The Moodus Noises of Moodus, Connecticut

--Informant Info--
Nationality: United States of America
Age: 51
Occupation: VP, Renewables Engie Solar
Residence: Kansas City, MO
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/16/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece:

“So this is a story about- nearby where I grew up in Connecticut there’s a little teeny town in the southern part of Connecticut called Moodus and its where my first cousins lived and we used to go visit around the holidays, Christmas in particular I remember visiting for Christmas Eve because we would trade on and off every year, one year we’d come visit them, one year they’d come visit us and they’d host a big dinner. And they had this big farmhouse and it backed up on this lake and this farmhouse had a hill, a grassy hill, sloping down to the lake and it was extremely old it had extremely dark wooden floors that were rough because it was a farmhouse. Anyways, so I remember the Moodus noises, I don’t really know if its true or a myth, but it’s basically in this town you can hear these noises coming out of the ground and, doesn’t always happen but it can happen and scientists have looked into this and the most likely explanation is that there are micro-earthquakes that are shallow in the ground and that’s the cause of the noise. That’s something everyone talks about in the town, the mascot for the high-school sports team is the Moodus noises and so I remember being with my cousins in this creepy farmhouse and them telling us the story about the noises and then trying to startle us with noises the entire night.”

Background:

My informant is a man in his early 50s originally from Hartford, Connecticut. He lived there through his teens and had extended family in the nearby areas. The cousins described here were present for a lot his childhood and they often shared scary stories. The Moodus Noises are well documented phenomena that remain ambiguous and have little physical ties but it serves to unite the town with a common legend. While my informant did not live there, his interaction with his cousins put him in conversation with this legend.

Context:

My informant told me about this story when I was asking a group of family and friends about scary stories or legends from their childhood. He told the story in front of the group and I recorded it during that telling. 

Thoughts:

What I find fascinating about the Moodus noises is the complete lack of any form of the topic from the folkloric perspective. This natural phenomenon serves the primary function of folklore, it unites the town with a common experience. However, there is no supernatural explanation of the noises. They are not tied to spirits or cryptids, they are just ambiguously there. This is fascinating to me, as more often than not, folklore takes some physical form but the Moodus noises are just noises. In my opinion, this is the result of the fact that the noises have a very clear explanation. Compared to other strange phenomena such as Will o’ Wisps, the Moodus noises have a clear explanation of why they occur. As such, they occupy a liminal space between science and folklore, wherein they have an explanation but they still count as community legend.