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Latest Theory Behind ‘Mystery Booms’: It’s All In Your Head

Since late in 2014, the media has been rife with reports of “mystery booms” that have been heard around various parts of the world.

However, a little-known phenomenon has been proposed as one among the many explanations which might (and that’s a rather hefty might) explain some of the perceived noises as a previously-misunderstood psychological phenomenon.

In other words, the ‘booms’ may just be in your head.

A recent article in Yahoo News asks, “Ever hear an explosion in the night that didn’t seem to exist? One that you never told anyone about, for fear they’d think you were going insane?”

Exploding Head Syndrome

Citing a recent Washington State University study, it is now estimated that as many as one in five people may be subject to experiencing what is known as “exploding head syndrome,” where a person may be awakened from sleep by a perceived explosive noise, which seems so real that they often think they have actually heard it.

Yahoo News reports:

[T]he “exploding head” phenomenon occurs when, instead of shutting down gradually and slowly, the auditory neurons crash all at once — and with a bang. “That’s why you get these crazy-loud noises that you can’t explain, and they’re not actual noises in your environment,” says researcher Brian Sharpless, an assistant professor at Washington State University and the director of the university’s psychology clinic, in a press release.

Could this be a legitimate cause underlying at least a portion of the “mystery booms” reported around the world?

In 2014, one of the more widely publicize instances of booms over a metropolitan area dealt with a repetitive series of explosions which many likened to fireworks, which were heard around London. Numerous recordings of these sounds appeared online, pointing to an actual physical cause underlying the noises.

Shortly thereafter, the American midwest had been perceived as a particular “hotspot” around December and into January of the new year, with many citing cryoseisms or “frost quakes” as a possible cause. Further northwest, similar reports near the northern California and Washington coasts were believed by some to be the result of Navy testing offshore, but to-date, no records indicate any conclusive link between any governmental activities and mysterious explosions.

A variety of other theories have sprung up in relation to the phenomenon, which include stealth aircraft tests in the United States and Britain, as well as the belief among some that Russia may be testing OTH (over the horizon) technologies; however, much like the various other speculative theories as to the cause of these booms, no conclusive links between the phenomenon and such technologies have been offered.

If indeed the “exploding head syndrome” could be taken for being one among the many proposed explanations for the “mystery booms,” it would be interesting to compare reports in vicinities where multiple individuals claimed to experience the sounds around the same time (as reports indicated in parts of Kansas and Ohio in late 2014). Otherwise, the next question we may have to ask could be, “what environmental factors might lead to regional ‘spikes’ in exploding head phenomenon?”

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Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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