Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fact or Fiction: Mysterious Hole In Basking Ridge Yard Puzzles Officials, Experts -- Meteor? Frozen airplane pee? Dog searching for bone? Weigh in!

A Basking Ridge homeowner would really like to know why there’s a crater in her front yard.

“To me it looked like something blew out of the ground because the grass was folded back, the rocks and dirt were all spewn out into the cul-de-sac and across the driveway,” Sue, who asked not to be identified out of concern that the hole may draw unwanted onlookers and crowds, said.

Her son, Jeff, believes something fell from the heavens.

“Something clearly came out of the sky and just hit it from an angle and then it all shot up the other way,” he said.

Officials and experts are also scratching their heads. For now, it appears the small crater that splayed debris across a 100-foot area wasn’t caused by a meteorite. Beyond that, it’s a mystery.

“It’s just really, really weird,” said Jerry Vinski, director of nearby Raritan Valley Community College’s planetarium, who conducted tests on the site. “We dug around and couldn’t find anything. We used metal detectors because all meteors have metal in them, and we couldn’t find anything, large or small.”

Bernards Township Police Capt. Edward Byrnes said whatever hit the front yard left a crater about 18 inches deep and roughly the size of a coffee table.

A State Police bomb squad ruled out explosives, Byrnes said.

According to Byrnes, no one in the neighborhood heard or saw anything at the time of the May 6 incident. The homeowner called police upon arriving home.

“The weather was clear, there were no reports of lightning strikes; nobody reported seeing anything,” Byrnes said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in 23 years.” (read more)

1. Yes, this was posted to point out that things like this actually take up space on today's news pages. The real crisis of this story is how people prioritize. 2. It's also kind of weird, and we'd like readers to give us more insight as to what this could be. We're insatiably curious!