Two 60-foot-tall trees found “snapped off” after unexplained Kalamazoo house-shaking boom

“There are these two trees that were at least 60-feet-tall and 10 feet apart from each other … snapped now about 15 to 20 feet off the ground … and the upper parts are laying in my driveway.”

– John  Nieuwenhuis, Owner, Little John’s Excavating  and Envir. Services, Kalamazoo, Michigan

The two, once 60-foot-tall trees, snapped off about 20 feet above the ground and found by John Nieuwenhuis in his front yard as he investigated around his Kalamazoo home at 8:30 AM, Monday, May 28, 2012, after a huge boom shook his 4,000-square-foot-house.

 Updated: May 30, 2012  Kalamazoo, Michigan – Between 10:30 PM on Sunday night, May 27, 2012, and the next morning at 8:30 AM local time in four counties of southwestern Michigan, something highly strange caused booms loud enough to provoke residents to call police and fire departments.

The first round of booms on Sunday night, May 27, 2012, seemed to be focused in Union City, Michigan, about 50 miles southeast of Kalamazoo. Residents said it was like a huge clap of thunder in a clear, dry sky. Four counties altogether were affected:  Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph and Kalamazoo.

The four red circles mark the four counties affected by the loud boom sound, first at 10:30 PM on Sunday night, May 27, 2012. That one seemed focused on Union City in Calhoun County, based on number of phone calls to police, fire and 911. Then at 8:30 AM the next morning, Monday, May 28, 2012, about 50 miles west in southwestern Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County, the explosive sound was focused on the home of John Nieuwenhuis and the two 60-foot-tall trees in his front yard.

The next morning at 8:30 AM going northwest from Union City in Calhoun County about fifty miles to the Kalamazoo neighborhood of John Nieuwenhuis in Kalamazoo County, another boom was so loud that it shook the 4,000-square-foot Nieuwenhuis house in the middle of a 17-acre forest. John Nieuwenhuis was born in Kalamazoo 63 years ago where he has lived all his life. He has worked for the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department in the late 1970s and for the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources and the Dept. of Environmental Quality where he helped manage cleanups and spills. He also owns Little John’s Excavating and Environmental Services in which he and his workers provide emergency services for Kalamazoo in addition to their excavation contracts.


John A. Nieuwenhuis (KNEE-wen-hice), Owner, Little John’s Excavating and Environmental Services, Kalamazoo, Michigan:   “My house is fairly new, a 4,000 square foot home built very solidly for tornadoes and everything. You can’t hear anything outside because it’s very soundproofed. But what happened at 8:30 AM, I was looking outside the window and there wasn’t a leaf blowing anywhere. It was just dead quiet. My house is located on 17 acres of woods. I’m right in the middle of the woods. It was an unusual dead quiet.

Then all of a sudden, it was like years ago when there were supersonic booms from aircraft that broke windows in homes. This house just shook, which led me to believe there was an explosion inside, so I thought something blew up in my basement.

So I ran downstairs and nothing. So I went out in my backyard and saw nothing. Then when I went out my front door, I could not believe it. These big trees were down on my driveway. Being a first responder with Rescue, the first thing I thought of was a plane came down. I ran down the driveway on the other side of the trees expecting to find an aircraft, because whatever had happened just targeted two trees in the middle of the woods. But there was nothing there!


There are these two trees that were at least 60-feet-tall and 10 feet apart from each other that sort of leaned like a tunnel over my driveway to the north. But these two trees are snapped now about 15 to 20 feet off the ground. They are completely snapped off and the upper parts are laying in my driveway facing west – both of them side-by-side.

West Michigan News WWMT-Channel 3 (CBS):  Click here for video news report.


15 to 20 feet of the tree stump was still standing and the remaining maybe 30 to 40 feet of each tree were lying in the driveway, snapped off cleanly.

Photograph taken on Monday, May 28, 2012, soon after the 8:30 AM thunderous boom that shook the 4,000 square foot house owned by John Nieuwenhuis in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The two approximately 60-foot trees were snapped off about 20 feet above the ground
at the center of this photograph next to tall, completely untouched  trees nearby.


