The Thunder of UFOs

By Phil Plait | April 24, 2006 9:56 pm

Man, I love the UFO proponents. You can always count on them for some great quotations.

So here’s the scoop. There are reports of a loud blast coming from the sky in San Diego, around 9:00 a.m. on April 4. They’re described as being like sonic booms, but there were no meteors reported, no explosions from a nearby marine base, no airplanes seen. What could have caused them?

On April 7, three days later, similar booms were heard in Mississippi. There are other reports from Alaska, Alabama, and other states, too.

Now, if I were faced with this situation, there are a lot of things I would suspect. There are air bases not too far from San Diego, for example, with some hotshot pilots. A low-flying plane might be missed, and it’s doubtful if it would be reported by the military. And Mississippi? There are several air bases in that area as well. Coincidence, maybe. The reporter does say the FAA said there were no transsonic planes in the area at that time.

Could it be a meteor? That’s possible. In broad daylight, a meteor coming in from the direction of the Sun might be hard to spot, even if it were pretty big. It depends on how big the area affected was. I tried mapping some of the locations listed in the article, but they were too vague to get a good line on. The article discusses it with an astronomer, who said a meteor is unlikely. I’d agree, but it’s not impossible. And it is pretty unlikely it’s been meteors causing all of these booms all over the place (unless crop circles know something we don’t).

But in a long list of things this might be, where do you think I would put UFOs?

If you said last, then yeah, that’s about right. Why resort to something for which there is zero evidence when there is plenty of evidence for more mundane things?

But for once, a UFO expert is in agreement! The article quotes Peter Davenport of the Seattle-based National UFO Reporting Center, who, when asked if these boom were caused by a UFO, replied, "Probably not."

Wow, I thought to myself when reading this. Logic, reason? Many people who believe in UFOs are relatively sane folks, but some of the more vocal proponents you hear from are, um, well, nutbags. I’ve heard Davenport on the occasional radio program, and he appears very earnest, and in many cases he does seem to be keeping a level head. I haven’t heard him very often, so I can’t make too much of a judgement.

The problem here is, in the article Davenport kept talking:

"UFOs almost never generate sonic booms or shock waves," he added. "They accelerate so rapidly that they leave a vacuum in the sky, much the way lightning does."

There are at least two silly things in his statement. One is the assumption that we know anything at all about UFOs, given the scant (read: zero) physical evidence for them. The best he can say is, with the anecdotal evidence we have gathered, alleged UFOs almost never make any noise. But ascribing a physical cause to that is asking for trouble…

… which is what he brought on himself. My favorite part of that quotation has to be his comparing them to lightning, saying this is why they are silent.

Lightning does create a vacuum in the sky, as he implies. It’s because lightning is very hot, and creates a sudden expansion of the air. This compresses the air violently, supersonically. This creates a shock wave. That makes… oh, what’s the word?

Oh yeah. Thunder. Lightning makes thunder! And that’s really kinda loud, don’t you think?

So hey, maybe a UFO did make these booms! Of course, you can be pedantic and say it was a UFO, because whatever it was, it was unidentified.

But pedantry is very tiring, and I would have to sigh and say you know what I mean.

Anyway, no, before you ask, I don’t know what’s causing these booms, but then I only read a newspaper article about them. I’d love to know what’s going on (especially if they are meteors) but I’m a bit busy these days. If there are any follow-up stories, BABloggers, please let me know. Link ‘em in the comments here. Maybe we can get some more clues.

Tip o’ the flying saucer beret to the approximately eight billion people who sent me email about this newsletter article. Also, the image up top links to a fantastic CGI site for Gerry Anderson TV show stuff. If you’re not familiar with his show, then what can I say? You’re too young.

Comments (51)

  1. Simple Guy

    Found this on the internet:
    http://www.seis.utah.edu/NEHRP_HTM/1910elsi/n1910el1.htm

    Sounds very similar to what was reported in San Diego.

