The Coso Artifact

The Coso Artifact has been a subject of controversy ever since its discovery, its authenticity as a genuine “out-of-place artifact” dependent upon whether the material in which it was encased is a geode hundreds of thousands of years old or a lump of sun baked clay its age a mere handful of decades.

The story begins on February 13, 1961, when rock hounds Virginia Maxey, Wallace Lane and Mike Mikesell went prospecting in the hills surrounding Owens Lake, a dry bed located a few miles northeast of Olancha, California, where the trio owned the “LM & V Rockhounds Gem and Gift Shop.” After a fruitful day collecting specimens they returned to Olancha, their finds to be inspected the following day.

On the morning of February 14, Mikesell began sawing through what appeared to be a geode in the shop’s workplace but instead of finding the cavity typical of geodes, he discovered what seemed to be porcelain inside of which was a metal shaft.

At this point, according to Virginia Maxey, a trained geologist was contacted and asked to examine the supposed geode; this unknown person (his identity has never been revealed) allegedly declared that the crusty artifact-bearing nodule was at least 500,000 years old.

A second examination of the artifact, this time by creationist Ron Calais during which he X-rayed the object, revealed what appeared to be a ceramic insulator surrounding a metal shaft, threaded and with a spring at one end.

There's been a great deal of speculation over the years about just what the Coso artifact really is:

It’s evidence of an unknown and advanced ancient civilization.

It’s evidence of time travel.

It’s part of a communication device dropped by alien visitors in the distant past.

It’s a spark plug, and the so called geode nothing but sun hardened mud. [1]

The present location of the Coso artifact is unknown. The last person known to possess it, Wallace Lane (now deceased) while adamently refusing to let anyone (new) examine it, was willing to sell it for the princely sum of 25,000 dollars.

[1] A position held by Chad Windham, President of the Spark Plug Collectors of America, who after viewing the X-ray declared immediately and without equivocation “it’s a spark plug.” Other collectors concurred it was indeed a spark plug, more specifically a 1920s era Champion, probably from a Ford Model T or A that had been modified and used in mining operations.

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