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The Hum
December 20, 2004 9:33 PM   Subscribe

What is The Hum? Some residents of Taos, New Mexico suffer from it, and it seems to happen elsewhere, too. Listen to it here and here (.wav files, and not actually very dramatic). No one knows quite what the hum is, and even refutations don't really work. There are some "scientific" explanations, but The Hum Remains mysterious and sinister.
posted by interrobang (33 comments total)

 
Too much electromagnetic radiation in our world in general, if you ask me.
posted by Doohickie at 9:39 PM on December 20, 2004


Really great post. I love this kind of stuff
And...
Why is it sinister?
posted by Quartermass at 9:44 PM on December 20, 2004


I can't believe this isn't a double post, since nobody has come forward with their wierd tests/ admitted alien control.

That said... What the hell IS that humm....

Tinfoil wrapped minds want to know!!
posted by Balisong at 9:46 PM on December 20, 2004


It's only sinister because people who hear it seem to really suffer, and no one knows where it comes from.
posted by interrobang at 9:47 PM on December 20, 2004


They really should get together with these folks, I think they'd find kindred spirits.
posted by mstefan at 9:54 PM on December 20, 2004


[this is good]

what's that noise?
posted by moonbird at 9:56 PM on December 20, 2004


This is kind of creepy, really. It'd probably drive me bonkers. Sometimes I hear a bit of a ringing in my ears, or a hum, and it always really annoys me.
posted by Kleptophoria! at 9:57 PM on December 20, 2004


Some background on Nikola Tesla, a personal hero of mine.
posted by afroblanca at 10:09 PM on December 20, 2004


dammit. just after I finally ran out of numbers stations websites to scour... now this.
posted by asterisk at 10:19 PM on December 20, 2004




um, tinnitus?
posted by benh57 at 10:34 PM on December 20, 2004


One seldom encounters "Irregardless" in scientific works.
posted by dws at 10:35 PM on December 20, 2004


I don't know about anyone else, but the tinnitus I hear is pretty high pitched.
posted by Eekacat at 10:43 PM on December 20, 2004


Oh, and if you RTFA:

"Having ruled out external sources the team focused on testing hearers' inner ears and on researching frequency sensitivity. While these investigations are not complete, it appears highly unlikely that the hum is caused by low frequency tinnitus as some have speculated. "
posted by Eekacat at 10:45 PM on December 20, 2004


Shouldn't this happen over in Nevada...you know, near Area 51? Now *that* would make sense.
posted by davidmsc at 11:11 PM on December 20, 2004


The Hum
(Killing Joke)

Slowly, slowly all fall down
A blindfold dance and a 1,2,3
No mistake where they always emphasize security
Draw the curtains, shut the door, the heater's on
I couldn't ask for more
I pull the sheets right overhead
Snuggle, snuggle safe in bed
Take the wight right off my shoulder
Misery claims much too late
Bow the head or grip the sabre
Vermichten regenerate
Bright eyed young inherit all
treading down upon the fallen
They was drawn towards the Hum
Plenty more where they come from.
Slowly, slowly all fall down
A blindfold dance and a 1,2,3
Swarm upset the gentle lamb
A hive don't hold no humble bee!
Slowly, slowly, out it came,
Tendencies that weren't the same
And they were drawn towards the Hum
Plenty more where We come from.
posted by black8 at 11:20 PM on December 20, 2004


Taos is a town full of artists, which makes it a haven for all sorts of hippies and conspiracy theorists.

The area has their fair share of chem-trail "activists" as well. My dad is one of them, but he also believes anything he reads on the internet. Poor guy.
posted by The Cardinal at 12:56 AM on December 21, 2004


Tinnitus has a nice long list of causes. I've had tinnitus ever since I was born, and it manifests itself at various frequencies. Through personal experience, I know that the frequencies and amplitudes present are affected by changes in pressure and temperature, and also psychological factors (stress, arguments, etc).

