May 22, 2018 I Brent Swancer

An Odd and Intriguing New Theory on the Oregon Mystery Shrieks

One very strange phenomenon of recent years was a series of unidentified wails, howls, and screeches bellowing out from the night in a secluded suburb the U.S. state of Oregon that have never been satisfactorily explained. The story attracted national attention yet answers have remained elusive as to what caused the unearthly sounds, spurring all manner of theories and speculation. One very interesting new take on the phenomenon of the Oregon mystery shrieks was recently relayed to me by a reader, and seems worth mentioning as it could very possibly hold the key to the whole puzzle.

In order to understand what is going on here it is first perhaps best to go a little into the history of the phenomenon, of which I have written of here at Mysterious Universe before but which I will touch on here. In 2016, the residents of the town of Forest Grove, located just 25 miles from Portland, Oregon, in the United States, began reporting a weird anomalous noise that both surprised and frightened them. The sound was usually heard in the evening hours, and was variously reported as sounding like a shrill squeal, a flute-like blare, the screeching of car brakes, a steam whistle, a mechanical scream, metal scraping against metal, an off-kilter siren, or a banshee like moan or howl, but in every case it was quite unpleasant and something that no one had ever heard anything like before. The anomalous noise purportedly kept people awake at night and drove dogs into a frenzied barking, and several people uploaded recordings of the eerie, surreal wail.

Main Street Forest Grove 500x375
Forest Grove, Oregon

At the time no one had any clue as to what could be causing the noise. Many thought that this was a leak in a pipeline somewhere, but the sound did not match up with this audio signature, and Forest Grove Public Works and the gas company Northwest Natural denied that the sound could be coming from a ruptured gas line, adding that even if it had it would have released a strong odor of gas, of which there was none reported. The fire department also put to rest the idea that it was coming from a fire alarm somewhere, as was suggested by some, and the Department of Forestry also said that whatever it was did not originate from them either. Additionally, the nearby train tracks are only rarely used, and authorities explained that this could not be the origin of the sound either, with the sound of a train not even particularly matching what was heard in the first place.

It was all a complete mystery, and making it all even more bizarre was that it was seemingly impossible to discern where it was coming from and it was heard in various disparate areas. Indeed, evidence appears to suggest that the ear-piercing noise was on the move, with one physics professor at the local Pacific University by the name of Dr. Andrew Dawes even taking it upon himself to track the mysterious noise, creating a Google Map pin mapping out where all of the reports of the noise came from. The noise was tracked by dozens of pins all over Forest Grove, all without any discernible pattern, to the point that he reached out for public help in trying to figure out the mystery, although this doesn't seem to have led anywhere.

Of course with such an anomalous phantom sound moving around a relatively rural area there were bound to be stranger theories, and there were. Aliens, Sasquatch, ghosts, angels, demons, and other paranormal suggestions were popular as the story caught on in mainstream news, as were tales of government conspiracies and secret bases, but there were no real concrete answers for any of it. The story featured in news countrywide and on all manner of TV shows such as Inside Edition and World News Tonight, fueling constant debate and speculation as reports of the spooky shrieks continued to come in, before just suddenly stopping just as abruptly as it had started to leave the nights silent and baffled people to try and work out just what had been going on. We still don’t know, and the theories have swirled, ranging from the mundane to the surreal.

One very interesting take was made directly to me when I was contacted by a reader named Sean Gleason, who gave me a very unusual, yet oddly compelling possible solution to the persistent mystery. Sean informed me that in the year of 2016 there was a particularly high level of activity concerning the manufacture of hash oil or honey oil, which is a highly concentrated form of THC. Indeed, I was informed that Forest Grove is well known for growing weed and production of hash oil, and that this was especially rampant at the time of the phenomenon. Butane gas was often used to make this oil because it can combust at lower temperatures than fuels like propane and it is easy to find, but it is not cost effective at larger amounts, so people in the area at the time were turning to using propane to make their valuable oil. When Sean heard recordings of the noise he says that he immediately recognized the sound, and explained how propane and hash oil relates to this all thus:

Now you don't need to use butane people do because it's easy to obtain and do at home in small amounts. But if someone had a lot of plant material using butane would not be cost-effective in the slightest. Propane on the other hand would be. Now Forest Grove has been known for years to be a location where people grow weed. So when the news first reported on this they had a sound clip. As soon as I heard it I new what that sound was. It's the sound that created by propane escaping from a metal pipe that is not lit. Many years ago at a friend's house they had a hose attached to a pipe that was connected to a large propane tank. It was used for control burns. When you finish useing it you disconnected the line for safety. When that happened the leftover fuel still in the lines were Escape out creating the exact same sound.


