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Observations placeholder

Charles Fort - Moodus noises



Type of Spiritual Experience



Moodus is a village in the town of East Haddam, Connecticut, United States.   Prior to its purchase by English settlers in 1662, the area around Moodus was inhabited by Native American Algonquians, three of which tribes are known: the Wangunks, the Mohegans and the Nehantics.

The Native Americans called the area "Matchetmadosett", the place of noises, because of numerous loud noises that were recorded between 1638 and 1899. Loud rumblings, the “Moodus Noises,” could be heard for miles surrounding Mt. Tom.

"For the earliest inhabitants of this region, the people of the Pequot, Mohegan and Narragansett tribes, the thundering and quaking around Mount Tom were evidence of the living presence of the god Hobomoko, who sat below on a sapphire throne and decreed all human calamity.  Since Hobomoko's thunder was sometimes loud and violent and at other times soft and gentle, it was said that the pious men of the Machimoodus were thought by others to have direct access to the raging spirit beneath its slopes.   Thus, when Hobomoko spoke, the resident medicine-men listened.”

George S. Roberts gives a lively account of the Moodus Legends in his 1906 book Historic Towns of the Connecticut River Valley

A description of the experience

From New Lands – Charles Fort

Amer. Jour. Sci - East Haddam, Connecticut

Upon August 11, 1805, an explosive sound was heard at East Haddam, Connecticut. There are records of six prior sounds, as if of explosions, that were heard at East Haddam, beginning with the year 1791, but, unrecorded, the sounds had attracted attention for a century, and had been called the "Moodus" sounds, by the Indians. For the best account of the "Moodus" sounds, see the Amer. Jour. Sci., 39-339. Here a writer tries to show the phenomena were subterranean, but says that there was no satisfactory explanation.

Feb. 9, 1812—two explosive sounds at East Haddam (Amer. Jour. Sci., 39-339).

July 5, 1812—one explosive sound at East Haddam (Amer. Jour. Sci., 39-339).

Dec. 28, 1813—an explosive sound at East Haddam.

Rept. B. A - Lisbon

Feb. 2, 1816—a quake at Lisbon. There was something in the sky. Extraordinary sounds were heard, but were attributed to "flocks of birds." But six hours later something was seen in the sky: it is said to have been a meteor (Rept. B. A., 1854-106).

Rept. B. A., - Pignerol, Piedmont, Italy

Upon the 2nd of April, 1808, over the town of Pignerol, Piedmont, Italy, a loud sound was heard: in many places in Piedmont an earthquake was felt. In the Rept. B. A., 1854-68, it is said that aerial phenomena did occur; that, before the explosion, luminous objects had been seen in the sky over Pignerol, and that in several of the communes in the Alps aerial sounds, as if of innumerable stones colliding, had been heard, and that quakes had been felt. From April 2 to April 8, forty shocks were recorded at Pignerol; sounds like cannonading were heard at Barga. Upon the 18th of April, two detonations were heard at La Tour, and a luminous object was seen in the sky.

….. Upon the 19th of April, a stone fell from the sky at Borgo San Donnino, about 40 miles east of Piedmont (Rept. B. A., 1860). Sounds like cannonading were heard almost every day in this small region. Upon the 13th of May, a red cloud such as marks the place of a meteoric explosion was seen in the sky. Throughout the rest of the year, phenomena that are now listed as "earthquakes" occurred in Piedmont. The last occurrence of which I have record was upon Jan. 22, 1810.

London Times and Edin. New Phil. Jour  - Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland

Since the year 1788, many earthquakes, or concussions that were listed as earthquakes, had occurred at the town of Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland.
Seventeen instances were recorded in the year 1795.
Almost all records of the phenomena of Comrie start with the year 1788, but, in Macara's Guide to Creifi, it is said that the disturbances were recorded as far back as the year 1597. Aug. 13, 1816 - They were slight shocks, and until the occurrence upon Aug. 13, 1816, conventional explanations, excluding all thought of relations with anything in the sky, seemed adequate enough.
But, in an account in the London Times, Aug. 21, 1816, it is said that, at the time of the quake of August 13, a luminous object, or a "small meteor," had been seen at Dunkeld, near Comrie; and, according to David Milne (Edin. New Phil. Jour., 31-110), a resident of Comrie had reported "a large luminous body, bent like a crescent, which stretched itself over the heavens."

