We explore the phenomena known as “The Hum”

The Hum is a generic name for a series of phenomena involving a persistent and invasive low-frequency humming noise not audible to all people. Hums have been reported in various geographical locations. In some cases a source has been located. Hums have been reported all over the world. A Hum on the Big Island of Hawaii, typically related to volcanic action, is heard in locations dozens of miles apart. The local Hawaiians also say the Hum is most often heard by men. The Hum is most often described as sounding somewhat like a distant idling diesel engine. Typically the Hum is difficult to detect with microphones, and its source and nature are hard to localize. – wiki

Strictly speaking this article isn’t new, it was first published in 2009 by the Paranormal Network, however it came to light that this article wasn’t for whatever reason brought over to this website. But it has given us a chance to read over something that is once again gaining notification, almost every day people are reporting the phenomena of loud sounds from the sky, booms under the ground, in one video we saw it sounded like the sky was screaming! Some are for a passage of only a few minutes, others have for going on for days. Theres no direct link between then other than The Hums and the loud sounds are just that, sounds. Perhaps casting our eyes, or should we say ears. We wonder if a conservative “map” can be drafted or pinpointed to see if there is a pattern, a trend.

Paranormal Network will look at the Nottingham Hum, for obvious reasons we live here and can look into and hear it.
Nottingham shire Paranormal Network admits it did know of the hum, but until July 2008 we had never heard it. When we were recording for “A look behind the mirror” the NPN DVD project. when we in Bestwood Country Park progressing down Park Road, there was this distinct low frequency yet high pitch drone of a sound it was barely audible but you could hear it on the very edge of the hearing it was intermittent then a steady tone, on and off. Gave a terrible headache to all on the crew that afternoon.

The medium we worked with quite extensively Alan Smith a spiritual development coach, informed us that he could sense “a beacon”, “perhaps a crystal of sorts” – which does link and tie into the UFO active and LITS (Lights In The Sky), Men in black, strange figures in the area. (RE: A look behind the mirror – Available from NPN) the area also had a strange effect on our batteries which drained very quickly despite being high quality rechargeable Energizer 2450nmph batteries. So this was our experience with The Hum.

In recent months, local BBC East Midlands, Trent FM, Heart FM have ran numerous stories and requests for information on the The Hum. Then it seemed the whole nation became a Hum capital, with stories being ran in the Guardian, The Daily Mail, even a sub page of the Tesco website has an article on the Hum.

Numerous cities it seems are a stronger focus for this strange phenomenon, Bristol quite famously become one of the Hum focuses during the 1990s.

In the Unsolved Mysteries segment called ‘Mystery Hum’, a tape re-creation of the Taos Hum was used for this segment. Robert Stack reported that one of the “Hum sufferers” created the audio tape, mainly for the purpose in that particular segment. This was done since their audio equipment didn’t pick up low-frequency sounds very well, and so that the show’s viewers and other non-“Hum sufferers” would get an idea of what the actual auditory phenomenon sounded like.On 15 November 2006 Dr Tom Moir, of the University of Massey in Auckland, New Zealand, made a recording of the Auckland Hum and has published it on the university’s website. The captured hum’s power spectral density peaks at a frequency of 56 hertz. In 2009, the head of audiology at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, Dr David Baguley managed to successfully record what he believes to be the hum with the help of acousticians at Salford University

The Sightings TV show produced by the SCI FI channel, also produced a show on the Taos hum.
The phenomenon is certainly a real one, especially for those disturbed by it. Some have gone to even committed suicide.

Coming back to the Hum that Paranormal Network has been able to research, The Nottingham Hum, during our regular research into the paranormal in the Local studies library of the Nottingham city library. I [Kristian] came across the history of the Nottingham Hum, and a number of reports.

11th May 1985.- Nottingham Evening Post
Where the individual John Natley of Herretta Street, Bulwell reports that for 3 years he has heard the noise of what “sounds like german bombers at a distance”. The news report also posts that Hucknall residents have complained about a constant buzz in the area, but only become logged in1977. Dozens of complaints brought in a response from the universities of London, Nottingham and the Ashfield district council environmental and health dept.

June 1986
Patsy Martin reported that the Hum was heard across the county in the areas of Bulwell, West Bridgeford, Beeston, Sherwood, Arnold, Copewell, popular theories that it may be an mystery underground facility, such as alien installation or secret government base.

The study done by the universities at the time, suggested that the hum was the acoustic wavelength coninciding with the room dimensions and the sound waves were literally bouncing around the room, as what is constant in the reports is that the sound level is greater indoors than out.

[Many researchers put the hum down to the electrics of the house.]

Dr Ross Cole of the medical research council confirmed this phenomenon has ruled out Tinnitus as the reason because the hum.

