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No. 73: Jan-Feb 1991

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Booms Along The Beach

Just because we don't report them don't think that unexplained detonations are no longer heard along the world's seacoasts. These "waterguns" are still booming away, as they have for centuries. Take the Carolina beaches for example.

"Sunset Beach -- Just what is that noise that residents along the coast have been hearing?

"Reverberations powerful enough to shake beach cottages are heard several times every autumn along the coast in New Hanover and Brunswick counties.

"'It moves the earth, I tell you,' Minnie Hunt of Sunset Beach said. 'Sometimes you get two or three in a row.'


"Residents who are now grandparents say their own grandparents remembered the rumbles, so they predate the sonic booms of jets breaking the sound barrier.


"The noises clearly emanate from the sea, she said...'It's not a land phenomenon.'


"The sounds occur most often in the fall and spring, though they occasionally shiver across the beaches in other seasons. Sometimes they shake the coast more than once a day. Sometimes they happen a few days in a row. Sometimes they are weeks apart. They have been reported as far north as Carteret County, but are most frequent near Wilmington and southward."

(Mysteries, Marvels and Things That Go Boom at the Beach," Asheville Citizen, September 4, 1990. Cr. J. Fisher via L. Farish)

Comment. Waterguns, a.k.a. mistpouffers, Barisal Guns, etc., are dealt with in depth under GSD1 in our catalog: Earthquakes, Tides, Anomalous Sounds. To order this book, visit here.

From Science Frontiers #73, JAN-FEB 1991. 1991-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987