Over the past few years, Unknown Country has been monitoring stories of numerous strange and inexplicable noises which have been reported all across the globe. For the most part, the source of these strange sounds, or 'Hums' as they have become known, has remained a mystery. Those areas known to have long-standing Hum problems include Leeds and Bristol in England, Taos in New Mexico, Windsor in Ontario, Largs in Scotland, Kokomo in Indiana, and Bondi in Sydney, Australia. The noises, which were first reported in the 1950s, are described as low-frequency 'humming, droning, throbbing or rumbling', similar to a diesel engine idling.
Low-frequency electromagnetic radiation, a sound which is inaudible to the majority of people, is a popular theory, particularly as it appears that only around 2% of the population in affected areas is plagued by the sounds. For the same reason, tinnitus, a hearing disorder where sufferers hear a constant noise in their ears, has also been put forward as an explanation, but when tested, most sufferers are found to have normal hearing.
A study conducted in 2003 by acoustic consultant Geoff Leventhall of Surrey, England, found that there were consistent factors: typical sufferers were identified as being between 55 and 70 years old, lived in quieter areas, and described the Hums as being louder indoors and during the hours of darkness. The afflicted people often experienced headaches, nausea, dizziness, nosebleeds and sleep disturbances, which made their lives utterly miserable, and sadly, at least one suicide in the United Kingdom has been attributed to the effects of the Hum.
"It's a kind of torture; sometimes, you just want to scream," said hum victim, Katie Jacques, of Leeds, England. "It's hard to get off to sleep because I hear this throbbing sound in the background … you're tossing and turning, and you get more and more agitated about it."
When no other explanation can be found, many Hums are just passed off as noise pollution from traffic or industry; this was the conclusion reached when some of the first ever Hums occurred in Bristol, England, in the 1970s. The phenomenon has since been widely researched by various teams of scientists in Hum zones across the world, though to date, scientists in Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the University of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories and other regional experts have been unable to identify a cause for the mind-numbing noises.
Ever hopeful of finding the source of the strange sounds, however, a team from the University of Windsor and Western University in London, Ontario, another Hum hotspot, have recently obtained a grant to investigate their local Hum and determine its cause. One study in Kokomo, Indiana in 2003 did reveal that two industrial sites - one a Daimler Chrysler plant - were producing some noises at specific frequencies, but noise-abatement measures failed to resolve the problem and residents still complained.
Leventhall's study in 2003 was able to trace one Hum back to an industrial central heating unit, but very few have been linked to a mechanical or electrical source. Despite this, researchers are confident that the noises are real, and that victims are not deluded or suffering from any form of mass hysteria. Many other hypotheses have been put forward, including wireless or submarine communication devices, electrical power lines, high-pressure gas lines and military experiments, but it has proved impossible to determine any sort of conclusive explanation.
"It's been a mystery for 40 years, so it may well remain one for a lot longer," Leventhall commented.
A radical theory unearthed recently by Unknown Country suggests that Hums could be coming from subterranean civilisations, deep under the earth. The idea of a 'Hollow Earth' is nothing new; in fact, almost every culture on earth has its own legend of an underground worlds; certainly the remains of numerous underground human colonies have been discovered across the globe, including Russia, Hungary, and one under the city of Paris, France, though most of these are disused and close to the surface.
If, as is often suggested by some historians, advanced civilisations such as Atlantis existed, then it is not a huge mental leap to accept that, if faced with an extinction-level event such as an incoming meteor, these civilisations could have retreated underground and found a way of existing there. It's a great notion, and there have been no shortage of accounts of strange, underground tunnel systems discovered in locations worldwide, some dating back to the Stone Age.
One particularly compelling testimony which could explain the link between Hums and subterranean civilisations is made by Alec Maclellan in his book 'The Lost World of Agharti'. Maclellan describes how he discovered an underground cavern network whilst out walking on the Yorkshire moors in England. Going deep into the tunnels, he encountered a strange, green light and heard a deep, rumbling noise coming from under the earth. The following is an excerpt from the book:
'At first I thought the sound was my own breathing, then I discerned a gentle humming noise that gradually grew louder. ..The humming became a rumble, and as it did so, the green light began to pulse still more strongly...'.
Interestingly, the legend of Agharti suggests that its network of tunnels circumnavigates the whole planet, linking all of the major continents, which could account for the incidences of Hums across the world. Well, it could in theory. As theories go, this one pushes the boundaries of plausibility right to their limits, but here at Unknown Country, we like to push boundaries. It's the way we roll.
Ultimately, just because something is implausible, this does not mean it isn't true; as the mystery of Hums has been droning on for years with no other plausible explanations as yet put forward, maybe it's time to look for more fantastic explanations...
The truth, however fantastic, is always our goal here at Unknown Country, and we love to explore uncharted territory in our pursuit of untold truths. Your input is important in this quest, so we want to hear from you! Have you been affected by Hums, or do you have any other ideas about what is causing them? Subscribe today and join us at the Edge of the World.