Who Forted? Magazine

Mystery Booms Show Up in Salem Community, Captured on Video

A few days back we reported that an Oklahoma town was being rattled by a series of  ”mystery booms”. Well, at least they’re not alone. It seems that Salem, Massachusetts has been dealing with some unexplained explosions of their own.

According to the police blotter, the Salem booms were first heard back on the 18th of November. They dispatched officers to the vicinity they were reported, but came up empty handed. One witness, Jared Robinson, proved he was from Massachusetts by describing the 4 to 5 explosions as “wicked loud”.  Another witness posted this report on the Salem Patch website:

At 12.15 am I heard exactly 5 explosions, all the way from up Tremont st . My son ran down stairs asking if I know what it was ??? last week the same kind of explosions 3 to be exact on the weekend, were hear from Tremont in Salem to Aborn st in Peabody and had Peabody police and Salem looking for the source. These explosions were one week apart, they were as loud as a transformer blowing out but to have 3 blow in one night, then 5 blow out “one right after the other” on Sunday night Nov. 18th, yet there were not reports in either case of power outages?? It just don’t make any sense at all and really needs some kind of investigating.

Police and local news speculated the booms might be related to fireworks, but those who had heard the mysterious noises for themselves balked at the idea. “Really loud. Not fireworks at all,” Johnson commented. Others linked the booms to UFO sightings (of course), witchcraft (this is Salem, after all), and even men with canons (the elusive “canon man” is becoming a trend of it’s own).

The unexplained booms were again reported to 911 just last week, with one caller mentioning that the dispatcher didn’t even believe her story until other calls began pouring in.

With the loud explosion like sound with a quick flash behind it, it sounded like and looked similar to a Flash Bang Granade. A friend of mine in Marblehead said he heard and felt something around that time. Whatever it was it seemed to have waken alot of residence (sic)! Talking to the Salem Police Dispatcher on the phone she didnt seem to of believed (sic) me until more people started to call in.

This time though, one thoughtful member of the community did everyone a favor: he checked his security system and posted the following video (Chrome users may have trouble viewing):

As you can see, the “mystery boom” is very bright, very loud, and very real.

In the case of the Oklahoma booms, our favorite skeptic Sharon Hill posited over at Doubtful News that the noise might have something to do a local earthquake, shattering my theory of “the canon man”. So naturally, I decided to peek into the latest reported earthquakes in the area. The only thing I could come up with was a quake in Maine back in October. It was felt in Massachusetts  and might account for the first set of booms in November, but I’m coming up empty handed for anything more recent. Not to mention that we have to account for the flashes of light captures as well. Might be a job for those with a bit more time for internet digging than myself. Anyone up to the challenge?

Until then, I’m still saying it’s the canon man.

UPDATE (1/9/12): More Mystery Booms reported last night in Utah and California. 

Greg Newkirk

Greg Newkirk

Senior Editor at Who Forted
Documentary film-maker, professional monster chaser, and mystery monger, Greg is the senior editor for Who Forted? 'Zine. When he's not occupied by writing about the wide world of the weird, he's busy directing and editing documentary films like The Bigfoot Hunter: Still Searching or writing about offbeat travel for Roadtrippers. He's currently in production on his new project: an original documentary web series titled Planet Weird. He currently lives in Cincinnati.
Greg Newkirk
Greg Newkirk

27 Comments

  1. Lauren

    01/08/2013 at 10:55 PM

    These loud booms have caused quite a stir in Evansville, Indiana as well on the nights of January 7th and 8th. People claim they have heard several loud explosion like sounds that have actually rattled their homes. Police and fire departments have been dispatched and had nothing to report. It would be interesting to know the cause of these.

    • Greg Newkirk

      01/08/2013 at 11:02 PM

      Very interesting indeed! So that makes Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and now Indiana with the mystery booms.. anyone else?

