Nov 16, 2017 I Paul Seaburn

Strange Boom in Alabama Has NASA Puzzled and Locals Alarmed

Alabama residents don’t need anything more (no pun intended) to worry about right now and they certainly don’t need any more (see previous note) unwanted publicity, but they’re demanding answers from NASA, the military, local officials and anyone else who will listen to their reports of a mysterious loud boom that thousands heard on November 14th, 2017. Should they be worried? Praying? Digging a bunker? Moving?

“Birmingham area law enforcement agencies said they've received reports, and so has St. Clair County EMA. The areas that experienced whatever it was include Arab, Oxford, Anniston, Hayden, Kimberly, Center Point, Jasper and Gardendale just to name a few.” reported that the boom occurred around 2:39 p.m. EST (1:39 CST – the rest of you can figure out what time that was in your area) and social media was immediately flooded with “What was that? #WhatWasThat #LoudBoom” comments and speculations. St. Clair County and Birmingham are heavily populated areas near the center of the state. Reports from government organizations soon followed. The National Weather Service seemed to be first with a statement that:

"loud boom heard: we do not see anything indicating large fire/smoke on radar or satellite; nothing on USGS indicating an earthquake. We don't have an answer, and can only hypothesize with you. 1) sonic boom from aircraft; 2) meteorite w/ current Leonid shower?"

The US Geological Survey soon updated that report, saying seismic data from its Lakeview Retreat near Centreville, Ala., showed "a fairly loud boom occurring on or before 1:39 p.m. CST." That report was confirmed by the Elginfield Infrasound Array at the University of Western Ontario which picked up the infrasound signal at 3:02 p.m. and observed it for 10 minutes.

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Sound graph from the U.S. Geological Survey near Centreville, Ala. (NASA)

Covering all the bases, NASA said it was either a bolide (exploding meteor), larger supersonic aircraft or a ground explosion. However, it downplayed pointing fingers at the recent Leonid meteor shower because those meteors are too small to produce audible sounds. Many eyewitnesses reported seeing at least one vapor trail, but there’s been no word of responsibility from the military and no further meteor reports.

That leaves … a good reason to hold an annual festival! The small town of Fyffe in the northeast corner of Alabama has been holding a yearly UFO (Unforgettable Family Outing) Festival every August to remember a series of unexplained UFO sightings on February 11–12, 1989, by over 50 people.

If there’s any state that needs something to celebrate right now, it’s Alabama. Maybe it’s time to call off the search, hire some bands, bring in the food trucks and hold a “Bama Boom, Brews and Burgers Bash.”

Night View Festival The Night Sky Bridge Sea Flame 1128636 640x426
Where were you when the Big Boom of 2017 hit?


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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