Who Forted? Magazine

New Case of “The Hum” Mystifying, Frustrating Tiny English Village

The English village of Woodland is the latest to be plagued by the mysterious, annoying "hum"

A phenomenon known as “the hum” has been mystifying, and annoying, people around the world for decades; a droning, low-frequency sound reported to cause sleeplessness, headaches, and even nosebleeds, has been so pervasive that it has made an appearances on Unsolved Mysteries and the X-Files.

Now, the latest victim of “the hum” is the small village of Woodland, in Durham County, England.

Marylin Gretch, a retired detective residing in Woodland, told the Telegraph that the vibration can be so strong, it often rattles their bed.

“In certain areas of the house you can hear it more loudly. It is definitely from outside, it’s in the air, all around, very faint. It vibrates through the house. We’ve turned all the electricity off in the house and we can still hear it, so it’s not that. Sometimes we’ll be in bed and it vibrates right through our bed, like a throbbing.”

Since it’s first widely reported appearance in Britol in the 1970′s, it has since cropped up in Hawaii, New Mexico, Indiana, and even New Zealand.

Many explanations have been presented for the hum, such as UFOs, volcanic activity, government conspiracies, and the comparatively bland tinnitus, but only few of them have proven satisfactory enough to close the case. The Indiana hum, for example, was found to be caused by a pair of fans in a cooling tower at the DaimlerChrysler casting plant. The fans produced a hum at an astoundingly annoying 36Hz tone, prompting complaints from many living nearby.

This doesn’t, however, explain away all cases of “the hum”, especially the latest appearance in Woodland, where there are no nearby factories, and residents describe the location as an “isolated heaven”.

Residents say that the hum, with a sound resembling a the drone of a distant diesel engine, begins every night at roughly midnight and persists until 4am, preventing many from sleeping soundly.

Gary Hutchinson, environmental protection manager at Durham County Council, told the Telegraph: “I can confirm that we received a call regarding a humming sound in the Woodland area earlier on June 1 and we will now make further enquiries before deciding what action we will take.”

For more on the Woodland Hum visit The Telegraph.

EDIT: Another “hum” is currently being investigated by environmental agencies in Ontario, Canada.

Those with hearing sensitive to low frequencies might be interested to hear a recording of the New Zealand hum located here.

Greg Newkirk

Greg Newkirk

Senior Editor at Who Forted
Documentary film-maker, professional monster chaser, and mystery monger, Greg is the senior editor for Who Forted? 'Zine. When he's not occupied by writing about the wide world of the weird, he's busy directing and editing documentary films like The Bigfoot Hunter: Still Searching or writing about offbeat travel for Roadtrippers. He's currently in production on his new project: an original documentary web series titled Planet Weird. He currently lives in Cincinnati.
Greg Newkirk
Greg Newkirk

8 Comments

  1. Paramarama

    06/13/2011 at 7:16 PM

    You’d think this would be an easy enough mystery to solve. Just triangulate the sound and see where it’s coming from.

  2. chris

    06/14/2011 at 3:47 AM

    National grid plc installed 6.600 km of pipes to take gas around the UK.
    According to Wiki
    quote
    The system provides the arteries in the UK’s gas network. It is the starting point for gas distribution before it reaches the pipeline system for houses, which is not part of the NTS, but the two systems form the gas distribution network of the UK.
    There are two types of gas pipelines in the UK: large diameter high-pressure (up to 85 bar and 120cm diameter) pipelines – the type that the NTS uses, and smaller diameter lower pressure pipelines that connect to domestic uses in residential areas. The NTS has over 6,600km of welded steel gas pipeline with twenty six (mostly gas turbine driven) compressor stations and fifteen pressure regulators. Gas moves through the system at 25 mph.
    Compressor stations include:
    • England – Wooler, Bishop Auckland, Carnforth, Nether Kellett, Scunthorpe, Warrington, Hatton, Alrewas, Wisbech, King’s Lynn, Peterborough, Churchover, Peterstow, Huntingdon, Cambridge, Diss, Chelmsford, Aylesbury, Lockerley and Wormington.
    • Scotland – Aberdeen, Bathgate, Kirriemuir, Moffat and St Fergus
    unquote

    Could the Bishop Auckland Compressor station be causing the hum?

    • Mario

      06/15/2011 at 11:31 AM

      1st I would like to reply to Paramarama’s comment. This phenomena has been going on for 4 decades all over the world and if it was so easy to solve, it would have been solved long time ago.
      Now we come to Chris’s comment. Chris your comment doesn’t carry an ounce of weight. Sure 6.600 kms of gas pipes was laid across the UK, but get oyur facts right mate. There is no gaspipes in Woodland, because of the disused mines under the village and the nearest compressor staion is about 12 miles away

  3. Steph

    06/17/2011 at 7:44 PM

    I was kept awake periodically by an irritating hum. Turned out to be caused by a resonance in my bathroom. The size/shape was just right to resonate with a parking lot vacuum truck operating more than a mile away. Resonance amplified it significantly.

    • Greg Newkirk

      06/18/2011 at 10:58 AM

      Interesting, and it makes perfect sense. I wonder if many of these locations experiencing “the hum” have a kind of resonance due to geographical reasons?

  4. Blue Superior

    01/31/2012 at 5:24 AM

    This isn’t happening in just the UK. Just about everywhere I’ve traveled in the midwest U.S, you can hear it. I can hear it, however everyone I’ve asked around me can’t hear it. It’s so loud, I just don’t understand how they can’t hear it. And it’s been getting louder as time goes on. It’s so intrusive, I mark on the calendar when it is off. The hum was off several days ago for one day. This is so wrong whatever it is.

    • liddle

      06/30/2014 at 2:26 PM

      I know what you mean! Suffering it in Scunthorpe for last 6/7 months. I can’t understand people not hearing it as its so loud.

  5. Steve from CT

    03/03/2013 at 12:35 PM

    Take a look at Hum Forum- Yahoo and see the US map of hum and high pressure natrual gas lines. Very compelling to say there is a major correlation of hum and these lines. I also have researched and done field testing to prove it is our problem in CT USA.

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