2020 UPDATE – A theoretical logic flow map for Worldwide Hum researchers and interested scientists (Author: Henrik)

Here is Henrik’s latest Logic Flow Map for those seriously interested in World Hum research.

I have the pleasure of presenting this work by Henrik, one of our forum contributors with serious scientific credentials. (Henrik, along with Bernie Hutchins, played a major role in developing the new version of our Hum Map Survey). It is a logic flow diagram that sorts out the logic and decision making regarding the source of the Worldwide Hum. It will prove valuable for scientists new to the phenomenon, those who are scientifically literate, and those who have already invested time and energy into this issue.


Looking for a last bit of technical help to finish a significant update to the Hum Map.

I’m swamped with teaching right now and I wouldn’t mind passing on a task to somebody. If you know something about MySql and can do basic tasks with it, I need help tweaking a column or two in order to make the Google Forms input match the database that drives the Hum Map. Let me know if you can help. glen.macpherson@gmail.com

The World Hum Map has been updated

Thank you to Henrik for his careful filtering of the raw data, and to Jason Lewis for his programming assistance on this one.

We’ve added just over 600 high quality data points to the World Hum Map. I’ve enlisted the help of a SFU Psychology student in generating the new statistics for Hum Hearers, and one early result is that we know the mean and median ages of Hearers are 43 and 45 respectively. I’ll release the full set of statistics when they are ready.

Technical Assistance Required (MySQL and geocoding)

The latest Hum Map update (the first in a long time) is waiting to be published, but the new 600+ Hum reports in the database are not geocoded and therefore are not appearing on the Map. If you know how to geocode an address column in a MySQL table, then please contact me. Note: addresses are from around the world.



Vanessa Lowe has done an excellent piece on the Hum

With all the low-quality stuff out there, this one stands out – professionally produced and properly-researched.


The World Hum Project Needs Expert Assistance


Please share this widely on all your social networks. I’ve never asked for that before. The time has come to ask for specialist help in bringing the World Hum Project to its conclusion, which is to conclusively identify the source of the World Hum and then discover how to ameliorate it. I’ve helped lift this upward so far, but now it’s time for the next generation of Hum researchers to step forward. Note that it is time-consuming, brings in no profit, and subjects oneself to mild online abuse.

We need people with post-secondary credentials who can help move this project to a serious private or university laboratory where it can be quickly solved. Once that happens, I can retreat back to my previous life. I won’t quit until then.

For anybody who has a degree in History, especially Post-Industrial Revolution, we have a serious and immediate job that needs tackling that could change everything. You’ll need full-text access to the earliest Times of London.

If you work in a facility that has a 24/7 MRI, preferably an fMRI, and you have significant influence over scheduling, then we need you.

If you are a medical doctor (MD or equivalent), we need you.

If you are an expert in non-profit marketing, we need you.

If you are a medical audiologist with expert knowledge of tinnitus, your expertise would be a major push forward.

If you own high-quality recording equipment, which includes as an example the family of Zoom recorders, and you are able to use Audacity or some other sound-analysis software and you happen to be travelling around North America, then we need you.

For those who have made it this far, you should realize that the Hum Phenomenon, and this project, have appeared seriously on most of the world’s major media, and across more than 30 countries. This phenomenon has now been normalized, and serious people are becoming interested.

Let’s solve it.




I’m mildly concerned that so many people think I’m an expert on so many different things. It’s not true, of course. For the record, my expertise is in mathematics pedagogy, teacher education, and high stakes standardized testing. I am not a scientist. However, for over 30 years, I’ve taught mathematics, psychology, physics, general science, biology, and other subjects. Over the past eight years, my goal has been to bring serious and disciplined inquiry to the Hum phenomenon. A basic working knowledge in a broad number of academic fields has helped me and people I work with to make some progress in this regard.

Every week I receive a large number of emails from people around the world, most of whom want to discuss unusual sounds they have heard or are still hearing. In roughly three-quarters of these cases, they are hearing an anthropogenic noise, and I am able to help them by pointing to Henrik’s guide for tracking down environmental noise, although for some people this appears to be too much work. There are also people who write to me because they want my validation or support for their battles against wireless technologies, 5G in particular. There was indeed a point in time when I was investigating the possible role of EM energy in generating the Hum. VLF radio (3 kHz to 30 kHz frequencies) were of particular concern; we have enough evidence now to set aside that theory and move on to other explanations that better fit the data.

We may discover or confirm a few years down the road that some types of wireless energy, including 5G, have deleterious effects on living tissue. Apart from the unhinged commentary on the issue, I’ve also scanned a few seemingly serious papers that do indeed raise troubling questions. But there is absolutely no evidence that Electromagnetic (EM) or Radio Frequency (RF) energies cause the Hum. Some folks don’t want to hear this, probably because they think it means I’m somehow endorsing or enabling the widespread use of such technologies. I’m doing no such thing, but the distinction seems to be lost on some.

My advice to those who are concerned about wireless energy is to accept a few things. First, spending a couple of hours on the internet does not make you knowledgeable on a topic. Second, that scientists are among the bravest people I know, and they want nothing more than to discover the truth. There is no scientific cabal operating here. They arrive at consensus by sharing their results with their colleagues, who brutally examine and pick apart the data and logic. If experimental results can be replicated, and the claims validated, then science moves forward. Alas, far too many people today start with the conclusion that appeals to them emotionally and then they hunt for evidence or interpretations of data that fit what they have already assumed to be true. As a teacher of psychology, I am fascinated by this – that is, how intelligent and educated people can hold on to some beliefs even in the face of colossal and overwhelming evidence to the contrary. To avoid being gratuitously abrasive, I’ll refrain from listing specific examples.

