#1  
Old 09-30-2014, 07:29 PM
Elendil's Heir is offline
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What's the story with the Taos hum?


Cecil's 1998 column:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...h-the-taos-hum

Two brief earlier threads:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=115682
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=725731

Wikipedia says (as Cecil noted) that Taos ain't alone in claiming a hum:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hum

Looks like, as of 2014, it's still unexplained, but hey, at least it made it on The X-Files!
  #2  
Old 09-30-2014, 09:42 PM
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I lived in Albuquerque before the time in question, spent a lot of time in Santa Fe and Los Alamos, occasionally ventured into Taos. Never heard of the hum. Definitely a new phenomenon, not some ancient woo.
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Old 10-01-2014, 12:03 AM
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I visited Taos in 1990 for an extended family vacation and heard that "hum." The sound seemed to be coming from somewhere distant. It was constant and annoying.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:55 AM
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Hum job ?


I experienced the Hum when I was in Bimini. A lot of the people on the island would not admit to hearing it. The sound was most prevalent on the north-east side of the island. Not only could I hear the Hum but I could feel it on my chest. It just so happened that the sky was clear and blue and the wind was very steady coming from the north-east. The waves on the Gulf Stream were small and very regular as far as the eye could see. My hypothesis is that the wind that made the waves also were affected by the waves. (the waves put waves into the wind) I noticed that when the wind picked up a little bit the frequency of the Hum increased. When I got home I happened upon a book about WW2 that mentioned that English soldiers heard a similar hum in the desert and thought that it was some sort of German super weapon. When they tried to chase down the sound they never could find any thing. (sort of like an audio rainbow) I think that the waves in the desert sand could have the same effect on a steady wind like the waves in the Gulf Stream.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by andypetty View Post
I experienced the Hum when I was in Bimini. A lot of the people on the island would not admit to hearing it. The sound was most prevalent on the north-east side of the island. Not only could I hear the Hum but I could feel it on my chest. It just so happened that the sky was clear and blue and the wind was very steady coming from the north-east. The waves on the Gulf Stream were small and very regular as far as the eye could see. My hypothesis is that the wind that made the waves also were affected by the waves. (the waves put waves into the wind) I noticed that when the wind picked up a little bit the frequency of the Hum increased. When I got home I happened upon a book about WW2 that mentioned that English soldiers heard a similar hum in the desert and thought that it was some sort of German super weapon. When they tried to chase down the sound they never could find any thing. (sort of like an audio rainbow) I think that the waves in the desert sand could have the same effect on a steady wind like the waves in the Gulf Stream.
A very rational explanation. Still doesn't prove that you're not crazy.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:06 PM
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From an acoustics standpoint, waves and wind and sand dunes could indeed generate a hum; it would be a very low hum, at the bottom range of human hearing, more likely to be felt in the cavity of the chest than actually heard with the ears.

On a related note, there are many frequencies that some people can hear and others can't; typically by the time you're 30 (possibly younger these days with ipods and in-ear speakers being turned up to loud) the vast majority of people have lost specific frequencies in the higher ranges. They'll still hear a more complex note because they can hear a frequency just a few wavelengths above and below, but a very finely tuned whistle or hum can often be inaudible to 80% of the population and very loud to the other 20% or whatever.

On the other hand, pressure in the eardrum or a damaged nerve ending can generate signals that replicate non-existent hums and whistles as well, so without testing equipment it's difficult to determine whether a background hum is real or, well, not imagined, but not actually existing in the air around you.
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by andypetty View Post
English soldiers heard a similar hum in the desert and thought that it was some sort of German super weapon. When they tried to chase down the sound they never could find any thing.
We dig a pit, put a low frequency sound generator in it, cover it with a tarp and sand. Our enemies try to chase down the sand, step on the tarp, and fall into a trap.
Sounds good to me.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:17 PM
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You'd think that after all these years, Taos would have learned the words.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:07 PM
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:: rimshot ::
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by andypetty View Post
I experienced the Hum when I was in Bimini. A lot of the people on the island would not admit to hearing it.
Minor quibble: that wording suggests they were being intentionally deceptive. "No, sir, there's no hum here, don't know what you're talking about *ahem*, who told you that? Say, look at these pretty shells." (Whistle to cover the noise of the generator on the floor.)
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Old 10-08-2014, 10:33 AM
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Minor quibble: that wording suggests they were being intentionally deceptive. "No, sir, there's no hum here, don't know what you're talking about *ahem*, who told you that? Say, look at these pretty shells." (Whistle to cover the noise of the generator on the floor.)
"France. We come from France. These are not tomato men."
  #12  
Old 10-17-2014, 11:19 PM
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Singing Sand is Real


Singing sand, whistling sand or barking sand is sand that produces sound. The sound emission may be caused by wind passing over dunes or by walking on the sand.

Certain conditions have to come together to create singing sand:

The sand grains have to be round and between 0.1 and 0.5 mm in diameter.
The sand has to contain silica.
The sand needs to be at a certain humidity.

The most common frequency emitted seems to be close to 450 Hz.

etc, etc at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_sand
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Old 10-18-2014, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bowlweevils View Post
Singing sand, whistling sand or barking sand is sand that produces sound. The sound emission may be caused by wind passing over dunes or by walking on the sand.

Certain conditions have to come together to create singing sand:

The sand grains have to be round and between 0.1 and 0.5 mm in diameter.
The sand has to contain silica.
The sand needs to be at a certain humidity.