  2. Chip

    Here is a nifty explanation of sonic booms from Adrian Popa of the Hughes Research Laboratories:

    http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/dec97/877005226.Ph.r.html

  3. So, UFOs don’t make sonic booms, because they move in exactly the way to create sonic booms. . . my brain hurts.

  4. Tim G

    Don’t dismiss the UFO expert. It takes years of intense study at an accredited institution to receive your Ph.D. in Ufology. Just to get a rudimentary understanding of the propulsion systems requires thorough knowledge of particle physics and higher mathematics.

    I knew a guy who was trying to earn his bachelor’s in Ufology at Stanford. He was brilliant; he could solve nonlinear partial differential equations in his head. He dropped out of the program because it was too tough. He now does research related to cosmology.

  5. Eric Briggs

    Could be engine brakes on a tractor-trailer.

  6. Scott McLean

    You know, I started to research possible causes for the effect described, but after five minutes and the discovery of half a dozen plausible natural explanations, I realized that there was little point in listing them. Phil, as usual, said enough when he said, “Why resort to something for which there is zero evidence when there is plenty of evidence for more mundane things?” It will always sadden me that people prefer the most absurd possible explanation for a thing in the face of a plethora of simple, natural, reasonable options. Keep it up, BA, and thanks.

  7. Chris Pikula

    When I read this I thought of Moodus noises, strange sounds from the ground which occur in a small area of Connecticut and reported for centuries. I googled Moodus noises and came up with this article, actually from a larger website on Lewis and Clark. Could there be a class of seismic events not recognized yet by science?

    http://www.lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=1217

  8. Jon Niehof

    I know the details of one UFO “sighting” that is still listed at many UFO “expert” sites as unexplained. It was a bog-standard military plane and the exhaustive research into natural causes included asking the wrong airport if there was a military flight in the area. (Details omitted to protect the innocent.)

  9. Hmmm. We’d better call Commander Straker down at SHADO. I think he’d like to know about this… damned liquid-breathers stealing our organs (Kudos on the picture)! Living in STL, I see ANG F-15s every so often. For the untrained eye it is actually hard to pick out air superiority ghost grey aircraft in the sky (hey, maybe that’s why they’re painted that way!) even when they’re going subsonic and you hear them coming.

    Does anyone else get AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” in their heads upon reading this? “THUNDER! (nananana nah!) THUNDER! (nananana nah!)”

  10. UFOs have a bad rep.

    If these noises were caused by meteors or airplanes or what have you, as long as the object causing the noises is not on the ground and is not yet identified, then the noises are by definition caused by UFOs. And they will remain as such until the source is identified.

  11. writerdd

    “There are air bases not too far from San Diego, for example, with some hotshot pilots.”

    Phil, there are air bases IN San Diego. And if you buy a house near one, you have to sign a disclosure saying you know the base is there and that military aircraft will be flying over your house and making a lot of noise! So no surprises there about weird noises.

  12. CR

    When I read the UFO expert’s claim that UFOs leave a vacuum in the air like lightning, and that’s why they don’t make noise, I laughed so hard I had a hard time explaining to others in the room just why I was laughing. (Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything at the time, or else I’d need to clean off my monitor.)

    So, how long do you think it will be before someone circulates those CGI Anderson UFO pics as “proof at last!” of real alien spacecraft?

  13. Melusine

    Chris Pikula says:

    April 25, 2006 @ 6:32 am

    When I read this I thought of Moodus noises, strange sounds from the ground which occur in a small area of Connecticut and reported for centuries. I googled Moodus noises and came up with this article, actually from a larger website on Lewis and Clark. Could there be a class of seismic events not recognized yet by science?

    http://www.lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=1217

    Maksutov on BAUT knows a lot about this, but I experienced an unknown “boom” in CT when I was on one of the Thimble Islands. They had been drilling for a pool on another island, but weren’t at that time. The granite quarry was closed as well. I was inside a house, and two carpenters were on the roof; we heard a boom-like sound, the windows (of a very cabin-like house) rattled, I felt the island shake, and I heard the guys go “Whoa, what the hell was that?!” We never found out what it was.

  14. Melusine

    I should add that my first idea was that they were blasting the granite for that decadent pool, and the sound reverberated throughout the islands and on the water, etc. Work…..

