Mystery 'Booms' Continue into 2018


Mysterious booming sounds emanating seemingly from nowhere have continued to be reported into 2018.  The series of strange sounds, which The Singular Fortean Society began covering in November of last year, have been reported across the United States in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas; as well as in the countries of Russia, Denmark, England, and Australia.

So far in 2018, mystery booms have been reported in January in Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina; and in February, similar events came out of Oklahoma and Colorado.

North Oak Cliff, a borough of Dallas, Texas, experienced such a boom on January 10th.  The loud, explosive noise occurred at around 8:34 p.m., and some residents reported experiencing a flash of light prior to the sound.  Ron Dilulio, an astronomer at the University of North Texas, explained the incident by saying a grapefruit-sized meteor or bit of space debris had exploded when entering the atmosphere.

“As it’s coming in, it explodes. But as it’s exploding it’s also passing the speed of sound. So that’s what we get as it comes in,” Dilulio said.

Fannin and Gilmer counties in Georgia have experienced similar events.  Residents reported a series of explosive sounds beginning on December 29th of 2017 and continuing into 2018.  Local explanations for these sounds range from tannerite, a type of explosive, being used for target practice to sonic booms from military training exercises to earthquakes; but so far there is no hard evidence to prove any of those theories.

On January 8th, multiple reports of a loud boom were made to the Aiken Standard in Aiken County, South Carolina.  The Aiken County Sheriff's Office said they hadn't received any reports themselves, and a state geologist with the South Carolina Geological Survey stated that they had not received any notification of any earthquake activity at that time.

Residents of Midwest City in Oklahoma reported a large boom accompanied by a shock wave on the evening of February 5th.  One witness compared the event to an "M80 going off or dynamite," while another thought that they'd "had an earthquake."  Local meteorologist John Slater of News Channel 4 explained the event as being caused by the rapid expansion of water as it freezes underground--with the resulting underground explosions mimicking earthquakes.

“It turns out, this is a really neat deal. It has to do with water underground,” Slater said. “With these cold fronts coming through, the water just freezes rapidly. And as it turns out, when it freezes, it expands.”

Most recently, the Wheat Ridge Police Department posted to their Facebook page on February 8th that residents have reported a series of loud booms or explosions.  The odd events, which are described as a single loud boom, sometimes accompanied by a flash of light, occur most often on weekends between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.  The explosive sound is so violent that it is said to shake homes and buildings, and set off car alarms.  Speculation surrounding a possible explanation includes malfunctioning electrical transformers, fireworks, or residents firing handguns.

In each case the phenomena are remarkably similar, although the speculative explanations vary widely, leading some to wonder if perhaps there is a psychosocial aspect to the events; or if there is some heretofore undiscovered phenomenon that could be responsible.

So far, no comprehensive explanation has been provided for the phenomenon.

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mystery boomsTobias Wayland