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No. 138: NOV-DEC 2001

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Hums Ho!

Down the years, several mysterious hums have been recorded in the pages of SF. First, there was the persistent, widespread, annoying "English hum" reported in 1977. Most famous has been the "Taos hum" in New Mexico, mentioned here in 1993, and still going strong. We presume the English hum, the Hueytown hum, and all the others are still driving those who can hear them to distraction.

There have been some desultory inquiries into the sources of these hums, but no one has come up with anything more specific than engine noises, wind blowing across chimney tops (an organ effect), or some nefarious secret military project.

Whatever the cause(s), the hums have devastating effects on those particularly sensitive to them.

Case 1. Take, for example, the Kokomo, Indiana, hum that started about 1999.

"Almost immediately after the noise began, nearly every resident reported having chronic and severe headaches and were awakened several times at night and were fatigued." wrote Lisa Hurt Kozarovich, a freelancer. "About 30 residents said they were also nauseated and had other symptoms -- the most common being pressure or ringing in their ears, chronic joint pain, dizziness, depression and diarrhea."

(Sharpe, Tom; "Pondering the Hum," Santa Fe New Mexican, July 24, 2001. Cr. D. Perkins via L. Farish.)

Case 2. Residents of southwestern Germany are likewise afflicted by an unexplained, nocturnal, buzzing noise.

Many have been complaining of racing pulses and fatigue along with a sense of excitation and uncontrollable muscle shivvering during their resulting insomnia.

"Often at night I feel as if my bed were electrically charged. The pillow, the mattress and my whole whole body vibrate, and the only thing you want to do is to be able to turn off that sound,' said one of the sufferers, Carmen Mischke.

(Anonymous; "Mysterious Maddening Buzzing Probed in Southwest Germany," AFP, August 22, 2001. Internet item. Cr. P. Gunkel. Anonymous; "Maddening Buzz," Houston Chronicle, August 27, 2001. Cr. D. Phelps.)

From Science Frontiers #138, NOV-DEC 2001. � 2001 William R. Corliss

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