An article published by Chris Lamb 24/5/85 reports on what may be the cause Mr Bennett who was the chief techician of the Odeon cinema formerly in Hucknall, who had 18 years experience in sound engineering at the time. He put forward the theory of standing engines, at the time Hucknall and Nottingham was criss crossed with a mass network of railway lines stemming from the coal industry which boomed well into the 1980s. The sound cannot be heard as standing next to the engine drowns out any way of listening to the vibration caused. It works in theory like a tuning fork. As a standing engine with a head of steam, sends vibrations down the track and the whole network of rails resonates, imagine that with a dozens of engines. It seems a logical reason.

However that was the 80s, this is the 00s there aren’t as many of the lines these days just the Robin Hood line and main rails in the city centre. There is the NET Nottingham Express Tram lines, which again could seem logical for this theory to hold up, but the Hum is heard all through the night, the Tram network effectively is turned off from about 1.30am except at the depot as the cleaning crews go to work on the trams.

There is 5 theories which claim to be the reason behind the Hum

Man-made noises

High frequency attenuation of distant industrial sounds or stereo subwoofers from homes, cars, music venues, Los Alamos National Laboratory. As sound moves through the atmosphere or ground, the high frequencies decrease in amplitude more rapidly than the low frequency ones, which subsequently travel greater distances. The low-frequency sounds can be focused by walls and structural geometry, and sound like ambiguous rumblings or hums. Industrial machinery such as compressors, pumps and fans can also produce similar types of sounds. Although this is one of the explanations that first come to mind, ordinary microphones have failed to detect the Hum and investigations have failed to convincingly trace the Hum to such sources.

Pulsed microwaves

A phenomenon similar to the microwave auditory effect from pulsed microwave sources, possibly in combination with other factors. The thermoelastic mechanism may or may not be involved. Various types of electromagnetic sources could involve different physical or physiological mechanisms or a combination thereof. Some of the components of the electromagnetic environment, and examples of their possible combined effects, have been discussed in the annex to the report about the Hum by the experts hired by the city of Kokomo, Indiana.

Electromagnetic waves caused by meteors

A variant of the audio frequency electromagnetic emissions generated upon the entry of a meteor and its disintegration in the upper atmosphere. The disintegration of larger meteors in the upper atmosphere is known to release megawatts of power in the audio frequency range, primarily through the interaction of the resulting ionization trail with the Earth’s magnetic field. See, for example Listening to Leonids for a description of the meteor audio effect. (It is also speculated that the “solar wind” may be causing a similar effect to the “meteor audio effect.”)

Extremely low frequency communications systems

Communication systems, such as submarine communications systems that use extremely low frequency (ELF) radio transmissions. Proponents of this theory suggest the transmissions may somehow produce effects either directly or indirectly through mechanisms similar to or different from those by which higher frequencies are detected.

Ionospheric heating systems

Large-scale effects of one or several of the ionospheric heating projects in Norway, the U.S. or Russia, such as HAARP in Gakona, Alaska.


Generated by the body, the auditory or the nervous system, with no external stimulus. However, the theory that the Hum is actually tinnitus fails to explain why the Hum can only be heard at certain geographical locations. Some people who claim to hear the Hum say that it is worse indoors. This would lean towards tinnitus, as tinnitus is generally worse in places with less exterior sound. There may exist individual differences as to the threshold of perception of acoustic or non-acoustic stimuli, or other normal individual variations that could contribute to the fact that some people in the population perceive the Hum and others do not.

The Hum is a true phenomenon, one perhaps that has been solved and on the other hand not. So NPN can only leave this strange phenomenon case as “case unsolved”. That is unless you can shed some light or throw in a wildcard out of the box idea, that finally solves the mystery of what is only known as “The hum”

Author Kristian Lander
Resources – Nottingham Central/City Library local studies library, Evening Post archives.


5 responses to “We explore the phenomena known as “The Hum”

  1. Hi, I live in a village in Nottinghamshire and have heard this humming noise for about 7 years. I didn’t realise it was a phenomenon either and at first put it down to either my neighbours tumble dryer or a car idling outside my house, but soon realised that this simply could not be the case. It drives me crazy at night and earplugs do nothing. I have only just started to look into it and have enjoyed reading about it. Thank you.

  2. I live in Annesley wood house where there is usually always a low pitched hum. I have traced this to some form of machinery at the rear of one of the industrial units on the Kodak ind estate.
    The woods where I walk the dog regularly back right onto the estate & I can hear the machine as clear as day when close to it but can’t actually see it due to the fence. It is very annoying!!!!!!

  3. I live in Arnold Notts, and a constant ‘hum’ here is driving me nuts. I decided to Google and see if anyone else out there is experiencing the same thing, and found this web site. I wish someone could identify the problem so that we can eradicate it!

    • Can say Ive only heard it Bestwood country park Lynne. Which is a stones throw from Arnold. Wonder why it sounds clearer in that area? I’ve had a people from Clifton and Hucknall say they hear it. Yet not many in between

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