This album is a collection of rare, fascinating, and chilling audio recordings found on YouTube, with a bit of background information added for context.
I think hearing these events unfold adds an extra degree of reality. These don't usually sound like what we're lead to believe. These recordings correlate with great tragedy, and hearing them unfold sort of brings us closer to what it would've been like to experience them first hand, which is fascinating and humbling.
Be warned. Some of these audio recordings are intense. Once you've heard them, you can't "unhear" them. I've tried to include as much information as reasonably possible to bring closure for those who rather not listen but are still interested in the story.
Upshot-Knothole Annie, Nuclear Weapons Test 1953
Although we've all seen the images of nuclear bomb tests, the sound is typically dubbed to match the visual of the initial explosion. This might be the only unedited recording of an actual nuclear explosion in real time. This occurred at the Nevada Test Site in 1953, as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole and part of a series of exercises to help us prepare for the threat of nuclear war.
They also staged a variety of objects to be blasted such as two 2-story houses, 50 automobiles, and 8 different types of bomb shelters at varying distances from the hypocenter to see how they would fair as shelters. Civilians were allowed to watch the test from 11 miles away and it was also nationally televised live.
Annie had a slightly stronger explosive yield than Little Boy, the bomb used in Hiroshima.
9.0 Earthquake in Japan, 2011
9.0 Earthquake Audio Recording: https://youtu.be/8cOan4FMWxs
Above, buildings literally tremble as a massive 9.0 megathrust earthquake belted out the equivalent explosive yield of 470 megatons of TNT or roughly 9 Tsar bombs (the biggest nuclear weapon ever detonated) 40 miles off the coast of Japan and 19 miles below sea level.
"Megathrust earthquakes occur at subduction zones at destructive convergent plate boundaries, where one tectonic plate is forced underneath another. These interplate earthquakes are the planet's most powerful, with moment magnitudes (Mw) that can exceed 9.0. Since 1900, all earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 or greater have been megathrust earthquakes. No other type of known terrestrial source of tectonic activity has produced earthquakes of this scale.
During the rupture, one side of the fault is pushed upwards relative to the other, and it is this type of movement that is known as thrust." - Taken from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megathrust_earthquake)
In this case, subduction occurred across a 310 mile long region of the Pacific Plate when it shifted beneath the Okhotsk Plate by 60 ft. This resulted in an explosive 9.0 seismic wave, followed by destructive 6.0-7.0+ aftershocks for several minutes. Plate adjustments from this event can still be felt today. The event caused mainlain Japan to move 8 ft east, and may have even shifted the Earth on its axis by as much as 25 cm.
Subsequently, it also triggered colossal 130 ft tsunami waves that swept across coastal towns and cities. Imagine a huge wave higher than your town's water tower! The tsunami caused a brief nuclear meltdown crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex. More than 15,000 people perished in the event, and over 1 million buildings sustained damage or collapsed completely. The earthquake is said to be the 4th most powerful ever documented, and coupled with the tsunami makes it the most costly disaster in world history, with an estimated $235 billion in damages.
"Georgia Tech Associate Professor Zhigang Peng has converted the seismic waves into audio files. The results allow experts and general audiences to "hear" what the quake sounded like as it moved through the earth and around the globe."
Video Source: https://youtu.be/iGtRko8y4Fo
Alto Church Audio Recording: https://youtu.be/puvHPusaJTk
A destructive F4 tornado raced across central Indiana, impacting the towns of Russiaville, Kokomo, Alto, and Greentown in rapid sucession.
90% of all the buildings in Russiaville were either destroyed or damaged, while the small town of Alto was destroyed. In Kokomo, the tornado left behind an 800 yard swath of extreme damage. It blasted the ground with so much force, that well defined spirals of ground scouring could be seen in aerial photos that Dr. Fujita captured during his survey of the damage.
Above is a rare audio clip from a church in Alto, as it was hit by the tornado. Among the sound of blasting wind, unnerving screams can also be heard. The storm claimed 25 lives, and injured more than 800 people.
Joplin, Missouri Tornado, 2011
Continuing on the subject of tornadoes, I came across this video on Youtube shot by Issac Duncan, as an EF5 tornado blew through Joplin, Missouri in May, 2011. This is one of the only videos I know of, that was shot above ground directly in the path of an EF5 tornado. While not much is seen, the audio is incredible...
Confused strangers took shelter in a walk-in fridge unit at a gas station and shared what could've been their last moments on Earth together. Their cries, screams, and prayers would be drowned out by a powerful surge of 200mph winds that ripped through the gas station, utterly destroying it.
The Joplin EF5 is one of the most deadly, and costly tornadoes in US history.
