Update on the State of the Strange

Still hearing that damned hum in my head, but it’s more toward the left side so I’m thinking it’s something with my ears, and not the subterranean tunnel construction rumbles emanating from some clandestine, mysterious underground base where a joint government/alien conspiracy is carrying out unthinkable lab experiments on abductees and breeding alien-human hybrids.

I’m not Fox but I taped an X on my window last night just to see if anyone would stop by, maybe give me some answers. I’m not expecting anything but I’ll keep you posted.

Welp, Halloween came and went and I failed to post anything remotely spooky for the season. My apologies. Seems that lately I’ve been focusing less on fantasy and more on reality. Shame on me. I should know better but I just can escape this sense of getting older and needing to take life a little more seriously.

Okay, that’s not wholly true. Taking life seriously should mean taking our fun just as seriously as we take our serious stuff. We have things that keep us busy, yes, and we shouldn’t let our imaginations take too much control, but there is a time and place for some form of imaginative escape.

Life should be about enjoyment, adventure, exploration and wonder. Some people go to plays, some go to movies or cover surf on Netflix, some like to watch Finding Bigfoot, Ghost Adventures or other paranormal stuff on TV (and why the hell not), and some people like to imagine that Bigfoot and ghosts are actually real.

I like to imagine too. Sometimes it’s fun to hike through the woods and pretend, a little, maybe, that there is a Sasquatch lurking somewhere just beyond where I can see. Or maybe, when my wife and I are driving along at night, it’s sometimes fun to imagine that a Dogman might leap out of the shadows alongside the road and give us a scare.

Many humans like to feel a little spooked, a little scared, that’s why Halloween Haunted Attractions are so hugely popular, and growing. People like to be scared. We like to imagine there might be something else, and have fun with it.

We just don’t need to believe it all.

Still, have a wonderful time with your imagination, it’s yours to pretend and enjoy what you will.

That’s my two cents on the State of the Strange for this week. Maybe next week I’ll post again, or maybe next year!

Mysterious Hum Heard in Eastern PA

My first experience with this strange, low frequency hum was sometime back in 2001 in New Jersey. I was in my first home, alone, sitting up in bed one night reading a book. It was very quiet, and I started noticing a very low droning noise. And I mean a very low hum not some ominous trumpeting sounds from the sky. This was a low, persistent sound.

Someone posting on a forum I visited while researching the hum described it like a tractor tailer climbing a hill in low gear and never reaching the top. That’s the most accurate description in my opinion, just a continuous motoring sound.

Similar mysterious hums have been reported by people around the world, “the Taos hum” in New Mexico for example, and other places.

The sound I heard was so low and monotonous, unordinary, that I assumed there must be something going on with my ears. I tried the usual pressure relief trick, holding my nose and creating a slight pressure to “pop” my ears, but the sound persisted, so I began making deliberate noises to see how the hum would be affected.

If anyone was watching they would have thought I was nuts. I’m sitting there in bed with a book on my lap blurting out calls of nothing in particular, “HAP! HOOOO! PSHHHH!” And making throat clearing noises. After each noise the hum would promptly return.

I spent some time looking into it, but didn’t give it too much further thought and more or less forgot about it. Since then I have noticed the hum periodically, and not just in New Jersey. I heard it while on vacation in North Carolina last year. That time my wife was beside me in bed and I asked if she had heard it too. She claimed not.

We’re living in Southeastern Pennsylvania now, and the most recent occurrence of the hum was just last night in bed, and this time my wife did hear it!

I had just switched off the light and we were laying there in the silent darkness. A few moments went by and I said, “I hear the hum again.” Then I went on to reproduce the pitch I was hearing in my head by humming a low tone.

She said, “I hear it too.”

To clarify I said, “not the hum I just made, but something else…”

She replied, “I heard it before you even said anything.”

I was ecstatic, “You did?! You heard THE HUM?! Can you hear it now?”

We were quiet for a moment and, just as the hum returned to my attention, she said, “Yep, there it is. The same low sound like you just made. Sounds like a truck on the highway.”

I said, “Yeah, but if it’s a truck on the highway it would have driven off by now. This keeps going.”

She agreed. We discussed the sound for a few minutes, between silent listening, and eventually drifted off to sleep.

This morning I came down to my studio to work. I’m a musician and was preparing to work on some recording. While I waited for my computer to boot, a relatively quiet Mac Mini, I heard the hum. That was about 9:30 this morning, May 19, 2014.

Low Frequency HumI had a cardioid vocal microphone set up so I decided to record the silent room and see if I could hear the hum in the subsequent recording. After recording for one minute I analyzed the recording with an EQ set up on the audio track. I increased the gain 20dB, cut all frequencies above 200Hz then, while the sound was playing, swept a very narrow band pass slowly from 20Hz up to hunt for the most resonant frequencies.

Tones were present at 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz and 180Hz, the strongest of which was at 120Hz and the second strongest at 60Hz. Based on these frequencies the origin in this case could be electrical, however the frequencies were not present in a recording with the microphone input off, so they are not originating in the equipment.

The HVAC system is off, so the only motors running in the house are a radon pump in the attic, the refrigerator and a small impeller pump and air bubbler on the fish tank. The fridge does not run constantly, the fish tank pumps are relatively quiet…

Oh crap, I think I know what the hum is: 3.5 inch Hard Drive in an external USB enclosure (metal housing), sitting on my wooden desktop. Have to test that theory later this evening when my wife is home. But to be sure, I just lifted the drive off of the desk and the hum went away :)

UPDATE: I tested the theory last night. The hum was still present, two floors up with the computer and hard drive off! The hum we are hearing is not caused by vibrations of the hard drive resonating on the desk. It’s something else. Our investigation is ongoing…

For more information on “the Hum” check these resources: