In November 1921, rocks began to fall from the sky over the town of Chico, California. J.W. Charge, the owner of a grain warehouse along the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks, complained to City Marshal J.A. Peck that someone was throwing rocks at his building everyday. Peck, believing it was nothing more than local youngsters playing pranks on the man, paid little attention to the report. His conclusions, after a very brief investigation, were that he had seen the stones fall but could not explain them. He suspected that “someone with a machine was to blame.” The stones remained a nuisance to Charge but were largely ignored by everyone else until a few months later, on March 8, 1922. On that day, stones ranging in size from peas to baseballs came raining down on the warehouse, seemingly from nowhere. They continued to fall for days and a search by police officers of the area failed to find anyone throwing the rocks.
In the days that followed, Charge’s warehouse sustained quite a bit of damage, from broken windows to split boards and collapsed roof shingles. Stones also began to rain down on a cluster of houses that were located near the railroad tracks and individuals who stood in the open, perhaps trying to determine the source of the mysterious projectiles, were often struck. The investigators and officials present often became targets too. Fire Chief C.E. Tovee and Traffic Officer J.J. Corbett were narrowly missed by a large boulder that came from nowhere and struck a wall behind the spot where they had been standing just moments before. The force of the stone’s impact left a large dent in the wood.
The fall of stones continued throughout most of the rest of the month, attracting a large amount of publicity and a number of curiosity-seekers. The origin of the stones was never solved but a Professor C.K. Studley added to reports by saying that some of the rocks were so large that they “could not be thrown by ordinary means”. He also noted that they did not seem to be of meteoric nature. The famous chronicler of anomalies Charles Fort asked a friend, writer Miriam Allen de Ford, to go to Chico to investigate personally. Throughout March a series of articles appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the rocks were described as being warm and “oval-shaped”. Miriam Allen de Ford, wrote: “I looked up in the cloudless sky and suddenly saw a rock falling straight down, as if becoming visible when it came near enough. This rock struck the earth with a thud and bounced off on the track beside the warehouse, and I could not find it.” She also stated that at one point a rock fell from the sky to “land gently at my feet.”