19 July 2008

Unidentified vocalization recorded on 12-Jul-2008

Wooded brush east of the house as seen an hour before the unidentified noise occured

Please listen to this inexplicable sound recorded during an on-site investigation in southern Illinois on Saturday, 12-Jul-2008. A recording is currently posted at http://www.stancourtney.com/sounds/07.12.08_1.mp3.

This audio clip is edited from near the end of a recording that lasted over 2 hours. The other investigator and homeowner are the first two voices being heard in this audio clip as they react to this noise which broke the silence that evening. They were perhaps up to 100 yards from the source location of the noise in an overgrown and wooded lot east of the homeowner's property. The end of the audio clip includes our initial reactions as the other investigator, homeowner and I share our observations and try to understand what we had just heard. Mine is the third person's voice you hear speaking near the end of the audio clip.

When this noise occured, my family and I had just come out of the homeowner's house and were walking out to our car. The events in the audio clip occured at 9:20pm, around an hour after sunset. The other investigator, the homeowner, my youngest daughter and I had been outside talking and touring the vicinity around the house since 7:00pm. At sunset, we hiked about one-third mile east through the woods which run behind the homeowner's house, stayed put and talked until 9:00pm when the moon was bright and started heading back to the house. My daughter and I walked on ahead (needing to get back and use the restroom). The other investigator and the homeowner were still on the trail back in the woods when my family and I came out of the house. As the 6 of us we were standing within the circle of light from the house's front porch, this loud sound erupted from the lot east of the house in the direction where I expected the other investigator and homeowner to have been.

From our position, the noise was much louder than it sounds on the audio clip. I was feeling the amplified pulse of each grating hiss and popping squeak striking my body as if we were standing too close to the percussive bang of an M-80 firecracker. Yet we did not see any fire, pyrotechnic light or sparks. I had to raise my voice and shout to assure my family that the noise was either fireworks or something being blasted over a loudspeaker. As it was happening, my guess was that either the other investigator or homeowner were broadcasting a recorded sound over a megaphone to see what kind of response was returned. (I hadn't been around another investigator who did "sound blasting" before so it seemed the simplest explanation at the time.)

When the three of us met immediately after the loud noise, I learned that the only equipment they had with them was the recorder and microphone being used to capture this recording. This had not been a "sound blasted" noise as I originally thought. From their vantage point, the source location of the noise was up to 100 yards south in the direction of the house. From our vantage point at the front of the house, my family and I heard it coming from very close range to the northeast in their direction back in the woods on the trail. This pinpointed whatever it was that had made the sound as being located in the wooded brush of the lot east of the homeowner's house (this lot is pictured at the beginning of this entry). They were looking south from the north end of this lot, we were looking northeast from the south end and none of us saw any lights, flashes or sparks associated with fireworks. Nor did we hear any movement in the brush. Otherwise it was too dark to have seen anything.

We've been reviewing the audio clip for a week and so far have been unable to identify with any certainty whatever it is that made this sound. We had eight people witness the noise-- myself, my wife, my four children, the other investigator and the homeowner. My wife described the noise as sounding like somebody playing with a Mr. Microphone toy on high volume. Our unanimous consensus is that it was not fireworks.

The repeated pattern does bear similarities to one of the calls made by southern leopard frogs which are common in these woods-- except for the sheer volume of the noise and that popping squeak at the end of each grating hiss. The one theory that makes more sense than anything else is that the noise then is actually an imitation or mimicry of the frog call being made by something capable of mimicking other animal vocalizations with this demonstration of both volume and lung power.

Rolling field and distant woods as seen looking south from the house

The reason for our visit that evening is the history of sighting reports and other suspicious observations made by the couple living in this home spanning the past year and a half. It was the wife who actually was the first to see a grey lanky figure standing in the bushes just west of the house as she drove home after working second shift a year and a half ago. When her 6-foot tall husband stood in the same location, she said the figure she saw was easily a foot or two taller than he was. Subsequent sightings (including descriptions of other individual figures of different hair color, physique and size), unusual noises and tracks were observed on and off through last fall. New observations were reported for the first time this year beginning a couple weeks ago-- as it appears a clan of individuals is again visiting this vicinity.

Branches in the homeowner's backyard are thick and woven together to block access

The homeowner is unable to enter the brush in the back half of his lot adjacent to the woods. When he first moved here five years ago, he had plans to clear this land. During these five years, he has not even been able to walk on this portion of his property. Adjacent lots have a similar jungle of undergrowth (refer again to the first photograph showing the lot east of his house). When we asked him why he was piling up branches in his backyard, he said he wasn't. Not all of the windfall branches are from nearby trees. Some of these branches seem to have been brought in from elsewhere.

One of the reasons cited by the homeowner for inviting the other investigator and me to visit his house last weekend was that a green apple had been thrown at him while he was in his backyard from within this jungle of branches and brush. Something like that had not happened during the previous year and a half of suspicious activity on and around his property.

The investigation of reports from this location which began a year and a half ago is ongoing. The unidentified audio recording made on 12-July-2008 is among the first pieces of physical evidence to be documented by someone other than the couple living in this house.

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