Eerie Metallic Scraping Sounds Heard from Michigan to Alaska
© 2014 by Linda Moulton Howe
— “If you had a snowplow going down a dry street and you had this loud
sound of scraping metal against concrete, almost like a squealing as it’s scraping.”
- Pattie, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
— “All of a sudden I heard an extremely loud screeching noise.
It sounded like a 10,000-gallon steel drum being drug over a bed or rocks.”
- Gordon, Construction, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
June 26, 2014 - Since the phenomenon of strange sounds around the world began in early 2011, perhaps the oddest is the metallic scraping or trumpet sounds. Recently on June 18, 2014, an administrative assistant in the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor arrived home from work in the early afternoon before a thunderstorm. She has asked me to call her Pattie. Upstairs her partner was working and across the street a neighbor was home. All three heard a loud, metallic scraping sound seeming to come from the sky that lasted for several seconds. Pattie compares the mysterious sound to “a snowplow going down a dry street ... almost like a squealing as it's scraping.”
Ann Arbor is only a few miles west of Detroit, Michigan, where a bizarre buzzing
sound has been reported by hundreds of residents as persisting on and off since around 2009,
without authorities being able to locate precisely its source or to stop it. See: 100411Earthfiles
“What Are Strange ‘Hums’' That Keep People Awake?"
Pattie, 54, Staff Administrator, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan: “I was home from work around 1 PM Eastern and I was watching the World Cup in the afternoon and we got a weather warning on the television that there would be strong thunderstorms and hail moving through the Ann Arbor area around 4:15 PM.
I had about twenty minutes before that time, so I went out on the patio, put away the lawn chairs, picked up things on the porch — just looked for loose things and put one of the cars in the garage just in case there was damaging hail.
It was about 4:20 PM, I’m really a storm watcher. I love to watch a storm roll in. I’ve done that since I was a kid, so I was standing on the side porch, which is just a covered porch. It has one of those corrugated plastic roofs on it and it faces south. The storm was coming in. It was all rain. No thunder. No lightning. It started coming down really, really hard.
I called inside to my partner, Jean, and told her to close the upstairs windows on the west side of the house because it was really raining quite hard. And I’m standing on the porch and all of a sudden there was this really loud, like an oppressive sound. I literally cringed. It was almost on the threshold of pain to your ears and it sounded like metal!
It just sounded like scraping and it lasted probably about ten seconds and I thought, ‘What is my neighbor doing?’ I stepped off the porch and looked and he’s not home. It was such an eerie noise, it kind of shook me up.
So, I came in the house and yelled at Jean. She was upstairs, ‘Did you hear that?’ She’s like, ‘What the heck was that?’
I came back downstairs, went back on the porch and maybe it had been a couple of minutes and the sound came again. This time, because I often count between the lightning and the thunder, I counted and it was 15 seconds that this sound — I swear, it was coming from the sky!
It was so loud that even the sound of the rain on the roof, it like blanked it out and kind of gave me chills because it was just such an odd sound. I thought, ‘I’ve got to grab a recorder, so I ran in the house and grabbed my iPad and went back out on the porch and turned on the GarageBand app just to see if I could catch something. I stayed out there another 20 minutes and by this point, the thunder and lightning were really moving through and I didn’t hear it again. It was the oddest thing. It really was inexplicable!
WHY DO YOU FEEL SOMETHING OMINOUS?
Well, I think the logical mind is always trying to figure out what is happening. I know the sounds of my neighborhood. And I know the sounds of a thunderstorm and this fit in no category of things that I have heard. And the fact that it really felt like it was above me in the sky. It made no sense. Could not have been a plane, could not have been some kind of industry — we don’t have that right in this area. So it was just one of those things that felt like it didn't fit.
AS YOU DESCRIBE THIS TO ME RIGHT NOW ONLY A DAY AFTER YOU HEARD THIS, WHAT COMES INTO YOUR MIND WHEN YOU THINK OF THIS DISTURBING YOU?
