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A mysterious sound is plaguing a Florida neighborhood. This mom is trying to get to the bottom of it

A Florida mom of three, Sara Healy, launched an investigation to solve the mystery of a puzzling deep bass sound that has rattled her community for years.

A mysterious, intense vibration from the ocean has led community members in a Tampa neighborhood to band together to solve the enigma, a local leading the effort told Fox News. 

"Nobody can really figure out where it's coming from or what it is where the source is," South Tampa resident Sara Healy, who launched an investigation into the noise, told Fox News. "It's not even so much of hearing it as it is feeling it, because it's more of a vibration. It's just been puzzling residents and keeping people up at night, literally and figuratively, trying to figure out where this noise is coming from."

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Frustrated South Tampa residents have heard the puzzling deep bass sound periodically since 2022. Dozens of noise complaints and theories posted to a local moms group on social media led Healy to launch the grassroots effort.

The Florida mother of three first heard the noise Jan 13, and reached out to Dr. James Locascio of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, who speculated that the sound could come from black drum fish mating. She also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for underwater microphones to analyze the noise alongside citizen experiences and observations.

"Social media has definitely played a huge role in this," Healy said. "We have a lot of sets of ears out there … and any time somebody hears or perceives the bass noise, they go into the group, and they say, ‘hey, is anybody else hearing it?’"

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Healy's experience of the mystery vibration was less intense than some of her neighbors' accounts. She said the puzzling bass noise has severely disrupted some community members.

"Friends of mine have said it's been intense enough to rattle their windows," she said. "People have said that their kids have woken up. Some other people have said that when they lay their head down on their pillow at night they can't fall asleep because there's just this pervasive vibration coming through their pillow." 

The GoFundMe has raised over $2,650 dollars, surpassing Locascio's $2,500 threshold needed to cover the costs of the equipment. The local marine scientist installed five microphones in the bay and a sixth device will be added soon, but Healy said citizen scientists' journals about the activity will be more beneficial than recording analysis.

"People have been very generous," Healy said, adding that the connection between "neighbors and community members through social networks has been great."

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Healy has already made spreadsheets listing citizens' accounts of dates and times. She said they've kept track of concerts or parties happening while the bass sound was occurring, and one resident even followed the sound to find two minivans with 40 speakers in the trunks. 

"These are all of the alternative explanations that we're cataloging and trying to keep track of … to compare and contrast when we pull the microphones out of the water," she said. 

Community members have proposed a variety of theories behind the mystery noise, ranging from boat parties to secret military projects to aliens. But Locascio said the tone, rhythm and distance of the noise matched black drum fish mating sounds — a species currently in their mating season, FOX 13 reported

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Locascio conducted a similar experiment decades prior and found black drum fish were behind mysterious noises in Cape Coral and Punta Gorda, FOX 13 reported. Like in Tampa, the marine scientist used underwater audio devices and citizen observations, giving Healy hope they could solve her own mystery.

"The two prevailing theories are it's either the fish or it's music," Healy said. "I think it's probably a combination of a couple of things. I just think that more information would be helpful."

The underwater devices will collect 20 seconds of sound every 5 minutes until mid-April when they will be removed for analysis, Healy said. She hopes to have a definitive answer about the noise's origin by mid-summer. 

"Hopefully whatever information we can provide will help them zero in on it if it's not fish," Healy said. "And if it is fish, hopefully people will just get a sense of relief knowing that it's not a rude neighbor or inconsiderate business."

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