The Elusive “Quackers”

The Soviet K-219 submarine

A major component of the Cold War and the Arms Race was the use of submarines by both NATO and the Soviet Union in an attempt to gain an edge at sea, and ships on each side frequently attempted to track the other side’s submarines. However, a strange phenomena known as “Quackers” were frequently encountered by the submarines of the Soviet fleet during the Cold War, and are still just as mysterious as when they were first heard.

Similar to the Bloop, Quackers were a series of unidentified noises that were mostly encountered by Soviet naval vessels, and received their nickname from the Russian translation for the noise a frog makes. Unlike the Bloop (And the many other noises recorded by NOAA) however, the Quackers were never recorded and there exist only the descriptions given by Soviet sailors. They were often detected by Soviet ballistic missile submarines in the northern Atlantic Ocean, particularly in places such as the Barents Sea north of Scandinavia as well as the Arctic Ocean, although they were reported as far south as the Bermuda Triangle. The noises seemed to originate from objects that appeared to recognize the existence of the Soviet subs, as they frequently appeared to be following or observing the submarines while consistently emitting what was described as a “croaking” sound. The objects themselves could not be detected on normal sonar, and that it wasn’t until more sensitive sonar equipment was deployed on submarines could be detected.

Barents SeaAccording to an interview conducted by with Nikolai Tushin, former Captain 1st Rank in the Soviet Navy, he himself saw objects such as balls and glowing cylinders, although his experience was hardly unique among submarine commanders. Apparently Quackers were such a relatively common occurrence that sailors aboard Soviet submarines had a phobia of them, and feared that listening to the strange sounds could cause insanity. Submarine commanders even ordered that the sounds not be recorded in the logs, and by the 1970’s a group was tasked by Soviet naval intelligence and the Soviet Academy of Sciences to investigate ocean-based phenomena.

Supposedly Quackers were encountered not just by the Soviet Navy, but also by NATO submarines as well; however, due to the Cold War the Soviets theorized the Quackers were possibly a new NATO technology, while NATO thought the same about the Soviets. Obviously, no man-made submersible at the time (Or today) was capable of the speeds achieved by the strange objects which was supposedly roughly 200 kilometers per hour, so it has also been theorized that they were alien crafts or an undiscovered creature.

K-219 wreck
Location where the K-219 sank within the Bermuda Triangle

Nikolai Tushin himself believes that the Quackers seemed to be acting in an almost friendly manner, and it has been noted that the objects were displaying intelligence. For example, Quackers were known to follow submarines and sometimes circle them, as well as attempting to avoid the pulses created by sonar. Contact with the objects was attempted, although this mostly resulted in the sources of the noise changing their movement or the Quackers’ pitch changing. And while the presence of Quackers was always relatively peaceful (If not very unsettling), Tushin claims that the K-219, a Soviet submarine that sank in the Bermuda Triangle in 1986, was sank from an encounter with the Quackers, as it was found that the sub had been hit by what was believed to have been a foreign submarine, although the culprit was never determined.

Oddly, reports of Quackers have ceased since the 1990’s when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War came to an end, while the Soviet’s special group appointed to research them was dissolved as funding ran out, similar to other branches of the Soviet military at the time. The information that was acquired regarding the phenomena has also been classified within the Russian Federation, as well as any information on them acquired within the United States.

Currently there are few sources of information regarding the Quackers and the topic is largely unknown in contrast to other undersea anomalies such as the Bloop, though many suggest that the Quackers were of alien origin or at least some form of undiscovered intelligence. However, since the Quackers have since disappeared and show no signs of returning, it seems that the answer as to their origin will remain a mystery.


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