  15. Don

    I’ve lived here in San Diego my whole life and I was absolutely sure I was experiencing an earthquake. Windows, walls, doors, moving around. I tossed it up on my blog too. I went immediately to USGS online to see if it was a 3.5 or 4.5 or so because I’m pretty good at guaging them. Nothing. My wife called from her office 20 miles away and asked if I felt the earthquake. Her whole office had stopped and listened to everything rattle around a bit.

    There have been instances of Navy or Marine planes in the past causing sonic booms so this is an unofficial local consensus, even though officially the FAA says no, and the Marines at Miramar say no.

    So, gosh, since that’s the official word, maybe we should see if any of our intergalactic neighbors have any comment?

    And come to think of it, has anybody checked to see if the Unarius Society are still here? Maybe their mothership finally came to get them!!

    I saw the article in the paper about this and similar instances around the U.S., and of course then just waited for the loonies to come out of the woodwork to explain the immediately inexplicable for us.

  16. prowler67

    I worked on Navy aircraft while in the Navy and have witnessed many supersonic flights. One was about a half mile off the port side of the aircraft carrier and was really loud and shook the whole ship. There was an incident in Denver I belive in 1997, where a military aircraft went supersonic, it was planned and the news reported it would happen. I heared and felt it where I lived, 50 miles north. I know that there is a military training zone just off the coast of San Diego that is off limits to civilian aircraft, I don’t suppose that the FAA would monitor traffic there as it is done by military controllers. I know North Island, Miramar and Fallon airbases use this area. So who knows? Not all supersonic military flights are planned, considering pilot egos, some are spur of the moment. By the way, if given the chance, see a military aircraft go supersonic at sea, it is amazing when you can actually look down into the cockpit, Navy pilots like to do it 50 ft off the water. Amazing!

  17. P. Edward Murray

    You can now buy Gerry Anderson’s UFO on DVD!:)

    At any rate it probably was some kind of sonic boom.

    I remember a story back a few years on some show on tv about this emergency room physician who led an expedition team that would regularly go to this Park in hopes that they would board a UFO.

    One guy in the group yelled UFO anytime a plane flew overhead!

    Nutty,nutty people!

  18. Melusine

    It’s easier to find out info online now…lightning strikes, etc. When I experienced this “unknown boom,” it was before 1990, and the island doesn’t even have electricity to this day (by choice). Since CT does have that fault line, it may have been that, and more noticeable on these small islands. Unfortunately it was during the work day, so many people were overshore, but the carpenters were definitely surprised by it.

  19. Kyle_Carm

    Ha Eric Julien was right those booms were made by the comet chunks only he knows about. He obviously knows much more about these things than “scientists”. All you people thinking there were caused by airplanes.

    Years ago when NASA got the SR-71s a flight over Wyoming caused a pretty big boom in Laramie (scared me I thought the propane tanks blew up). FAA had no knowledge of it but NASA fessed up a couple of days later that they caused it. Thanks Phil

  20. TheBlackCat

    Planes don’t have to go superonic to cause a massive boom, a relatively slow flyby of my parents’ house before I was born by two F-14′s shook the entire neighborhood.

    And why, exactly, are we sure THIS wasn’t lightning? Cloud-to-cloud lightning happens all the time.

  21. I find this story particularly funny because while I didn’t hear the boom myself I can actually produce good data showing that it happened. I was visiting the Southern California Earthquake Data Center website on April 13 to report an earthquake I’d felt in my home — they use individual witness reports to estimate the shaking intensity of earthquakes — and there in the list of past earthquakes was one labeled “Sonic boom? San Diego aera, California.” I thought that was pretty cool. If you want to see where people were who reported the boom, and what they reported that it sounded/felt like, visit http://pasadena.wr.usgs.gov/shake/ca/STORE/X1008/ciim_display.html

  22. It is written that the appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in earthly form is preceded EXACTLY by noises like this:

    “unto the skyes of La Jolla there will come a rending and a sound like that of unholy flatulence and the population will tremble. Thus the coming of our lord will be proclaimed!”

    Disbelieve at your own peril!

