Home » Uncategorized » Let’s review: The four competing theories regarding the source of the World Hum

Let’s review: The four competing theories regarding the source of the World Hum

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Follow World Hum Map and Database Project on WordPress.com

Over the past five years, I’ve witnessed – and refereed – a few online shouting contests between people who are convinced they know the source of the world Hum. Passion may be a great engine for scientific research, but it is a poor arbiter of it. In my view, four hypotheses have survived the most trivial examinations and the available evidence. Each of these hypotheses has its difficulties. I am examining and testing them in turn.

  1. VLF radio frequencies between 3 Hz and 30 kHz (and possibly ELF frequencies below 3 kHz) are interacting with living tissue and activating the human auditory system in a way the brain interprets as sound, and sometimes as perceptions of physical vibration (The perception of EM energy as hissing and/or popping sounds has already been established at higher frequencies, such as radar and microwaves). I have a built a unit that aims to completely block VLF radio waves within an enclosed space. I conducted this experiment and I heard the Hum as loud as ever. This is not conclusive, of course, and I need to at least confirm using electronic measuring devices that the box does what I claim it does. Nevertheless, the EM theory is in doubt now. There of course is the related theory that exposure to some types of EM energies causes subsequent perceived audio effects, just as certain types of intense acoustic exposure can lead to perceived audio effects (i.e. tinnitus).
  2. The world Hum is caused by the (increasingly) grand accumulation of low-frequency sound and infrasound from human activity, including for example mining, marine traffic, air traffic, windmill farms, smelters and blast furnaces, freeway traffic, the electric grid, factories, and so on.
  3. The world Hum is the result of a terrestrial/geological process. Many geological processes can work very quickly, such as during earthquakes. Some can work over months or years (e.g. volcanoes). I have a person digging into the historical records to find evidence of the Hum in 19th century England. If it can be solidly established that the Hum has occurred in past centuries, then this would be a piece of confirming evidence for this theory.
  4. The world Hum is an internal body process along the lines of otoacoustic emissions and tinnitus. If the currently accepted timeline of the Hum is correct, then I think this theory is unlikely. If we find historical evidence of the Hum, then this theory becomes a serious contender.


  1. Harvey Wolfson says:

    I believe that no. 4 is the closest to being correct. I have done extensive travelling, the last trip being through Japan, and I haveheard the Hum wherever I have been. It is my opinion that the hum is idiosyncratic, and likely generated from within. The catalyst, however, is impossible to pinpoint.

  2. Jane says:

    I wonder whether there could be a combination going on? The proliferation of emf’s along with increased infrasound creating some kind of otoacoustic impulse……..

    • I have also speculated on this.

    • Debby says:

      I also think this. I’ve recently found that I can walk up the hill behind our house (20-30m from the road/house) into the trees/bush there, and the hum becomes barely audible, so I do think it is something to do with EMFs. I’ve also found I am EM-sensitive – as a few others have reported. I can’t be in the house when there are things plugged in such as a pest-control device (EM/pulse based), an exercise machine, and printer (all have high EMFs according to a basic EMF meter I have) – after a while I get headaches, brain fog, muscle weakness and numbness in feet/hands. As soon as they are turned off (at the wall, not just at the machine) the EMFs are gone, and my symptoms disappear. I’ve had symptoms even when I didn’t know they were turned on (so it is not psychosomatic).
      If the Hum is caused by a reaction between infrasound and EMFs, how could this be tested?

      • Henrik says:


        What you describe has nothing to do with the Hum we are trying to identify, but since I am an electric engineer I will try to give some hints.

        You are lining up a whole bunch of observations, which have quite little to do with each other. My advice No.1 would be to switch off and lock up that “EMF meter” you have. It only biases your thinking.

        The abbreviation EMF is used for both electromagnetic fields, expressed in Gauss (from 50Hz to radio frequencies) and electromotive force, which is electric fields (V/m) and is expressed as a voltage gradient. Cases of electrosensitivity are invariably self-reported, and in clinical blind tests the persons have never been able to tell when the “field” is on and off.

