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By late spring of 1992, Bob and Caitanya Saltzman were at a breaking point.


Initially, they'd moved to idyllic Taos, New Mexico, to enjoy the outdoors and relish some peace and quiet.


The town's was anything but quiet.


A slow, constant, maddening hum had been plaguing the town for over a year. It sounded like a truck idling on the street for hours and days on end. The noise grew even louder at night.


Shortly after she first noticed the hum, Catania had written to the local newspaper, hoping media attention might motivate the city to fix the problem. With the moment the story hit the stands, the town's news was bombarded with calls and letters from families across town complaining about the same noise.


Acoustical engineers were called in, as were local scientists and even representatives from the federal government. But no amount of testing could explain the hum.


Months turned to years, and still the hum persisted. It kept Bob and Caitanya up at night, driving them and their neighbors mad. During the day, it became difficult to focus on simple tasks. Only the sound of a TV could drown out the quiet but persistent rumble.


Finally, the Saltsman's accepted their mountain retreat would never again be quiet. They packed up a moving truck and moved out of state.


As they crossed the county lines, the mysterious hum finally ceased.


Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a Spotify original from podcast. Every Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth on Carter Roy. And I'm Ali Brandenberg. And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious.


Don't get us wrong. Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not.


You can find episodes of conspiracy theories and all other originals from Park Cast for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.


This is our first episode on mysterious, humming and elusive, unexplainable noise that has plagued whole towns across the world for decades. But despite its power, researchers haven't been able to trace its cause since the home first appeared in the early 1970s.


Between two and 10 percent of people in an affected area have fallen victim, tortured with insomnia, headaches, nausea and at least one reported suicide. This week, we'll track the history of the hum and explore what researchers have learned so far.


Next week, we'll discuss the popular conspiracy theories surrounding the hum from secret military operations to an electromagnetic mind control device. That may sound farfetched, but disturbingly, it's already proven science.


We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. This podcast is not affiliated with Prakash's network. Brainwashed from CBC podcasts takes you inside a multipart investigation into M.K. Ultra in Montreal and how the CIA and Canadian government funded secret experiments to find out if people's brains could be rewired and controlled. Learn about the psychiatrist used hundreds of his patients as human guinea pigs and discover the devastating impacts these experiments had on the victims, their families and on thousands around the world.


You can find brainwashed on the CBC Listen app or wherever you get your podcasts.


Hundreds of people across the world have been plagued by a mysterious hum, it sounds like a car idling nearby or the rumble of distant thunder, except this hum has no obvious explanation.


It simply is omnipresent, invasive and relentless.


The humming buzzes on year after year, driving its victims to the brink of madness.


The home is among the most vexing mysteries of our time. For some, it's an annoying buzz that can be drowned out with white noise machines. For others, it's like a dentist's drill always grinding away in the background.


In many cases, the home has made its presence known in a more visceral way by shaking window panes, breaking light bulbs and turning backyard swimming pools into tuning forks.


Usually, the home will infiltrate an entire town, emitting a frequency that about one out of 20 residents can hear. But what is it and where is it coming from?


Truthfully, we have no idea.


The best we can do is start at the beginning and piece together clues along the way.


To date, the home has been heard all over the world, but it's most concentrated in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. It was first reported in the U.K. in the English port city of Bristol, when a newspaper asked locals who had heard the hum, some 800 people replied that they had and were suffering because of it.


In 1973, New Scientist magazine reported on the hum, detailing a study done on 50 sufferers. These residents experienced a slow, throbbing background noise that no one else could hear.


This mysterious hum only started in Bristol over the next 20 years. It crept across England and up into Scotland. Colorful resident of Whitehill, Scotland, likened it to putting your head in the wash for a spin cycle. Then by 1992, the home made its way across the Atlantic to the U.S., it first sprang up in Hueytown, Alabama, before moving west to Taos, New Mexico.


Taos is an idyllic mountain retreat home to many affluent transplant's who fled city life. Julia Roberts, Dennis Hopper and Donald Rumsfeld have all been residents. But in the early 90s, the town's most famous resident was a pervasive, inexplicable hum that affected approximately two percent of its 4000 residents. As was the case in Bristol, many describe the hum as a low throb that shattered their concentration and made it hard to sleep. Others described it as a whirring noise, like a generator starting up, and a third group heard a buzzing sound.


So a slightly higher pitch than the whirring and throbbing.


Taos resident Caitanya Saltzman began hearing the hum toward the end of 1991, a few months later, her husband Bob could hear it too, especially late at night.


Nobody else seemed to be complaining about the noise. So Caitanya and Bob figured it must be construction somewhere in town. But after months of intermittent humming, Caitanya decided to take action in March of 1992.