  23. The Galaxy Trio

    It could be clear air thunder. I’ve heard it three times in my life, which I’m told is pretty rare. Twice as a child in New Jersey, and once here in California. It’s thunder out of a clear sky. Some people call them skyquakes.

    I always just figure there was some sort of anomalous buildup of charge between two layers of air, and it discharged when it got high enough. Being clear and daytime, you don’t see the lightning flash, but you hear the thunder.

    They were definitely not sonic booms. Those have a very distinctive sound.

  24. Sorry if this is way of topic here, but I can not get on BAUT, and this is the only place I can mention this

    Is BAUT down?

  25. BAUT seems to be back now :eh:

  26. Michelle Rochon

    It’s really a weird tendency we humans have. Can’t explain something? Well, create a story for it and claim it’s a fact.

  27. Swordfish

    This is my first post here. I’ve been coming to this website for a good few years now and I’ve been kind of afraid to post since it seems everyone here is way out of my league when it comes to things like this.

    That being said, I just couldn’t help myself after reading that quote that showed Peter Davenport’s apparent lack of familiarity with thunder. I’m currently studying Meteorology (albeit just in my second year) and I almost fell out of my chair when, in the quote, he seemed to imply that lightning was silent.

    When I read that article, the first thing I thought of was that it simply could have been thunder. After all, the news article said that it was raining and I have seen thunder do some of the things that people described. At this point I couldn’t resist the urge to joke to myself about how people in Southern California may not even know what a thunderstorm is (I know, harsh generalization, but I couldn’t resist).

    Anyway, I don’t think it was thunder now because someone probably would have been able to explain that before that article was printed, and it also seems like the sound was spread out over a very large distance. It talks about the sound in different places and I don’t know how far apart they are, but the article makes it seem like quite some distance.

    I personally think that it’s just a military aircraft that no branch is owning up to. At the risk of sounding like a conspiricy nutball, I noted that one airbase that the newspaper did not contact was Edwards Air Force Base which, in terms of military aircraft, isn’t too far from San Diego. Now I highly doubt there are any alien spaceships there or anything of the sort, but they do a fair bit of testing at that base, and I don’t think it’s too far fetched to assume that there’s something there that we won’t know about for a couple of years.

    (P.S. Sorry if my name is already taken, it’s the only thing I could think of)

  28. Kaptain K

    Back in the late 50s, when we were visiting my gradfolks in Little Rock Ark. There were loud noises in the sky. One caller, when told they were sonic booms, said “Damn them Masons!” LOL

  29. Could I get a clarification from someone in the know? I was always taught that a meteor was a particle left behind by a comet, typically a fraction of a millimetre in diameter, whereas a meteorite was a much larger, piece of rock/metal, perhaps related to an asteroid.

    If this is true, wouldn’t that mean that a meteor could not make any noise, whereas a meteorite could?

  30. P. Edward Murray

    Swordfish,

    I’m inclined to agree that they are either supersecret aircraft being tested, some type of new dirigible or hoax or amateur balloon.

  31. P. Edward Murray

    Ian,

    A “Meteor” is the flash of light that you see and for the most part, most of these are the size of sand particles to pebbles and are thought to be the leftovers of a comet’s tail.

    There may well be larger particles as well but I have never seen one documented.

    A “Meteorite” is a “Meteor” that has fallen to Earth.
    Most of the time these objects can even be called “Fireballs or Bolides” objects that are intensely bright and sometimes, in the case of “Bolides” split apart as they speed through the atmosphere.

    Kind of confusing though:)

  32. P. Edward Murray

    “Meteorites” are thought to be leftovers of Asteroids
    and many have had their orbits plotted. I seem to recall a recent study that found that some of these actually are leftovers of one of the major Asteroids.

    P.S. I never liked the term “Asteroid” because it really means small star. I rather like the term “Planetoid” for small planet and indeed asteroids are called “Minor Planets”.

