A housing complex in Bangor, Maine is the latest location of 2013’s rash of “mystery illnesses” caused by unexplained odors.
Whether it be clearing out a Wal-Mart, evacuating an elementary school, or causing a panic in a Jamaican postal depot, mysterious odors with extreme side effects are one of this years strangest new trends in the unexplained, and they don’t appear to be stopping any time soon. The latest odd olfactory occurrence took place at a small housing complex in Maine two weeks ago.
In February, residents of Autumn West apartment complex at 678 Union Street began complaining of a “God awful” smell that they couldn’t quite put their fingers on. Some thought it smelled a bit like burning rubber, others like a kind of musty, dirty smoke. One resident, Laurie Baker, even began to notice strange symptoms that coincided with the appearance of the odors; a sunburn-like skin rash appeared all over her body and her dog, Bella, began to experience respiratory problems.
The mysterious smells and their accompanying side effects eventually got so unbearable that many of the renters had to be evacuated to a local hotel.
Both the police and local fire department were called out to the location on separate occasions, and while the air tests showed elevated levels of ethanol or other chemicals often found in “clandestine laboratories” (read: meth labs), each investigation came up empty handed for a source of the mystery fumes. The housing authority and an air quality testing company have also conducted their own tests which have yielded similar dead ends.
“I wish we could have found something,” housing authority director Mike Myatt told The Bangor Daily News. “We’re hoping that it’s resolved quickly and that we can get these people back in their homes.”
While these weird events remain unexplained, the last mystery odor caused a panic in Jamaica and had me considering the chances that all of these very similar occurrences were somehow related. One commenter had an interesting response to that idea:
Either this is a neurotoxin being released in public places for testing or there are natural vents opening up exposing an unknown set of fumes from within the earth.
Could there be some truth to either of those theories? We might never know for sure, but I want to know what you think. Send your thoughts to me on Facebook, tweet me @WhoForted, or leave a message in the comments below.