As always, make sure you don’t check your brain at the door when you read this stuff.
In February of 1961, three amateur gem collectors dug a mechanical gizmo encased in fossil-encrusted rock out of a mountainside in the Southern California desert. They didn’t know what it was, and began showing it to friends and associates. Within a few years this thingummy, which became known as the Coso artifact, had assumed an almost mythic importance. It consisted of a cylinder of what seemed to be porcelain with a 2-millimeter shaft of bright metal in its center, enclosed by a hexagonal sheath composed of copper and another substance they couldn’t identify.