  33. Chris

    IIRC, a ‘meteorite’ goes through 3 names depending on it’s location:
    1. meteoroid: in space, happily floating along :)
    2. meteor: in Earth’s atmosphere, burning mad :p
    3. meteorite: the left over piece on the ground :)

  34. Allen Thomson

    If it was a meteor/bolide, US missile warning satellites should have detected it. (If they didn’t, I want a tax refund.) It used to be that reports of such detections were sometimes made public (http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/aftac/news/), but apparently not since 911.

    BTW, mystery booms go back a long, long way. The 1977 MITRE book by Claflin-Chalton and MacDonald, “Sound and Light Phenomena: a Study of Historical and Modern Occurrences” is probably the best single reference for such things.

  35. Allen Thomson

    P.S.: the National UFO Reporting Center’s site (www.nuforc.org) is kind of interesting from a psychology-of-perception point of view.

    It has logs of sightings that people send in on a volunteer basis — most are “I saw something funny” singletons of which little can be made, but sometimes a source event can be identified. The NOSS satellite triads and bolides are particularly useful, because then you pretty well know what the people were seeing. Comparing that with what they report can be quite interesting. Multiple, independent reports of a single, identifiable event are best but happen infrequently.

  36. prowler67

    Oh, just a thought. A 155mm cannon makes a sound just like thunder and can be heard for some distance. Artillery fire is generally not reported to the FAA as artillery ranges are a no fly area. But the “thunder” can sound like it is comming from either the ground or the sky, depending on the situation. Just throwing that idea out there.

  37. I live in San Diego and have not heard the booms myself. But if they exist I’m inclined to believe they are the sound of a Federation-era spaceship entering our atmosphere on some kind of time travel mission to save the galaxy.

    http://talesoftheheliosphere.blogspot.com/2006/04/captain-kirk-is-that-you.html

    Love your site, by the way. Keep up the good work!

  38. Allen Thomson

    Oh, and

    P.P.S:

    Compare the present

    > There are reports of a loud blast coming from the sky in San Diego, around 9:00 a.m. on April 4. They’re described as being like sonic booms, but there were no meteors reported, no explosions from a nearby marine base, no airplanes seen. What could have caused them?

    with http://www.fas.org/irp/mystery/aurora.htm , wherein is found,

    >> Probably the most compelling evidence for such [Aurora-esque] flight tests are the series of unusual sonic booms chronicled above Southern California, beginning in mid to late 1991. On at least five occasions, these sonic booms were recorded by at least 25 of the 220 US Geological Survey sensors across Southern California used to pinpoint earthquake epicenters.

    >> The incidents were recorded in June, October, November, and late January 1991. Seismologists estimate that the aircraft were flying at speeds between Mach 3 and 4 and at altitudes of 8 to 10 kilometers. The aircraft’s flight path was in a North North-East direction, consistent with flight paths to secret test ranges in Nevada. Seismologists say that the sonic booms were characteristic of a smaller vehicle than the 37 meter long shuttle orbiter.

    >> Furthermore, neither the shuttle nor NASA’s single SR-71B were operating on the days the booms were registered.

    >> One of the seismologists, Jim Mori, noted:

    “We can’t tell anything about the vehicle. They seem stronger than other sonic booms that we record once in a while. They’ve all come on Thursday mornings about the same time, between 6 and 7 in the morning.”

    >> These “skyquake” are a continuing phenomenon, with the most recent report over Orange County, CA coming on 20 July 1996. It is reported that the “quake” occurred around 3pm PST, fitting the “skyquake” pattern in the following respects:

    + It occurred in a coastal area.

    + Described as similar to an earthquake in some respects (rattling of loose objects, etc) but also like a boom (but no distinct double bang as far as is known).

    + Severe enough to light up government and media switchboards, but no known damage.

    + Not an earthquake (CalTech sensors saw nothing)

    + Local military bases deny any knowledge.

    + No known other source (eg explosion)

  39. Don

    “Anyway, I don’t think it was thunder now because someone probably would have been able to explain that before that article was printed, and it also seems like the sound was spread out over a very large distance. It talks about the sound in different places and I don’t know how far apart they are, but the article makes it seem like quite some distance.”

