The Worldwide Hum

I’ve got goosebumps. I was surfing the net and, just by chance, I came across an article entitled, “Cracking the Mystery of the ‘Worldwide Hum’” and I let out an audible gasp. I quickly read it and realized that something I’ve been hearing, sporadically, for years, might not be a figment of my imagination after all.

It always happens at night. And I’m always indoors when it starts. It sounds like that buzzy, rumbling sound that a semi truck makes when its engine is idling. Or maybe it’s someone driving by while playing music really loudly on cheap speakers, so all you hear is the buzz. Only, this is even louder and it doesn’t fade away. I always expect to see a gigantic truck in my front yard. But of course, I never have.

I can feel the buzzing through the floor and walls. But oddly, when I go outside to investigate, the sound gets more quiet rather than getting louder as one might expect. I’ve walked down to the street and looked both ways. Nothing. Once I even hopped into my car and drove around the block to see if something was going on nearby. Nope. A few times, my husband said he’d heard it, too, but not very loudly.

It doesn’t happen often enough to disrupt my life, and I’ve sort of gotten used to the concept that it must be a figment of my imagination. I have never talked about it with others unless they were present when I heard it. I just kind of looked at it as a periodically annoying thing that goes away after a few minutes.

And then I read this article. Apparently people have been hearing this hum since at least the late 60’s. And many mention that it’s louder indoors, and mostly occurs at night. Wow.


The man who wrote the article is keeping a database for the purpose of scientifically researching this hum. If you hear it, too, you can add to the database here. It’s called the World Hum Map, and I’m finding it comforting to see how many other people hear this sound. As the home page explains, this is not a website for hysterical conspiracy theories or pseudoscience. It’s a thoughtful attempt to solve this mystery scientifically.

Even though scientists have yet to answer the many questions I have about this hum, I feel like a thousand pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders, because now I know I’m not alone in hearing it. People hear it all over the world. That’s a start. I’ll take it.

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