Ruth Hamilton, a 66-year-old resident of Golden, British Columbia, was woken up in the night when a small meteorite crashed through her bedroom ceiling. The 2.8 pound rock smashed through her drywall and almost hit her head, landing on a pillow right beside her bedside.
“I’ve never been so scared in my life,” she told The Toronto Star, recalling waking up to a loud crash and her dog barking at around 11:35 p.m. “I wasn’t sure what to do so I called 911 and, when I was speaking with the operator, I flipped over my pillow and saw that a rock had slipped between two pillows.”
A police officer arrived who suspected it was debris from a construction site nearby, but after they confirmed that there hadn’t been a blast, they figured that it had to have been a meteorite from space.
“I didn’t feel it, it never touched me,” she told Vancouver’s CTV News. “I had debris on my face from the drywall, but not a single scratch.”
“I was in shock and I just sat here for a few hours shaking,” Ruth Hamilton said. “The odds of that happening are so small so I’m pretty grateful to be alive.”
Construction workers nearby reported that they had seen “an explosion in the sky,” which led authorities to search out if there were any meteor showers that particularly night.
Alan Hildebrand, an associate professor in the Department of Geoscience at the University of Calgary, confirmed that there was a meteor shower that night do to a passing asteroid which would have been visible from parts of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.
Peter Brown, a professor and colleague of Hildebrand’s, said that “the chances of a meteorite big enough to penetrate a roof and hit a bed are about one and 100 billion per year.”
The two located another small meteorite nearby, with Hildebrand revealing that they expect around a dozen to have fallen. They urge the residents of Golden, British Columbia, to report any meteorites that they may find, as it is “vitally important in tracking the origin of this meteor.”
“By knowing its origin, we’ll have a much better chance at telling a complete story of this incredible astronomical event,” said Prof. Brown.
Speaking with The New York Times, Ruth Hamilton said she plans on keeping the rock once the scientists are done looking at it. She named it “Golden,” after the town, and views it as a sort of good luck charm, besides the fact that it could have killed her.
“It just seems surreal,” she said, recalling waking up and thinking “oh gosh, there’s a rock in my bed.”
When asked if she would use her new lucky totem to buy a lottery ticket, she told CTV News that she had already won the lottery by being alive. “I’m laughing about it,” she said. “I feel pretty blessed.”
“I’ve lived through this experience, and I never even got a scratch,” she told reporters, “so all I had to do is have a shower and wash the drywall dust away.”
“I’ll go in and look in the room and, yep, there’s still a hole in my ceiling,” Ruth Hamilton joked, over her initial shock and now laughing about the incident. “My granddaughters can say that their grandmother just almost got killed in her bed by a meteorite.”
The last known incident of a meteorite crashing through someone’s home was actually just last year, when an Indonesian man’s home was hit with a 4.4 pound meteorite.
The largest reported incident was back in 1982, however, when a six pound rock smashed its way through a house in Connecticut. The meteorite crashed through two floors, ricocheted around the house, and landed in the dining room. The impressive rock is now on display in the Smithsonian.