April 13, 1822, - it seems, according to description, that clearly enough was there an explosion in the sky of Comrie, and a concussion of the ground—"two loud reports, one apparently over our heads, and the other, which followed immediately, under our feet" (Edin. New Phil. Jour., 31-119).

Quar. Jour. Roy. Inst., 20-417: - Melida

March 20, 1822 - That, early in the morning of March 20, 1822, detonations were heard at Melida, an island in the Adriatic. All day, at intervals, the sounds were heard. They were like cannonading, and it was supposed that they came from a vessel, or from Turkish artillery, practicing in some frontier village. For thirty days the detonations continued, sometimes thirty or forty, sometimes several hundred, a day.

Aug. 19, 1822—a tremendous detonation at Melida—others continuing several days.

February, 1824—the sounds of Melida.

September, 1824—the sounds of Melida.

1825 - The last sounds of Melida of which I have record, were heard in March, 1825. If these detonations did come from the sky, there was something that, for at least three years, was situated over, or was in some other way specially related to, this one small part of this earth's surface, subversively to all supposed principles of astronomy and geodesy. It is said that, to find out whether the sounds did come from the sky, or not, the Prêteur of Melida went into underground caverns to listen. It is said that there the sounds could not be heard.

London Times, Nov. 23, 1905 - Reading and the UK

In the London Times, Nov. 23, 1905, a correspondent writes that, at East Liss, Hants, which is about 40 miles from Reading, he and his gamekeeper had, about 3:30 P.M., Nov. 17th, heard a loud, distant rumbling. According to this hearer, the rumbling seemed to be a composition of triplets of sounds. .... This correspondent's gamekeeper said that he had heard similar sounds at 11:30 A.M., and at 1:30 P.M. It is said that the sounds were not like gunfire, and that the direction from which they seemed to come, and the time in the afternoon, precluded the explanation of artillery-practice at Aldershot or Portsmouth. Aldershot is about 15 miles from East Liss, and Portsmouth about 20.

Times, November 24—that the "quake" had been distinctly felt in Reading, about 3:30 P.M., November 17th. Times, November 25—heard at Reading, at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30 o'clock, November 17th.

Reading Standard, November 25:

That consternation had been caused in Reading, upon the 17th, by sounds and vibrations of the earth, about 11:30 A.M., 1:30 P.M., and 3:30 P.M..............

Mr. H. G. Fordham appears . In the Times, December 1, he writes that the phenomena pointed clearly to an explosion in the sky, and not to an earthquake of subterranean origin. "The noise and shock experienced are no doubt attributable to the explosion (or to more than one explosion) of a meteorite, or bolide, high up in the atmosphere, and setting up a wave (or waves) of sound and aërial shock. It is probable, indeed, that a good many phenomena having this source are wrongly ascribed to slight and local earth-shock."  Mr. Fordham wrote this, but he wrote no more, and I think that somewhere else something else was written, and that, in the year 1905, it had to be obeyed; and that it may be interpreted in these words—"Thou shalt not." Mr. Fordham did not inquire into the reasonableness of thinking that, only by coincidence, meteors so successively exploded, in a period of four hours, in one local sky of this earth, and nowhere else; and into the inference, then, as to whether this earth is stationary or not.


In the English Mechanic, 82-433, Joseph Clark writes that, a few minutes past 3 P.M., upon the 18th a triplet of detonations was heard at Somerset—"as loud as thunder, but not exactly like thunder."

Reading Observer, November 25—that, according to a correspondent, the sounds had been heard again, at Whitchurch (20 miles from Reading) upon the 21st, at 1:35 P.M., and 3:08 P.M. The sounds had been attributed to artillery-practice at Aldershot, but the correspondent had written to the artillery commandant, at Bulford Camp, and had received word that there had been no heavy firing at the times of his inquiry. The Editor of the Observer says that he, too, had written to the commandant, and had received the same answer.

The source of the experience

Fort, Charles

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