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The Muddy Waters of Conflict: Strange Flashes and Crashes Illuminate the Americas

For the last several months, a variety of odd aerial phenomenon have been reported worldwide, specifically involving the reports of loud “crashing” sounds and explosions around various locales, in addition to occasional reports of unidentified objects cruising through the heavens and burning brightly as they go. 

In the latter case, such anomalous events occurring in conjunction with one another may result in a few plausible theories. For one, the entry of meteorites known as fireballs, which are generally much larger than the typical pebble-sized stones that burn brightly (and only momentarily) as they fizzle into nothingness, sometimes are reported in conjunction with sonic booms, as they come scorching into Earth’s atmosphere.

Such was the case recently over parts of Texas and Oklahoma, where a number of reports of bright flashes in the sky had occurred, in conjunction with large, crashing explosions which appeared to emanate from the sky. While the meteorite theory has certainly been offered, there are other things being attributed to the cause of the ruckus… so which was it, or are we really dealing with a combination of both?

Writing of out of Saint Louis, Marjorie Owens tracked down an expert in meteorite behavior upon entry of Earth’s atmosphere, who shared the following insights:

According to Dr. James Roberts, a University of North Texas astronomer who talked to WBAP,  the mysterious object in the sky was likely a burned up meteor. A KHOU meteorologist in Houston said it may have been part of the Geminids meteor shower, which takes place in December. The meteorites often appear to be slow moving and are usually best seen at its peak on December 13 and 14.

Furthermore, it was said that the loud booming noises reported by some could simply have been the sounds of the meteorites breaking apart. Thus, the present explanation appears simple enough… that is, it was until the Lockheed Martin Company stepped up claiming that, quite the contrary, it had actually been their handiwork that some people in the Southwest had reported hearing:

A spokesperson for Lockheed Martin tells us the booms were caused by supersonic flight tests being conducted by the company. The flights were authorized by the FAA and are conducted in the corridor that runs from Dallas through Oklahoma.

Does the fact that one of the sources presented conflicts with another proposed solution here cause the mystery to deepen? Not in the least, if we take into consideration the fact that this almost always happens, especially when people find themselves grasping for prosaic solutions to any given set of unusual circumstances (think swamp gas, the light of Planet Venus, and illumination reflecting off the bellies of geese in flight… you get the picture). Indeed, whether or not there is a natural atmospheric solution to the mystery crash-and-flash show seen over the Southern USA recently, or one comprised of aircraft test-flights, there is often a division or contrast that begins to emerge when various experts from unrelated fields start offering their own explanations (especially when they conflict, like in this case). Hence, those whose minds may gravitate more toward conspiracies may be likely to look at the available evidence–and the argument that potentially arises between different perspectives on the matter–and simply reject the available notions outright. “Clearly, there is something more here!”

In truth, my gut tells me we’re not seeing much of anything anomalous here, let alone anything unusual. But the fact that officialdom can’t agree on what the underlying cause really is, regardless of the circumstances, does tend to give the impression that a lot more could be going on than probably really is. Thus, one might ask: how often do conflicting sets of data used to explain various prosaic phenomenon only aid in further muddying the waters?


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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