Rumble Mystery Continues To Aggravate Residents

Click for video - The Windsor Rumble is Real

A mysterious rattling and humming that has shaken people living in southwest Windsor is spreading and getting worse, but authorities are still baffled about its source.

“In one house, we put a glass of water on the floor and you could see the ripples,” city Councillor Al Maghnieh told the Star on Thursday. “You could put your hand on the siding outside the house and feel the vibration.”

From a few complaints in February, Maghnieh has now heard from 1,000 people in his ward in the south and west of the city — including his own neighbours on Everts Ave. The worst time for the rumblings is between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.

“These are not people looking for attention. They’re reporting sleepless nights.”

The provincial Ministry of the Environment investigated in April and found no “industrial” causes. That would include the prime suspect, a vast web of active and abandoned salt mines that stretch under Windsor and across the Detroit River to subterranean Detroit.

The Detroit Salt Co. still operates mines 360 metres below the city, supported by a 160-kilometre network of roads.

The Canadian Salt Co. Ltd., now owned by Morton Salt in Chicago, works the Ojibway salt mine and an evaporation plant in Windsor.

Blasting, officials said, is confined to weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Detroit Salt’s George Davis said that, unlike the Ojibway mine, the Detroit miners no longer use drilling and blasting and their second shift ends by early evening.

People in Detroit have reported similar unexplained shaking and humming, Kate Jordan of the Ministry of the Environment said Thursday.

“We want to find the source of the vibrations,” she said. “We’re working with other provincial agencies and our counterparts in Michigan. We haven’t found any evidence in Ontario.”

The Ministry of the Environment ruled out the salt mines on the Ontario side because “their operations are not coinciding with the times people are feeling these” vibrations, Teri Gilbert, issues project co-ordinator for the Windsor office, told the Windsor Star in the spring.

Wind turbines also have been struck off the list, said Earthquakes Canada’s Allison Bent, because they’re in a rural area outside of town. These unexplained sounds and shaking are concentrated in west Windsor.

Earthquake Canada sunk five ultra-sensitive seismic monitors around the city in June and seismologists are just getting the data back now for analysis.

“Enough people have heard it that is has to be something,” said Bent, a seismologist. “It can last on and off for hours.”

The shaking “is definitely not” an earthquake, she said. They would have picked that up even before June.

The federal monitors, however, will only pick up underground disturbances. If it’s above ground, she said, they might not.

Maghnieh speculated that construction of a major roadway linking Highway 401 directly with U.S. Interstate 75 and creating a new border crossing could be the source or the heavy industry operating on Zug Island, a heavily industrialized area south of Detroit.

“It’s like a low bass note, like a synthesizer,” he said. “The reports have really spiked recently. This is a very serious matter and we don’t know the health effects from it.”

Toronto architect Scott Weir, who grew up in a south Windsor salt-mining family and has a contract with Windsor for restoration work, believed a combination of effects is responsible. “The salt mines. And at that end of town, there is a lot of reclaimed land and a lot of quicksand in LaSalle. My sense is there are tunnels that go for miles. And everything in Windsor goes 24 hours a day.”

He was dubious about Zug Island, south of Detroit and across the river from Ojibway. “You can see what’s going on there.” - thestar


For months, residents of south and west Windsor have been wondering and worrying about vibrations of unknown origin.

And now, those mysterious rumblings under the city have found a new believer — the city's Ward 10 Coun. Al Maghnieh, who says it's time to start taking the phenomenon seriously.

"It's very present and real," he said.

Maghnieh added that those who think the phenomenon is a joke or that its proponents are "crazy" need to grasp the implications in terms of health and the environment.

"I mean, it's actually scary to think that this is going on and we still can't pinpoint what it is," he said.

"This is potentially very dangerous."

Maghnieh said he first started receiving calls from concerned citizens back in March.

But it wasn't until the early hours of Friday morning — when he'd arranged to visit the homes of rumble witnesses — that he experienced the sensation himself.

"It's a very sharp, consistent rumble sound," Maghnieh said. "Sometimes it's like a hum."

The city councillor said that at one point, he put a half-full water bottle on the ground and could see the vibrations causing ripples on the water's surface.

At another point, he could hear the aluminum siding of a house rattle due to the vibrations.

"It was very obvious. It was very evident," Maghnieh said. "It sent shivers up my spine."

Maghnieh said he's so far received about two dozen calls and a half-dozen emails from different people in his ward with complaints about the rumble.

When he followed up on some of the recent reports, two homeowners agreed to let him on their properties and investigate.

The time period between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. was chosen because that's when the vibrations are reportedly the most distinct.

"I don't know if it's stronger then or not. Maybe it's just because it's quieter outside," Maghnieh said.

Although the Ministry of the Environment has studied the matter and has ruled out industrial sources, Maghnieh said there needs to be further and fuller investigation.

"You can't have hundreds of people just imagining these things," Maghnieh said. "We need resources. We need co-operation. We need somebody assigned to this."

Now Maghnieh is preparing a map of his ward to track the location of the rumblings, with radii indicating where the rumblings have been the strongest.

It might not be long until the issue hits Maghnieh even closer to home: He recently finalized purchase of a house on Everts Avenue, and some of the rumbling reports he's received are from fellow Everts Avenue residents.

"On my own street," Maghnieh exclaimed. "On my new driveway, my first day arriving at my home — three different residents from three different homes came to welcome me to the neighbourhood, and the first thing they said was: 'There are rumblings here. It's bad.'"

Maghnieh said he doesn't regret buying the house. "In fact, now I'm even more motivated to get to the bottom of this." - windsorstar

NOTE: there have been reports of this rumbling sound in southern Ontario and several areas in eastern Wisconsin and central Michigan. So what is it? Witnesses say that there is a 'synthetic' machinery. Is there a chance that construction taking place in another location is somehow resonating through the bedrock? Or maybe there is some nefarious activity taking place underground? What do you think? Lon

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