by Brandon Turbeville
March 22, 2013
Back in October, I wrote an article
Reports of Mysterious Booms and Strange Lights Over South Carolina,”
in which I described the sounds and vibrations heard and felt all
across the Pee Dee region of South Carolina with some witnesses even
describing strange lights in the sky at the time of the event.
These strange occurrences were eerily similar to those described by
individuals all across the state of Michigan like Bob Powell of
Is Viral, who was actually detained as a result of attempting to
investigate the nature of these sounds and vibrations.
Please see “Investigation
Continues Into Source of Strange Michigan Area ‘Explosions’ and
Radiation Spikes” for a further description of what took place
Similar noises and vibrations were also felt in New
Jersey around October, as I wrote in “New
Mysterious 'Booms' Reported in New Jersey.”
But while the incidents in Michigan and New Jersey were researched
from a distance, it just so happens that this writer was in the Pee
Dee region of South Carolina when the two “mysterious booms” in the
first article took place.
At the time, I described the
incidents as follows:
[The incidents] spann[ed] the entire
region and all the way into North Carolina.
On the evening of November 5, around
7:30-7:45 p.m., various law enforcement and
local news agencies were contacted by individuals living in
the Pee Dee region of South Carolina in reference to a loud
“boom” that was large enough to shake their houses.
The reports were numerous around Pamplico, Johnsonville, Marion,
Hemingway, Aynor, Nichols, Hannah, and Mullins. However, as
stated earlier, reports also came from as far away as Evergreen,
Marion County dispatchers alone
received more than 100 calls in ten minutes related to the
The US Geological Society has publicly stated that there was no
seismic activity in the region on these dates and emergency
confirmed that there had been no plane crash.
Very soon after the event, Johnsonville Police Chief, Ron
Douglas, claimed the “booms” were “from a handful of military
aircraft” that had broken the speed of sound.
However, this explanation, which was rapidly adopted by the
local media, does not hold water. For one thing, most of the
individuals I have spoken to (as well as myself) have heard jets
break the sound barrier before and both the sound and the impact
of the mysterious “booms” were much different than that of jets
breaking the sound barrier.
Secondly, if the jets were the cause of the sound and of the
heavy vibrational impact that shook so many houses, the jets
themselves would have had to be flying very low.
But, if the jets were flying low
enough for this type of effect to be achieved, witnesses would
have also been able to hear the jets.
This writer can personally attest to the intensity of the
“booms” as I, myself, was in the area at the time of the
incident. The sound, much like what Bob Powell described sounded
much more like artillery than any other comparable sound. There
was no lead up to the shaking, it was simply as if one was
experiencing the vibrations of an explosion.
The impact was so strong that one way to describe hearing and
feeling the impact from inside the house, it would be if one
could imagine a full grown adult climbing on top of the back of
a couch or recliner and leaping off, landing full force on the
living room floor. Much like this scenario, the impact was
sudden and short-lived.
The sound, however, was extremely similar to the firing of
artillery, much as Powell described it in Michigan.
The above incident occurred, as mentioned earlier, on November
5. However, one week prior, a similar, albeit weaker, explosion
was heard in the same locations. Reports were made to this
writer from both Marion and Mullins in terms of the noticeable
impacts and sounds of this separate explosion. Like the first,
the sound was similar to artillery, the impact was also distinct
but sudden and brief.
To my knowledge, there have been no mainstream local reports of
the earlier “explosion.” Also as in the second incident, I can
personally attest to the nature of the first.
After the initial curiosity surrounding
the incidents subsided, news coverage and local talk expectedly
subsided as well.
on January 6, 2013, South Carolina residents again began hearing
these booms and feeling the vibrations powerful enough to “rattle
windows.” This time, the location was not the Pee Dee region but in
the Red Bank area of Lexington County.
Interestingly enough, around the same
time period (between January 2- 6 2013), these “booms” were heard
and felt in other locations across the country including in Alaska,
Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Indiana.
The Pee Dee region was not to be overlooked, however, as on March 2,
more reports were published regarding booms and vibrations
powerful enough to shake houses.
As with the other instances of booms and
vibrations, there was no seismological activity in the area at the
However, since the first set of occurrences in the Pee Dee region,
two individuals have been paying special notice to the incidents of
the mysterious booms, detailing and recording the dates of their
occurrence as felt in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area.
In discussion with these individuals (who wish to remain anonymous),
it was reported to this writer that on February 27, 2013, at around
6:45 pm, there were three booms occurring within seconds of one
another. Some only felt one boom, others felt all three.
However, it was described as sounding
and feeling like,
“someone was dragging something
heavy across the floor, only it was coming from outside.”
Another boom was also reported on March
5, 2013, just two days after the boom reported by the local media.
Still another one was heard on March 9, 2013.
These booms are not necessarily strangers to South Carolina as a
2011 report from the Post and Courier reveals. It states,
A loud boom shook the coastal
Lowcountry Wednesday morning, felt from Mount Pleasant to West
Ashley. And once again, no one could say what it caused it.
