Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Probable Meteorite Hoax (or Prank)

There have been a number of articles in the popular press about Radivoje Lajic (sometimes rendered as "Radivoke"), a Bosnian man who claims his house has been hit six different times by meteorites.

By and large, press coverage of this guy has been completely credulous, referring to unnamed scientists at "Belgrade University" who have verified that the rocks are indeed meteorites.

In pictures he is shown holding a rock that doesn't look very much like a meteorite.

Here is what I think probably happened: either

  • They're not meteorites, and he is confused, or
  • This is a hoax perpetrated by Lajic himself. Perhaps the rocks aren't even meteorites, although it is easy to buy meteorites, even fairly large ones, at mineral shows or on e-bay. It is then simple to pretend to discover it after you claim it hit your house, or
  • One of Lajic's neighbors is having a little fun with him in the same way.
It is worth noting that the meteorite database contains no mention of the meteorites supposedly found by Lajic. At least, searching for "Lajic" turns up nothing, and only two meteorites are listed as being discovered in Bosnia. Why can't reporters be more skeptical?

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