The 'Hum' Mystery: What is Behind Chthonic Noise That Ruins Lives of People Able to Hear It

CC0 / Pixabay / Listening
Listening  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.02.2022
Where does it come from? No one knows. What exactly does it sound like? No one is quite sure. Why are certain people able to hear it and others are not? Absolutely no idea. Meet "the Hum": an invasive noise anomaly that has been spotted, or rather heard, in different places across the world.
"The Hum" has been known for decades, with media reports of the elusive droning sound emerging everywhere from Canada to New Zealand.
Its name is inspired by its most common description: those able to discern it say it is a low humming sound similar to engine or fan sounds.
“It’s like you can hear a car coming, but it never gets there,” a resident of Halifax' Holmfield Gemma Redford told the Financial Times' writer Imogen West-Knights, who travelled to Halifax to try and hear "the Hum" herself (she did manage to do it).
Another Halifax resident Yvonne Conner told the writer that she had been terrorised by "the Hum" for more than a month, unable to identify where it comes from or how to stop it. She was distressed by constantly hearing the noise every now and then, so much that she felt she needed to quit her beloved work.
“How many people would risk quitting their job in an uncertain time like the pandemic if something wasn’t bothering them to that extent?” she said to FT.
The UK is among the countries that have a long history of people suffering from the bizarre noise. Back in the late 1970s, a local newspaper in Bristol asked its readers: "Have you heard the Hum?" It received around 800 positive answers. Other cases were registered in Cheshire, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, London, Shropshire, Suffolk and Wiltshire.
It turned out to be a lot more than just a funny observation, as people who reported the noise would suffer from sleep deprivation, headaches and even nosebleeds. To make matters worse, the inability of the majority of people to hear it appears to inadvertently turn them into some sort of gaslighters: not ready to believe in a bizarre noise without the source, many would label its victims insane.
Still, "the Hum" seems to have received international attention. There are different versions of it: the "Taos Hum" (in New Mexico), the "Windsor Hum" in Ontario and the Aukland "Hum" in New Zealand.
Explanations for the noise anomaly differ across the world. Some people think that "the Hum" is a result of factories or some mechanical devices working in the vicinity, some argue that the hearers may be exaggerating their perception of background noises, and others believe that "the Hum" is of supernatural origin.
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