She sent a detailed letter about the humming to the House news. She hoped that by raising awareness around the issue, the city might be inclined to investigate. To Caitanya surprise, the task news was soon flooded with phone calls from other residents suffering from the same hum.


At first, some armchair investigators suspected the noise could be a byproduct of a secret military project taking place outside of town. After all, between Towers and the Air Force's highly classified Area 51 in Nevada is about 800 miles of desert.


Another, less fantastical explanation was the diesel generator at the new golf course on the outskirts of town about researchers who surveyed the scene quickly ruled this out at one point.


A team of scientists attempted to suss out the culprit. They used geophones, a special recording device to measure electromagnetic, acoustical and seismic energy around town. But all they managed to record was a pack of gofers tunneling a new home.


Their research wasn't totally fruitless. The researchers also asked several hum hearers in Taos to recreate the hum. Using signal generators. They matched the hum to low range frequencies, similar to those recorded in Bristol in the 1970s. It was fascinating, but didn't leave any clues on what was causing the hum.


One researcher suggested that perhaps the home hearers had incredibly sensitive hairs lining their inner ears when stimulated, these hairs could be turning ears into amplifiers. If this were the case, it would mean that hum hearers were self producing the very buzz that was driving them crazy.


Joining this research effort was Joe Mullins, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of New Mexico and quite possibly a hum hearer himself.


He sent surveys to thousands of people and visited the homes of several hearer's his team, installed equipment in their homes that would measure sounds and vibrations in the air. And when all was said and done, this research revealed something peculiar. There wasn't any acoustical real sound, and it also didn't seem electromagnetic. What they were looking for was so low frequency that they couldn't detect it.


But none of this information got him any closer to identifying why the noise was happening.


One researcher suggested that perhaps the harm was caused by transmissions from cell phone towers. At the time, cell phones were relatively new and not widely used. The wealthy residents of Towers could afford such luxuries, which would explain why the remote town was suffering from the hum while other cities were left unaffected.


But that didn't explain the hum heard in Hueytown, Alabama, or why the hum matched the frequencies heard in Bristol in the 1970s.


So the theory was soon dismissed.


Whatever was happening seemed focused in towns and Hueytown to communities with very little in common.


The mystery proved unsolvable and the hunt continued for years, driving the whole of Taoists insane.


Soon, Caitanya and Bob Saltzman had finally had enough. They sold their Custom-Built home and moved out of town. They haven't heard the hum since. For a while, the home seemed contained to Hueytown and House, then in 1986, the Boston Herald reported on a hum permeating the small coastal towns of Hull and Nart in Massachusetts. Both communities are located on peninsulas that jut out into the Atlantic. In both cases, the hum was described as a large truck idling in the distance.


But unlike the hams and house in Bristol, this one was strong enough to rattle windows.


Whatever it was, the humming seemed to be getting stronger over time. But much as had been the case in New Mexico and the UK, no one could figure out why these tiny Massachusetts towns were plagued by such a grating noise.


In 1999, the hum resurfaced again, this time in a small industrial town called Kokomo, Indiana, not the Kokomo from the Beach Boys song, but presumably just as lovely as this hum. Majda reports from Bristol, Hueytown, Towns and Massachusetts. It manifested as a constant low rumble that proved irritating during the day and maddening at night. One resident told ABC News it went from a headache to a never ending headache.


Hum here in Kokomo also began experiencing frequent nosebleeds, dizziness and upset stomachs. And by 2004, the municipal government had finally approved an investigation into the root cause of the hum.


The investigators pointed to a seemingly obvious culprit the cooling system used at a nearby Daimler Chrysler plant. After years of constant use, the fans were causing a racket and in need of repair.


The city ordered the fans to be fixed, expecting the problem to go away.


But not only did the hum persist, some said it started getting louder. At night, investigators were out of answers. Kokomo joined the small, unfortunate community of hometowns that still buzz in perpetuity.


Up next, some interesting developments in the case, PA Caster's, we are entering the spookiest season of the year, and while I can't wait for candy corn to hit the grocery store shelves, I'm also looking forward to more frightful parts of fall, starting with Podcast Network's newest original series called Haunted Places Ghost Stories. Starting October 1st, we're bringing you the scariest, most Hair-Raising ghost stories ever imagined. Every Thursday on Haunted Places Ghost Stories, Alistaire Murden summons a new spine tingling tale of Wraith's phantoms and chilling apparitions.


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And don't forget, October is our favorite month and one of our busiest. So make sure to search Sparkasse network in the Spotify search bar to see all of our new shows.


Now back to the story. Since at least the 1970s, a mysterious harm has plagued communities across the world, seemingly at random. And despite the best efforts of leading research teams, acousticians and seismologists, no plausible explanation had ever been presented.


Many medical professionals have suggested the home is tinnitus, a fairly common hearing condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. About 15 to 20 percent of people will experience this condition at some point in their life.