In my company we do tree clearing and logging, so we have trees that land into other trees. We’ve experienced all that. I’ve never seen anything like this before! But at first, I figured it had to be a plane that came down and cut the trees off. However, the trees are not damaged on their tops – nothing was crushed or torn.


Right, they are just lying there.


With other trees similar to those all the way around them. Whatever it was just singled out those two trees. And it took no leaves off any of the other trees! And there was just that dead quiet all that time and the sun was bright, not a cloud in the sky, and just the dead, dead quiet.

And I didn’t know anything about the booms the night before in towns west of me. I learned people heard loud explosions and also the houses were shaking when the TV news crew came to interview me later on Monday after I had called the local fire department only five minutes from my house to see if they heard anything. And my neighbor 300 yards away, her house shook also and she heard the explosion.

And the Fire Department is probably a half-mile from my home. And an explosion as loud as what I heard, they should have heard. If I shot off a shotgun at my house, there is no doubt that you could hear it at the fire station. I called Fire Rescue to ask if they heard of anything crashing into the woods. They said they didn’t have any reports and they did not hear anything. But they sent a car to my place and looked to find anything  that could have hit those two trees. After searching, they said they could not find anything and were totally baffled about what could do the damage to those two trees in that manner.


Right, and I’ll ask some more of my neighbors to see if anyone else heard anything.


I don’t know of any and geologists here have confirmed there isn’t any. The deepest we usually dig around here is 20 feet where we put sewer and water lines in. It’s a soft sand, gravel clay soil around here on the top 18 inches, but once you get below that, it’s very soft sand and gravel type material. I don’t know what lies beneath that.


That’s what the local news has reported – no answers to what happened at my house or in Union City the night before.”

March 2012 Booms in Clintonville, WI Were Northwest of Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan (lower right circle) is about 300 miles southeast of Clintonville,
Wisconsin (upper left circle) as the crow flies straight across Lake Michigan. Clintonville
is where beginning on March 18, 2012, loud booms were heard intermittently over a
two week period and were featured in national media as a mystery.

Beginning around 9:30 PM Central on Sunday evening, March 18, 2012, until 5:30 AM early Monday morning, people in northeastern Clintonville, Wisconsin, reported loud sounds that shook their homes and were compared to clanging metal, jackhammers and thunder. Some thought the vibrations were coming from underground. City Administrator Lisa Kuss said people reported that the shaking increased early Monday morning, March 19, 2012, at 1:45 AM and stayed loud until around 7:15 AM when the mysterious booming, clanging, house-rattling noises tapered off. But were not gone because they started all over again around 12:15 AM right after midnight on Tuesday, March 20.

2nd Night to Morning: Monday to Tuesday, March 19-20, 2012
Strongest times were between 12:15 AM and 5:10 AM, Tuesday, March 20

Monday evening, March 19, Clintonville police, fire, emergency and utility crews checked manholes for gas leaks, gas and water lines for leaks, but nothing abnormal was found. However, the metallic clanging and house-rattling sounds started again a little after midnight early Tuesday morning, March 20, 2012. Police received nearly 100 phone calls between 12:15 AM and 5:10 AM, especially at 12:15 AM, 1:20 AM, 2:20 AM. and a few at 5:08AM. Dispatcher Karen Wegenke says residents were reporting loud booms that shook their houses.

Booms Spread 80 Miles  Southwest to Montello, WI

Beginning at 5:30 PM Central on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Montello, Wisconsin,
about 80 miles southwest of Clintonville, residents called police about loud booms
shaking their houses and rattling windows. University of Wisconsin-Madison Seismologist
Harold Tobin said he was not aware of any seismic readings or reports near Montello.

On Tuesday at 5:30 PM, March 20, no one in Clintonville knew that 80 miles southwest in Montello, Wisconsin, that residents there also called police about a loud, window-rattling boom. “There was a loud boom and all the windows shook. The whole house shook, but no one has an explanation. I was thinking it was an explosion but we had no flames anywhere,” said Patti Lekas. One Montello resident compared the sound to a train wreck right where you are standing and all the cars slam into each other at once.

