Mystery Remains Surrounding Bright Light, Loud Boom in Bemidji
The mystery remains surrounding a bright light and a loud boom that many people witnessed near Bemidji on Monday night. Beltrami County officials now say it was unlikely that it was a meteor, but they still don’t know exactly what it was.
Around 6:40 p.m. Monday, people in southern Beltrami County either heard a boom, saw a bright flash, or experienced both. Some were able to catch it on film. Beltrami County Emergency Management Director Christopher Muller says the initial investigation of obvious sources came up empty.
“Initially, we thought maybe it was a substation or a power transformer,” explained Muller. “We had officers and deputies checking the area, trying to find something. We did not have any power outages reported which would coincide with one of those electric infrastructure failures, which kind of eliminated that idea. Then we got footage from a surveillance camera from a residence in [the] Nymore [neighborhood] that showed a very bright flash followed by a very loud explosion sound shortly thereafter.”
Beltrami County was left with a lot of questions after the sonic boom. On Tuesday, a new video emerged with an unusual object streaking by quickly. Could this have caused the flash and noise?
“One of the additional [things] that we received was a video from the Bemidji Regional Airport on their surveillance camera, with the vantage point of facing east of the city of Bemidji, and in that video, you can see right over the city a very fast moving object,” said Muller.
NASA scientists and astronomers were given access to this video. After carefully examining each frame the video, they concluded that the item from the new video was too horizontal to be a meteor. In addition, they determined that the source of the flash and the boom were less than a mile apart.
However, it was undetermined if there was a correlation between the two videos. Bemidji Regional Airport officials told Lakeland News that they now believe their video was completely unrelated to the flash and boom and that there may have been a bug or something blowing in the wind. They also think the timestamp on the video was off and this event didn’t take place at the same time as the other incident.
“We don’t have any real confirmation of what it is,” said Muller. “I’ve been working through the day, talking with different organizations, trying to determine what it was. One thing is very clear, is that based on the flash and how quickly the boom came after, whatever the object was, was very close to Bemidji.”
The sound was loud enough to rattle windows, shake houses, and set car alarms off. More information is required to rule out any more potential interfering objects.
“Some people have compared it to military aircraft flying over, a sonic boom,” said Muller. “Having experienced that before, I would say that this was significantly louder than that. A lot of the same sentiments from people saying that they saw the bright flash and then heard the boom.”
Muller says at this point, they still don’t know what it was, and it remains an interesting puzzle to try and solve.
There have been no reports of any damage or objects identified that have made it to the ground. As mentioned, the second video is still being analyzed.