I try to bring people together with enthusiasm and curiosity rather than through rhetoric, but I’ll repeat what I’ve written elsewhere. Science is arduous and challenging work, and often people’s lives are too full to take that on. Also, some people are intellectually lazy.


Thousands of people are hearing the Hum for the first time

I think there’s good evidence that large numbers of people have started hearing the Hum for the first time. One classic sign of the Hum is that it is perceived to be louder at night than during the day. The presumed reason for this is that ambient daytime noises mask the Hum, and when the noise of civilization quiets down later at night, the Hum can be much more easily noticed. The COVID-19 pandemic has provided the conditions to test this assumption. Anthropogenic noise around the world is now the quietest it has been in many decades. Air traffic, freeway traffic, and industrial activity and so on have been sharply reduced. And concurrent with this I have been flooded with emails from people who have independently searched for and found the World Hum Map and this blog. They are searching for the source of the noise that many of know all so well. It is also important to note that there are also people writing to me telling me that their hum has stopped. My hypothesis is that those people were not hearing the Hum in the first place, but rather classic acoustic noises that share similarities with the World Hum. The fact that there are far more people in the first category compared to the second, points to this conclusion. I will be very interested to analyze the data that has been reported after the first week of March 2020.

Of course, among those emails are the usual questions about the so-called “sky trumpets”, and so on. It was never my goal to determine the source of those noises, which I am sure are very ordinary, but this seems to be an unintended outcome of this project. You can find my analysis of that topic elsewhere on this blog.


Unanswered Emails

Perhaps world events have provided many people with time to turn their attention to other things, such as the Hum. Over the past month, I have received hundreds of emails from around the world. Some people want answers, some want help, and some are simply telling me what they are experiencing.

I am sorry that I cannot respond to most of you. My teaching colleagues and I are facing a massive shift in the way we approach our work and I have been tasked with helping bring them up to speed on technology tools such as Moodle, Google Classroom, and Zoom that will help us make that transition. I feel very grateful that I am still earning a paycheck during the COVID-19 pandemic while many people in this community and in Canada are not.

So to those of you who wrote to me, could I get you to read the following, in this order:

  1. This article, which is currently the only major media piece written in my own words: https://theconversation.com/cracking-the-mystery-of-the-worldwide-hum-60296
  2. These two excellent guides from Henrik (resident scientist)
    a) https://thehum.info/ewExternalFiles/EXTERNAL%20OR%20INTERNAL%20rev4%20%283%29.doc
    b) https://thehum.info/ewExternalFiles/DETECTING-HENRIK.pdf
  3. My blog, which has commentary from scientists and non-scientists alike: https://hummap.wordpress.com/
  4. And, of course, be sure to examine the World Hum Map: http://thehum.info/newhummap/html_docs/

When the world and my professional life have both settled down, I should be in a better position to connect with people individually.

Until then, stay safe and healthy.

All the best.


For those who are able to, listen for the Hum over the next few weeks

I am in Covid-19 self-isolation now, having just returned to Canada from work-related travel through St Petersburgh, Helsinki, Kyiv, and Toronto. I feel very grateful to be back on Canadian soil. I am currently asymptomatic, and I wish good health to all those who may have been exposed or are working to limit exposure to themselves and others.

I received an email from a sharp-eyed reader who noted that over the next while, Hum hearers will be able to tell us if the dramatic reduction in world air travel is connected in any way to the perception of low-frequency noise and infrasound.

No doubt there are countless people out there who are overwhelmed with uncertainty and anxiety over much more important matters – issues such as the safety of elderly loved ones, putting food on the table, and whether they will have a job, for example. My empathy goes out to them during these extraordinary times. 

For Hum hearers who are safe, properly isolated, and have the mental space and need to keep their minds active, perhaps take some time at night to listen for the Hum. What you hear, or don’t hear, could add to what we know.

I urge everyone to help stop this pandemic and to attend to their physical and emotional health. For those of you who recognize a personal need to keep your mind engaged and focused, feel free to listen for the Hum, and tell us what you hear.

Take care.



The Hum Map 3.0 is now online


Finally, we have a data set with construct validity and with significantly reduced confounding factors. Once we crossed the threshold of roughly 17 000 map entries, we then applied a very strict set of criteria to filter the raw information, resulting in just over 3000 high-quality entries to the database and World Hum Map. If you are experienced in statistical techniques, then feel free to download the database, and let me know what you learn.

One risk of applying stringent criteria for map inclusion is that there will be people who feel excluded, marginalized, or that we don’t believe them. Nothing could be further from the truth. One important result of our project is the realization that not only is the world awash in unwanted and nuisance low-frequency sound and infrasound but also that many of these sounds share many characteristics with the World Hum.  In some cases, it can take considerable effort to separate the two and to track down exactly what is causing the disturbance in question. Here is your guide for doing that.

On this last day of 2019, I admit to a sense of disappointment that I cannot devote more time to this project. I am also grateful that we have Henrik, one of our resident scientists, and Jason Lewis, our volunteer programmer, who have both done heavy lifting to help bring the 3.0 Hum Map to fruition.

Slowly but surely we move toward the solution to this mystery. Just a few days ago, I chuckled out loud when, later at night, I heard that familiar distant idling engine noise and said to myself,  “I wonder what that sound is?”. As long as I and others never lose that sense of scientific mystery and discovery, we will get to the bottom of it.