    Yes it appears to have been felt over most of the northern half of San Diego County, which is quite large. Three points, Vista, Lakeside, and Mission Beach, create a triangle roughly 40mi by 20mi by 44mi. That’s about 400 square miles.

    And it was stronger than just a few rattling windows. I never actually heard a boom but the whole house shook, including some interior walls and doors.

    One more thing. The papers say it was “about 9 a.m.”

    I checked the time of my blogpost which I wrote just a few minutes after the “quake”, and it shows as 8:49 a.m., so the “quake” was about 8:45.

  40. Don

    A little more news.

    San Diego Union Tribune today says scientists at Scripps Institute have identified a location off the coast where a “sound wave” originated and travelled across San Diego into the desert:

    “According to data analyzed by the scientists, the wave was felt on San Nicolas Island, northwest of San Clemente Island, at 8:40 a.m. It hit Solana Beach at 8:46 a.m., the western edge of the Cleveland National Forest at 8:47.30 and the eastern side of the Salton Sea at 8:53 a.m. From there, it appears to have dissipated.

    Elizabeth Cochran, the lead researcher on the project, said the wave moved at 320 meters per second, roughly the speed that sound travels through the air. Its velocity was too slow to be that of an earthquake, she said.

    The spot identified is some 120 miles out in the Pacific, within the boundaries of the military “warning area” noted by Prowler67:

    I know that there is a military training zone just off the coast of San Diego that is off limits to civilian aircraft….

  41. Allen Thomson

    P.P.P.S.:

    I just remembered that the 1978 MITRE report mentioned above was associated with a JASON sonic boom study of the same year:

    http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/jason/sonic.pdf

  42. exploding comets… that guy that said a comet would hit earth… I BET HE WAS RIGHT. comets explode before they hit and the explosion disintegrates them.

  43. Tom

    The location that the sound wave originated was determined to be at warning area 291, which is a location for military exercises set up by North Island Naval Air Station San Diego. Most likly was a top secret test project.

  44. den

    July 15 from the start of 9:31pm till right this second at 10:00 there are sonic booms going over my home in upstate NY about 15miles from binghamton sounds like a fighter jet is passing over head for a brief second. they are going off about 5 every 15 seconds or so… almost sounds like fire works but they are much thicker sounding almost like if there are bombs being droped 10-15 miles away.. almost feels like a rumble of sound going over my house.. there is not 1 storm in NY no clouds crystal clear night… I DONT KNOW WHAT THESE SOUNDS ARE GOING OVER MY HOUSE big boom sounding things the only thing that I can think of to describe it in my head is “sonicboom” from a fighter jet

  45. Phil Denton

    Hmmm.

    If a large noise was created diametrically opposite this location on the earth then physics suggests that the sound will radiate out in all directions and meet exactly where this noise was created. Problem is the sound waves would A) be attenuated to a level which probably would not travel that far and B) due to variations in pressure, temperature, and other environmetal charateristics they would probably not all meet at the same time anyway. Oh sorry wrong forum…

  46. I heard a sonic boom just today (10/29/06) in Orange County…It was really close…I just got on google to see if anyone else reported it and found nothing exept this website…Some people say it was an earthquake but I doubt that…Earthquakes have a low rumble sound…this had a doppler effect to it..I looked up in the sky and saw absolutley nothing in a clear blue sky…weird..

    anyways..thought you should know

  47. Newspaper accounts of bolides cannot be trusted. So not much useful information can come out of them. In fact, this problem predates the ‘Press’ per se. May be someone did see the fireball

    In August of 1783 bolide was seen sailing over Windsor Castle. It was described as having stopped, then started again. Two centuries later it was even listed as a UFO. Paul Devereux quoted this event as an example of an ‘earthlight’ in 1989. The real event did not happen as the UFOlogist claimed – based on readinga single report. Other reports were made, and written down, in France and England. These other reports show that the fireball had an ordinary linear trajectory. The ‘stopping and starting’ must have been illusions, or at best little fragments that ‘stopped’ as they exploded. UFOlogists, as per usual did not do their homework and cross-reference the Windsor report with other reports.

