New Jersey

NJ Vineyard Owner Says Mysterious Booms Came From His Homemade Hail Cannon

Over the past few months, police in one New Jersey town have received several 911 calls reporting extremely loud noises that sound like explosions or a “bomb dropped from a plane"

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Mysterious booms that have been rattling homes and residents in a quiet New Jersey community were from a "homemade hail cannon," according to a vineyard owner.

What does a hail cannon do and why is it so loud that police in Mullica Township received numerous calls about explosion-like sounds over the past few months? Rob Butkowski claimed he has been using his cone-shaped device to protect his crop from bad weather. The cannon blasts shockwaves into the sky with the goal of breaking up cloud formation and scare away birds that eat his grapes.

Police have not confirmed that it was Butkowski's cannon that caused the loud boom. They said they planned to launch a helicopter to look for debris or anything that might provide clues.

Those who live nearby have described the extremely loud noises as explosions or a “bomb dropped from a plane.” 

“Oh my God. Yes. I just heard a really loud bang,” one resident said in a 911 call obtained by NBC10. “Like it shook the entire house.” 

Alesia Schute, a Mullica Township resident, said she heard the noises over the weekend. 

“They were so close to my house, that it made us uneasy,” she said. “That just something’s not right. A little bit between a shotgun and a cannon.” 

Reports of the sounds have been coming in from people across a roughly 10-mile span. 

Officials aren’t aware of any damage caused by the booms.

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