A mysterious booms in Alabama earlier this week was so shocking some residents even called police because of the suspicious sound.
The sounds, understandably startling for those who hear them, are certainly not the voices of gods, although their source has thus far defied scientific explanation as well.
A recent example occurred in Alabama, when a thunderous noise shook houses and frightened residents on Nov. 20. Not long after, explosion-like sounds were also heard in Colorado, although officials now believe that the Colorado clamor was unrelated to the worldwide phenomenon, likely caused by oil and gas extraction.
Other booms around the world, like the one in Alabama, remain unexplained. Locals in Cairns, Australia, were shaken by a loud rumble on Oct. 10. Then two weeks later, another boom was heard over the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Other mysterious sounds have been heard in as far reaching places as Michigan and Yorkshire, U.K.
Of course, there are theories. Anytime booming sounds are heard from the sky, it’s worth ruling out a sonic boom caused by aircraft breaking the sound barrier. This might explain a few of the events — for instance, there are reports of a FA-18 Hornet plane flying nearby when the sound was heard in Cairns, Australia — but it’s not a viable theme across all of the events.
Another possibility is that the booms are caused by meteors exploding in the sky. The Leonid meteor shower has coincided with the hysteria. This theory would certainly explain why the phenomenon is global, though astronomers have insisted that meteors produced by the Leonids are way too small for this to happen.
Ground explosions also make for a prime suspect, but it’s unclear how a ground disruption could explain the worldwide distribution of the sounds.
At least one NASA scientist, Bill Cooke, has chimed in, telling ABC 3340 that NASA’s meteor scientists are still in the process of analyzing the data and are looking for possible patterns between each of the reports. So far, though, there have been no consistent leads.
Of course, it’s also possible that each of these booming sounds is entirely unrelated to the others, each with its own local explanation. It’s not as if many of the booms from around the world occurred at the same time; several events are separated by weeks, even months at this point. Even so, anytime a loud boom is heard, it’s worth getting to the bottom of it. Booms, whether connected to largescale, global phenomena or not, can be jarring to the imagination.