New Hampshire Doctor Claimed He Found a Massive Meteorite, but Was It a Big Lie?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.
Remember when actors would say, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV”?
Well, a man from New Hampshire really was a doctor – but there are now some questions about whether he may have just played a geologist in real life.
A MASSIVE "FIND"
The website HistoricMysteries.com notes that in 1812, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, native John Evans was tasked with conducting a geological reconnaissance survey in Oregon. He had received numerous degrees and was well-regarded among his peers and contemporaries.
After several impressive archeological projects and discoveries, his trail led to Oregon. In a report, he claimed to have discovered a massive meteorite, and sent a piece of it back for examination.
THE RESULTS ARE IN...
Lab tests proved the sample was in fact from a meteor. But as the object was apparently too large, and moving it was too expensive at the time, Evans said he would leave it behind for others to discover.
Like a fisherman’s tale, rumors spread across the nation about the meteorite's size. But before Evans could return with others to explore, examine, and perhaps relocate the “10-ton meteor,” he died of pneumonia in 1861.
Dying with him were hopes to find the massive rock, as again, he was the only one who claimed to have seen it.
Others, including the Smithsonian Institute, tried and failed to find any trace of Evans’ meteorite in the Oregon wild. Then, things took an especially puzzling turn.
WHERE IT BECAME A "DATELINE" EPISODE
Smithsonian researchers examined Evans’ original sample in the 1920s and found that while it had meteoric roots, the rock fragment was unlikely from Oregon. And in the 1990s, researchers concluded that the rock actually came from – wait for it – Chile.
Then came the discovery that when Evans first reported the meteorite, he was struggling financially, and could’ve certainly used the cash that came from publicity and even funding to help find the mythical object.
By now, some outright dismiss the story. The Oregon Encyclopedia flatly calls it “The Port Orford Meteorite Hoax.” However, Historic Mysteries notes that as with Bigfoot (who allegedly visited New Hampshire not long ago), there remain plenty who insist that the Port Orford Meteorite is out there somewhere.
Who knows? Maybe you can buy pieces of it at one of those brand-new Ames stores.