- I have long been intrigued by the phenomenon of mystery
explosions that seemingly manifest from nowhere for no reason and startle
area residents with that same kind of sudden shock as a cherry bomb set
off behind unsuspecting picnickers. As I was sorting through my files recently,
I came across records of a rash of unknown things that went "boom"
in the night in the 1950s and 60s.
- In Modesto, California, on October 3, 1950, a mystery
explosion shattered the night with such violence that a general fire alarm
was sounded for fifteen miles around.
- In Thanet and Margate, England, in the early morning
of October 19th , officials reported the "biggest explosion since
the war." Vibrations were felt as far away as Deal, but no one offered
- On November 10, 1950, a thirty-mile area in the lower
St. Lawrence River area, Canada, was vibrated by a mystery blast. Federal
transport department officials tried to pin this one on a U.S. Air Force
plane with engine trouble that dropped a bomb.
- On January 4, 1952, a series of mystery blasts shook
Los Angeles and San Diego. The first explosion sounded at 3:33 A.M. in
the vicinity of Los Angeles' International Airport. The second thundered
forth from San Diego's Mission Hills at 8:30 P.M., followed by a third
at Point Lorna a half an hour later, and a fourth nearly two hours later
in the Chula Vista region.
- Police officials stated that their investigation revealed
that no explosions had been set off at those times. Scientists selected
the old, dependable scapegoat of exploding meteorites, even though none
had been reported or observed on that date.
- Niagara Falls, New York, residents were rattled out of
their sleep by an explosion, followed by a mysterious light in the sky,
on the night of March 23, 1953. A check with officials at the U.S.. Air
Force base in Niagara Falls revealed that no planes were missing that night.
A Coast Guard launch plowed the water for two hours without finding any
debris. The approved explanation was that a meteorite had exploded above
- On January 30, 1954, Mrs. Robert Arledge was thrown to
the dining room floor of their new six-room home in Gadsden, Alabama, by
a terrific explosion that left her with slight burns. Fire investigation
officials found no evidence of fire or explosion, even though the floor
of the house from the front to the rear doors had been tilted up.
- State Police, Cornell University geologists, and Army
and Air Force explosives specialists examined the gaping holes left on
the Howard Lacey farm at Venice Center, New York, on each November 12th
for 1966, '67, and '68, and ruled out ordinary explosives.
- "It's getting to be an annual affair at Howard Lacey's
place: Something goes boom in the night and leaves a hole within 300 yards
of the one before," stated an Associated Press release.
- On each November 12th for three years in succession,
Lacey and his neighbors were shaken out of their beds by a loud explosion
during the night; then upon investigation, they would discover a large
crater on, or near, his farm. Lacey's mystery blast in 1968 was the loudest
and the largest of all. The noise could be heard more than twenty miles
away, and the crater was eighteen feet wide and almost five feet deep.
- Pressed by newsmen for some kind of explanation, a Cornell
University geologist could only shake his head and reply: "There's
a hole in the ground out there--that's a fact. The rest is open to conjecture."
- "Big jets" that are never spotted, earthquakes
that are never recorded on seismographs, explosives that never leave debris,
- s emerging from other dimensions are the suspects most
often named by those who have suffered property damage and who have had
the devil scared out of them by mystery blasts that have been reported
across the United States and in other parts of the world.
- A New England community, Moodus, Connecticut, has been
plagued by mystery blasts for over three hundred years, baffling scientists
as well as inhabitants of the village. "Moodus" is derived from
the name Machemoodus, from the Wangunk, meaning "place of noises."
The Wangunk tribe made a religion out of the strange booms, believing that
they were made by a spirit made angry by the European colonists settling
in the area. The settlers themselves blamed the noises on the battle sounds
of good and evil witches fighting for their puritanical souls.
- Geophysicists attributed the sounds to "microquakes"
which occur periodically, but no one really knows the precise cause of
the activity and why they should make noises that sound like distant thunder
or cannon fire. At least six seismograph stations have been set up around
the Moodus area, and all that technical equipment has produced numerous
theories, but no answers to the mystery of what causes the quakes and why
they occur in a particular place about a mile deep and a few hundred yards
- 'The noises sound just like explosions and come without
warning at intervals of two or three years," said a researcher from
Williams College who had been investigating the phenomena.
