A natural phenomenon that has been baffling scientists at the University of Alabama for years has taken yet another strange “turn” over the past few months and days. At the grave site of Hank Williams—the legendary country singer who is eternally entombed at the Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama—unexplained seismic activity has been occurring for many years that has seismologists from all around the world scratching their heads at its origins. And for even more unexplained reasons, the activity has now hit record lows.
Though residents of the area around the Hank Williams grave site attest they’ve been experiencing the phenomenon for much longer, it was on November 11th, 2009 at about 9:55 p.m. local time that the first registered earthquake occurred. Its epicenter was designated as 1304 Upper Wetumpka Rd in Montgomery, AL where the Hank Williams grave sits. Houses in the area suffered only very minor damage, mostly dishes and trinkets falling off of shelves, but the unexplained seismic activity was still enough to spook locals, especially since no fault lines run through the area, and there’s no geological explanation for the events.
Other measurable seismic events occurred on January 13th, 2013, and on August 24th, 2013 emanating from the grave site, prompting scientists from the University of Alabama to monitor the location more closely, eventually revealing almost daily events where something was making the earth shake, and the grave of Hank Williams itself was the epicenter.
With no other leads on what might be causing the seismic events, University of Alabama researchers created a timeline of the earthquakes, and working with country music historians, lined the events up with important moments in country music over the last few years. And lo and behold, they found a parallel.
The first major event from November 11th, 2009 happened at the same time Taylor Swift received her very first CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year award. The second event on January 13th, 2013 lined up with the now notorious revelation that country star Blake Shelton called classic country music fans “Old Farts and Jackasses,” and the third major event on August 24th, 2013 occurred when Florida Georgia Line’s blockbuster song “Cruise” became the longest-charting #1 single in country music history.
“This led us to believe that the tremors might be the cause of Hank Williams being disturbed by current events in country music,” Alabama University seismic researcher Chad Frankenfurter says. “The more colloquial way of putting it is that these small earthquakes are being caused by Hank Williams, well … ‘rolling over in his grave.’ Though of course scientifically we have no way of proving this, it is pretty uncanny how the seismic activity parallels dubious moments on the country music calendar.”
But there’s good news for nearby neighbors who’ve had about enough of rattling dishes and unexplained shakes: Beginning on November 3rd, 2015 when country music artist Chris Stapleton had a massive night on the CMA Awards, winning over current artists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Blake Shelton, the seismic activity has nearly ceased. And on Sunday, April 3rd, when Stapleton virtually swept the ACM Awards, the tremors hit all-time lows since record keeping was started in 2013.
Scientists say the seismic activity hasn’t completely ceased however. Working off of their theory that the tremors were being caused by bad country music, they took precise measurements during Sunday’s ACM Awards, and lo and behold, when Luke Bryan performed and flubbed one of the first notes, some movement was recorded. Same when former boy band member Nick Jonas took the stage and played one of the most terrible guitar solos in live music history.
“I guess Hank Williams is a Chris Stapleton fan,” Chad Frankenfurter of the University of Alabama says, “But it also seems like Hank thinks there’s still a lot of work left to do.”