Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Guns of Seneca

Have you ever woken from a light sleep just after actually falling asleep thinking that you’ve heard an explosion or a gunshot? I’ve had it happen several times. Since the advent of Facebook, I’ve immediately checked their pages to see if anyone else had heard the same strangeness that I did. Generally, several other people have, but the authorities come up with nothing. No, we’re not all crazy. There is a phenomenon that can explain it all. Well, maybe it can. There are no real answers, just some theories.  

According to the United State Geological Survey (USGS), they are called “earthquake booms” or “skyquakes.” No one can really explain them. Although they can be heard worldwide, the strange, phantom explosions seem to be predominantly observed in the Northeastern United States and the East Coast. Some scientists believe that it could be the result of small earthquakes, while others believe it could be supersonic jets or UFOs.

Right off the bat we can exclude the idea of jets. These booms have been reported as far back as 1824 in the Adriatic Islands, and back to the 1850s around the area of Seneca Lake in the Fingerlakes region of New York. In fact, the sound is so prominent in that area that one of the names of these mysterious explosions is the “Guns of Seneca.” James Fenimore Cooper even wrote about them. As a skeptic, you can probably guess where I stand on UFOs. No, these sounds are a mystery of all their own.

There have been studies conducted as early as 1922 about the source of the sounds. After World War II, with the advent of equipment that could study the upper atmosphere, explorations were made that could possibly shed light on the phenomenon. Even after nearly a century of scrutiny, we are no closer to the solution.

Seneca Lake
What does the USGS believe that the sounds CAN’T be? Well, they can’t be tidal waves, landslides, pockets of gas or air escaping the earth, methane exploding from the seafloor, or new faults forming. At one time, it was believed that the sounds originated from small earthquakes that could not be felt. This was also ruled out by the USGS and other scientists.

A common belief has been meteors exploding in the upper atmosphere. This theory has been shot down by the fact that any meteor large enough to cause such a ruckus would not only be rare, but would also be visible. Considering the Seneca Guns are mostly heard at night, a meteor would be highly visible.

Conspiracy theorists hypothesize that top-secret governmental experiments are the cause. In my opinion, this idea can be readily thrown out as a cause. Considering the length of time these sounds have been observed, there is no way the government can take the blame. Could it be more prominent because of technological advances in the 20th century? Sure, but there has not been any difference in the sounds since they were first heard. This alone should discount the thought of secret programs.

An interesting story comes from the native people of the affected areas. Some believe that ancient ancestors of the people who had lands usurped by the European invaders are firing guns to irritate the foreigners in order to make them abandoned the traditional tribal lands. Honestly, I like this explanation the best even though there is no basis in reality. It’s a fun theory.

What are the Guns of Seneca, or the Barisal Guns, or these mystery booms? We may never know. The Earth is a strange and mysterious place. We can’t even pretend to know all the secrets that it holds. These anomalous sounds are just one of those secrets. So, next time you hear an explosion or gunshot at night, and authorities can find nothing, maybe it’s one of these anomalies. Or maybe it’s Mother Earth that she has a lot more to teach us than we think.

Craig Bacon heard the Guns of Seneca three times in the last week. No, they were not fireworks.