Tinnitus is defined as the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. It's usually not a serious condition, and oftentimes the ringing goes away on its own. But it can worsen with age, at which point treatment to lessen the noise is advised. While this may seem like an obvious answer, there are some notable differences between tinnitus and the hum. For one thing, the ringing sound associated with some forms of tinnitus is high pitched, whereas the hum is described as low and rumbling like a subwoofer.


Additionally, victims of the harm report a wider range of symptoms, including nausea, anxiety and nosebleeds. Some also describe the noise as a physical experience, claiming they feel slight vibrations that match the persistent rumble.


One researcher living in Connecticut said that sometimes it can feel like the hum is squeezing his brain.


But perhaps the most telling sign is that the humming goes away when its victims leave town on vacation. The moment they get back home, the rumbling and vibrations return. In other words, it really is location specific. All in all, the symptoms of the mysterious hum are far beyond anything commonly associated with tinnitus. But while an ear infection fails to explain the harm, a team of international scientists have offered an interesting alternative. Since the dawn of time, the earth in and of itself has emitted a hum, it's not the same as the mysterious hum.


Rather, the Earth vibrates at a frequency that is 10000 times lower than humans are capable of hearing. So unless some hearers are evolved super mutants. This is not an answer to their issue.


But in a series of experiments between 2012 and 2013, a group of French, English and German scientists were able to isolate the Earth's come under water for the first time in history by deploying seismometers to the ocean floor around Reunion Island, a French territory in the middle of the Indian Ocean. They found that the Earth's hum corresponds with the frequencies of waves rolling over ridges and continental shelves and bashing into one another in the open ocean.


It seems like this theory, forgive the pun, holds water. If you've ever done an Atlantic crossing by boat, you know that waves can reach 12 feet on a calm day. It's not unreasonable to assume that all that power could cause powerful vibrations. But how does Earth's hum connect with the mysterious hum? At around the same time as the Reunion Island experiment, the mysterious hum was being recorded by a land base in Algeria sometime afterwards.


The Reunion Island home was compared to the home recorded on land. Researchers found that the oscillating frequencies of each arm matched up over an 11 month period. After this discovery, it was suggested that the mysterious hum could be the result of immense oceanic forces or some other kind of natural atmospheric turbulence, this ocean hypothesis might make sense for coastal towns like Bristol Hull and the Hunt. But why would people further inland here, the home? After all, Taos, New Mexico, is nowhere near the ocean.


Not too long after the 2013 experiment, countless explanations began popping up on Reddit, blaming all usual suspects, aliens, ghosts and the CIA.


The theories were spirited, if unhelpful, unless extraterrestrials really are squeezing our brains, in which case we owe an apology to Elian. Wotcher, three eight seven two three.


At the turn of this century, stories of the home were still scattered. No one had compiled them into a workable database that could be compared side by side, at least not yet. It was well past midnight in Norman, Oklahoma, a tiny suburb of Oklahoma City, the coffee shops and boutiques that line the main drag had been closed for hours. A tailgate party at the nearby University of Oklahoma had finally packed it in for the night. The town was so quiet you could hear a pin drop quiet for everyone.


That is, except David Deming, professor of geosciences at the University. Deming was lying in bed staring at the ceiling. He'd gone to bed hours beforehand. But just as he'd started to doze off, a light bulb in his bedroom exploded.


Then he started to hear a low, persistent hum that it kept him awake since Demming figured it was a one night anomaly, perhaps caused by a transformer on the street or something.


But the next day when he asked around, nobody else on campus had heard it.


A few minutes later, his sleep was again interrupted, this time by a smoke alarm. Demming leapt from bed, confused to discover there was no fire, smoke or even a strong gust of wind. It was inexplicable, and he began to wonder whether something in his apartment was causing these late night spook's.


Some may have written off the light bulb and smoke alarm as paranormal activity. But being a diligent academic, Demming was sure there was a scientific explanation. He delved into research, compiling as much information as he could find.


All the while, his sleep deprivation worsened. It was as though the home knew he was closing in on it and was fighting back in full force.


Finally, in 2004, Demming published his work, a 25 page research paper in the Journal of Scientific Exploration entitled The Hum and Anomalous Sound Heard Around the World.


The paper documented every verifiable report of the hum since 1970.


Deming's report further highlighted the differences between acoustic and electromagnetic sounds.


Now we all know acoustic sounds. They are delivered to us by sound waves and make up the gross majority of our auditory experience. However, Demming suspected that the hum was something else electromagnetic energy.


Electromagnetic radiation refers to waves that transmit energy. They have electrical and magnetic properties and travel through the vacuum of space at the speed of light. That might be hard to picture, but the concept is quite simple these waves move around us constantly. They're responsible for our ability to see color, watch TV and scroll mindlessly on our phones.