  48. Perhaps the best commentary on UFOs would be a summary of the first official “flying saucers” reports.

    Kenneth Arnold’s Sighting: On Tuesday June 24, 1947, a private pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying toward Yakima Washington State. He saw his famous nine saucers, low in the sky to the east at about 3:00 pm PST. According to Arnold, it might actually have been 3:00 pm MST!

    Mount Adams Sighting: On Tuesday June 24, 1947, at about 15:00h a prospector named Fred Johnson was on Mount Adams Washington. The objects were travelling south-east.

    Mineral: Near Mineral Washington a Sidney B. Gallagher claimed to have seen nine shiny flashy ‘discs’ travelling south – from the ‘northerly’ direction. Again, on June 24, 1947, at about 3:00 pm.

    Diamond Gap Washington: Just south of Mt. Rainer a forest ranger Robert W. Hubach reportedly saw ‘high up’ flashing objects travelling very fast far to the east, on June 24, 1947.

    Richland Washington; Portland, Oregon, Journal, 4 July 1947: In Richland Washington a Mr. Leo Bernier reported several silvery discs heading west-southwest. The time was around “2:00 or 2:30” pm on June 24, 1947.

    Yakima Washington; The Oregonian – June 28, 1947: In Yakima Washington a Mrs. Ethel Wheelhouse reported a string of moving objects on Tuesday afternoon on June 24, 1947.

    Boise; Oklahoma Norman Transcript – July 4, 1947: Lt. Gov. Donald S. Whitehead near the court house, in Boise Idaho, saw a comet-like object at 3:30 pm MST. This was on June 24, 1947. Possibly the object was a vapour or smoke trail.

    Get out a good map of the USA, and plot these seven sightings. With some allowance for poor recollections of the time, these sightings line up on a map!This suggests that a daylight meteor was the cause of all seven.

  49. Seth

    I am from Mississippi Hattiesburg area and I am reporting a sonic boom . No known planes in area or news reports of any explosion. The time is 5:55pm

  50. I live in Clarkston, WA! On April 4th, around 1-2 I thought a plane was crashing into my house, I live by the airport, ran outside so I WOULD NOT GET KILLED and at that moment a boom echoed throughout the valley, THUNDEROUS, I MEAN THUNDEROUS. After that I went back inside, and back to normalcy. AFTER A MINUTE OF SILENCE I START TO HEAR THE NOISE AGAIN. AN F-16 FIGHTER JET FLYS BY LOW, YOU CAN SEE THE PILOT AND A MISSLE, OH AND THE NOISE CREATED BY THE JET WAS WEAK IN COMPARISON, EVEN WHEN THE F -16 FLEW LOW OVER THE WATER, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO INCREASE THE BOOM. FIRST TIME I HAVE EVER SEEN A FIGHTER JET IN THE AREA, AND IT FLEW OVER EXACTLY A WEEK BEFORE WHERE I CALLED 911 AND REPORTED A UFO SIGHTING. I THOUGHT I WOULD SEE THIS ALL OVER THE NEWS, BECAUSE OF SAN DIEGO, AND ON ESPN WHEN THEY SHOWED THE ANNOUNCER SINGING THE PART OF “AND THE BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR” THEN THE BOOM IN SOME OTHER CITY, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT HAPPENED EVERYWHERE. CRAZY S@##

