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5 Things You Need to Know About Strange Apocalypse Sounds From the Sky

A few days ago an article appeared in the UK Daily Mail concerning the mysterious noises heard by people all over the world in recent years. These strange sounds, which some say sound like trumpet blasts (while others describe the noise as a scraping or rumbling), have been heard everywhere from British Columbia to Belarus, and have led many people into believing that they are the result of everything from HAARP to Project Blue Beam. Some even insist that these sounds signify the trumpet blasts of the apocalypse.

Unfortunately, most articles dealing with this phenomena are long on hyperbole and supposition and short on factual evidence and investigative journalism. If you are one of the many people who believe these strange sounds are the result of a secret government brainwashing plan, UFOs, or the wrath of God Almighty Himself, then keep reading-- because we're about to set the record straight when it comes to these unexplained sounds. Here are five things you need to know about these weird sounds coming from the sky.

"Look over there! It's the Anti-Christ! Oh wait, it's just a raccoon."

1. This is not a recent phenomena

Many articles on the subject claim that these weird noises didn't exist until about a decade ago. Simple research proves that this is not the case. In August of 1932, the British scientific journal Nature reported on mysterious sounds described as "ton der Dove-Bai" by German explorer Alfred Wegener. Wegener described this sound as deep musical note, lasting from several seconds to a few minutes, and somewhat resembling the roaring of a foghorn. During his travels, Wegener encountered this strange sound in five different locations around the world. Wegener theorized the sound was produced by the movement of distant glacial ice. Similar noises were also heard by British explorer Augustine Courtald during his 1930-1931 Greenland expeditions.

As early as 1960, the British government tried to find the cause of the "Big Hum"- a low-pitched intermittent buzzing noise which has bothered residents of East Kent, Dublin, Cornwall, and other UK locales. Other citizens claimed that the noise was a continuous high-pitched whistle. Although the cause was never found, it appears that the "Big Hum" is heard differently by different people. Edward Hyams, a retired Royal Navy radar officer, theorized in 1960 that the hum may be caused "by two noises with different frequencies that travel underground like shock waves", and suggested that a house or building could act as a resonator at the end of a shock wave. [The Daily Telegram, "Britons Kept Awake by Mysterious Noise", May 26, 1960].

However, the first recorded mention of weird noises from the sky comes from the journals of Lewis and Clark, who reported odd buzzing and booming sounds in various points in their travels. [The Daily Interlake, March 11, 1956].

Shofar, so good.

2. Not all strange noises are the same

Acoustical mysteries have defied explanation for centuries and come in several different varieties. These strange sounds from the sky have been compared to trumpet blasts, a shofar (an instrument made from a ram's horn), the rumbling of a slow-moving train, the scraping of a metal blade on concrete, the wail of a siren, distant explosions, cannon fire, and the list goes on and on. Numerous Native American legends allude to these mysterious sounds, sometimes described as being similar to that of a harp being strummed, bells, or a swarm of bees [The Daily Interlake, March 11, 1956].

3. Many of these apocalyptic sounds have been extensively studied and explained.

If you've spent any time at all reading articles about the "apocalyptic sounds in the sky", chances are you've encountered statements like "These sounds began about a decade ago and sound like trumpets in the sky and nobody in the world can explain them". Come to think of it, the Daily Mail article headline actually proclaims: What IS this strange sound from the sky? Noise heard across the globe for nearly a DECADE- but nobody has an explanation.

(Yes, the authors of the article, John Hutchinson and Ash Tulett, actually used caps for emphasis)

This verbiage pisses me off because it's simply not true. Nobody has an explanation? Really? Did John Hutchinson and Ash Tulett even bother doing research before churning out their Daily Mail article? Or were they simply hellbent on scaring gullible folks into believing the Second Coming of Christ is just around the corner? I spent a whole five minutes on Google and saw dozens of plausible explanations by reputable experts. So statements like "nobody has an explanation" leave a foul taste in my mouth, since anyone with Internet access can find numerous explanations in less time than it takes to brush one's teeth.

