Howling noise heard in Greater Victoria sparks mystery

Was that a fighter jet? A modified exhaust? Aliens?

A strange howling noise heard across the Victoria area overnight Tuesday has left many perplexed as to what may have caused it, leading to some wild speculation online.

The noises were reported through the Capital Region in the early hours of Tuesday morning, with residents claiming they heard it as far away as Sidney and Metchosin.

The locations were varied but many described it the same way: as a chilling “howling” noise.

“It woke me up out of my sleep and I immediately started recording,” said Carter Learmonth, who recorded the noise.

Learmonth claims he heard the noise from his home in downtown Victoria intermittently between 1 and 3 a.m

“I woke my girlfriend up and told her there’s this weird noise outside and there’s not a single car on the road and it continued to, it sounded like it was almost right above us,” he said.

Theories including military jets, animals, and friends from out of this world were thrown out online. Others said a different “low-rumbling noise” was heard throughout the day due to fighter jets training on Whidbey Island.

However, in an emailed statement to CHEK News, the US Navy confirmed that no exercises were performed between 10 pm and 3 am.

NOT THE FIRST TIME

The strange phenomenon has occurred in the province before. In 2013, CBC reported strange sounds in Terrace that residents described as grinding and whining noises, lasting at least 10 minutes. Residents speculated that it may have been an earthquake, electromagnetic activity or train.

A City of Terrace staff eventually came forward offering an explanation. Then-spokesperson Alisa Thompson said that workers were grinding down the blade of a grader.

Former UBC Researcher Glen MacPherson says the sound recorded is something he’s heard before, but the answer is less than strange.

In 2012, the researcher began The World Hum Map and Database Project, which aims to find out the source of a low-frequency hum that he experienced while traveling in Russia. It’s a sound his website estimates around two to four per cent of the world’s population will experience.

“It was first reported in a widespread and reliable way in England, we think in the late ’60s, early 1970s. Since then, it’s been reported around the world,” said the researcher.

STILL NO ANSWERS

MacPherson has a few leading theories as to what it may be, including terrestrial processes, radio frequency vibrations and that it could even be created inside the human body.

This is a mechanical noise and usually [the cause is] two or three sources,” said MacPherson.

In other cases, the sounds may have been created by a truck braking at slow speeds or a railway car turning at a curve.

Other theories suggest it may have been from a street cleaner, though a Fernwood resident who also heard the noise contacted CHEK saying that didn’t seem to be the case.

“I’m used to hearing owls and other urban wildlife as well as the city street cleaners at night and this sounded nothing like that,” wrote Rachel. “It had a strange, inorganic type of sound, and it increased in intensity before fading out somewhat. I fell back asleep but woke up around 40 minutes later to the sound of it again.”

CHEK News has reached out to the City of Victoria to find out if there were any overnight construction projects or if any street cleaning machines were damaged but has not received a response.

Victoria Police also did not respond to an inquiry Tuesday asking if the department received any noise complaints about the unknown sound.

For now, the mystery of the eerie howling heard by many remains unsolved.

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