      • JAL

        01/09/2013 at 12:05 AM

        I am shocked at the video & sound. I live in Miami, Fl and on the morning of January 6, 2013 at approximately 2:45 am I went out to my backyard terrace to listen to the rain. After a few minutes of listening I saw at the periphery of my vision, ie, I had my back turned, I saw 2 bright blue flashes. I immediately turned and heard a crackling boom. I thought it was a transformer going out but from I can tell my neighborhood did suffer an outage. I am intrigued now.

        • Cooch

          01/09/2013 at 12:25 AM

          Ah, another master of the Arcane Art of Sarcasm. I suppose this is the part where we sass each other to death?

          Clearly, it wasn’t raining when the video was taken, and I’m preeeeetty sure that any of the local news agencies would have made note that these strange sounds everyone has been hearing were simply thunder. But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

          • JAL

            01/09/2013 at 10:40 PM

            Sarcasm was not my intent. I’ve lived in my current home for over 8 years and have seen transformers blow in my neighborhood. What I experienced was out of the ordinary and something I never experienced before. When it happened I resorted to my default “it’s explainable” mode & put it to rest in my mind. Watching the video really blew me away as it was identical to what I experienced. What caused it I don’t know, but I’d like to find out.. Rest assured that I don’t engage in such musings over thunder and lightening.

      • Dwight C.

        01/09/2013 at 4:26 PM

        They might be caused by small meteorites exploding in the upper atmosphere. They would light up the sky and give off a pretty good boom. Check with your local astronomy association or club and see if they might have heard anything.

        • JAL

          01/09/2013 at 10:42 PM

          Will do. Your idea of what caused it is logical.

      • Dawn Spaulding

        07/09/2013 at 11:43 AM

        Yes! In Northwest Michigan, I have heard 4 total. I first heard about a loud explosion in a neighboring town from the newspaper. Then about 3 weeks later during the afternoon I heard 3 loud explosion in a row. Then a month later, just a few weeks ago their was a bright flash of light followed by the loudest boom noise I’ve ever heard. There has never been any explanation. The newspaper was asking if anyone knew anything about the explosions, so far no one why they are occurring.

  2. Jovany

    01/09/2013 at 2:18 AM

    It happened around 9:00 PM in Salt Lake City, Utah tonight 01-07-13. Its all over the local Fox news..My buddy lives in California and he says he heard a similar loud boom around 9:30.tonight as well. So weird…

    • Wyatt

      01/09/2013 at 8:37 AM

      I also heard the booms here in SLC, UT last night. I’ve also heard that people as far as Rock Springs felt/heard it. It’s so weird.

      • Greg Newkirk

        01/09/2013 at 11:36 AM

        The plot thickens! May have to do a bit more digging on this..

  3. Carole Van Weede

    01/09/2013 at 2:59 AM

    Looked and sounded like thunder and lightening to me. Nothing unusual.

    • R. Allen

      01/09/2013 at 5:26 AM

      Right. And I suppose you also find “nothing unusual” in large numbers of the local population calling 911 to report these noises? Because as far as I know, people do not usually call emergency services because of thunder and lightning. Police and firefighters are not generally dispatched to investigate thunder and lightning either.

      In other words…people know what thunder and lightning is, they know what it sounds like, they’ve heard it many times throughout their lives, and they are not likely to all suddenly and spontaneously lose the ability to tell if what they heard and saw was just thunder and lightning.
      So I think, at the very least, it is safe to assume that even if this was thunder and lightning, there was nothing “usual” about it.

      What I find _unusual_ is your offhanded, callous insult to the integrity and intelligence of hundreds of people you know nothing about.

      • Mark O'Hara

        01/09/2013 at 8:47 AM

        What’s unusual is your sensitivity to Carol’s simple statement of opinion. You might want to lighten up on the caffeine R. Also, there is nothing in the article about “large numbers” calling 911, much less “hundreds of people.”

