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Skyquakes: Strange and Anomalous Sounds in Nature

It seemed to be an otherwise quiet and unassuming evening of esoterica at my fortified and famously secretive residence way back in the heart of the Appalachians. My colleague, one historian and journalist by the name of Mr. Vance Pollock, had dropped by to share some weird correspondences he had received regarding a few early twentieth century spiritualist seances, and while little was heard from where we were, just over the next ridge, locals were reporting the sounds of chaos erupting into the night air.

There was never any official explanation given, but the local newspapers would describe it as being a strange “explosion” sound over East Asheville, North Carolina, seemingly emanating from the sky. While this instance alone might be passed off as a mere fluke, throughout the majority of 2012 there were reports from all around the world that described similar “skyquakes” that were occurring, some of which were allegedly recorded on video, and later “explained” as being viral videos that were intended to promote upcoming films. In retrospect, if this were indeed the case, it would be fair to say that the promotional aspect didn’t work well, as we don’t have a clear idea as to what film, exactly such videos may have been promoting.


And in truth, the Skyquake phenomenon does go back much further than 2012 (forever known as “the year Quetzacoatl stood us up”). Indeed, there is a curious history of strange sounds that emanate from nowhere, though seemingly from the skies above, that have garnered the attention of the Fortean crowd.

A few websites, such as this one, began to appear online that dealt with the incoming reports of “skyquakes” last year, and while little can be found online about the phenomenon (despite there being a series of the popular Hasbro Transformers characters bearing this name), there are reports that date back to earlier times. Such things were discussed in the anomalous cataloguing of Charles Fort, as well as some of the scientific writing of the late William R. Corliss, who delved into an array of different anomalous sounds that emanate from natural sources in his “Science Frontiers” volumes. Some of the odd noises he catalogued were even categorized as musical, or even more specifically, as sounding like “organ music” that seemed to emanate from underground; though instead of evidence of orchestration from the underworld, Corliss noted that it was more likely that these sounds were of geological origin, though one regional variety, centered around the coast of Greenland, had been given a name by “the late A. Wegener”, according to Corliss, which was Ton der Dove-bai.


But regarding specifically the presence of the alleged “Skyquakes,” retired Lt. Col. Wendelle Stevens also discussed this phenomenon in relation to UFO sightings in an obscure book he self-published in 1981, called UFO Contact from Reticulum. In the book, Stevens, along with co-author William J. Herrman, feature an appendix titled “Skyquakes Related to UFOs”, in which Herrman claimed to have experienced a UFO sighting in conjunction with an alleged skyquake:

“The link between these mystery explosions and UFOs is the most exciting new development in this field,” declared noted UFO researcher Robert Cregan, a professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Albany. And Dr. James Harder, professor of engineering at the University of California at Berkeley, commented, “I think it’s entirely possible that UFOs are connected (to these blasts.”

The high-altitude explosions, which were heard or felt in parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North and South Carolina, have baffled defense officials all over the country. During at least the following five airquakes UFOs were seen directly over or near the blast sites and there may be more.

The authors go on to mention a series of other sightings that occurred in late 1977, which purported to feature these strange aerial sounds in conjunction with visible UFO craft. Is there ultimately one cause underlying these strange sounds, or could it be, much like the study of ufology itself, that there are actually more than one explanation for different instances of anomalous “explosions” or similar sounds emanating from the sky?


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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