Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking for an explanation about those bloodcurdling screams

A reader sends along the following:

I live on Second Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Street, and this is the second night since last week that I've heard bloodcurdling screams around 12:30 a.m. outside of my window toward Sixth Street. I've reported it to the 9th precinct, but was just curious if anyone else in the neighborhood has heard this or has any info on what's going on.

The reader lives facing a courtyard, not Second Avenue.

This was a few days ago. There is a follow-up note:

I heard it last night. It woke up both myself and my roommate around 3 a.m. I'm really curious to know if anyone else heard it and what theories they may have on what it was. Our first thought was of course an animal, but this was extremely human-like — scary.

Anyone with theories?

26 comments:

Accidental Londoner said...

Do you guys have urban foxes in your area? I live in London and am frequently convinced one of my neighbours is being brutally murdered due to the noises I hear at night, but when I look outside there is just a pair of foxes; their cries are uncannily human!

Sammy said...

It's the sound of the East Village dying.

abrod said...

an overenthusiastic drunk NYU girl perhaps? I'm convinced there's a woo-girl arms race to see who can yell louder.
Or perhaps it's said girl after the bro she's chilling with gets a little too handsy.

Anonymous said...

This is meant to be serious. Are there any children who live in apartments adjacent to you? I've heard about kids aged 2-6 having Night Terrors. Wake up screaming. Happened to a buddy's kid, as I recall. I'll ask him for what happened. I think the kid stopped after two weeks. Came and went. Fucked up.

Anonymous said...

Call 911 when you hear it. Geez. Isn't that the A-B-Cs of situations like this?

Accidental Londoner, no, there's no chance it's a fox. Do a google street view image search of the area and you'll see just how densely 'urban' this part of the city is.

Anonymous said...

HOT SEX?????

esquared said...

the reaction after the landlord has increased their rent

or it's the new WOOOOOO

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's those horrible JC Penney television ads that shows screaming idiots.

bowery boy said...

I observed a similar thing when walking up an avenue the other day. It seemed like some kind of flash mob-type event. Folks going both ways were involved, so it wasn't just one group of hipsters. it did seem odd at the time.

Marty Wombacher said...

I think it's Axl Rose rehearsing for the February 15th gig.

Anonymous said...

I live at 5th st and 2nd ave, facing back coirtyard. I heard the shrieks too. Pretty sure it was feral cat/s in heat.

Citylion said...

Two explanations, first is the possible freak out of a patient at the mental care facility on 5th Street between Bowery and 2nd Avenue. I doubt that's the case though because I believe it's mostly a day care facility for the patients. (I used to live next door and heard some screams, shook my head, turned up the volume and threw my head phones on)
The second is that someone kidnapped a fisher cat from the Appalachian mountains or Conneticut. I doubt that one too though.

Anonymous said...

Foxes sound like that. Uncannily human sounding. We had one near our upstate dacha a few years ago, drove us crazy until we found out what it was.

Anonymous said...

I lived on 5th St for 5 years and would hear it all of the time. I think it's from the mental health facility on the block. I was never able to confirm, but it's my best gues.

Anonymous said...

@abrod - yes most nights there definitely seems to be a contest about which woo girl can scream louder.

feral cats can sound really scary and really human-like. quite reasonable possibility if the sounds are coming from a courtyard.

Goggla said...

My first thought was a fox. I lived in a similarly dense area of London and the fox cries at night were spine-chilling. I also live on this block and there are a TON of feral cats. Sometimes their howling sounds other-worldly.

There also used to be a woman who lived on the block who was prone to crazy screaming just to be terrifying. I haven't seen her in a few months, but she may still be around.

Anonymous said...

I live on sixth near the Bowery corner facing the courtyard. Haven't heard that yet and I was awake at the times it happened. Must be over by you.

Anonymous said...

Battle Cats!!!

Anonymous said...

I used to live on the corner of 2nd ave and 6th street. My former roommate, who still lives there, used to scream as though he was being murdered. I have no idea If it was night terrors or insanity. Regardless, It was terrifying to wake up to in the middle of the night. I wonder if it was him you were hearing.

LIBERATION said...

Lana Del Rey?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I heard that, (live on 2nd between fifth and sixth with a window to six) and none of you are funny. it was terrifying, and could have actually been someone being hurt, beaten, or worse. I thought I also heard a man yelling, that first night. not to be a downer, but if you didnt hear that, please no jokes about drunk freshmen. this was real, and it was serious. boyfriend and I checked out the fire escape to no result. terrifying sound, really spooky.

Anonymous said...

I live on Fifth just east of Second Avenue and our bedroom is in back. I heard it last night at 3:32am and several times after and can say with near certainty that the shrieks are from feral cats getting it on.

Anonymous said...

We had a problem like that on 7th and B a couple years ago. Turned out it was sex, sex like Hurt Me Until I Scream Like I'm Dying Sex. It was alarming, even after the cops showed up multiple nights and flushed out the couple going at it. People close to the apartment figured it out well before people a building or so away because they could hear some, um, foreplay nosies before the out and out I Am Dying Screaming. People a building or two away only heard the death screams. Everyone called the cops but by the time they showed up, it was, um, over. It wasn't until people in the same building insisted, after a few says of frantic calls, that the cops check it out that it ended. Sure, sometimes you hear rough sex but this was something well beyond that, it was, ahem, a lot like loud English foxes but louder.

Anonymous said...

We live in an apartment on 2nd Ave between 5th and 6th streets, mine and one of my roommates windows are on the back side of the building. We heard this screaming around when this was first posted at night (end of january) my roommate thought it was potentially cats, but its been happening with more frequency and to me does not sound like an animal. I've heard urban foxes in the UK and they sound more like baby's crying than people screaming and definitely different to these screams. Since this weekend i've been hearing it around 12:30am-1am then later maybe around 2am-3am, on Sunday and today I have been woken up in the early hours to the screaming around 6am-7am. I was also shocked to hear it at around 10am on wednesday morning too. Its really disturbing, hard to know what to do about it. Its strange that its always about the same sound and for the same length of time, this makes me think its not cats too, but also strange there is no other noise like banging or another voice/sound of a person.Our 3rd room mate who's window faces the courtyard towards 2nd ave and doesn't hear the screaming.
Our downstairs neighbor has also heard it too...

Anonymous said...

We hear it also, and the screams continue...I hear it pretty much every night now. Last night someone actually responded by yelling "shut the f#%* up!". The night before I was woken up every hour from around 1 to 4. It is getting ridiculous and I don't know about other people, but I wake up every time because it is so disturbing. I reported it to the 9th precinct today but all they could say is call them when it actually happens. It's so hard to pin point where it is coming from though because it is relatively short, and usually when I'm sound asleep. If it is a person, which it sounds like it is, I really hope they get caught. If it is cats, I hate to say it, but they should be euthanized. Someone please help all the restless neighbors, it is getting very tiresome.

PA Dave said...

I had the same blood curdling screams for 2 years in and around my yard in PA. We also thought it was human at first, but as we heard it more often, we could tell it was an animal of some kind. It was driving us crazy. It is definitely a FOX. It screamed one night at my dog and I ran out with a flashlight. The fox ran into the woods and I saw the it put its head back like a wolf and belt out that human like shriek that I had been hearing for 2 years. Mystery solved, but now we have a whole family of them and I fear for my dog's life. That thing is scary as hell.