Aurora Theater Shooting Police Scanner Recording, 2012
"Suspect is gonna be male, unknown race. Believed to be wearing a vest, gas mask, and multiple long guns. "
Chaos erupts over a commutations scanner as police respond to a shooting in progress at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Citizens gathered for a midnight screening for the highly anticipated Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. It was a night filled with excitement, delight, and for once peace as the opening credits began to roll.
Peculiarly, one man, dressed in some kind of costume, stood up from the front row and walked out a nearby emergency exit. Though it was odd that someone who went to great lengths to participate in the fandom left only 30 minutes into the film, audience members didn't find him particularly out of place or threatening.
Moments later, the man returned wielding a shotgun, semi-automatic assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, and a handgun. Into the bewildered crowd, James Holmes threw two canisters of tear gas. A jolting discharge from the shotgun shook the room with fear, and then Holmes turned the weapon on the 400-member audience and began firing into the seats. Police dispatch was contacted at 12:39 AM. 90 seconds later, police arrived and began taking measures to control the situation.
This audio recording is what ensued thereafter. Things rapidly get out of hand, but then also trigger an impressive and lighting fast chain reaction from law enforcement as they work as a team to control the situation. It's moments like this, I feel like we take our law enforcement officers for granted.
November 5th Gulf Cartel Shootout, Matamoros, Mexico 2010
"That was a grenade!"
The Mexican Armed forces had been on the hunt for Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, drug lord of the Gulf Cartel, for more than 6 months when they finally tracked him down in Matamoros, Mexico (a border town with Brownsville, Texas). Gunshots rang out at approximately 10:00 AM and didn't stop until 6:00 PM that night. It took more than 660 Mexican marines to defeat the cartel and root out the drug lord.
This happened during what many consider the height of the Mexican Drug War, which was a 6 year span between 2006 and 2012, where 60,000 people had been killed. It was at one time more violent than the Iraq War. The drug cartels operate nearly uncontested, easily overpowering citizens, local police, and even the Mexican Army. Currently, the drug cartels earn $64 billion annually, more than twice that of McDonald's. The United States is responsible for 50% of their business.
Not much is seen in the video, but it's the audio that's compelling; unrelenting gunfire in the middle of town implies how well organized and funded the cartels can be. Officially, the Mexican government claims 10 people were killed in the exchange, but witnesses and newspapers reported 4 to 10 times more causalities. The battle was so intense that it temporarily shutdown the international bridges that connect Matamoros and Brownsville.
September 11th ATC Recordings, 2001
American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175: https://youtu.be/suE77AkSMeE
"Nobody move, everything will be okay! If you try to make any move, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane! Just stay quiet!"
This video summarizes the audio recordings from air traffic controllers to Flight 11 and Flight 175, and was set to visuals to roughly reconstruct the events that happened on 9/11 regarding the World Trade Center towers. Confusion and disbelief by the FAA controllers rapidly turns into an intense exchange with NORAD to locate the hijacked airliners and scramble jets to intercept.
Of course the tragic events of 9/11 were felt across the country and the world. These were the final communications, the final moments, of these flights.
Brandon Lawson 911 Phone Call, 2013
Brandon Lawson, 26, inexplicably went missing during a frantic 911 phone call approximately 12:45 AM, August 8th 2013. His last known location was south of Bronte, Texas near a rest stop on US 277. The only clues left behind were this phone call, a call to his brother and girlfriend, and his abandoned truck that had run out of gas and was parked haphazardly on the side of the road completely intact. There were also a series of pings from his cell phone to nearby towers.
His slurred and incoherent rambling and thick Texan accent make this 911 phone call a point of continuous discussion as to what he's actually saying and describing leading up to his disappearance.
It is theorized that he may have ran into someone on the side of the street, or after having run out of gas he may have approached people and saw something he shouldn't have. Some believe that another person may have been with him or caught him during the phone call, and at one point audibly interjects during the conversation.
Nobody knows for sure what happened. His body was never found. Crucial clues may be in his 911 call, but its almost impossible to understand him. His words are just slightly unintelligible. If anyone can figure it out, it could blow the case wide open. Here is a transcript of what I believe he might be saying:
Operator: 911 emergency?
Brandon: Yes, I'm in the middle of a field. (inaudible) Right here going towards Abilene on Bronte side. My truck ran out of gas. There's one car here. I got chased into the woods.
- Heavy sighing - Please hurry.
Operator: Okay, run that by me one more time?
Brandon: When I was talking to 'em, I suddenly ran into them.
Operator: Ah, you ran into them. Okay.
Brandon: Yes, the first guy.
