Thanks to the latest issue (no. 240) of Fortean Times I’ve just learnt of the remarkable case whereby an unlucky Canada goose Branta canadensis was, allegedly, hit by a meteoroid (Anon. 2008). The story goes that Derbyshire postman Adrian Mannion was ‘having a morning cuppa with his wife Fiona’ (I’m not quite sure what a cuppa is, but assume it’s a sexual act of some sort) when a rock fell, from space, onto their driveway. It was followed by the goose, which hit the roof of their car. This story was reported in that most reliable of sources, The Sun newspaper, back in February (it’s here). Their report includes photos, one of which shows Fiona holding a rock (it really doesn’t look like a meteorite, not that I’m an expert), and another which purports to show the unfortunate goose [shown here]. The goose may not have been killed by the meteorite, but while lying in the driveway it was carried off and dispatched by a fox.
What’s particularly interesting is that it isn’t the first time this has been reported: yes, believe it or don’t, supposedly another Canada goose was, reportedly, hit by a meteoroid. This case was also reported in Fortean Times (Anon. 1988). I know this case well because I wrote it up for a document I produced on accidental deaths. Here’s the relevant section of that text…
Possible cause of death: being hit by a meteor. The odds of being hit by a meteor are astronomically low and it seems hardly likely that any animal might ever be killed in this way. Nevertheless, in March 1987 a Canada goose flying as part of a flock over Northamptonshire, England, was allegedly struck by a falling object and killed instantly. The dead animal was perforated by a large hole in the back and two smaller ones in the breast. A yellow flash was witnessed by an observer at the same time as the goose was hit.
Meteoroids are (presumably) not that uncommon, and given that there are a lot of animals on the planet, I suppose it’s believable that animals must get hit at least occasionally. I’m pretty sure I recall a case where a person was hit (but not killed). But what are the odds? We all know that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are approximately 3720 to 1 but my first suspicion was that this was some new bizarre sort of urban myth. However, with only two very dodgy cases to go on it’s difficult to know what to think.
Refs – –
Anon. 1988. Meteor cooks goose. Fortean Times 50, 25.
– . 2008. Bad day for goose. Fortean Times 240, 9.