Tim Whyte | The Case of the Phantom Explosion

Tim Whyte

Get your tinfoil hats, folks. It’s conspiracy theory time.

SOMETHING exploded in the hills near Newhall on Tuesday night. That much is certain. The video doorbell and security camera footage proves it. 

In one video posted on social media, you can hear what sounds like a helicopter traveling overhead, and you’ll see a bright flash followed closely by the sound of an explosion, but the audio and video cut off immediately after the explosion.

In another, where someone’s doorbell camera just happens to point in the right direction, you can see a light that appears to ascend from the hills, then a bright flash, followed several seconds later by the loud “Pop!” of an explosion, as the sound travels more slowly than the light.

People who heard it — and plenty of people did — described the sound as being quite loud, like that of a crash or an explosion, as opposed to something like fireworks or gunfire.

Whatever it was, it was not “small.”

Then, a few hours later, a Federal Aviation Administration emergency beacon’s “ping” was detected in the hills near the Newhall Pass. 

A multi-agency search-and-rescue effort was initiated, as the circumstantial evidence — the flash, the bang and the beacon — seemed to indicate a downed aircraft in the area. 

But, the FAA reported, no aircraft had been reported missing or overdue in the area.

All through the next day, search teams from the county Sheriff’s Department, the Fire Department and the Civil Air Patrol tried to zero in on the phantom crash site, to no avail.

By Thursday, the search was called off, having come up with zero, zilch, nada.

So, what was it?

You would think, if there was indeed a downed aircraft beacon, the searchers would have been able to zero in on it with the precision of a teenager using “Find My Friends” at the mall. 


So, it would seem odd that, with the beacon being detected, there would be no evidence of a crash site. I suppose it’s plausible that, sometime, years from now, a hiker will stumble across the long-lost wreckage and the grisly remains of the crash’s victims. 

Or… someone in some dimly lit government office has already solved the mystery, and we just don’t know it. Imagine, for example, that the explosion was an unmanned military drone. 

It would be easy enough to conceal, since there would be no grieving families who might go public about a lost loved one. 

Plausible, right? But of course, as of this writing, there has been no public acknowledgment — by the military or anyone else — of an aircraft, manned or unmanned, going missing. 

So, the mystery persists.

And, if it wasn’t an airplane, helicopter or drone crash — and if you think the FAA beacon thing was just a fluke — that leaves only one unexplored scenario:


You read it here first.

Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal.

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