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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Moodus Noises - A Story from my Home Town

Since this is Earthquake Week I thought I would share an “earthquake” story close to my heart and something I have grown up with. I grew up and went to school in a little town called Moodus, Connecticut. It’s really a village within a town with a little over 1,000 people. Coming from a small town you grow up learning the legend and lore of your community and one of the things you learn from elementary school is about the Moodus Noises. Now, that is not only our school “mascot” (we don’t have a visual mascot) but it comes from one of our famous stories.

Moodus was settled in 1662 by the English. The name Moodus comes from the Algonquin word “Machimoodus” which can be roughly translated to “place of noises” or “place of bad noises”. One legend that the natives believed was that when the god Hobomock was angry you would hear the “noises”. Every now and again to this day you hear these noises, mostly centered around an area known as Cave Hill and Mt. Tom.

While at the time, these “noises” were believed to be caused by an angry god, they are now known to be caused by micro quakes. These quakes tend to register in the negative numbers on the Richter scale and are typically not felt, but you can hear the rumbling and grumbling. That is not to say that the people of Moodus never feel these quakes. The strongest quake on record in Connecticut registered at approximately a 4.4 and was centered in Moodus on May 16, 1791. You can read more about this record quake here. Much more recently, on March 23, 2011 a 1.3 magnitude quake hit Moodus and people reported hearing a sound like an explosion. You can read more about this most recent quake here if you would like. I can remember being in math class one day in middle school (which was in a basement classroom) and we could very faintly hear the window panes rattling, to which our teacher says, “that would be the Moodus Noises!”.

An interesting find while researching my own Moodus Noises in that there is a story that was written based off of our noises – The Dunwich Horror by H. P. Lovecraft. You will find Nick at Lions and Men will be reviewing this in the future - I will post a link when it's up.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. What an interesting story! I'm off to check out the record quake in Moodus from the 1700s!

  2. Awesome that your hometown has that much culture!!!

  3. Natalie - I was really surprised to hear that it was such a large quake - I'm not even really sure where it town it really hit - but it was a long time ago so...

    Allison - That's really about all the culture the town has - mostly it's just old farms and a lot of cows!


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