BooksThe insistent low-frequency noise has been heard from Bristol to Swansea and ascribed to whatever from horny fish to 5G– but the enigma itself is tellingMaybe you hear it. A radio frequency hum, almost a vibration, simply on the threshold of human hearing. Its not especially loud. You might not have even seen it yet– but as soon as you do, you cant stop hearing it. It sounds like a truck, idling on the street in front your house. Or the climatic din of a plane flying overhead, that never gets even more away. You can hear it when youre outside, but it seems louder inside, and especially during the night, when youre depending on bed. Possibly it keeps you awake. Perhaps it triggers you headaches, lightheadedness, even nosebleeds.If you do hear it, youre amongst the roughly 4% of the worlds population affected by “the Hum”, an often reported but little understood global phenomenon. The earliest reputable reports of the Hum date from the UK in the mid-1970s, most especially from Bristol, when letters began appearing in the Bristol Evening Post about a low rumble heard by lots of citizens throughout the city. What started as an irritating if innocuous noise eventually drove many who heard it to distraction, and was said to be connected to 2 suicides. A dominating theory was that the Bristol Hum originated from large commercial fans utilized at a storage facility in close-by Avonmouth. According to some Bristolians the Hum persists to this day, in spite of the warehouse having long been decommissioned.What is the mystical worldwide Hum– and is it merely noise pollution?Numerous reports of the Hum have actually been made throughout the UK, typically clustered around particular towns or cities: Hythe, Plymouth and, as just recently as last month, Swansea. Studies are in some cases carried out, and theories proposed, however without conclusive findings. When it comes to Hythe, the Scottish Association for Marine Science hypothesised that the noise might be triggered by the breeding call of male midshipman fish, which produce ever-louder drones, often for hours, in an escalating competitors to bring in prospective mates.Though there must definitely be cases of localised hums caused by overzealous warehouse fans and horny fish, there are a lot of relentless commonalities between worldwide reports of the Hum for there not to be the lingering question– exists something larger at play here? A variety of natural theories have actually been proposed throughout the years, all of which have a specific poetic sublimity to them. At an Institute of Biology conference in 1973, it was recommended the jet stream shearing against slower-moving air might trigger a really low frequency noise which might then be amplified by electrical energy pylons. In 2015, a group of French scientists proposed that the Hum was triggered by ocean waves extending down to the ocean floor, and shaking the Earth as they hit ridges and continental shelves. Other scientists have actually recommended vibrations triggered by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes might be responsible (the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 left the Earth reverberating for days). Another theory points to the nearly 8m lightning strikes that strike Earth every day. These strikes construct up a huge electro-magnetic charge which, in turn, causes the air between the surface area of the Earth and the ionosphere to resonate– much like the within of a bottle when one blows across its top.As much as the Hum speaks with the long-lasting secrets of the natural world, it also speaks to the long-lasting mysteries of our constructed one, and our conflictual relationships with both. The truth that the Hum appears to have just actually emerged as a recorded issue in the previous half-century recommends it might be a byproduct of technological advances. As much as our developments have the capability to support and sustain us, they also have the capacity to assault us. We have all, at some time, been struck by the abrupt silence that befalls us in a contemporary home when the power is cut. It always comes as a little surprise to bear in mind we are continuously besieged by high- and low-pitched frequencies, which our brain actively ignore. Could the Hum be the background thrum of electricity, gas lines or cell towers? One theory even posits ultra-low frequency radio signals utilized to communicate with submarines in the depths of oceans may be communicating with soft tissue in our skulls that stimulate the auditory nerve– a phenomenon called the “microwave acoustic impact”, which, by the way, has actually been studied by the Pentagon for usage as a sonic weapon.The quest to fix the mystical eerie hum of the Golden Gate BridgeAs you may envision, its not a far leap from here to full-blown conspiratorial thinking. When it concerns online discourse about the Hum, the boundaries between science, conspiracy theory and New Age spiritualism are thin. One doesnt have to look far to discover the online forums detailing how the Hum is a government mind-control experiment. Lots of 5G conspiracies easily integrate the Hum into their matrix of evidence. There are also blogs committed to how we can harness “the Mother Earth frequency” to spark hitherto dormant locations of our brains. By withstanding definitive scientific explanation and categorisation, the Hum ends up being a type of empty vessel for us to fill with our fears, desires and flights of fancy. There is a sense that hearers hold a trick, insider understanding of which the remainder of the world is obliviousI do not hear the Hum. Ever considering that I ended up being conscious of its existence 7 or eight years back, after stumbling on a forum for hearers, I have been captivated by it and, more particularly, by those who hear it. Reading their reviews, I am reminded of the way some individuals speak about spiritual discovery– deeply felt experiences, frequently objected to by others, and mostly unprovable by empirical proof. In some cases, hearers will be the only people in their household or group of friends who hear the Hum. This can be an exceptionally isolating experience. From another point of view, this likewise marks them out as unique. And when linked with fellow hearers online, there is a sense that they hold a secret, expert understanding of which the remainder of the world is unconcerned. It is this feeling of being part of a select, maybe maligned or misunderstood group, which believes itself to be in belongings of an unique truth, that forms the foundations of both conspiracy theories and spiritual sects.This is what inspired my novel, The Listeners, which follows Claire, a high school teacher who, while lying in bed beside her husband one night, starts to hear a low hum. It begins triggering migraines, nosebleeds and insomnia, though no apparent cause can be found. The two strike up an intimate and not likely friendship when she discovers that a student of hers can likewise hear the hum. Discovering themselves increasingly alienated from their households and associates, they fall in with a diverse group of neighbours who can likewise hear it. What begins as a sort of community self-help group gradually transforms into something much more extreme.There can never be one response to what the Hum is. For every single study of ocean waves or theory about radio signals, there has actually never ever been anything near universal clinical agreement. Even if there was, you might be sure there would be scores who would insist it was something else. A government plot. An alien intervention. For as long as we feel oppressed by a force that seems to defy comprehension, there will be a specific convenience provided by descriptions that elevate that suffering to the state of grand story. There is a dignity of purpose, a sense of marvel, even a degree of false agency assured by a story of worldwide geopolitical significance. Rather more so, a minimum of, than is provided by mating fish or commercial fans in an Avonmouth storage facility. bottomLeft ticker We will be in touch to remind you to contribute. 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Perhaps it triggers you headaches, dizziness, even nosebleeds.If you do hear it, youre among the roughly 4% of the worlds population impacted by “the Hum”, a regularly reported however little understood international phenomenon. According to some Bristolians the Hum persists to this day, despite the warehouse having long been decommissioned.What is the mysterious worldwide Hum– and is it just sound pollution?Numerous reports of the Hum have been made throughout the UK, typically clustered around particular towns or cities: Hythe, Plymouth and, as just recently as last month, Swansea. In the case of Hythe, the Scottish Association for Marine Science hypothesised that the noise might be caused by the breeding call of male midshipman fish, which emit ever-louder drones, often for hours, in an escalating competition to attract possible mates.Though there must definitely be cases of localised hums triggered by overzealous storage facility fans and randy fish, there are too numerous persistent commonalities between global reports of the Hum for there not to be the remaining concern– is there something larger at play here? It is this sensation of being part of a choose, possibly maligned or misconstrued group, which thinks itself to be in ownership of an unique fact, that forms the structures of both conspiracy theories and spiritual sects.This is what inspired my book, The Listeners, which follows Claire, a high school teacher who, while lying in bed next to her husband one night, starts to hear a low hum. When she discovers that a trainee of hers can likewise hear the hum, the 2 strike up a unlikely and intimate relationship.