When I was growing up in the late 70's, I loved watching the documenty series, In Search Of, hosted by icon Leonard Nimoy. There was an episode on the subject of ancient astronauts that always fascinated me.
A segment of the show dealt with an object that was found in the California mountains. The object was a rock thought to be a geode but was something else entirely. The rock was found by the following three amateur geologists: Wallace Lane, Virginia Maxey, and Mike Mikesell. The three individuals ran a gift shop in Olancha, California during the 1960s. At the time they were look for more specimens for their gift store. Once they were back at their store, Mike Mikesell examined all of the geodes and came across one that was different.
He nearly ruined a diamond drill trying to cut the geode open, however, to his amazement, he did not find the open cavity characteristic of a geode. Instead he discover a white solid material that looked like porcelain. In the center of the white material was some kind of metal that responded to a magnet when it was placed near it. On the outer part of the object was encrusted with what appeared to be fossils. There was also two metallic objects that resembled a nail and washer in the crust of the rock and there was a layer of decomposing copper around the white porcelain-like center.
Virginia Maxey consulted with a professional geologist in regard to the artifact. The geologist stated that the fossils on the crust of the rock were at least 500,000 years old. However, the identity of the geologist remains unknown and the results unverified.
Today the whereabouts of the artifact is unknown. This makes any further examinations impossible, however, X-Rays and photos have been preserved of the object. The X-Rays and photos have aided investigators in determining what the Coso Artifact really was.
What do the pictures tell us?
The rock was subjected to X-Rays for analysis. This was requested by Ron Calais, a creationist scientist, who was the only other person to physically examine the artifact. The X-rays showed the object to have some sort of tiny spring or helix inside of it. There was speculation that object was the remains of a corroded piece of metal with threads.
What was it?
There was a lot of speculation of what the object was or could be. Some say it was a leftover part from a UFO, or maybe a spare part of a time traveling machine, or perhaps an ancient tool from Atlantis. Either way, it was very interesting as to how something like that came to be.
Over time the object became known as the Coso Artifact since it was discovered in the Coso Mountains of California. These types of objects are classified as OOPARTS, or "Out Of Place ARTifactS."
So it was not what we thought it was.
Well, it turned out to be something very mundane. The object was just an ordinary spark plug to a Ford Model T. The artifact was shown to a group of spark plug collectors and after seeing the X-Ray photo it was identified as just a spark plug by Chad Windham, President of the Spark Plug Collectors of America.
The Spark Plug Collectors of America are a group enthusiasts who are similar to stamp collectors, rock collectors, or antique collectors. The group had in its collection specimens from the 1920's. A comparison of spark plugs from that period against the pictures and other data showed the object to be just that, a spark plug.
Well it would have been nice.
It would have been very interesting if the artifact turned out to be extraterrestrial in origin. I had thought that this could have been a smoking gun for the UFO community but there was a simple explanation for it. The Coso artifact shows how any artifact can be misconstrued if not properly examined.
Watching this segment of this In Search Of really captured my imagination at that time. I really thought that this could be the find of the century. All kinds of thoughts raced thru my head. Could this be proof of aliens? Where did it come from and how old was it? How did it get encrusted in the way it was found?
This video from YouYube is a brief synopsis of the controversy about the artifact. The video does explain how the artifact got encased in rock the way it did and how it got there.
It seems that there were mining operations going on in the Coso Mountains during the 1920's and Ford Model T trucks were used. It seems like when like when a workman had to change the plug, he simply threw it on the ground and forgot about it.
More reading on the subject and source material.
Dunning, B. "Out of Place Artifacts." Skeptoid Podcast. Skeptoid Media, 25 Feb 2014. Web. 12 Oct 2017. <http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4403>