Montello Police Chief Richard Olson said, “We have a lot of good, reliable sources that reported this pretty much community wide. They reported it almost as if it was under ground or ground level. We are currently investigating it. We don’t have an answer at this point. We’ve checked with our typical sources such as utility companies and anybody maybe drilling or doing construction in the area and at this point in time we don’t’ know what it is.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Seismologist Harold Tobin said he was not aware of any seismic readings or reports near Montello. So it was strange – like a politically motivated cover-up – that at a Tuesday, March 22, 2012, public meeting at the Clintonville High School after hiring an engineering firm to locate the underground epicenter of the strange jolting sounds, City Manager Lisa Kuss told the crowd of 400 people that she was pretty certain the sounds had to be related to earthquakes. The reason was that on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at 12:15 AM thirty miles northwest of Appleton, Wisconsin, near Clintonville, at a depth of 3 miles, there was a small 1.5 magnitude quake registered by the U. S. Geological Survey.

However most of Clintonville residents at the meeting argued they had never heard jolting booms before Sunday night, March 18, 2012. Further, seismologists said there was NO seismic link to the banging noises from March 18 to the 22nd, no seismic activity in the Montello region either, and that earthquake activity usually happens more than one mile deep rather than the shallow, less than 1-mile-down, original estimate for the mysterious banging, jolting sounds.

See:  March 20, 2012 Mysterious Booms in Clintonville, WI

See:  March 30, 2012 Boom Updates Parts 1 – 3.

See:   April 26, 2012 North America and England.

See:  May 11, 2012 Update on Bath, England and Mysterious Booms

If Earthfiles viewers and radio listeners have more information about loud, unexplained, wall-rattling, feet-jolting boom sounds, please email:  All requests for confidentiality are honored.

More Information:

For further reports about mysterious booms in North America and England, please see Earthfiles Archive.

• 05/10/2012 — Mysterious Horn and Boom Sounds Still Being Heard
• 05/01/2012 — More Unexplained Booms in Boston and Beyond
• 04/26/2012 — Updated: Mysterious, Persistent Booms Throughout North America and England
• 04/22/2012 — Huge Boom Heard in Central California and Northwestern Nevada – Did Meteorite Hit?
• 04/08/2012 — Part 3: Confusion About North American Booms and Man-Made Quakes
• 03/30/2012 — Part 1: Updated 033021 with boom recordings – Mysterious Rattling Booms Expand from Clintonville to Montello, Wisconsin and Beyond.
• 03/30/2012 — Updated with boom audio Part 2: Boom Phenomenon in Several States and Canada
• 03/20/2012 — Two Nights of Mysterious Rattling Booms in Clintonville, WI
• 03/15/2012 — Updated 031512 – High Strangeness Email: Unidentified Aerial Craft, Strange Sounds and Door-Rattling Booms
• 03/01/2012 — Updated 030112: Solar CMEs Hitting Earth’s Magnetic Fields – Do They Make Strange, Loud Sounds?
• 02/28/2012 — Strange Sounds in Washington State
• 02/23/2012 — Updated Feb. 23: Eerie, Strange Sounds Heard in Tennessee and Kansas
• 02/04/2012 — Video of Kiev-like Strange Sound in Amarillo, Texas: What Happened?
• 02/02/2012 — Updated: Earthfiles Email About Mysterious “Chorus of Trumpets” and Other Strange Sounds
• 01/29/2012 — Part 4: Tall, Cat-Eyed Beings in Pennsylvania Turnpike Abduction
• 01/26/2012 — Updated – Part 1: Photos of Unidentified Utah Aerial Craft – and Missing Time?
• 01/20/2012 — Part 3: Tall, Cat-Eyed Beings in Pennsylvania Turnpike Abduction
• 01/18/2012 — Part 2: Utah Aerial Craft, Missing Time and Cat-Eyed, Blond Beings
• 12/31/2011 — Updated – Part 1: Earthfiles Mail About High Strangeness
• 11/13/2011 — Updated: More Loud Booms in Virginia and Missouri; More Quakes in Oklahoma

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