The best explanation was made all the way back in January of 2012 by renowned Azerbaijani geophysicist Elchin Khalilov, who wrote:

We have analyzed records of these sounds and found that most of their spectrum lies within the infrasound range, i.e. is not audible to humans. What people hear is only a small fraction of the actual power of these sounds. They are low-frequency acoustic emissions in the range between 20 and 100 Hz modulated by ultra-low infrasonic waves from 0.1 to 15 Hz. In geophysics, they are called acoustic-gravity waves; they are formed in the upper atmosphere, at the atmosphere-ionosphere boundary in particular. There can be quite a lot of causes why those waves are generated: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, storms, tsunamis, etc. However, the scale of the observed humming sound in terms of both the area covered and its power far exceeds those that can be generated by the above-mentioned phenomena... In our opinion, the source of such powerful and immense manifestation of acoustic-gravity waves must be very large-scale energy processes. These processes include powerful solar flares and huge energy flows generated by them, rushing towards Earth's surface and destabilizing the magnetosphere, ionosphere and upper atmosphere.

So there you have it: solar flares. Probably not as interesting as aliens or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or as spooky as Project Blue Beam or HAARP, but it's an explanation that makes sense, as given by a scientist who's far smarter and more knowledgeable than your average conspiracy kook or end times survivalist.

4. Experts still don't know all that much about how sound works.

Believe it or not, the study of acoustics still remains a largely unexplored field. In fact, much of what we know today about infrasound wasn't discovered until the early 21st century. Not only is acoustic science still in the Dark Ages, but so is the science of how the human ear interprets sound. Add into the mix all that remains unknown about electromagnetic fields, spontaneous otoacoustic emissions (SOAE), and the like, and its little wonder why many of the world's acoustic mysteries remain unsolved.

5. Geological features can do some wacky things when it comes to sound.

About ten years ago, a hiking buddy of mine took me to a secluded spot in the mountains of Columbia County, Pennsylvania which he referred to as a "dead zone". I kept asking what he meant by that term. "I can't explain it," he said. "You'll just have to see for yourself." He led me along a mountain ridge to a rock outcropping and told me to stand between two school bus-sized boulders. When I did, I observed something very peculiar: all sound vanished. Yes, that's right, it was as if I stepped into a spot where sound did not exist; the songs of the birds overhead came to a complete halt, as if they had all disappeared. My buddy, standing about twenty feet away, appeared to be talking but, even though his mouth was moving, not a peep could be heard from my position between the boulders. We traded places numerous times, taking turns shouting to each other, only to have the "dead zone" swallow up our words. Oddly, when standing between the boulders, the only time a sound was heard was when I struck one of the boulders with a heavy rock that was on the ground nearby. When struck, the boulder emitted a high-pitched ring that lingered in the air for what seemed like an hour. It was bizarre. However, I'm more inclined to believe this anomaly had something to do with a rare geophysical phenomenon than an ultra-secret military plot to control my brain waves. Or maybe it was just a portal to another dimension. Who knows.

I observed another acoustic oddity while hiking this past weekend at World's End State Park in Sullivan County. I hiked along Shanerburg Run, a shallow stream that flows northward between two mountains, and hiked the Pole Bridge Trail to the top of the mountain which separates Shanerburg Run from Pole Bridge Run, which also flows northward between two mountains. While ascending the western side of the mountain, the babbling of Shanerburg Run ceased about a quarter of the way up. However, at the top of the mountain, I could clearly hear the deafening roar of Pole Bridge Run from the east, about 1500 feet below. In other words, while standing atop the summit, the sound from just one stream could be heard clearly, even though both streams are flanked on both sides by mountains of the same size, and the streams are of the same size, the same depth, and flow at the same rate in the same direction! The only explanation can be that the mountainside flanking Pole Bridge Run is steeper (and thus amplifies sound better) than the side flanking Shanerburg Run.

The point is that sound waves can be distorted and amplified, and even nullified, by topography and geological features. A well-known example of this took place in Utah in 1955. On the evening of April 5, hundreds of alarmed Salt Lake Valley residents called the police and newspapers reporting a strange, loud sound which one witness said sounded like "a locomotive running behind my house". It was eventually discovered that the weird noise in the sky was caused by compressed air being used to clean the water lines of the Utah Power and Light Company steam plant, several miles away. The sound bounced off the mountains and made it difficult to pinpoint the source of the "mystery noise" in the sky [Bennington Banner, April 6, 1955].
There you have it, everything you need to know about eerie sounds coming from the sky in a nutshell.

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