        There is research going on concerning the long-term effects of low-level RF exposure (like from WiFi routers and cellphones), but what you describe is an instant reaction to walking a small distance away from your house. Therefore I suggest that what cause your problems are ultrasound (audio, not EMF) emissions from various electric devices. You surely remember the Havana diplomat debacle earlier this year.

        I would suggest that after locking away the EMF meter you disable the pest-control device. That emits a very loud ultrasound (audio) in addition to a very small amount of RF radiation from the circuitry inside. The exercise machine and printer may also emit some ultrasound from their power supply boards, also in standby mode, which supports your observation that they have to be disconnected from the wall outlet. Try to live a few days without these devices and see if there are any changes.

      • Debby says:

        Henrik, as I previously said, as soon as these electronic devices are turned off, my symptoms go away – I cannot have them switched on (even just at the wall) for very long, so now they are mostly switched off. I had no idea that the pest control device was giving me these nasty symptoms, (it is a non-ultrasonic one, just magnetic pulse) until after I had switched it off after having it on for 3 weeks, and my symptoms stopped – it was only then I decided to test it with my small EMF(electromagnetic frequency) meter – so it was not biased. I also had symptoms a few weeks later when I had no idea the pest control device was on. We haven’t had it plugged in since August because it is something I can live without.
        There have been several studies on the effects of RF/EMF on cerebral blood flow – and the brains of EHS people have been shown on fMRI scans to have different activity to non-EHS, so it’s not made up stuff.

        Maybe not related but others on this forum and elsewhere have reported both EHS, and hearing the hum. I can hear the hum around 100m away from my house and other houses (I live in a rural/bush area on 10 acres) but 100m from houses is still near high voltage power lines that go between the neighbour’s 50 acre farm and ours. When I go up the hill away from the lines, the sound of hum fades and I cannot hear it near the top of the hill. There is also a cellphone tower about 1km away, but not in line of sight.
        I believe it is some sort of interference between EMFs and ultrasound or RF or something else….that is causing the hum. You yourself said that “one possible trigger/sensitizer may also be the continuous exposure to EMF”.

  3. TINMA says:

    I side with # 4. My own experience tells me that my hum was associated with low vitamin D. others may have different health issues that cause this. In areas of the map that many reports center, it could be due to something as simple as the diet of the people in that region. What ever the cause, good luck to you Dr .

  4. Henrik says:

    The time line problem mentioned under option 4 above can in my opinion be explained by increased proliferation of various medications and other lifestyle changes. Many antibiotics cause tinnitus, and the use of antibiotics has grown rapidly. Several anti-stress medications have likewise been implicated in hyperacusis, and their use has dramatically increased the past 50 years. Dietary habits have changed mainly due to wrong nutritional advice by governmental bodies and the impact of the junk food industry, and as a direct result the prevalence of Diabetes 2 in the US has increased from 1% in 1950 to 7.5% in 2015. Noise pollution and lifestyle stress has increased steadily in the past 50 years. Etc., Etc.

    So I think there are more than enough possible explanations for an increasing occurrence of an otoacoustic Hum. The scarcity of observations in the past does in my opinion not invalidate this hypothesis.

    And, as Dr. MacPherson points out under option 1, one possible trigger/sensitizer may also be the continuous exposure to EMF, mainly in the form of WiFi in every home and workplace during the past 10-15 years.

  5. As for the “timeline” issue let us not forget the IMMENSE event that DID coincided with the onset of an awareness of the hum: the INTERNET also known as the “Information Superhighway”. Am I wrong to suppose that without the web, virtually no one would be discussing the Hum today?

  6. George G. says:

    Excellent point Bernie.

    The “timeline” problem may not be a major guideline after all.

    Glen has someone looking into England circa 19th century, I have a little spare time and will scan newspaper archives from Oz.

    Any relevant article I’ll report on this post.

