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Maddening “Humming” Noise Breaking Out Everywhere


By James Donahue

March 2006


People interested in the esoteric probably know all about that Taos, New Mexico “humm” that has troubled people in and around that community for years.


It is described as a faint, low-frequency humming noise, between 30 and 80 Hz on the frequency scale that can only be heard by about two percent, or about 1,400 people there. The others say they don’t hear it at all.


Next we heard about a similar problem among residents of Kokomo, Indiana. They also have been haunted by a strange humming sound that they cannot trace.


In recent months we have been aware of a number of stories, now coming from all over the world, about towns where people are complaining about hearing annoying hums, thuds and even loud booms that cannot be explained. The booms are so loud it rattles the windows in the houses.


Most common are the hums. A special website called the Taos Hum Homepage, now reports that “nearly every state in the U.S. has at least one hum hearer report, including Alaska and Hawaii.” It says the largest number of reports are coming from the southwest, the Pacific northwest and southeastern states. Also “the hum has caused such problems in the U.K. and Sweden that hum-hearer support groups have formed there.”


Towns in Italy and Mexico also are reporting humming.


The common report is that the hum sounds like a diesel engine idling somewhere nearby. For those who hear the sound, ear plugs and sound insulating material in rooms are of little help. The best defense is white noise devices. Steel enclosures with a thickness greater than one-eighth of an inch, also gives some relief.


In Brooklyn, New York, where a humming noise has been bothering residents in the Bay Ridge area for the past year, chiropractor Dr. Concetta Butera says she has spent thousands trying to muffle the noise from her office and her sixth-floor apartment where she has lived for 18 years. She has installed soundproof windows, invested in a sound machine and even hired an acoustical consultant. The source of the sound has not been found.


A nearby resident, Rita Majurinen, says the hum is “such a low tone that I can feel it in my body.” She said the noise keeps her awake at night.


In Dorset, England, the sound has been dubbed the “Swanage hum.” It is described as a low noise that is felt as a vibration. During the last three years that it has been going on, people complain that it not only keeps them awake, it causes things to vibrate loose. One man said the hinge pins were driven from his door.


The Largs hum, in the Scotland town of Largs, has been buggering residents there since the 1980s. People there say it causes headaches, chest pain, nausea and even nose bleeds.


That the hum is only heard by a certain number of people in an area was a mystery until noise specialists began measuring the frequency. They say the measured levels are so low that it is right at the threshold of normal human hearing.


What is alarming is that it has been discovered that certain levels of low frequency sounds can not only cause illness, but can even kill. Apparently the frequency of this mystery hum is at a level that it can cause some people to become ill when exposed to it for any length of time.


So what is this sound, and why is it bothering people now?


New Scientist recent carried a story by Jenny Hogan who suggested that the Earth itself may be humming, and that some people are just becoming conscious of that hum.


Hogan said Japanese seismologists found that the world’s oceans create a deep, low-frequency rumble that is always present in the ground. People don’t usually hear this, but it is always there because the oceans never stop their restless movement.


“Like the hums heard everywhere, the Earth hum has a frequency below the limits of hum hearing. Some people notice it while others are oblivious to it,” the story said.


We might suggest that either the frequency is changing, or more and more people are developing more acute sensitivity to this sound. Why this is happening may be the real mystery.



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