Vern Taylor has lived on his East Knoxville farm for 60 years, raising cattle and growing Silver Queen corn. He is a great friend and good neighbor, according to neighbors and friends, but he just has bad luck.
Taylor has been struck 112 times by meteors while working his fields.
“It ain’t never the cattle that gets hit,” Taylor explains. “It’s always Vern,” added his wife, Mary Lou.
The couple have traveled the United States in their RV and he has never been struck by meteors anywhere else. “I’ve never even had a rock hit my windshield,” said Taylor. “Fortunately, these meteors have been small and haven’t hardly hurt me much.”
Taylor was only ever taken to the hospital once, back in 1973, when a rather large meteor hit him on the back as he bent over to dislodge a tree limb from under his lawn tractor. It was not a direct hit, fortunately for Taylor, but, “It still hurt like hell,” said Taylor.
|Vern Taylor shows off his meteor
collection, holding the most recent
to hit him
The most recent event happened last month as Taylor was out in his west field putting feed out for his cattle. “My hearing ain’t what it used to be. Before, I could hear the whistle as it approached, but now I have to either keep looking up or scan the ground for shadows. This was a cloudy day, so I didn’t see it coming,” he explained. The meteor hit him on the head this time, but he never leaves the house without a hard hat and he suffered only a mild case of dizziness from the direct blow.
Taylor has a collection of meteorites that would make even the Smithsonian envious. “I have about 111 of them meteorites. The missing one was sold to pay for feed back when hard times hit in ’63,” he said. Now his crop of Silver Queen corn is famous for its quality and taste, and so many people come to buy it that he has not had to sell another of his meteorites.
“There ain’t a pattern to it,” he said. “They just come whenever they durn well please. But after a dry spell, I begin to get a bit nervous and pull my hard hat tighter on my head.”
When asked why he thought the meteors strike him so often, he quipped, “I guess they reckon it might as well be me as somebody else. At least it ain’t Mary Lou, I’d hate to have to listen to her if it was.”