  51. Bert

    I live in the DC metro area, 3 miles across the river from DC in Va. I’ve lived here all my life, across the river from Andrews, down the street from Fort Belvior, I regularly go to Reagan Airport to watch the planes come and go right over my head. Fort Belvior is a base of many abilities, from engineering, to communications, to being the outfit that regularly practices runs up the river in simulating clearing capitol hill of all government employees in a mass evacuation.
    I’ve gone to many air shows at Andrews AFB, I flown on puddle jumpers to 777 all the time. I’ve been to proving grounds in Aberdeen, MD and A.P. Hill, Va. I can distinct between many noises from years of hunting, being able to tell if high bore rifles are shot, shotguns, blackpowder,etc. I can tell the difference between air medical copters, the Prez’s Marine helo, news copters and appaches. I live in the flight zone where every piece of military flying machinery flies over my house for funerals of fallen heroes at Arlington Cemetery.
    During the attacks of 9/11, I was only a mile or two from the Pentagon. I was in a glass building watching everything unfold. We were buzzed by a few fighter jets, they were screaming over us, making runs up and down the city. I knew right away what they were since I go to the beach around Va. and the Carolinas. We are constantly buzzed down there, in DC, it never happened prior to 9/11. I know what a sonic boom sounds like, its very local, very fast, very high pressured. It doesn’t last long, it is a series of poops, very pronounced, meaning there is no doubt something just shook the house and people are screaming if they never heard one, kids will cry when its over.
    About a year ago, the day that Iran’s President Armadinjad (sp?) was at the UN giving his speech, I was in a very busy, luxury restaurant about 10 miles outside downtown DC. Ironic thing is, the restaurant is at the bottom level of a very large, tall building which serves as world wide headquarters to General Dynamics. I was there, sunset on a nice, clear evening on a Saturday, there must of been 300 people in this place when I first heard this boom.
    Now, it started as a roar, like the end of a long, rumbling thunder strike. Not a sharp one, like one of those long, grumbling types, except that it was long, like I heard it for a good 5 secs. then I started timing it. I looked around, no one noticed a damn thing. A friend of mine saw me and asked what was wrong, this is a friend that hunts with me and can hear a pin drop a mile away like me. I asked him to step outside, we shut the door and it was more pronounced. His quote was “what in the F is going on here?” We both agreed that the noise was covering the entire region, meaning it wasn’t a plane and encompassed horizon to horizon. Everything shook, but at a low rumbling, pace. It lasted a good 30 secs.
    Now what makes this even better is 5 miles away, my sitter calls me saying that she took my two girls downstairs because the condo was shaking, they ran down 6 floors to the basement, my kids crying. She was freaked out, she didn’t know what to tell the girls, they were all crying. I told her that whatever it was, it was over, that I’d check the news. My condo over looks DC, my kids and I get a kick out of seeing B2, B117, A10, F14, etc flyover because of funerals, football games, ceremonies, etc. My 4 and 6 year old later told me that whatever they heard, was 10 worse than any of the fly overs. The sitter even said she looked over the balcony to the city, she saw nothing, but when she looked down, people on the streets were cowering and looking up, car alarms were going off.
    I just heard one the other night at around 3am I think. Clear night and I can sleep through bombs going off, I was in deep REM sleep. I woke up with my heart pounding, the house shaking and that same rumble that lasted 45 secs. this time. I ran to the window, nothing. I laid down, then I’m not sure how much longer, boom again it goes, just as long in duration. I spoke with my daughter who was at her cousin’s house that night, 18 miles away and she told me that thunder woke her up at 3am. I asked her what it sounded like and she said “well I say thunder because that is the loudest thing I know, it was louder, like the time at the condo.”
    OK, very long post people but something is going on. Is it Aurora? Who knows what it is called, but whatever it is, it’s fast and its Fing loud. I’ve called 911, nothing. I emailed and spoke on the phone with local news, nada. I looked online, nothing. I do have 2 other people that heard it and all of agree……..we thought it was armagedon. (Sp?) Seriously, I thought it was over, like I was waiting for the four horsemen, etc. I was crapping my pants because I couldn’t explain it, it shook the entire sky and ground.
    WTF is all I am hearing? I am talking about some serious ground pounding noise. I wouldn’t call it noise because calling it noise sounds like I am reffering to a firecracker instead of this colousal roar. There is no way that this isn’t Aurora or whatever it is called, it HAS to be a Scramjet of somesort.
    I did see a weather satelite image, black and white of the US, shot in 07 sometime. There is one (1) contrail from the west coast to just south of the DC metro area that goes off to sea. Kinda proves my theory, unless the images were doctored. Hard to explain a contrail from almost coast to coast.
    So, many smart men of this site, what was it? How can I document this? Do I audio tape 24/7 on my balcony hoping for some evidence? This does not make sense, that no one else or that many people are not commenting on this in my area. Maybe I should start my own website?

    Enough, your comments please.

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