I don’t know. I find myself kind of looping it over in my mind of hearing it again and not being able to put my finger on anything logical.
COULD YOU GO BACK OVER IN DETAIL, DID IT SOUND LIKE A CHORD?
Well, I guess the description that I was sharing with someone earlier today — if you had a snowplow going down a dry street and you had this sound of scraping metal against concrete. It’s kind of rumbling, but at the same time it’s almost like a squealing as it’s scraping.
But the difference is that you would have to be on the truck or along side the truck because it was a prolonged sound at the same volume and it started and ended at the same volume for that extended period of time.
AND WAS LOUD ENOUGH TO DROWN OUT THE SOUND OF RAIN ON YOUR ROOF?
DID YOUR PARTNER UPSTAIRS FILL IN WHAT SHE HEARD HERSELF?
She said the same thing — that it was so loud it kind of scared her because she thought maybe something had happened downstairs, but she said it sounded like metal.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND OUT ABOUT ANYBODY ELSE HEARING THIS?
Well, I did email one of my neighbors, who I know was home at the time. She lives across the street and two houses down, so kind of catty corner. I can see her house from mine. I just said, ‘Did you hear anything during the storm around 4:15 PM?’ And she wrote back and said, ‘I did hear something during the storm and looked out the front to see what it was, but I did not see anything and then it was gone.’ Then she asked me if I had any ideas of what it could have been. We haven't talked since then, but it was helpful to know — well, first of all that Jean heard it upstairs, so I wasn't crazy. Then somebody else in the neighborhood heard it. So, it was something real! I think there are times when you question yourself later if what you heard actually happened.
RIGHT, AND THREE WITNESSES AT THE SAME TIME OF THIS METALLIC SOUND IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IN SO MANY OF THESE INSTANCES IT HAS BEEN SO PECULIAR THAT THE SOUND — WHETHER IT’S COMING FROM ABOVE IN THE AIR OR PEOPLE HAVE FELT SOMETHING FROM THE GROUND BELOW AND IT HAS BEEN A METALLIC QUALITY — OFTEN IT HAS SEEMED TO BE FOCUSED ON ONLY A HOUSE. OFTEN PEOPLE FEEL THAT IT IS COMING FROM ABOVE, BUT YOU DIDN'T SEE ANYTHING, RIGHT?
No, in fact I was watching for lightning. So I was eyes towards the sky to actually look for lightning so I could count for the thunder coming in and I didn’t see anything in the sky.
Reporting Strange Sounds
I think the other thing I would like to say is that when it happened, I felt like, ‘My gosh, I should tell someone. I need to report this.’ Then I was like, ‘Who do you tell?’ You don’t call the police. I just started looking up like 'weird sounds in the sky' on the internet. That’s actually how I ended up on your website, Earthfiles.com, because I had gone through a couple of different websites where people were either talking about strange sounds or trumpets or something of that nature and yours was the first I got to where I could actually contact someone and I just felt like I have an obligation to report something strange.”
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska
Another person who recently shared his highly strange encounter with both the loud screeching metallic sound and another almost electronic synthesizer knocking sound is Gordon from the remote southwestern Alaska Prince of Wales Island. Gordon, now 54-years-old, was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. But in 1982, he moved with his wife further northwest to the island. He has spent his life working as a carpenter and hunter and knows all the construction and wilderness sounds of Alaska's Prince of Wales Island. This is the fourth largest U. S. island where only 6,000 people live.
Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, is the fourth largest U. S. island (135 miles long
by 45 miles wide), but has only a small population of 6,000.
Three years ago in mid-November 2011, the same year that the mysterious phenomenon of strange sounds began making news around the world, Gordon and his hunting dog had their own encounter with baffling — even scary — sounds on a mountain. The latitude longitude on his GPS was: 55.915 N 132.809 W
Google Earth aerial of the Prince of Wales Island mountain that Gordon and his dog, Keetuk,
were hiking in mid-November 2011, when the strange metallic sound followed
by the hollow, knocking sounds occurred twice, scaring Keetuk.