The link says most people who hear the HUM are rather old, and have had plenty of chances to damage their hearing and cause tinnitus. Factory workers? War veterans? 80s metal legends?
posted by adzm at 1:03 AM on December 21, 2004


sounds like bullshit to me....
posted by jimjam at 2:58 AM on December 21, 2004


It also apparently happens in Indiana.
posted by fixedgear at 3:16 AM on December 21, 2004


Maybe the hum has something to do with the line.
.....paging Stephen King.
posted by JohnR at 4:04 AM on December 21, 2004


I've always been a fan of the Taos Hum, but when I mention it people look at me like I'm crazy. That might have to do with living on the East coast. Irregardless, nice post.
posted by OmieWise at 5:52 AM on December 21, 2004



I can't believe this isn't a double post, since nobody has come forward with their wierd tests/ admitted alien control.


Previous Post. I didn't post this earlier, as I was, uh, conducting an experiment.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:19 AM on December 21, 2004


Taos: where newage runs down the streets and no one cares.
posted by Nelson at 8:26 AM on December 21, 2004


Leave it to me. I know what that is. Listening to the sound, I hear this sound so often, I recognized it immediately. I have a water baseboard heating system, that was corrupted by air leakage through the polybutylene tubing the installer used. The pump is a relatively large one, and sometimes when there is too much air in the pump it will make this sound, trying to start while it cavitates. Then I have to bleed the air out of the system.
Well I actually narrowed it down to two things. Either it is air in the pump, or else it is some flutter in a gas valve when the electronic ignition shorts, or has some current disruption. So if it were a large water pump cavitating underground in a large valley, it could make a long low sound, that resembles ELF, or even a natural gas line might, if there were some strange mechanical flutter, associated with a really long pipeline, that would also act as an instrument to make sound. Train track is also a long instrument for making low frequency noise, and if that valley is configured just right, maybe it is a nightly train. Sometimes the configuration of a valley, could act like a large instrument if the mountains that rim the valley conduct vibration, and transmit a resonant frequency to the mid valley floor. By the description of people needing to leave the house, I would think that it is a large water pump somewhere in that valley, that does a transfer of somesort typically in the hours that the sound is heard, maybe a sewage plant.
posted by Oyéah at 9:01 AM on December 21, 2004


fixedgear: More on the Kokomo Hum.
posted by billysumday at 9:09 AM on December 21, 2004


Oops!
That was me humming.
Sorry.
I'll stop now.

Get your free hum on in Taos, New Mexico!
posted by nofundy at 11:22 AM on December 21, 2004


Oyéah; I agree heartily. The very basic physics behind a lot of industrial applications is always fascinating, and sound generation is just one of those basic physical implications of moving parts. It seems like with some careful study of timing and frequency, along with some triangulation, it wouldn't be too hard to find the source of this disturbance.

That is, of course, if you weren't busy crafting conspiracy theories about it. Start taking measurements from different areas of the town, use a stopwatch, frequency counter, etc. If I lived there I'd be doing this, I can't stand little buzzes and rattles even in my car...
posted by odinsdream at 12:20 PM on December 21, 2004




"Everyone who knew dad knew he had the most amazing hum."
posted by rev_crash_davis at 12:53 PM on December 21, 2004


Having been to Taos a number of times I have to say I found it incredibly [and beautifully] quiet compared to Los Angeles where a soft hum would be welcome.

However, I think the nature of really quiet places is such that any noise can seem too much. I remember going home to Colorado a few years ago and at night it was so quiet that any noise whatsoever - like the hum of the refrigerator - seemed much louder than it would if it happened during the usual hustle and bustle of the day.
posted by Rashomon at 2:31 PM on December 21, 2004


I've been to Taos and I have to say my experience was completely different from Rashomon.
posted by euphorb at 4:38 PM on December 21, 2004


Oh, yeah, with reference to the Zappa thread, might it be a Dinah-Moe-Hum?
posted by fixedgear at 6:15 PM on December 21, 2004


I've occasionally heard a very soft, very low-pitched hum while camping in remote parts of Australia. It always started about half an hour before first light, and I only ever heard it in places that were otherwise absolutely quiet.

I always put it down to a combination of ground expansion caused by the oncoming sunrise and consumption of fine herbs.
posted by flabdablet at 5:02 AM on December 22, 2004


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