Pennsylvania Has Had 20 Mysterious Explosions Since April. What The Hell Is Going On?


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor

Lots of words have been used to describe the strange phenomena, but "boom" seems to be used the most. Jo Ritchy/Shutterstock 

Everybody loves a good mystery. If it can involve things that go boom in the night and cagey officials, all the better. This strange story out of Pennsylvania ticks all the boxes.

There have been 20 reported early morning explosions across Bucks County since April 2, according to Pennsylvania State Police, and now they are asking for help in tracking who is responsible and what the hell is happening.  


The explosions, which have been happening between 1am and 4.30am local time have been so loud that residents have been waking up to rattling windows and shuddering walls.

“It’s just like a boom. That’s just how it sounds,” Donna Weaver told Fox News back in April.

In fact, people have been reporting strange sounds, sights, and experiences all over the county.

"I'm hearing like a firework kind of like sound," Samantha Ritter of Milford Township told WPVI. "I looked out the window thinking maybe neighbors setting off fireworks or something."


“I thought that somebody was making a tunnel or space junk fell out of the sky,” Haycock Township resident Susan Crompton told CBS.


Richland Township Police began investigating back in April. Though he did not experience the strange phenomenon himself, Chief Richard Ficco described how one of his officers who did has described it.

"He said it was a very loud boom," Ficco explained. "It's not fireworks. It's not firearms. He couldn't really describe it, but it sounds like a very, very loud boom."

"There was a flash of light and maybe several seconds before he heard the sound, and then the other officer who was further away heard the sound later than he did," he told WPVI. "They both thought it was coming from different directions."


Though the source is still currently unknown, fireworks and firearms have been ruled out by Pennsylvania State Police, who have taken over the investigation with the assistance of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Current theories are the explosions could be caused by Tannerite, according to Charlene Hennesy, a spokesperson for the ATF. Tannerite is a brand name for an explosive that is used sometimes for target practice, and is made up of components that separately are not explosive so are not regulated by the ATF. "I would not be surprised if that's what it turns out to be," Hennessy told

"Fortunately to date no one has been injured; however, we are attempting to prevent someone from accidentally getting injured by these explosions, including the individual responsible," state police said in a news release this week. Any other details are thin on the ground, however. A spokesman for the force told The Washington Post that authorities do not want to tip off potential suspects about how much investigators already know about the series of explosions. 

They are encouraging anybody with information to come forward immediately.


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  • mystery,

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  • Tannerite