Gordon, 54, construction carpenter, Fair Banks, Alaska: “All of a sudden I heard an extremely loud screeching noise. It sounded like a 10,000-gallon steel drum being drug over a bed or rocks. And it was coming from the valley below me and I was about at the 1,500-foot-level.
Excerpt of metallic sounds from 2012 Manitoba, Canada, YouTube picked
out by Gordon as having some similarity to the “extremely loud screeching”
metallic sounds he and his dog heard on Prince of Wales Island mountain.
For whole 1 minute 37 seconds of original YouTube 2012 Manitoba,
Canada Strange Sounds, see Websites below.
Then I heard this strange noise associated with it. It was like a real fast popping noise, staccato, a striking that was almost electronic.
OK, ELECTRONIC, AND THAT MEANS WHAT? THAT IT HAD A HOLLOW QUALITY?
It sounded like it had a hollow quality, yes.
CAN YOU GIVE THE RHYTHM OF IT?
Yeah, it went: Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! That fast, you know, and I'd never heard anything like it before in my life.
IS THIS RAPID KNOCKING SOUND GOING ON SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THE HUGE, METALLIC SCRAPING SOUND?
It didn't go on simultaneously. There was a loud scraping noise, metallic sound. Then that died away. Then the sharp striking noises, or clicking noises, started and then it went quiet. My dog was looking down over the hill and her hackles were up. She doesn't do that unless there was a bear around.
SO THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT THE SOUND THAT PUT YOUR DOG ON GUARD IN A THREATENED WAY?
Oh, very much so, yeah.
Gordon's dog, Keetuk, is the Alaskan Teddy Bear breed. In the native language, Keetuk
means “spring beauty.” Gordon has seen Keetuk fearlessly chase bear out of their yard,
but the strange, loud metallic sounds in mid-November 2011 on Prince of Wales Island,
followed by the rapid, hollow knocks scared her. Image © 2011 by Gordon.
OK, SO NOW YOU'VE HEARD HOW MANY SECONDS OF THE STRONG, METALLIC, GRATING SOUND AND HOW MANY SECONDS OF THE RAPID KNOCKING SOUND?
I'd say at least ten seconds of each, probably longer with the metal sound.
IT'S GONE COMPLETELY SILENT. WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR DOG DO?
It actually baffled me because I knew I was down in that valley earlier in the morning and I knew there was nothing down there that could have made that noise. It was just really strange. I didn't know what it was. I wanted to get off the mountain. So we headed straight down the mountain. Right before we got to the cliffs, the noise happened again and this time it was right above us on top of the mountain. And that's when I knew this is really weird! The dog was really acting panicky that time. It was the hitting sounds that was upsetting her, more so than the metallic sounds — almost electronic. Like CZHOO, CZHOO! Like a synthesizer would kind of make. It probably went on for five or ten seconds.
Believe me, Linda, I thought there was going to be a Bigfoot jumping out behind the tree. I really did! (laughs) I did not know what I was hearing at all. It was extremely foreign to me. I've been in thew woods all my life and never, ever heard anything like this!
It's a very remote area. There's no logging activity going on at all there anymore. It's 60 miles to the nearest grocery store.
WHAT DID YOUR DOG DO?
She turned looking up hill with her hackles raised. Then came right back behind me and heeled up. She doesn't fear very much.
BUT SHE WAS AFRAID OF THIS.
Yes, and she would even go after a bear. She's chased bear out of our yard before, so I know whatever it was freaked her out pretty hard.”
• 02/27/2014 — Eyewitnesses in California and Idaho Link Aerial Triangle to Trumpet and Metallic Sounds
• 05/29/2014 — More Strange Booms in Idaho and Wisconsin
• 04/25/2014 — Infrasound, Booms and Quakes
If any viewer has more firsthand information about the bizarre metallic scraping and knocking sounds, trumpet sounds, loud booms and bangs, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All requests for confidentiality are honored. Also see Websites below.