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The Mystery of the Worldwide Hum

Our world is a noisy place. Everywhere we go there is a veritable cacophony of noise pervading our surroundings, ranging from the sound of civilization, with its factories, construction, airplanes, and myriad vehicles with their roaring engines and speaking their language of honks and beeps, to the natural sounds of the wind, animals, and the earth’s various activities. Even in the realm of things we cannot physically hear there is noise, with the atmosphere saturated by all manner of low-frequency sounds both artificial and natural, as well as the countless waves and transmissions that give us our radio, TV shows, satellite information, and cell phone usage. Yet even beyond this there seems to be something more creeping about in the background, some ill-defined and persistent noise that only some can hear and which remains unexplained. What has come to be mostly referred to as simply “The Hum,” or sometimes “The Worldwide Hum,” is a blanket term for a series of mysterious, inexplicable auditory phenomena that has emerged all across the world, and which typically entails a low frequency, persistent bass droning or rumbling noise, heard both indoors and outdoors and with no readily identifiable source or origin. It has been described as sounding like different things by different people, but a common description is that it sounds rather like an idling truck or industrial fan, and can vary in intensity from a general low bass background grumble to an invasive, ear piercing symphony of noise, depending on the person and location. This hum is most typically reported from rural or sparsely populated areas, but not always, and it is usually most noticeable in the evening hours, although this also depends on the person hearing it.

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