- "The 'Moodus noises' always occur within the radius
of a few miles around the village," he went on, "but although
we have frequently investigated the explosions, we have found no clue as
to their cause. To the best of our knowledge, no smoke or steam is ever
seen at the site of these mystery blasts and no buildings, trees, or rock
formations have ever been affected."
- Observers have stated that one of the weirdest aspects
of the "Moodus noises" is that it seems impossible to determine
their direction. Residents at varying distances from the village invariably
report the noises as having occurred near them. A local hunter testified
that he distinctly heard an explosion sounding above him, and not from
beneath his feet. Other inhabitants argue that if the noises were due to
some form of earthquake, then tottering buildings or other damage logically
would have occurred during at least one of the blasts.
- In the summer of 1959, a violent shock, accompanied by
two loud explosions, was reported in an area from one hundred miles northeast
of Amarillo, Texas, to Roswell, New Mexico, two hundred miles to the southeast.
In the town of Pampa, fifty-five miles northeast of Amarillo, the wall
of a downtown building was cracked by the blasts.
- Investigators found that seismograph stations said the
shock could not have been caused by an earth tremor, Further inquiry
determined that no supersonic flights had been scheduled over the area
at the time of the mysterious explosions.
- Unexplained blasts in the sky over the San Francisco
area in a three-day period during that same summer knocked dishes from
their shelves and cracked the plaster on innumerable household walls. Windows
were shattered over a thirty-five-mile area; and the unidentified explosions
were also held responsible for opening the door to a bank vault, triggering
fire alarms, and setting off a warehouse sprinkling system.
- Within a few days of mystery blasts in Texas, New Mexico,
and California, two unexplained explosions rocked Henderson, North Carolina.
Authorities there offered an official theory that some unnamed parties
had suspended explosives from trees.
- Army and Navy spokesmen denied that they were the "unnamed
parties" who had set loose floating blobs of strange, exploding plastic
material along southern California beaches in 1968.
- On April 16, 1968, seventeen-year-old Louis Duenweg and
three friends discovered strange, whitish blobs bobbing at the water's
edge along Huntington Beach. Duenweg broke one of the things open, then
stopped to wash off sand particles in order to better examine the unfamiliar
pinkish substance within the plastic-like shell. There was a sudden hissing
noise; and before the teenager could run, the blob exploded, temporarily
blinding him and burning his face.
- About a week later, another young man scooped a similar
object out of the sea along Seal Beach. He cracked it open, became disinterested
in his find, tossed it over his shoulder. A resultant blast knocked him
to the beach and made a small crater in the sand.
- Quite naturally, surfers, fishermen, and coastal residents
become a bit uptight when mysterious, unidentified explosive globs are
found floating off their beaches. Military spokesmen insisted that they
were not in anyway responsible for the blasting blobs. The Los Angeles
County Crime Laboratory was said to have fished a number of blobs out of
the ocean for careful analysis, but it seems that no official report was
ever released which designated the explosive plastic's place of origin.
- Concerned citizens who protest that an unidentified someone seems
to be fouling up our atmosphere with mysterious explosions and increasing
the existing hazards of our surface by setting adrift exploding blobs are
laughed off by the authorities as alarmists. However, those who make a
serious study of phenomena associated with UFO sightings are quick to point
out that such mysterious blasts and inexplicable skyfalls date back to
man's prehistory. Unfortunately, an uninformed and an entrenched science
disregards such documentation as pure, unadulterated kookery. But neither,
it seems, do the skeptics offer explanations that are any more acceptable
to the individuals who have endured mystery blasts and such phenomena as
glowing, and sometimes fatal, rain.
- On the Wednesday before Christmas, 1965, it rained in
Buckeye, Arizona. According to old-timers and the weather bureau, rain
during the holiday season is unusual enough, but this rain left glowing
spots that varied from a quarter of an inch to two inches in diameter.
- Buckeye Civil Defense Director George Hamner checked
the spots with his geiger counter, and was relieved to find that they registered
no harmful radioactivity.
- Jerry Benson, a high school biology teacher, told reporters:
"At first they looked like aluminum, but taking a real close look
at them, they appeared to have a pale green glow. The first time I walked
across my backyard, I didn't see anything, but the more I looked, the more
spots I saw.
