2018 Ends with Series of Mystery Booms across Midwest and into East Coast

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A series of mysterious booms across Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania from mid-to-late December 2018 continued the string of explosive phenomena that has plagued towns across the world for the entire year.

On December 11th the residents of Elgin, Illinois brought to light a problem that they say they’ve been experiencing since at least June of 2018—a series of booms so loud and violent they've reportedly shaken the homes of some residents in the northwest suburb of Chicago.

“The house shakes, the windows shake,” resident Colleen Roberg told NBC 5 Chicago.

The noises have been heard at all times of the day, but are said most often to take place at night.

Some locals suspect that a nearby bridge is to blame, while others think the booms could be from railroad construction; although the Illinois Department of Transportation conducted an investigation that couldn't detect any unusual noise from the bridge, and railroad construction doesn't explain why the loud sounds are often heard at night.

“They’ve become louder,” said Sue Webb, president of the Southwest Area Neighbors group.

“We’ve had this since June and we’ve lived with the discomfort of it, but now we have our windows closed and it’s really, really starting to irritate,” she continued. “We’re just asking for solutions to our mystery boom."

On December 15th at around 9:15 p.m., approximately 135 miles south of Elgin in Paxton, Illinois, another mystery boom rattled windows and caused alarm among locals.

The boom was loud enough to be heard 30 miles away.

“It was bizarre. It felt like something landed on top of the roof,” said resident Kammy Anderson.

The sheriff's office, local police, town mayor, and the National Weather Service have so far all been unable to explain the phenomenon.

“Everybody has all these theories, but I really don't know,” Paxton mayor Bill Ingold said. “We've heard everything from a sonic boom from a jet flying over to a meteorite to aliens.”

Then, approximately 150 miles northeast of Paxton, at around 6:30 p.m. on the evening of December 30th the residents of Kosciusko and St. Joseph counties in Indiana reported another anomalous boom.

The boom was reportedly heard from the cities of Warsaw to Mishawaka and even into the state of Michigan.

Local news received numerous reports from concerned citizens, including this video sent to WSBT 22 by Winona Lake resident Kristen Roth.

The boom was described as everything from a cannon going off to a semi truck collision, and was so violent it shook the homes of some residents.

"It was just boom!" Kosciusko County resident Breon Jones said. "House shook and that was it. I was like 'What was that?'"

"It felt like a really quick earthquake," he added. "But, like, it was powerful and it was loud and it shook stuff."

Local police in Kosciusko County said they received about a dozen calls regarding the incident, but so far have no explanation for the event.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve, a ‘ground-shaking’ explosion 600 miles east of Kosciusko County surprised residents of Lebanon County in Pennsylvania sometime around 9:30 p.m. The boom was heard throughout the eastern and northern parts of the county, including Avon, Myerstown, and Fredericksburg.

"Almost every agency in Lebanon County was receiving some sort of notification of a boom," said North Annville police Chief Matthew Bartal.

The United States Geological Survey reported no earthquakes in the area, and explanations for the phenomenon are varied.

The presence of a blue flash reported by some prior to the boom could indicate a meteor, although there is no video or other evidence to prove it.

The fact the sound was reported by residents on New Year’s Eve fueled speculation of unusually large fireworks, although authorities say the noise was too widespread and strong for such an explanation to suffice. Scientist Clint LeRoy posited that unique atmospheric conditions might have allowed the sound of fireworks to travel unusual distances, but this has not been independently verified.

Tannerite—a relatively common explosive sometimes used for target practice—was also offered as an explanation.

There has so far been no conclusive explanation for the explosive boom, and authorities have closed their investigation since no damage was reported.

This is the second such report of a mystery boom out of Pennsylvania that the Singular Fortean Society has reported on in 2018; the first took place in upper Bucks and Lehigh counties during the springtime.

Reports of mysterious booms, sometimes accompanied by flashes of light and/or minor tremors, have been on the rise worldwide since 2017. The booms have been reported across the United States in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington; as well as in the countries of Russia, Denmark, England, and Australia.

Meteors and other natural events remain popular explanations for the booms, and bolide meteors were blamed for mystery booms in California, Michigan, and Washington in 2018.

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Tobias WaylandComment