The most common frequency emitted seems to be close to 450 Hz.

etc, etc at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_sand
There's some of that on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. But I've never seen any sand around Taos in New Mexico, not sand like that. Around Alamagordo in the southern part of the state, there's a lot of sand, but not up near Taos.
  #14  
Old 10-20-2014, 08:42 PM
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I hear it, but I guess I don't mind it anymore
  #15  
Old 10-20-2014, 11:42 PM
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What's that now?
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Old 10-22-2014, 09:51 PM
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Taos hum = Blue Ridge Roar?


I thought that hum was a geological characteristic of the area from wind whipping around mesas & buttes. I thought everybody heard it. I thought I read about it Outside magazine. Now I think I heard about it at Sun Rays party from this chick who wears a necklace with a little bag attached to it that has sand in it from NM, some squirrel bones (her power animal) and an extra key to her Volvo. Disappointing. I would love to live at a place where the rocks hum in a hot breeze, the sand sparkles and the light is the color of honey. BUT I live at a place where at times there is a constant, loud, roar like all the slow jet planes in the world are flying over FOR DAYS. It is without doubt the most annoying thing since having to hear my sister play "Billy,Don't Be a Hero" over & over on her Close & Play. No, I am not wearing a tin foil hat to keep the alien radio waves away from my brain & my Ouija board is for sale on Craigslist. I have not heard trumpets or saxophones or the second comming. I am not auditorily hallucinating. I asked someone in the parking lot at work one day what it was & I think he said a plane. Invisible plane? For hours? I swear I've heard it day,night, weekends, hot ,cold,cloudy, clear. Anybody else hear something like this? Is there something about it in Outside Magazine? Or Bell & Whistle Quarterly? Is it a weather front inversion reflected off the planet Venus and perturbated by Canada Geese? Is this the same as Taos hum?
  #17  
Old 10-24-2014, 05:07 AM
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been hearing a "hum" since early 90's


I hail from Vancouver, BC, and have been hearing a very low level "hum", in several different locales. In the city (I thought it was city noises) then I moved to a rural area a ferry ride across the Fraser River, Sunshine Coast. I still heard the "hum" (I thought it was the tugboats, or far away city noise)
Then I moved to a place farther from the water, where I still heard that hum (at this point, I started calling it "hum of the Earth")
I have since moved to a small town in the Kootenays of 10 000, very quiet at night, even right in the "downtown". I'm hearing it right now, it's almost 3am. (sometimes I don't hear it, maybe there's an etheric current, or wind, that carries the "hum" periodically)

About 5 years ago, I lived in another rural area, still the Koots, this time no tugboats in any vicinity. All forest and farmland... still heard that "hum"...
Before that, we lived up 2800 feet up a mountain, at the end of any road. Super quiet up there! Million dollar view too. No electricity and we couldn't hack it so we moved after a winter spent in depressing darkness. We weren't set up for no power... but guess what? I still heard that "hum". I hear it regardless of the noise level of my surroundings, which is funny because I'm half deaf in one ear, and have a really hard time hearing what someone is saying amongst a tumult of sound; but I still hear that hum!
It's the same "hum" every time, same low quality, like it's infra-sound, like how elephants communicate...
I figure it's the sound of everything on Earth... but why do some hear it, and some don't? or maybe those who think they don't hear it, actually hear it, but aren't conscious of it, yet...
I've read a few accounts of others around the world hearing this "sound" (I don't think it's a conventional sound, like what we normally hear with our ears, it feels more like it's heard through my inner ear bones, my jaw, inside my skull, deep inside my ears, to the center of my brain. Maybe it's the pineal sensing a vibration... I don't know. This is all I know.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:11 AM
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I think you probably have tinnitus. It is typically called a "ringing" in the ears, but can manifest as a hum. It is common with hearing loss.
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:02 AM
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Rantin Raven: you should get a hearing test and a doctor's diagnosis. There are lots of different causes, and some of them are treatable.
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:58 PM
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At least one hum has a fairly discernible cause. The Windsor hum is probably coming from a steel plant.

Given that ELF waves are used for submarine communication it does not seem much of a stretch that industrial activity could be generating a hum.

As Cecil asked in his original column, "What's in Los Alamos?". Given Taos is only 60 miles away, it could be that underground geological features just conduct the waves all the way to Taos.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:10 PM
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I was in Taos about a year ago. I don't recall any hum.

I did feel a 'vibration' when I visited NYC about a decade ago. It started on the train from Newark and lasted until I left the city. It seemed like a high-energy effect to me, this vibration, a reflection of the huge amounts of power and people flying around everywhere at once.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:28 PM
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September 2018 Update: It appears that at least some inanimate things on earth DO "hum", as written up in this NY Times story:

Taking the Pulse of a Sandstone Tower in Utah

This immediately brought to mind the phenomenon popularly known as the "Taos Hum", which our master himself has written of in the past. This article would seem to confirm that it (or at least something) is actually there, though not everyone can sense it. Maybe some people (and animals) are sensitive enough in a certain way to pick up these vibrations? And maybe the same applies to how some animals are said to sense impending earthquakes? That, at least seems worthy of further research...
  #23  
Old 09-10-2019, 04:05 PM
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It's 2019. Just saying.
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:11 AM
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It's 2019. Just saying.
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