Signs of End Times? Strange “Sky Trumpets” Probably Aren’t That

Debate continues over the cause of strange sounds that are now likened to “trumpets in the sky,” which have reportedly been heard around the world, as videos posted online seem to indicate. With their widespread occurrence, some are now expressing skepticism that all the incidents can be explained by industrial operations, as we covered last week.

We reported previously that the city of Terrace, British Columbia, has stated that recent reports of the strange noise are the result of graders operating in the area, as suggested by a video uploaded to the Facebook account of a Terrace resident. The city said the same thing back in 2013 when the noises began making headlines, although some have suggested that trains with their metal brake systems engaged may be an explanation as well.

Within the last 24 hours, the subject has received a surge in attention, thanks in part to an article that appeared in The Daily Mail that described the noises as having no known explanation. The piece further described the sounds as resembling “a trumpet or a collective from a brass section of an orchestra,” noting videos appearing online that appear to document the sounds in parts of the U.S. and Canada, as well as Ukraine, Germany, and Belarus (a similar noise was also recorded in Melbourne, Australia, in 2012. This was brought to our attention by reader Nathaniel Gideon).

Signs of End Times?

With the Daily Mail’s declaration of “trumpets in the sky”, a decidedly apocalyptic overtone began to appear amidst the media coverage of the phenomenon. Radio host Glenn Beck discussed the sounds on his program, admitting that they didn’t sound like horns to him, and that if this were some angelic symphony, “they suck.”

One of his callers named Monica disagreed:

“Glenn, we hear that sound all the time. It is a shofar. It’s a ram’s horn. It’s a biblical instrument. My husband plays it all the time. We play it on the Sabbath. On the High Holy Days. The Passovers. The Feast of Tabernacles. Pentecost coming up, we’ll be playing it. And we both looked at each other, my husband and I, and we said, oh, my goodness, that’s a shofar. And we could play it for you right now. I think the father in heaven is playing his shofar.”

An article further expounding on the “sky trumpets” motif,

Joe Kovacs writing for World Net Daily drew comparisons with the Book of Revelation, where “angels are shown to be sounding trumpets, accompanied by a variety of supernatural plagues upon Planet Earth.”

“And now,” Kovacs wrote, “mysterious, unexplained sounds in the sky that some are likening to trumpet blasts are puzzling people all over the world, including the United States.” He further noted that, “The apostle Paul described the resurrection of dead believers in Jesus to occur at the “last” trumpet blast.” Kovacs’ article was also linked to the website of Fox News.

So What Causes the Sounds?

There are a variety of theories based on scientific studies and related literature that have sought to understand what may cause these sounds. None of these, we should note, involve theories that “the end times” are drawing near. Indeed, the media treatment of this subject appears to be catering heavily to apocalyptic doomsday scenarios, the likes of which have remained with us since time immemorial, and which, in fairness, persist among a variety of religious world views even today. Still, while offering a sensational, eschatological theory behind the noises, they do little in the way of offering empirical evidence or scientific data to support such ideas.

However, maybe we should also consider that, due to the widespread reports of the noises, which do appear to stem from all parts of the world, perhaps a second opinion on the industrial causes behind the sounds is warranted. There have been many who are quick to say that everything from planes, trains, and automobiles, to common industrial graders are, without question, the cause behind the noises. Indeed, we have reported at this site that, in some cases, the “grader” theory seems almost irrefutable (again, reference our piece on the Terrace noises in British Columbia, and the accompanying video links, which can be seen here). But can we say with certainty that this is the case in all the similar incidents around the world?

Agencies like NASA appear to maintain a favorable attitude toward some kind of atmospheric phenomenon, referred to variously as “tweeks,” “whistlers”, or the more general term, “sferics.” Such possible causes were cited recently in the Metro, which featured a NASA spokesperson’s ideas thusly:

“If humans had radio antennas instead of ears, we would hear a remarkable symphony of strange noises coming from our own planet. They sound like background music from a flamboyant science fiction film, but this is not science fiction…. Earth’s natural radio emissions are real and, although we’re mostly unaware of them, they are around us all the time.”

Still, the skeptical argument here would be that, rather obviously, humans don’t possess radio antennae, and thus, these strange “background noises” shouldn’t be discernible to the ear under normal circumstances. This begs such questions as, “what are normal circumstances,” and perhaps more importantly, what could cause such electromagnetic background noise to be “amplified” in such a way as to produce audible — if not, at times, ear screeching — sounds in nature?

To this, there is probably no simple answer, at least based on the data at hand. With time, the data needed to make final determinations will likely arise. Hence, the takeaway might be that, in truth, reserving judgement on the causes of various “mystery sounds” like these would be wiser than leaping to conclusions… whether those leaps resolve in prosaic suggestions, or as the media seems to enjoy doing lately, employing apocalyptic scare-tactics.