“Was it God? Was it a message from God?”
These were some of the questions posed by the Duruma, a settlement in Kenya when a sacred stone fell from the sky above Kilifi, a town in the country over 160 years ago.
This rare event took place on Sunday, March 6, 1853, while a group of young boys were herding goats in the town.
The sacred stone, according to reports, landed a short distance away from the boys, burning a small patch into the grass field.
The young boys subsequently walked to the site, and took the small rusty-looking stone, wrapped it in leaves and hurriedly went to town to inform people about what they had found.
It is documented that the Duruma people, seeing the sacred stone, immediately conceived that it was from God since it had fallen from heaven.
They went ahead to build a temple for the 577-gram stone, anointed it, clothed it and even placed pearls on it.
For the town folks, the fall of the meteorite was God’s gift to them to protect them from war and hunger.
German Bethany missionaries, who were working in the coastal area, soon got knowledge about the presence of the sacred stone and tried to purchase the sacred object but the Duruma refused.
Even though the interest of the missionaries on the stone was not clear, historians attributed their concern to an event which occurred in Germany centuries before the Kilifi find.
A meteorite fell in what is now Germany in 1492, causing public confusion. After much talks and complaints, the meteorite later had to be hung up and kept in a church.
Back in Duruma, three years after the meteorite fell, Maasai troops raided the villages of Duruma, destroying everything that came to their path.
Fortunately, someone sneaked the stone out of the village during the raid. The intentions of the Maasai were also not known since they never demanded the sacred stone or made attempts to possess the land.
The Maasai army even moved South of Mombasa to the Port town of Vanga, where they completely destroyed the town.
After these raids came to an end, the people of Duruma expressed disappointment in the sacred stone, as it failed to protect them from the Maasai.
After subsequent years of massive famine, the elders finally sold the stone to the German missionaries following their belief that the stone had lost much of its powers.
The Germans named the sacred object “The Duruma Meteorite” and sent it to the Bavarian Academy of Science in Munich, Germany.
Under a loan agreement, the meteorite was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1936.
It was afterwards kept at a home at the Munich Museum but sadly met its destruction during the Second World War in October 1942 after air raids on Munich by the British Royal Air Force destroyed the Munich Museum.