Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mysterious 'booms' continue in Monroe, Conecuh counties; cause unknown

(The following story was written by award-winning reporter and photographer, Josh Dewberry, and was published in the Dec. 1, 2011 edition of The Monroe Journal newspaper in Monroeville, Ala. It's reprinted here with his permission.)

For the second time in just over a week, folks from Frisco City to Excel to Monroeville and east toward Repton and Range have reported experiencing a window-rattling boom.

Around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, a loud boom was heard from Repton to Monroeville and as far south as Goodway and Wildfork.

Evergreen Courant Staff Writer Lee Peacock reported hearing the noise and feeling its concussive effects at his home near the Conecuh-Monroe County line, and posted hearing it to his page on the social networking site

He was flooded with comments from folks in Repton, Monroeville and Goodway all reporting hearing the noise, and even one person who lives near the intersection of Alabama Highway 41 and I-65 between Repton and Brewton.

A man who lives on Drewry Road also heard and felt the boom.

Peacock contacted both Pensacola NAS and Eglin Air Force Base to see if there were any military jets in the area at the time that could have produced a sonic boom, but officials at NAS said they shut down around 11 p.m. and had nothing flying at that time. Eglin officials did not return calls, Peacock said.

Several of those who commented on the post and others who have spoken to The Journal said the sound was different than a sonic boom and was more like an explosion.

There were at least two 911 calls placed reporting the noise on Nov. 18.

Then, Saturday at exactly 6 p.m., another loud noise shook homes from Monroeville to Excel and south of Frisco City. The first thought for many who commented on Facebook was thunder, as storms were predicted for Saturday night, but there were no storms within 100 miles of the county, and those were not producing lightning.

Other theories abound as to the causes, including seismic testing for oil and gas wells or even possibly meteorites impacting the ground. No evidence has been revealed to support either idea.

One other potential cause may be a homemade canon or explosive device. One person The Journal and The Courant spoke to said several years ago a man near Range built a Civil War re-enactment anvil canon and fired it near his home.

The boom and resulting concussion triggered seismic monitors and local, state and federal emergency responders all responded to 911 calls from neighbors, who reported the explosion rattling their homes, knocking items from shelves and shaking dust from ceiling fans and light fixtures.

Anyone with experience with dynamite knows just a few sticks can result in a sizable boom and a concussion pattern stretching for quite a distance.

There were apparently no 911 calls placed about Saturday's occurrence, and it was not as loud or rattling as the first.

Anyone with any idea as to what may have caused either loud noise can contact The Journal at 251-575-3282, by email at or on The Journal's Facebook fan page. They can contact The Courant at 578-1492 or by e-mailing

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