Unexplained Sounds, Part I: The Bloop, Julia, Quackers, etc.


Given my previous post on the robust and thoroughly-researched phenomenon of the Unexplained Boom, I can understand if you came to this post prepared for more of the same buffoonery.

Knock it off.

While the audio profile of the Bloop does resemble that of a living creature, the source is a mystery both because it is different from known sounds and because it was several times louder than the loudest recorded animal, the blue whale.

If that sentence alone doesn’t terrify you, perhaps this description of “Quackers" might:

…fuck. Evidently, the page has been deleted, so I missed a golden opportunity. Nice one, Wikipedia—you goosed me good! (For the record, the article was about eerie croaking sounds Soviet Russian troops allegedly heard in the waters outside their submarines that sounded as if they came from sentient marine animals who were more reactive and faster than any known machine…)

Ok, so maybe that article’s author was a quack.


But the other sounds I’m about to reference are legitimate, documented, and even named—you can listen to them on their respective Wikipedia pages.

Sounds are constantly registered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an underwater surveillance system which was put in place during the Cold War and is now used for gathering scientific data: sounds from man-made things like boats and subs, natural things like earthquakes and whales, and… the unknown.

These are ultra powerful and super low-frequency sounds that scientists haven’t quite been able to puzzle out because they’re unlike anything else ever recorded. Some of them do have plausible explanations, like Slow Down (the movement of polar ice sheets?) or Upsweep (an undersea mountain previously identified as dormant?). Julia is sort of creepy, if you listen to it, but doesn’t seem to elicit much attention.

But the Bloop… oh man.

Have I told you I’m afraid of the ocean? I’m afraid of the ocean. Not the beach, dummy—I’m talking about the deepest deeps, the unfathomable fathoms, the very bottom of the fucking earth’s surface where it’s so dark it might as well be a black hole and so pressurized your body would instantaneously implode in a singularity. I mean, I’m guessing. I don’t know. Nobody knows. You know what else nobody knows?

What’s down there.

This is the type of shit that keeps me awake at night. To be fair, plenty of other types of shit keep me awake at night: doing the work I didn’t do when I was sitting around all day, Facebooking people I don’t care about, having “who can find the best picture of disgustingly humongous boobs” battles with friends via gchat, discarding 50% of the contents of my closet in a sudden, manic burst of organization, drinking more alcohol than should be humanly possible for a person my size, occasionally all of the above simultaneously… but that’s beside the point, because the point is that when compared with the percentage of things we don’t know about our world (and our universe), the percentage of things we do know is infinitesimal. Meaning, there’s potentially some really, really frightening things out there that we have no idea about because we’re incapable of seeing or detecting them. I am betting some of these things live in that part of the ocean that is still mostly a mystery to us: things that are ancient, gigantic, and shit-your-pants terrifying. Maybe the kind of thing that moves around from time to time and makes a noise like the Bloop.

You knew I’d get back to it, right? Read this [ancient, poorly-written and/or translated] CNN article and report back: http://archives.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/06/13/bloop/

So there may potentially be some Kraken-type things lurking in the ocean. Does that mean we should actively worry about them? Probably not. I mean, I saw Cloverfield on a plane home from China, but even though I was sick, sleepless, and slightly delirious, I still thought it was a shitty movie. The chances of Manhattan, or any city, being attacked by a massive sea monster are pretty slim.

Then again…


P.S. Shoutout to BloopWatch (who is also on Tumblr)


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