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Mysterious Sounds in Bucks County, PA

One of my favorite unexplained mysteries, from when I was a wee lad reading about such things in the library, is unexplained sounds. In fact, one of my very first “mysteries of the unexplained” encyclopedias had an entry devoted to the Barisal Guns phenomenon heard in 19th century Bangladesh, so named because they sounded like cannon fire. There was only one problem: no cannons were ever found to have been fired at the times that people heard the Barisal Guns. And with it being the 1800s and all, there was no way that these were sonic booms caused by aircraft, either. The most common theories were that these were either unusual earthquakes, or skyquakes, which sound really cool but as of yet, defy explanation. Put them in the preternatural, rather than supernatural, column. I myself even had some experiences with mystery sounds about two years ago, and even documented my experiences here on the blog. Of course there was a rational explanation for my experience (namely, a steam valve being released over in New Jersey). But this story from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a bit more foreboding. The descriptions of the explosion-like sounds are far more unsettling than just distant cannon fire.

Mysterious Sounds in Pennsylvania
Sonic booms? Or something more sinister?

RICHLAND TWP., Pa. (WPVI) — People who live in a normally quiet area of Upper Bucks County have been reporting hearing loud booms and feeling the ground shift early in the overnight hours.

“The ground shifting almost shaking “The buildings are shaking ceiling tiles are moving and windows are rattling,” said Richland Township Police Chief Richard Ficco.

Ficco describes some of the calls to his and other area departments have had over the last eight weeks.

“Definitely disconcerting. I would say unnerving to some people,” he said.

The sounds come overnight, from midnight to 5 a.m.

Some witnesses describe a kind of thud, like vehicles slamming together. Others said the noise reminds them of underground blasting.

“I’m hearing like a firework kind of like sound,” said Samantha Ritter of Milford Township. “I looked out the window thinking maybe neighbors setting off fireworks or something.”

But that was not the case.

Donna Weaver said she has heard an explosion loud enough to startle her dog several times.

“It was really loud,” said Weaver. “Just a big boom.”

In Richland Township the chief says two of his officers heard the sound, one first seeing a flash.

“There was a flash of light and maybe several seconds before he heard the sound, and then the other officer who was further away heard the sound later than he did,” he said. “They both thought it was coming from different directions.”

Complaints have come from multiple communities that are miles apart.

The State Police are investigating and have asked the ATF and FBI to assist in the investigation.

First impressions here are obviously that this might be some sort of earthquake or even a skyquake, as the Barisal Guns may have been. But the fact that these explosions are heard between a specific time of day is odd for a natural phenomenon. Why only between midnight and 5am? Also, these don’t seem like distant thunder, but something a little closer, and perhaps more sinister. I would suspect military aircraft conducting testing, but that’s not too subtle, even for our government. Also alarming are reports of a flash of light prior to the sound. This probably puts it into the geological category, as the phenomenon of earth lights, a sort of lighting that sometimes accompanies earthquakes, may explain it, but I don’t believe any earthquakes have been reported. So what could these sounds be?

  • Enjoy your posts very much…they are always very balanced. I’m really sorry though, I just have to tell you one tiny thing. You mention that the sounds began in ’17th century Bangladesh’, and mention shortly after that it was ‘the 1800s’.

    Century statements are always 1 century higher than the year statement. For example, the 17th century is actually the 1600’s. Just like we’re currently in the 21st century but it’s actually the 2000’s.

    Sorry to be picky. I just wanted to mention it because you are so careful in your statements and express yourself so well. Hope you don’t mind.

    By the way, thanks for talking about Leonard Nimoy’s ‘In Search Of’ . I’m old enough to remember the original airing. Yep, feeling old…

    Have you by any chance ever come across anything about the ‘Taos Hum’? That was quite the thing about 25 years ago, and I’ve never found out what it was.

    thanks for your time,


    • Hi Sandra, thanks for pointing out that typo! I definitely meant 19th Century, not 17th. I’ve been in to the Barisal Guns since I was a kid so I should have caught my mistake 😉

      I grew up on Nimoy’s In Search Of… so I feel a bit old too. But it’s still a great show 🙂

      I have heard about the Taos Hum, but I don’t know too much about it. Perhaps a future blog post?:)

      Thanks for being a faithful reader!!