May 14, 2015 I Micah Hanks

These Eerie Noises in British Columbia May Have Just Been Identified

In Terrace, British Columbia, for years now there have been reports of an intermittent "mystery noise", which has managed to perplex residents, as well as garner media attention on several occasions. The noise, which sounds like loud metal scraping (occasionally described as sounding similar to whale song or an injured animal) has appeared in numerous videos posted online, with similar sounds having been reported in various other locations around the world.

Within just the last few days, the mystery noise of Terrace seems to have returned, and new videos have appeared online that once again document the eerie sound. However, this time a possible solution has turned up as well... and one that is far more prosaic than previous guesses about their underlying cause.

Looking back to 2013, one of the earliest instances where the noises were documented involved YouTube user Kimberly Wookey, who recorded the sounds near her home. Wookey's original recording of the sounds, as well as many guesses about their cause, was detailed in news reports the likes of this one below:

Again within the last few days, Wookey managed to record the sounds on two more occasions, garnering thousands of views, and reigniting the debate as to what may be causing the noises.

One of the more elaborate theories about the cause of the sounds was proposed by a physicist at the University of Saskatchewan, who suggested in 2013 that the sounds might be "electromagnetic noise emitted from auroras and radiation belts."

A more prosaic explanation was offered last week by a railroad employee, Leah Derby, who likened the mystery noises to a train being dragged while its brakes are set. "I work on the railroad and this is a common noise to us... it's a normal train yard noise," Derby said in a comment appearing at the site of the Terrace Standard.  The article in question, however, suggested that metal grading might be the cause, a theory which has been cited by officials with the city of Terrace, according to CFTK News.

While many residents have remained skeptical of the city's explanation, a compelling case (if not an irrefutable one) for the "grader theory" was offered by a Terrace resident named Purnell Good. At his Facebook page, Good uploaded a smartphone video that indeed appears to confirm the grader theory... especially since the vehicle can easily be seen moving across a parking lot nearby, in conjunction with the "mystery" noise.

o TERRACE BC facebook 570x428
Terrace neighborhood.

Some have argued that while this explanation for the noises that have long baffled Terrace residents seems to be a fit, it may not explain similar instances reported elsewhere around the world. To that, one would have to ask whether in those cases there were investigations that might have turned up similar prosaic explanations.

The Terrace incidents have been among many reports that involve "mystery sounds" reported around the world, many of which do remain unexplained. Among the more recent examples, these include strange, siren-like whistling sounds recorded recently over parts of Northern Ireland, as well as a number of unusual loud "booms" that have been reported over the last several months. In many such cases, the reports remain inconclusive as to the causes of the various sounds.

For residents of Terrace, British Columbia, the sounds may have been identified; but that alone won't guarantee they'll rest any easier, considering the early hours the grading operations are been undertaken (Good's video was made shortly after 8 AM local time, and one of Wookey's previous videos had been recorded a bit earlier). It would indeed be interesting to see if industrial sources could be identified in various parts of the world where similar "mystery noises" have occurred.

Micah Hanks

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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