Operator: Do you need an ambulance?
Brandon: (possible second person interjecting with "yes" or could be a loud sigh) No, I need the cops.
Operator: Okay. Is anybody hurt? Hello?
Charley Project profile: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/l/lawson_brandon.html
Byron Smith Basement Audio Recording, 2012
"I will not live in fear."
Novermber 26th, 2012 - Little Falls, Minnesota... Byron Smith, 65, was the victim of a series of burglaries, from which $15,000 worth of his possessions (including jewelry and medals) were stolen, among other property damage from the break-ins. Police response was unsatisfactory, as they told Smith to "upgrade his security," which didn't prevent the continuing robberies.
Fed up and outraged, Smith set into motion a plan to confront the robbers once and for all. He parked his car around the corner to appear as if he wasn't home, and with a loaded semi-automatic rifle waited for the thieves in his basement.
Sounds noble, but that's when things took a darker turn. Below is a transcript of the audio recording from Smith's security system. You tell me if his actions were warranted...
*Glass breaking* Nick Brady, age 17, breaking and entering through a window at Byron Smith's residence.
Unbeknownst to Brady, Smith was waiting in the basement with a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and a revolver. Smith hid by his book shelf, near the bottom of the stairs with a direct view of the basement door. Brady rummaged around upstairs for a couple of minutes before making his way to the basement.
As Brady opened the door and began to walk down the stairs, shots rang out from Smith's rifle. Brady, shot in the torso, gasped in pain and tumbled down the stairs wounded. Without hesitation, Smith fatally shot Brady in the face. He then wrapped his body up in a tarp and dragged it into a nearby room. Smith quietly reset the trap, reloaded the gun, and retook his position.
Approximately 10 minutes later, Brady's older cousin, Haile Kifer, age 18, approached the residence. Looking for Brady, Haile would eventually retrace his steps to the basement door.
When she descended the stairs, that's when Smith met her with a single shot of his rifle. Much like Brady, she fell down the stairs.
An awkward bit of dialogue followed when Smith attempted the same head shot that killed Brady, but his gun jammed.
Smith: Oh sorry about that.
Haile: *dazed* Oh my god!
Smith then drew a 22-caliber revolver and shot her multiple times in the chest.
Smith: You're dying!
*Shots being fired*
Haile: My god!
Haile was incapacitated, but not quite dead and suffered immensely. Byron proceeded to wrap her up in a tarp, and drag her next to her cousin's deceased body. He observed her writhing in pain and choking on blood for some time before putting the revolver under her chin and pulling the trigger. Smith held the bodies in his basement until Friday, claiming he didn't want to bother police on Thanksgiving day.
Afterwards, Smith described the killings as doing his "civic duty" and compared his actions to cleaning up a mess "worse than diarrhea." He was found guilty on two counts of first degree murder with premeditation and two counts of second degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
How things got turned around on Smith at court, there has to be a circumstance of endangerment or peril to justify homicide in Minnesota. In this case, Smith caused and controlled everything and murdered Brady and Kifer even when they posed no threat to him. He could've just called the police from the basement, or confronted the kids, but he chose to murder them instead.
Below is the link to the audio recording. I debated on whether or not to actually share the link here, because this is unlike other audio recordings in this album. If it is too graphic for Imgur, I will edit the post and remove it.
Raw Audio Recording: https://youtu.be/iyZxtz-4PKU
Kent State Massacre, 1970
The picture above is how our government decided to deal with a protest among students at Kent State University, Ohio on May 4th, 1970. It looks like a picture straight out of Vietnam, but in fact those rifles were aimed and discharged at peacefully protesting students, and this picture was taken the moment the Ohio National Guard opened fire.
The protest organized among the student body upon hearing President Nixon's plan to declare war on Cambodia, after continuous unfulfilled promises to end the war in Vietnam. In fact, the Vietnam war was a widely protested and criticized war effort, which came to a head here when our own government violently turned on protesters. 67 shots rang out over 13 seconds, killing 4 people and injuring 9 others while also creating further chaos.
The protesters did display radically violent and destructive behavior and mob mentality in the days prior. Their initial protests did quite a bit of property damage, including burning down an ROTC building and assaulting firefighters tasked with putting the blaze out. On the day of the shootings, however, they were peaceful with only a handful of students reacting to the dispersal attempt, certainly nothing worth killing for.
The FBI destroyed footage related to the incident, and only a few samples exist today. One point of contention is if there was an actual command to fire. You be the judge...
Audio Recording of the Kent State Shootings: https://youtu.be/TZzkEIYIBYE
Alleged Audio of the Command to Fire: https://youtu.be/Mid-j9Ki49s