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On February 13, 1961, Wallace Lane, Virginia Maxey and Mike Mikesell were searching for interesting specimens of minerals, specifically geodes, for their gift shop in Olancha, California.
Their geodes search took them approximately 6 kilometers northeast of Olancha, about 4300 feet to the Coso Mountains near the dry bed of Owens Lake, where they were collecting samples.
They returned to the shop with several geodes.
But one of them had 500,000 reasons to be dubbed as the discovery of a lifetime.
The next day Mike Mikesell broke a blade while cutting what he thought was a geode, inside the object that he was cutting, Mikesell found anything but the typical cavity geodes usually has, to his surprise, he discovered a perfectly circular section of a hard white material that looked like porcelain. In the center of the porcelain cylinder axis was a 2 mm shiny metal. The metal shaft seemed like a magnet but there were other strange qualities in the object. The surface was very rough and it appeared as if it was coated with fossilized shells.
In addition to these strange deposits, he also found two nonmagnetic metallic objects embedded in the crust, which seemed like a metallic nail and a packing ring. As Mike Mikesell was analyzing the object, it seemed to get even stranger. The inner layer was hexagonal and seemed to form a shell around the cylinder of hard porcelain. On the inside, a layer of very deteriorated copper surrounded the porcelain cylinder.
Very little is known about the first inspections of this mysterious artifact. According to Virginia Maxey, they consulted a geologist who asked to remain unknown, according to this mysterious geologist who examined the fossil shells embedded in the sample, the piece would have taken at least 500,000 years to reach its current form. So what is a spark plug doing inside an artifact dating at least half a million years?
The object was submitted to further testing that confirmed the anomalies of the object as the artifact was submitted to both X-rays and visible light testing. X-rays revealed that in the upper half of the device there was some sort of coil. In the other half of the artifact revealed what seemed a metal sleeve, presumably the copper covering the porcelain cylinder.
In 1963, the strange object that was dubbed “The Coso Artifact” and was exhibited at the Museum of East California in the town of Independence for a period of three months. Then, for years it was exhibited in the home of Wallace Lane, one of the original three discoverers of the 500 thousand-year-old artifact. In 1969 Wallace Lane received an offer of $25,000 for the mysterious object but he refused to sell it.
The Coso Artifact remains a mystery. It is an object that appears to be lost as many other artifacts discovered in the past that have provided us with not only subjects to talk about, but with new challenges for history books. Who built the artifact, and what its purpose was will probably remain a mystery less the object is found, once again, so that other researchers might analyze it thoroughly.