Friday, April 18, 2008

18 April 2008: Rumbles

The conspiracy theorists are out in force here in Kokomo.

Three nights ago, in nearby Logansport, a loud boom was heard. Police had reports from people seeing strange lights in the sky.

Two nights ago, right here in downtown Kokomo, our ceiling and windows were shaken at 10.30pm by a boom, the like of which I've only come across before while waiting at Tiverton station when a local fireworks factory blew up. The local newspaper, the Kokomo Tribune, reported an unexplained loud boom and a 'faint metallic smell reported in downtown Kokomo'. (I didn't smell anything, but then hayfever season is just getting underway here.) Again, locals (including a few fanatics on Jonathan's favoured news source 'Scan Kokomo') reported seeing lights hanging in the sky but despite wide, varied and lengthy through-the-night searches by local police and fire crews, no plane wreckage was found, and no aircraft were reported missing by either civilian or military sources. Most likely explanation, they said, a meteor: there's apparantly a minor meteor shower called the Lyrids at this time of year. Conspiracy theorists on 'Scan Kokomo' begged to differ: meteor lights don't hang in the sky, particularly *after* the loud boom.

Last night, around 5.30 in the morning, we were awoken by what sounded like the symptoms of a very strong wind: the window blinds, the windows themselves, the whole building in fact, all shaking, and the external emergency escape ladder banging wildly against its housing. No booms this time. Just rumbles. And then it stopped. A look outside: everything seemed normal. But three nights in a row? What was going on?

Answers emerged slowly: the big boom, the National Guard eventually admitted, was a sonic boom of the type Concorde used to make, caused by a training exercise involving F-16 fighters. Apparently they're not supposed to go super-sonic, certainly not after bed-time, but they did, and there's your boom. Reports seem to indicate that the Logansport phenomenon from Tuesday night was probably the same thing. So why didn't they say anything when the police and fire crews were out trawling the night for potential wreckage? Don't know, but they've promised it won't happen again.

As for last night, that wasn't an F-16 so much as a 5.2. In fact the US Geological Survey initially reported it as a 5.4 but later revised the estimate down a couple of notches. Biggest for 20 years in the midwest, so they say, and interestingly identical in magnitude to the one in the UK earlier in the year. Apparently there was a mild aftershock at about 11.15 this morning but I was hungry at the time so probably dismissed it at a stomach growl, and didn't pay any attention.

Dave provides this link to a two-minute clip of a local on-air station if you'd like to experience the fun for yourself.

Or just sit back, chew it over, and see what you think. Aircraft training? Earthquakes? And all this while the Pope is in the USA?

Conspiracy theorists all over Howard County are eagerly awaiting nightfall to see what happens next. And the sun is setting...

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