        • Lenny Millie

          01/09/2013 at 7:19 PM

          We had the same thing happen in Utah. The local news is claiming it was military maneuvers in the desert. They also had the same thing happen in North Hollywood, CA. Google it. Yikes, what is this, a polar shift?

          • katie p.

            01/10/2013 at 1:50 PM

            We had the same thing happen in Owensboro ky/Evansville Indiana. This was not thunder and lightning. If you look it up online, that same night, it happened in multiple different states from north carolina to california and many places in between. For there to be several states reporting these “booms”, it has to raise some speculation as to what is causing them. It was waking people from their sleep and ratteling their homes. Now I have to admit that i have experienced thunder and lightening that has cause that, however, like it was mentioned above, I’m 100% positive that hundreds of adults all of a sudden forgot what thunder was and ended up calling law enforcement in multiple states reporting the same problem…..I have no explination for them.

  4. annette

    01/09/2013 at 5:20 AM

    Right before the boom there’s a flash, since it wasn’t raining it was most likely a meteor…an average of 9000 whizz by the planet on a daily basis. source: SusanRennison.com

  5. Lauren

    01/09/2013 at 6:55 AM

    http://m.14news.com/autojuice?targetUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.14news.com%2fstory%2f20537321%2fdid-you-hear-the-booms

    Here is a link to our News station’s story on the booms. I copied and pasted the link from my phone so I hope the link works, if not just google “14 News Did you hear the booms?”

    • Greg Newkirk

      01/09/2013 at 11:37 AM

      This is awesome! Thanks for coming by to share that with us, Lauren!

  6. S. Hill

    01/09/2013 at 7:09 AM

    This Salem video is very different than earthquake booms. That is an explosion of some sort.

    Here is a collection of reported booms. http://doubtfulnews.com/?s=booms In December there was also a rash of booms but there were also military training exercises which may have caused sonic booms. Add to that holiday festivities and you have a lot of potential sources for unexpected noises. I’ll be talking about this tonight on VirtualSkeptics.com webcast.

  7. Pingback: Mystery Booms Show Up in Salem Community, Captured on Video « Exothings

  8. Pingback: I Think It’s Aliens | ew.rewd

  9. Mike B.

    01/10/2013 at 7:59 PM

    A Google keyword search that might yeild a possible answer:

    mystery booms advanced military weapon atto

    Click and read the first link. Be sure to click a few of the links in the text, especially the last one. See if that doesn’t fit in with what’s being reported.

  10. Brian Parsons

    01/11/2013 at 11:36 AM

    From the video I can tell that whatever it was is low in the sky based on the long shadows and is more than likely not lightning since it is just a quick flash (not to mention the weather data backs that up). A large firework shot off unprofessionally would generate a louder than used to sound, but to a small neighborhood. This quick flash and boom was more than likely a meteorite. The earlier sounds and this individual are probably not linked.

  11. Cherie

    01/28/2013 at 11:39 AM

    I thought the sound was like a rifle being fired. The flash… is it related to the sound or are we assuming that it is related to the sound?
    If it is, approximately how far would the incident have been from the camera, judging by the speed of sound? ‘One-one thousand, two-one thousand, etc.’ just won’t work here; it would seem to be less than a mile if so.
    BTW, haven’t had any unexplained loud booms around here (near the Wisconsin southern border). Yet…? There’s always plenty of rifle noise, though.

  12. Derek Barr

    02/01/2013 at 7:41 AM

    Thanks for calling me a thoughtful member of the community ;)

  13. Jillian

    03/07/2013 at 10:45 AM

    I’ve lived in Salem for the past 2 years, right by Salem State University. I’ve heard several “booms” since moving in, I can’t recall exactly when they happened. One time I did want to call the police b/c I wasn’t sure if it was a gunshot or not. I’ve been assuming that it has been fireworks being set off by the college students, but after reading this, now I’m not sure and next time I hear one I will definitely record the time and date of the occurrence!

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