    • George –

      There is likely a DIFFERENCE between the point in time (if even determinable) that a few people started to “hear” the Hum (as existing) and the point in time at which the Hum (as a portrayed phenomenon) became significantly reported. The latter is when there accrued a “critical mass” (almost a meme). Given the rarity of the affliction, 30 years ago you would have had little chance of getting any useful affirmation. The timing of today’s Hum awareness with the development of the internet as an information tool is perhaps not a coincidence.


      • George G. says:

        Yep, quite right.

        With a little over an hour scanning newspaper archives from the 1850’s I have very little to report, apart from ghost voices, distant booms, and the usual nocturnal wildlife din which frightened newcomers to the bush.

        More annoying, whenever I Google “strange sound” or “hum’ I get swamped with rubbish such as UFO’s and secret underground alien bases, not to mention countless “genuine” U Tube videos.

        I will look through books written long ago for perhaps some snippets.

        By the way, I often wonder, if the underground alien bases are secret, how do the writers of trash know about them?

      • Thank you, George. All together I’ve put in a few dozen hours doing so, particularly the Times of London, which goes back to the late 1700s. The ghost thing will no doubt add a ton of noise to whatever other signals might be there, but good luck. Also, please document when and where you encounter the “swarm of bees” description. That might be significant.

  7. Jeanine says:

    Has anyone looked into the possibility that the sound may be connected to solar panels? Maybe when they transfer energy to utilities company? What about underground fiber optics, as used by cable tv/internet? It does seem at night to be an underground vibration type sound. I have heard the hum several places in California. I am not the only one who can hear it, although I am usually the one to bring it to other people’s attention. It’s gotten to where I notice quiet more than I do the unexplained noise. And yet, it can also be unnoticeable for a couple months and then prevalent for several months. I thought about marine traffic because we are only a few miles from the coast, but I also heard it 30 miles inland and it was the loudest I’ve ever heard.. It’s so sad and disheartening that there is no explanation so this problem can be solved. It is NOT tintinitus. Some can hear it more clearly and therefore more annoyed by it, but I know many people who hear it as well. Frustrated in Huntington Beach CA

  8. George G. says:

    Longitudinal scalar waves—-

    Fantastic magical stuff. For more information, please Google the following:

    Free energy, Suppressed Free Energy Devices, Government Energy Conspiracies, and of course the grand master subject, Tesla’s Secret Death Ray.

    No shortage of material, all quirks catered for.

    • Yes, some of it is hilarious. Note that Dollard, yet again, appears in this stuff. “Scalar”, of course, is a valid and important term in physics, as is the term “scalar field”, but they have nothing to do with the silly stuff we can easily find on the web. That’s the end of this topic on this blog.

  9. Greg Emery says:

    Has anyone looked into the possibility that the Hum could be the constant churning of the Earth’s liquid magma that resides underneath the Earth’s crust? The magma is in constant movement, which could explain the why the Hum has been heard for multiple centuries. Also, with respect to the sound of the Hum being heard more loudly in the northern and southern hemispheres could to due to the natural tilt of the Earth on it’s axis and time of year. The sun’s gravitational pull will have an effect with the magma and pull it in a more consistent manner depending upon the time of the year (winter and summer equinox). I’m not sure if the moon would have the same gravitational pull, but it could be another possibility. I’ve really put this very simplistically, but just thought I’d throw my 2 cents in. This is a very interesting subject and would gladly discuss further. Good luck in finding out the true cause!

  10. George G. says:

    Hi Greg,

    The relationship between Earth’s inner and outer cores and the lithosphere is a fascinating subject.

    When we consider the generation of electric currents by the still not clearly understood processes deep within our planet, it certainly is possible that the Hum may be a product of this process.

    The problem however, is our inability to detect it electronically. The power levels required for propagation at the frequencies reported by hearers would make detection and recording of the signal a simple task.

    So far, nobody has been able to produce any evidence of such a signal, at least not in the specified frequency range.

    But more importantly, you say ” the Hum has been heard for multiple centuries.”

    Could you please direct me to any source which mentions this?

    Thank you.

    • Greg Emery says:

      Hi George,
      I had read that there we accounts of the hum from past periods of time on this site. But I think people were still investigating that those cases. I should’ve said “If the cases of past observations (19th century) are substantiated, then the source could be the magma beneath the Earth’s surface….”.

