunity when
he saw it, the King decided that the fall was a sign from God, foretelling
of his upcoming victories in his battles with the French (not unlike a
modern day politician)! He declared that the stone should forever
be kept in the church, after removing a piece for himself.
The stone remained in he parish church until the time of the French revolution
when is was placed in a museum in nearby Colmar by French
revolutionaries. As the people of Ensisheim did so many years before,
French scientists removed some pieces of the meteorites for study.
The meteorites was eventually returned to the the
church but by this time has had lost considerable mass and had almost
no fusion crust. The stone was eventually moved to the
town Hall in Ensisheim, where it remains to this day.
But what of the Kings battles? Well, history also records that soon
after visiting the stone, the King and his army defeated the French at the
battle of Salins!