If you've ever heard a low, droning rumble at night that other people didn't hear, you may have experienced the sound known as the Hum. Answering the question "what is the Hum?" isn't easy. Different cities have different Hums, such as the Taos Hum or the Windsor Hum, and different people experience the Hum in different ways - more intense indoors, or at night. What's more, each Hum seems to have its own cause.
Explanations for the Hum range from low frequency sound waves emitted by industrial machines to some kind of weather phenomenon and government conspiracies. Regardless of what causes it, the Hum clearly has detrimental effects on sufferers, who complain of insomnia, inability to concentrate, and depression - all as the low drone buzzes in their brain.Here are some of the prominent stories and theories about The Hum. Do you hear it?
What is the Hum?
The Hum is essentially a distant, low-frequency rumble, usually in either in the Very Low Frequency or Extremely Low Frequency band. Some people hear it, most can't. Described as sounding like an idling diesel engine, loud refrigerator, or low drone, the Hum is heard all over the world, with different properties, more audible in some places than others.No scientific explanation for the Hum exists, but those who hear it swear it's real. And they swear it drives them crazy, staying in their ears for hours at a time, distracting them, and sometimes worse.
The Hum Is Different for Everyone Who Hears It
There is no one Hum. Some hear it more often inside, others hear it loudest outdoors. Some have good luck with earplugs, others don't find they help at all. Sometimes, the Hum is heard louder by young people; in other cases, age doesn't matter. In Britain, the Hum tends to be heard most by middle-aged women, while in New Mexico, it's heard by old people of both sexes.The lack of consistency in the Hum, along with the lack of physical evidence, makes the Hum all but impossible to study - or cure.
Nobody's Quite Sure What Causes the Hum
The Hum first began plaguing residents of Bristol, England, in the 1970s. But even before that, English residents complained of droning, buzzing, and rumbling sounds. A 1977 investigation in a sound journal pegged the cause as low frequency sound waves made by industrial machinery, sounds to which some proved more sensitive than others.
However, this explanation doesn't make sense for places where the Hum is heard - like the artist colony where the Taos Hum is loudest. How does industrial equipment in Bristol make noise around the world? Some theorize communication signals on submarines are the cause - but then how is the Hum be heard in landlocked areas?
As with most strange phenomena, there's a conspiracy angle. With the Hum, this conspiracy involves government mind control experiments. Other possible explanations include electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, digital radios, aliens, fracking, oil drilling, tightening of ear muscles, audio hallucinations, or psychosomatic illness.Can all of these things cause the Hum? Is there one Hum, or many different Hums that all sound somewhat alike? The answer may never be clear.
Different Cities Have Vastly Different Hums
Hums around the world have names that correspond to their location. There's a Taos Hum in New Mexico, a Kokomo Hum in Indiana, a Seattle Hum, different Hums in different cities in Australia, the Bristol Hum in England (probably the first recorded instance of the Hum), and so on. Some places have no Hum at all. The Hums vary between 32 and 80 Hz, and their intensity can vary between locations in the same town.Research has pointed toward different causes for each different Hum - but little has been conclusively proven.