      • George G. says:

        Thanks for clarifying Greg.

        If you do come across any archived literature which may be significant please share it with the forum, it may be important.

        Good luck with your studies of our planet’s inner core mysteries.
        I am strongly attached to this field of geophysics.

        It has recently been suggested the core is revolving at a slightly higher speed than the lithosphere.

        How cool is that—-a ready made generator?

  11. Jane says:

    I think this video has the answer. Watch from about 11.30secs to 14mins. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu0_lTXHICs
    In fact its all worth watching. Finally a well researched presentation about research using our ionosphere.

    • Jane says:

      Thanks Glen – yes I agree it is first rate. For me I felt the part about added “noise” in the environment which could also be measured deep in the ocean (in my head linked to the claims of deep ocean waves being source of hum) was relevant. I’m not sure how its been measured though from the video. The mention of 60Hz also sparked my interest as when I have tried to tone match my hum it is frequently around the 60Hz mark. Admittedly not always. My personal experience of the hum, which is approx 15 or so years (early years were only once or twice a year to now being most of the time but not everywhere I go) is that it seems to come from all around. So experiments “in the sky” seem relevant. I have clear personal evidence from my own experimentation that it is linked to emf’s. My background is that I was trained in physics then became an engineer and then the final 20 years of my career were spent as a commercial pilot – so I try to bring as scientific and as critical a mind as I can to this matter. However it is very hard to get clear consistent evidence of whats going on. It doesn’t seem possible to reproduce things on a small scale so I have concluded that it is something on a much larger scale. There are places I nearly always hear it and some places I have never heard it. I definitely hear it in more and more places. I have in my later years completely retrained and work in psychological and mental health and so also bring a critical eye to both the hums impact on our mental as well as physical well being but also to the part our emotional world may play in its manifestation and how much it effects us.
      This chaps information for me feels thorough though I admit I do need to read it all more closely to fully make the hum links. I shared it here as I hoped other critical minds could watch it and maybe follow some of his material and see what they think in hum terms.
      I feel as I dig deeper into this chaps work that there may well be illuminating information re the hum. It would be great if anyone else also felt so inclined.
      I have read and disregarded much HAARP and ionospheric heating information before in relation to the hum and perhaps that will again happen here. I guess on initial viewing I was excited by how thorough his work is and perhaps shared prematurely before establishing good solid links 🙂

    • Jane says:

      postscript – it seems relevant to your theory number 1 – that your unit experiment brought into doubt.

    • Jess J says:

      Jane, HAARP being the culprit would coincide with the “schedule” the Hum keeps as well. Good post.

  12. George G. says:

    Re: HAARP

    We must not forget whilst HAARP equipment was decommissioned the Hum continues.

  13. George G. says:

    Thanks Jane,

    I will take a look.

  14. George G. says:


    I have taken another look at the video, and once again I cannot see any reasonable connection with the Hum.

    However, I do think your approach to the subject is positive, no doubt your physics and engineering background is behind your reasoning.

    You wrote that you have not accepted ionospheric heating as a possible mechanism to the Hum in the past, and I agree entirely with you.

    As you will appreciate, the word “heating” is misleading to the layman.

    The researchers who coined this clearly understood they were agitating electrons in a rarefied atmosphere, hence the term ionospheric heating.

    It is most unfortunate the term is misinterpreted by many. (We have recently discussed a misinterpretation of wording—again initiated by well-meaning researchers)

    To the layman, horror visions of massive holes and fissures in the ionosphere are conjured up.

    To the physicist, the electrons are now in a slightly more energetic state, because they have been “heated” by RF beams.

    No big deal there, the 3.6 MW of radiated power sounds huge. In reality, it is puny. This applies to other more powerful man-made transmissions also.

    The high power levels are necessary just to “get some RF up there.”

    Now, the reality check. The sun’s output is perhaps hundreds of thousands or more orders of magnitude higher than all our combined “heaters”.

