North Carolina has a rich tradition of folklore, and it encompasses a variety of magical legends and unexplained natural phenomena – from fairies and Bigfoot in the mountains to mermaids in the Cape Fear and mysterious booms heard off the coast. We can’t be sure if anyone knows the real story behind these strange events, but we do know that these tales date back for generations and have played an important role in our state’s culture.
In this series, we want to share with you our favorite folktales and even pique your interest enough to dive more into the historical mysteries that continue to perplex us today.
For over 150 years, coastal North Carolina residents have reported witnessing mysterious booming sounds that have been powerful enough to rattle windows and vibrate buildings. While this phenomenon is not unique to the Carolina coast, they are however most common along our shores. Referred to as the “Seneca Guns,” the name is thought to come from similar ominous sounds that had been heard for centuries at Lake Seneca in NY, as described in James Fenimore Cooper’s short story, “The Lake Gun.”
Coastal North Carolina residents have several theories but spoiler alert, there is no definitive explanation for the booming noises. Ideas range from distant offshore storms, underwater earthquakes or shifting of plates, jets breaking the sound barrier or other military exercises, or even meteoric explosions. Some wilder theories claim supernatural reasons, like echoes of cannon fire from Civil War engagements. These fascinating and unnerving sounds for now remain a mystery.
If you are ready to come discover our beautiful area and experience this exciting phenomenon for yourself, we invite you to visit to our stunning riverside community where you can purchase your dream home and stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in The Bluffs by tuning into our Facebook page!