- "I don't believe that the rain activated spots of
phosphorus in the soil," Benson went on. "An earthworm that got
covered with the stuff turned into a glowworm."
- It is better to glow than to burn. Later in 1961, a rain
fell near Huixtla in Chiapas State, Mexico, that, according to United Press
International, killed several children. When the deadly liquid touched
human skin, it produced blisters that later became dark stains that resembled
hot oil burns.
- On the night of Saturday, August 18, 1962, many San Franciscans
thought that an airborne armada of enemy bombers was poisoning the skies
above their city. Between 10:00 and 10:30 P.M. a mysterious rumbling noise
that sounded like the flight of heavy super-bombers came from somewhere
above San Francisco. Navy spokesmen from Alameda Naval Air Station denied
running any engines after 10:00 P.M. A theory that atmospheric conditions
could have been "just right" to magnify thunderclaps fell sour
when authorities were reminded that the evening of August 18th was clear,
with virtually no wind.
- Nor was there any wind on· U.S. Route 75 between
Madisonville and Centerville, Texas, on April 19, 1963, when Louis A. Johnson
of Houston was returning from a trip to Fort Worth--but that did not prevent
"something" from lifting his automobile into the air, turning
it completely around, and setting it back down on the highway, traveling
the opposite direction from which he had come.
- Johnson, a Marine Corps veteran of World War II, said
that his unexpected and unexplainable ride was more exciting then anything
he had experienced in two invasions.
- "I can't even describe the sensation," he was
quoted as saying. "When I realized what had happened, and that I'd
come down partly on the shoulder of the road, I put the car into lower
gear and eased to a stop. I didn't think the car had been hurt any, but
when I got to Houston, I stopped at a service station and they found that
the oil pump wasn't working too well."
- Several eye-witnesses saw Johnson's automobile suddenly
sprout wings, and in an attempt to fit what they had seen into some form
of recognizable reality, most of them believed that a tornado had swooped
down and momentarily hoisted him aloft. There was no tornado, of course,
and there are probably no tornadoes that would set an automobile
back down on the highway without damage to either car or occupant.
- Yet something did lift Johnson's automobile into the
air. Could it have been the same "something" that is responsible
for the mystery blasts? Is it possible that some aircraft not visible to
the human eye is soaring around breaking the sound barrier with horrendous
sound booms and occasionally reaching down to pluck up an automobile...or
a garage...or a roof?
- There was just a slight breeze in the air in Albany,
New York, on April 10, 1964, when Teddy Bix, who was in his yard raking
leaves, saw the garage at 13 O'Connell Street leave its foundation. According
to the Albany Times-Union, the garage shot up about fifteen feet,
turned twice, banked slightly, then headed due east before losing altitude,
skimming over a snow fence, and crash-landing in complete ruin more than
fifty feet from its take-off point.
- When William F. Rider, who lived downstairs at the O'Connell
Street address, came home from work, he nearly drove his car into the garage
that was no longer there. Michael Keaveny, the owner of the property, told
investigators that the garage was fifteen to twenty years old, braced with
interior beams, and had withstood some "terrific wind storms"
without showing any ill effects.
- The Albany Weather Bureau passed over the evidence that
there was only a slight breeze at the time the garage had left its launching
pad and decreed that a "freak gust" had created a vacuum that
had raised the building.
- The explanation does not sound too bad until one stops
to reason that a vacuum, with stronger pressures on the outside, would
be more likely to hold the garage in place, rather than hoist it up through
- A good portion of the roof of a building at 1503 Shenandoah
St. in Hollywood, California, was ripped away and scattered in pieces up
to 280 feet away. Mrs. Bertha Fink was left lying in pouring spring rain;
Mrs. Rachael Benveniste was tossed out of her bed; and Mrs. Sarah Eisenberg
found her ceiling cracked and leaking.
- Authorities attempted to classify the mystery force that
struck that Hollywood roof in spring of 1963 as a sonic boom, a gas explosion,
or a small tornado. Upon investigation, however, gas company officials
ruled out their utility as the culprit, the weather bureau denied the existence
of a tornado striking Hollywood on that evening, and everyone wondered
if a sonic boom were really capable of ripping away a five hundred pound
hunk of roof.
- San Francisco seems to have more than its share of mystery
blasts. In May of 1961, the Rock Solaneo and Contra Costa districts were
shaken with undetermined explosions for a period of two weeks. The ground
shook, windows rattled and cracked, and pictures fell, as the entire area
was rocked by blasts, explosions, and shocks.
