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I stumbled across an interesting topic recently known as “The Hum.” Evidently there is a worldwide low-frequency hum that about 2 percent of the population can hear in certain places around the globe. The oldest site of this phenomenon is Bristol, England. A lot is going on in Bristol so there are many potential sources of low-frequency sounds. After years of theorizing, one of the more plausible ideas is that the hum in Bristol is caused by ocean tides in the nearby Bristol Channel. Looking at a map of the U.K., Bristol Channel is due west of London and is a huge geographical feature of southwestern England. You can’t miss its unique open maw of a shape. So maybe there’s some truth to the theory.

There’s the Taos, New Mexico Hum, also heard by about 2 percent of the population there. Like Bristol in the U.K, the hum does carry deleterious effects for those hearing it. They suffer from insomnia, anxiety, and have a diminished quality of life due to the sound, heard mostly at night. Taos is a good distance from any body of tidal waters, so the Bristol theory isn’t applicable there.

Windsor, Ontario has the hum. It was found that a large, industrial fan was the cause. When it was decommissioned the sound stopped for a brief time but then it returned. It was traced to an island in the Detroit River. Because the river is in U.S. territory the Windsor authorities had no permission to investigate so the hum in Windsor remains unsolved.

A spate of hum reports has been reported in British Columbia, where a doctor has taken it upon himself to create an interactive world map ( that pinpoints places where low-frequency hums have been reported. I looked at the map and noted the closest ones to our area are one just a few hundred feet west of Lowell Lake in Londonderry, Vermont. There is another in Plainfield, New Hampshire, and another not far from the Junior High School in Keene, New Hampshire.

Steve Kolhase, a mechanical engineer who lives in Brookfield, Connecticut can hear the hum in his home. He has spent his own money and time researching the hum in nearby Connecticut counties, according to an article in “The Atlantic” by Emily Buder. What is so interesting about Kolhase’s research is the correlation between the hum and high-pressure gas pipelines. Using a map of his Connecticut research and the British Columbia doctor’s interactive hum map as an overlay, Kolhase believes he has found an answer to the mystery. Maybe. There are no high-pressure gas pipelines in Londonderry, Vermont, or Plainfield or Keene, New Hampshire, or lots of other places in the world where there is a low-frequency hum. The Keene hum is reported as a 50 Hertz sine. Plainfield reports 35 to 40 Hertz. Londonderry reported that they “couldn’t find anything that was low and rumbling.”

Some people have theorized that the problem is tinnitus. The problem with that theory is that tinnitus sufferers hear a sound that is of a much higher frequency. As a tinnitus sufferer, I can attest to that. I’m also fortunately not among the 2 percent able to hear the hum. I’m slowly going deaf as well, so I have no first-hand knowledge to offer here.

Other unexplained sounds are going on in the world. Hearing a loud trumpeting sound that goes on for 10 minutes or more seemingly out of nowhere and everywhere can be quite unsettling. It has happened worldwide. It’s truly eerie when you see a cell phone video taken by a logger in the middle of a forest with this loud trumpeting sound going on with no possible explanation, and it happens in cities as well. It just doesn’t seem as creepy amid thousands of people, but what is it? No one seems to know. With a planet now inhabited by billions rather than millions one would think that all this humanity must be disturbing the natural order of something ... we just haven’t figured out what.

“The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett” is heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7.

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