Seismographs at the College of Charleston didn't pick up any
earthquake activity. The Charleston Air Force Base didn't report
any military aircraft creating sonic booms.
No commercial vessels responded to a U.S. Coast Guard message
asking for reports if it had been felt offshore.
The latest blast hit just before 10
"It was a pretty good shake, a
pretty loud boom," said Mark Reamer, who felt it in the Financial
Management Group office off Coleman Boulevard near
Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.
"I said it was probably one of
those big electricity pillars getting pummeled down." He
wondered only half-facetiously if it might have been a piece
satellite that fell out of orbit last week.
mirrors on the wall rattled," said Melinda Issacson, who
was working out at home on James Island.
Doors, windows and houses shook
in Mount Pleasant and on Sullivan's Island, according to
Twitter reports. A West Ashley tweeter said it sounded like
a gust of wind against the house.
About the same time, a large tree
fell across Hut Road on Johns Island and a nearby resident
reported an explosion. But a tweeter in North Charleston said
nothing was felt there.
The Post and Courier article,
Good Shake’ hits area but what was it?” does, however, provide
some interesting information when it states that the booms might
have come as a result of the "Seneca Guns," a so-far-unexplained
phenomenon felt along coasts around the world.”
The article speculates that yet another
series of booms in March 2011 were themselves the famed “Seneca
For those unaware of this phenomena, the
described by the USGS in the
The term “Seneca guns” is just a
name, not an explanation. It does not tell us anything about
what causes these noises and shakings. The name originated in a
short story that James Fennimore Cooper wrote during the 1800’s.
The name refers to booms that have
been heard on the shores of Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga in New
York State. The name has been applied to similar noises along
the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Similar booms are called Barisol guns in coastal India. These
phenomena have also occurred in three widely separated places
around the world.
That’s about all we know about the
Yet for all the inability to determine
the nature of the Seneca Guns, we do know that such sounds and
vibrations have been linked to earthquakes, with some of these booms
occurring during earthquakes with varying intensity, with others
occurring shortly before or after the earthquake actually takes
What might be particularly concerning to those living on the Eastern
seaboard is the fact that these exact kinds of sounds were heard
either before, during, or after the two of the biggest geological
events on the East Coast to have occurred in American history – The
1886 Charleston Earthquake and the 1811-1812 New Madrid Earthquake.
In regards to the Charleston earthquake, the USGS states,
“For several weeks after the
Charleston Earthquake (8/31/1886) there were many aftershocks
that were reportedly accompanied by 'loud detonations'."
Further quoting the original source of
Clarence E. Dutton’s 1889 report, “The Charleston Earthquake
of August 31, 1886,” interesting information is provided.
The report reads,
For several weeks following the
principal disturbance minor shocks continued to be felt at
Many of them would have been
considered very forcible and alarming and they not been greatly
disparaged by the convulsion of August 31. Almost all of them
were accompanied by loud detonations.
Mr. McGee thus describes several
which he experienced.
"I reached Summerville about 5
o'clock p.m. Detonations were heard at intervals averaging
perhaps half an hour.
From that time until 9:30 p.m.
occasional and very slight spasmodic tremors of an instant's
duration accompanied the detonation. I endeavored to
determine the direction from which the sounds came, but no
two individuals agreed. They seemed to me to come from the
They were much like, but
somewhat more muffled than peals of thunder at distance of
half a mile or more, or perhaps more like the discharge of a
blast in a mine or quarry at a little distance."
There are also accounts which link
“artillery-like” sounds occurring shortly before and during the New
Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812.
Click here to hear the sound of the Seneca Guns.
Whatever the mysterious booms and vibrations are, they are prompting
a great deal of speculation amongst anyone who has had occasion to
feel them. While “official” explanations are much less than
satisfactory, even if the incidents are, in fact, the famed Seneca
Guns (with all of their own questions attached), it would be
difficult to explain why the sudden upsurge in their appearance now.
If one were to speculate wildly, then one might wonder if they are
not perhaps the precursor to some
major geological event. In addition, one might also wonder
whether or not the frequency of their appearance might foretell the
potential time and intensity of such an event.
Regardless, as of the writing of this article, no satisfactory
explanations have been provided for the mysterious booms and
vibrations being heard all across South Carolina, the United States,
and, apparently, the world.
Until there are acceptable explanations,
it may be that we must concur with James
Fenimore Cooper whose own exposure to the Seneca Guns revealed
information than we have today.
The "Lake Gun" is a mystery. It is a
sound resembling the explosion of a heavy piece of artillery,
that can be accounted for by none of the known laws of nature.
The report is deep, hollow, distant,
and imposing. The lake seems to be speaking to the surrounding
hills, which send back the echoes of its voice in accurate
reply. No satisfactory theory has ever been broached to explain
these noises. Conjectures have been hazarded about chasms, and
the escape of compressed air by the sudden admission of water;
but all this is talking at random, and has probably no
foundation in truth.
The most that can be said is, that
such sounds are heard, though at long intervals, and that no one
as yet has succeeded in ascertaining their cause.
 Please note that many of the
original local reports have since disappeared from the internet.
Original postings are included as they are able to be found.