- The San Francisco Examiner stated that its
reporters had checked "... military facilities in the area, quarries,
contractors, city and county officials, every commercial operation which
uses explosives ... " and found them all as mystified as anyone else .
- According to the Examiner the mystery blasts
usually began around 9:00 A.M. and sometimes as many as a dozen would shake
the area in a single day. The mysterious explosions were heard in all parts
of Vallejo and across Carquine Strait in Contra Costa County.
- On June 15th, a blast of undetermined origin occurred
which separated the causeway connecting. Mare Island with the mainland.
This mystery blast took place at 3:00 P.M. and rattled several buildings.
Day shift workers at Mare Island were delayed on their way home while a
crack several inches wide was filled.
- Investigating Naval and shipyard personnel considered
clue after clue to the mystery explosion, and thoroughly ran down a hint
of sabotage and the accusation that an Air Force practice bomb might have
gone astray. Sabotage was eliminated as a cause, and Air Force officers
at the Fourth Air Force and at Hamilton Field countered the veiled accusation
levied at them with an indignant denial. As far as the public has ever
been informed, investigators were unable to discover a single acceptable
explanation for the mystery blast at Mare Island.
- At 10:15 A.M., April 2, 1957, a tremendous blast thundered
through six counties in northern New Jersey and was heard in Philadelphia.
The explosion blew out windows, cracked sidewalks and swimming pools, sent
alarmed housewives out into the streets, and shook the State House in Trenton.
- Seismographs at Columbia University stated that no earthquakes
showed on their recorder.
- Meredith Johnson, New Jersey State Geologist, pointed
out that Trenton does not lie on any major fault which could be responsible
for a quake.
- Spokesmen at McGuire Air Force Base denied that any of
its F-660's had been fiying over New Jersey that morning and explained
that their pilots were under strict orders to fly at least thirty miles
out to sea before attempting to break the sound barrier. In addition to
McGuire's denial of responsibility for any sonic boom, each of the six
airfields in the New Jersey-Pennsylvania-New York area which base jet aircraft
stated that they had no jet planes aloft at the time of the mystery blast.
- Once again, after exhaustive investigation, officials
could find no culprits on whom to place the responsibility of a massive
explosion of undetermined origin. All they were left with was the undeniable
physical evidence of shattered windows, cracked walls, damaged sidewalks,
mined swimming pools, and sprung doorways that an unidentified someone
or something had detonated in a blast of heroic proportions.
- A similar pattern of physical damage and supervolume
noise minus an apparent cause and a responsible party occurred on the night
of November 13, 1958, in Dade County, Florida. Two powerful blasts at 6:20
and 6:27 P.M. shook houses, cracked plaster, shattered windows, and
sent dishes rattling out of cupboards. The explosions were heard from Homestead
to Hollywood, a distance of forty-five miles, and the sirens on police
cars, ambulances, and fire trucks went screaming in all directions.
- The authorities soon discovered that Florida had not
been invaded--at least not by a visible antagonist--but they never discovered
what had caused the two terrific mystery explosions. No missiles had been
fired over Cape Kennedy (then Cape Canaveral), and both Miami Air Traffic
Control Center and Miami International Control Tower confirmed that no
jet planes, commercial or military, had been over South Florida at the
time of the thunderous blasts.
- On April 8, 1971, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the home
of Mr. and Mrs. M.A. Woodworth of 10819 122nd St. exploded with such violence
that neighbors were knocked off their sofas and beds, and lawns were covered
with debris within a three hundred yard radius.
- Fortunately, no member of the Woodworth family was injured,
as they were vacationing in Saskatchewan at the time. Mrs. Woodworth's
sister, who lives in the basement of the home, had luckily chosen that
evening to visit friends.
- Police and fire officials investigated, but they were
unable to determine the cause of the blast. A very eerie clue to the mystery
blast might, however, have been glimpsed by a Woodworth neighbor, Miss
Anna Wojno, who happened to be watching her brother parking his car in
the driveway next to the house when it exploded.
- "The kitchen window blew in from the force of the
explosion," she said. "A picture of a Halloween witch, a cutout,
came flying through, sitting on her broomstick. It wasn't burnt or anything."