Suspected Meteorite Hits Cambodia

An unidentified object that crashed to Earth in northwestern Cambodia (search) has some villagers believing it may have divine power, police said Wednesday.

The hard, black rocklike object, weighing about 9.9 pounds, fell from the sky into a field about 19 miles north of Sisophon early Monday morning, said Sok Sareth, the Banteay Meanchey province police chief.

Hundreds of villagers rushed to the site to pray, believing it had divine power.

Local police initially thought a land mine had exploded in the area — a former war zone. The object made a hole 15.75 inches deep and burnt nearby grass and leaves.

Sok Sareth said he transferred the object to his office for further investigation by geologists and land mine clearing experts, ignoring requests from villagers to return it.

"Some people said others who have been possessed by spirits told them that unless the object is returned to where it landed, people in the community will experience hunger or disease," he said.

"But I don't believe that. Some people just made it up to try to profit from it."

Banteay Meanchey is 192 miles northwest of the capital Phnom Penh (search).