So I started thinking... What would be the safest way to create hash oil so you don't blow your self up and so you don't get caught. You go breaking bad style. You do it in a mobile home or RV. The first time people heard the noise it was on the outskirts of the city and the sound was stationary as well as in the middle of the night or quite late.


They probably didn't realize how loud it was going to be until they actually tested it. When the new started reporting about it the noise quickly went from being stationary to being mobile and no longer in the middle of the night. I wasn't able to determine that until I saw the map data. If you track all the sounds reported in chronological order it runs right to the middle of this town basically during rush hour. Each report was pretty close to the main road leading in and out of town. I think the people who did this either were Growers or new Growers and received a lot of the trimmings after a harvest. What's the news to reporting on it they realized that they couldn't just sit in some parking lot or cul-de-sac and do this at night quietly. But because they probably had all of their equipment and the weed already in the vehicle they probably figured to just get what they had left finished as quickly as possible then redesign it later. Now I checked locally police reports and found that the night before the first time the sound was heard a large propane tank was taken from the back of a truck.


The sound was only heard 2 more times... And for longer than the first time basically about a full tank of propane. About a week or so went by before the sound Was Heard again and again just prior to it being heard again there was five or six tanks of propane stolen from out front of a local store the next town over just out of Forest Grove police jurisdiction.


It may have just been a coincidence but that type of crime Doesn't Really Happen a whole heck of a lot around here insert another police reports I was only able to find one other instance or propane was taken in like 5 years. And that's one of the reasons why all of a sudden this sounds just stopped never to be hurt again. The guys that were trying to create the hash oil had attracted too much attention to themselves. So they finished up the job I move the whole operation out of town probably.

When Sean first heard about the phenomenon he also quickly learned that it had been reported as bizarrely moving around from place to place, and indeed in recordings of the noise he noted that at times it could noticeably be heard moving even within the same clip. Sean has an answer for this as well, in that the data seems to suggest that whoever was behind this release of propane gas was probably doing while on the move aboard a vehicle of some sort, most likely an RV at night where their activities would be more secretive, also explaining why the sound was never heard during the day. He would elaborate on this thus:

If you take into Consideration the location, the craziness about making hash oil (you could make a whole lot of money at the time if you had even a moderate amount.) The fact that the sound all of a sudden started moving during the loudest part of the day Rush Hour moving down the loudest part of town hwy 10. Plus days after the last reported time it was heard there was a flood of hash oil coming out of Forest Grove and then it quickly dried up. When you put all that together it makes sense.


Now when the professor or teacher was interviewed by the local media and he said he was sitting up a Google Earth location file thing (I can't remember exactly what it was called) asking people to mark their location with the date and time so they can kind of figure out exactly where I was coming from. I keep tabs on that file. The thing that was none of it was organized the professor basically abandoned it and nobody else uploaded any other information so I copied all the information loaded into my Google Earth and begin to color code it by day once I had that done I went through each day and plotted it by time. There's a cool feature on Google Earth were you can hit a play button and it'll show you all the little data points in chronological order. I had to filter out all of the data points that didn't have a Time attached to them.


What I was left with was rather interesting. Everyone have reported the sound and time and location it all headed in One Direction without any out of place data points. As in they're all going in a straight line and nobody reported hearing the same sound on the day around that time and it completely different location they all ran perfectly. For a strange random random noise to be headed in One Direction at the time of day when it was only hurt late at night or early in the morning prior to that logically you have to conclude it was a vehicle... The stretch of road that they would be driving down even during rush hour will only take you a maximum of 10 minutes and all of the accounts are in that 10-minute time limit."

Sean informs me that he had tried to contact the police about this, but in their deluge of calls he was sort of brushed off and his story never came out, making this a sort of Mysterious Universe exclusive. I checked out a lot of this, and it all checks out, leading me to think that Sean is on to something here, and may have cracked a weird case that has been puzzling people since it first came out. So in addition to aliens, ghosts, and the coming of the Biblical Apocalypse we now have the explanation of the nefarious dealings of hash oil makers ripping around town shooting off propane gas, which is actually the most reasonable explanation one could ask for. Whether it is true or not, it is worth thinking about, and it certainly adds a unique angle to the discussion on this unsolved mystery.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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