    The tiny amount of agitation we may created amongst the vast sea of electrons in the ionosphere is quickly erased the moment our transmissions end.

    Jane, your open minded approach to the Hum problem is refreshing, and with your experience as a pilot you may be able to help explain regular comments from sufferers who declare that flight often negates the Hum for several days afterwards.

    Looking forward to more contributions from you.

    To anyone who is interested in facts:

    The USAF relinquished control of the HAARP establishment in 2015.

    In August that year, control of the complex was handed to the University of Alaska UAF

    UAF have an open policy toward public interest and welcome any questions

    UAF have a website, are on Facebook and even on Twitter (how about that?)

    UAF anounce weeks ahead, dates of transmitter operations

    Anyone who wishes to correlate their Hum experiences with HAARP transmissions can now conduct their own research with freely available facts.

    There can be no more excuses for declaring information seen on youtube as factual.

    • Jess J says:

      George, where have you obtained these “facts”? Wikipedia? I see no hard evidence or proof here.

      As stated in the video supplied by Jane, the Gakona site has allegedly been “closed”. So, as per your final sentence of your last comment, is this particular YouTube video then *not* factual?

      And are you also arguing that the larger scale ionospheric heating facility in Norway does not exist? And the others reportedly around the globe? If so, evidence please.

      • George G. says:


        I do not recall mentioning the facility in Norway does not exist.

        What I do recall was urging interested parties to gather facts from original sources, not the movies.

  15. George –

    Very well said and then some.

    The only thing I would add is that the website under discussion here, the one that mention 3.6 MW INPUT (puny as you say), also says 5 GW OUTPUT (a gain of 1389). This GW level is absurd, UNLESS understood to involve some concentration of an average MW input level; ether in a short interval of time (small duty cycle) or a small portion of space (beaming – or antenna gain). The website does not say which, or even seem to worry about possible confusion.


  16. George G. says:

    Thanks Bernie,

    I did note the the unexplained gain in radiated power, I just assumed the inference here was a free plug for the “over-unity/ free energy” clubs.

    An excellent production clearly targeting a select group.



    • George –

      In reading various sites, some suggest that the purported power gain (output/input) of roughly 1000 is (as I briefly suggested) a matter of a klystron operating in a pulsed mode (compression in time to a 1/1000 duty cycle) while others say it is due to the so-called “gain” of an antenna arrays beamed “main-lobe”, relative to a dipole or point-source radiator. [The array in Norway for example is rated at 100 GW ERP (effective radiated power), the ERP meaning they are considering antenna gain.]

      It would seem that many who promote a worrisome harangue about HAARP and its relatives discuss things better in the argumentative manner of lawyers rather than logically as engineers. ( My son-in-law is a lawyer – I guess no family is perfect ! )

      In neither case of inflating the power figures are energy laws violated in that power densities are not sustained in time (like 24/7/365 for many Hum hearers) or in space (like all the global dots on Glen’s map). It’s the notion that these have or even could have anything to do with the Hum that is bogus. Suppositions contrary to solid evidence abound on alarmists’ sites, and sadly, from a few here.


      • George G. says:

        I’ll buy that, Bernie.

        Regarding antenna gain, this is often a misunderstood concept, as there is no gain ( amplification) as such, but rather a concentration of
        beam width.

        Nevertheless, it sounds impressive, much like cheap guitar amps made in you-know-where rated at 100Watts.

        Many disappointed players later discover Peak Watts Versus RMS.

        Advertising is everything Bernie, that’s why sales people are managers today and the guys that keep things in running order are
        just a necessary evil.

        Enough of that, I won’t harp on (pun intended) any longer.

        Over and out.

  17. George G. says:


    The Frosch report, as presented, implies strongly the Hum, as we know it, is internal. Furthermore, it seems external sound/s, do influence our Hum.

    There is no implication in his report that electromagnetic waves are involved.

    That does not mean EM waves should not be considered, but you cannot use his work to imply they are responsible, that would be very poor science, I think you will agree.


    Frosch’s statements about angular head rotation have me puzzled also.

