Dec 18, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Mysterious Trumpet Sounds Heard All Night in Spokane Valley

This is the loud trumpet/howling noises in Spokane Valley, WA that I have been hearing All night. Started around 11pm and have been non-stop up until this morning, about 6am.

That’s just one of countless social media posts that appeared throughout the night of December 13th and early December 14th as residents of Spokane Valley, Washington, tried to find the source of (and hopefully shut off) an eerie trumpeting sound that drove many out into the frigid cold in attempts to determine the cause. Did they?

Local media outlets in Spokane valley, a suburb of Spokane, jumped right on the story the night of December 14th, reporting thousands of people – one estimated at least 27,000 people would have been exposed to it - heard the mysterious sound from 10:30 pm to 5 am … a sound that many described as a trumpet, which always stokes apocalyptic fears. They attempted to pinpoint the cause.

Snow plows was a popular initial diagnosis, since there was snow on the ground and plows on the streets. In fact, one report mentioned a single mall parking lot that was allegedly being plowed continuously the entire night (nice work if you can get it). While that might explain the sound in that localized area (and it was later determined that the lot hadn’t been plowed at all), it doesn’t explain the sound traveling throughout the town nor the loudness of it, especially in areas where there was no plowing going on.

When sound travels great distances, weather, cloud cover and the unusual properties of cold air are the usual suspects.

… temperature does affect the speed of sound, which can make certain things sounds different than what we are used to hearing. Sound will actually travel faster in hot air than it will in colder air.

That’s a local TV station’s science expert, Radical Rick. (Should we trust a scientist who calls himself radical? Wouldn’t Logical Lou be a better source?) Cold air that night (not unusual in Washington state) could have slowed down normal sounds and distorted them into trumpet blasts. That sounds logical, not radical, especially if the night was filled with loud noises like snow plows and trains. However, plows were already ruled out and there were few trains running that night.

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A snowy location where the sound was heard

One interesting theory was that the sound was the creaking of train rails expanding and contracting in the cold. That might make sense if it happened frequently (Spokane Valley is often this cold) and the noise wasn’t so loud.

Once the usual suspects are disproved, the unusual suspects come out for mysterious trumpet sounds in the sky. There’s the Hum that’s heard around the world, but its frequency is too low to make the Spokane noise. There’s the sound make by the Northern lights, but that’s more of a crackling and there were no reports of auroras that night on Spokane. Tectonic plates rubbing? Not in this area. The moaning of whales or other sea creatures? These don’t last for hours. HAARP? Good luck proving that one.

For those who don’t believe the constant trumpeting of those shouting “Snow plows!”, the search for an explanation of the Spokane Valley trumpeting continues. Any thoughts?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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