    I hope to contact him in the near future for further clarification.


    Perhaps you could try to contact Dr. Frosch also, and explain your concerns regarding EM sensitivity.

    If we can use this thread for further comm regarding this subject, it will help free congestion on the current thread.



  18. Janet – of the three links you posted on the other thread I found only one item, from the first one:

    “Doctors blamed patients’ abilities to hear it on tinnitus, until Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge had confirmed sometime in the 1990s that the cause is external.”
    – Independent April 16, 2015

    I found one additional link of my own, from 1994:

    “Some doctors have dismissed it as tinnitus, but the latest research, carried out at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, suggests that the noise is, as hearers have always insisted, external.”
    – Independent June 21, 1994

    Pop-Science. Not even anecdotal-class. Do you have anything stronger?


  19. […] First, I was misquoted about the source of the Hum. Please read this. […]

  20. Jeanine says:

    I have a difficult time believing the Hum is 1. Internal and 2. Natural. 1. I know the difference between what I hear in my head and what I hear from an external source. When listening for the source of the hum, I can hear my pulse completely separate from the hum. Two COMPLETELY different sounds. The hum is as if there is a generator/pump etc. running underground and it’s vibrating through the sewer pipes. It has the same type of sound as our fairly new furnace when it’s running, which is a different type of sound than our 1960s furnace which was more of a fan noise. 2. I feel that if the source of the hum were a natural phenomenon, it would not be the same exact rhythmic sounds and tone, regardless of the time of day or the varying volumes. It has to be man made, in my opinion. Satellites transmitting something?? It has only been the last couple years here in Huntington Beach, CA. Believe me, I would’ve heard it sooner if it had been around here at least. I have very keen hearing and would’ve noticed it before. Seriously thought it was bass from a neighbors sound system at first, but had to rule that out BECAUSE it’s sound is too uniform even though the volume varies. When I bring it to others attention they hear it too. I just have a harder time blocking it out, ESPECIALLY because I am a person who wants to understand the meaning of things that are out of the ordinary. Turning the electricity completely off to my house does nothing, so I don’t see it being anything plugged in. Didn’t notice anything unusual when they put electricty smart meter in, but around the time our gas meter was replaced with a smart meter, was the approximate time the hum started to be noticeable., when I looked back. I was not freaked out about the meters themselves, so I wasn’t on a hunt for evil EMFs. Maybe it’s having BOTH electric and gas meters going at same time; interacting somehow? And yet, supposedly people have heard the hum since before the days of all these electronics.and smart meters. I don’t know…. Just looking for an explanation like everyone here. It’s frustrating to lose sleep over something that can’t be explained. Thank you, Dr. Macpherson, for your research. I am not an engineer, nor do I claim to be an expert in any scientific field. I do, however, have the ability to reason and something is different, for sure. I truly appreciate having a forum where we can explore different theories and ideas, trying to find the ever illusive source of the hum. Hmmmmm????

    • Jeanine – You said “….. I know the difference between what I hear in my head and what I hear from an external source…..”

      Most of us initially thought this ourselves. Many here have changed our minds. For one thing, no one has ever measured/displayed/recorded the hum as an acoustic reality, and RF possibilities are now remote.

      Most importantly, the Hum seems to ‘interrupt” for a time of about 1/2 second, and then it ramps right back up, in response to a variety of PERSONAL actions: speaking, grunting, exhaling strongly, head shaking. Ordinary sounds (real trucks for example), do not thusly pause making sound. Clearly, if it is a truck (etc.) blocks or miles away, our local personal actions don’t matter.

      There is an immense amount of discussion of this on this site.

      Good detailed report on your part. Bernie

  21. Mari Bumpus says:

    I experienced the Hum when I lived in Michigan. It was a very low hum
    and I could almost feel it in the back of my head. It made me feel uneasy. I didn’t notice it much with activity going on around me, but I could never enjoy and quiet time. It wasn’t just in my home, it was in multiple locations. I moved to Tennessee in 2007 and I can honestly say I haven’t noticed it since.

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