In short, electromagnetic waves are our friends.


As far as we know, electromagnetic waves don't emit sound. But Demming explains that there is some evidence that they can create the perception of a sound in certain listeners. In addition, he wrote, there are anecdotal reports of what can only be called electrical effects associated with the hum. Demming mentioned one here who said that it seemed as if his bed was vibrating with electricity.


It is paper he referenced reports from the 1940s of people who claim they heard radar signals at the time they were considered mentally ill.


But in 1962, researcher Alan Frei challenged that diagnosis. He conducted an experiment that proved some people could, in fact, hear radio waves.


What made the experiment undeniable was that at least one of the participants who heard the radio waves was deaf. This proved that sound could be perceived. That was not acoustic.


Further supporting Deming's theory, Demming also referenced the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, one of the most stunning natural phenomena on Earth. Throughout history, there have been stories of those who could hear the Aurora sing, and sure enough, the aurora generates radio waves.


It seemed as though Demming had pinpointed what the homes were. The only question left was why? Coming up, a small Canadian town deepens the mystery now back to the story. In 2004, geoscientist David Deming published his research paper, The Hum and anomalous sound heard around the world. The paper not only provided a sound explanation of what the hum was, it caught the attention of a man who had already spent years piecing the puzzle together.


Canadian researcher Glenn McPherson had been tracking the hum since 2012, when he first started hearing it in his British Columbia home.


Since then, McPherson had created a global map that pinpointed every report of the harm he could find, and he invited others to add to it. The map is littered with red dots, mostly concentrated in the western world. In Japan. Elsewhere, the dots seem to hover around metropolitan areas where the country's wealth is most concentrated.


Deming's work proves that the harm is most likely electromagnetic.


Macpherson's map showed that it was concentrated in the most technologically advanced places in the world. Even so, no one could identify the common link.


But a small town in Canada was about to present an interesting theory. In early 2011, Mike Provost was enjoying a relaxing day at home in Windsor, Ontario. A newly retired insurance salesman in his 60s, he had long been anticipating days like these when he could awaken at his leisure and putter around the garden.


But that morning, my plans changed. A low distant rumble broke the morning silence.


At first, he assumed a thunderstorm must be brewing on for so early in spring.


But though the noise persisted, no rain fell. Perplexed, Mike went outside to investigate. But like thousands of home, here's before him. He found no obvious source for the noise.


That sound of low, persistent thunder went on for hours, days, then weeks. Mike couldn't sleep, he couldn't focus. His head was spinning from the constant sound of a brewing storm, and he frequently felt nauseous.


He set up an elaborate sound system in his garden intent on recording the hum as proof that he wasn't fabricating the noise. He also turned to the central hub for armchair detectives, Facebook. And Mike was surprised to find that thousands of his neighbors were also complaining about the harm.


They created a Facebook group to share stories and even upload recordings of the noise. The group's membership quickly climbed to over 1000 mikes, stepped in as one of the moderators and has been co managing the group ever since.


After joining the group, Mike began recording activity in his garden round the clock, only stopping to switch out memory cards. And together, the approximately two percent of Windsor who could hear the hum posted testimonials and recordings, building evidence to prove that it wasn't all in their heads.


Finally, after months of raising Cain, their Facebook group was able to bypass city council by capturing the attention of the federal government, specifically the Geological Survey of Canada, a federal agency tasked with developing Canada's natural resources and protecting its environment.


In September 2011, surveyors A-L Band and C r d Wood Gold issued a report titled Seismic Investigation of the Rumblings in Windsor, Ontario. The report stated with 95 percent accuracy that the Hummes point of origin was at or around a small strip of land in the Detroit River, known as Zug Island. Mike's hometown of Windsor sprawls along the Detroit River, which acts as a natural border between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, on the American side of the river is a small landmass called Zug Island.


Though tiny, the island is home to a massive steel mill.


The representatives from GSC didn't go so far as to name the steel mill as the culprit, but they did conclude that the maddening hum emanated from or around Zug Island.


But it would prove difficult to verify this theory. The island was across the border, patrolled by an army of security guards and covered in signs that read This is a restricted area defined by homeland security regulations to continue their investigations.


The Canadian government would need permission from the U.S., but without explanation, the U.S. declined.


Zug Island has often been called Detroit's Area 51. Its heavy security and ironclad secrecy have long stoked rumors that the island is home to a secret government test site. And after the U.S. declined the Canadian government's request, it only further convince people that there was something to hide.


In 2014, the Canadian government commissioned an official report on the humming, which again showed that its source was likely located near Zug Island. But once again, cross border politics prevented Canadian officials from being able to investigate the steel mill.


And so the residents of Windsor were left to wonder where the Americans hiding a top secret government operation or had the Canadian government simply stepped on the toes of big steel.


Oddly, it seems that no one in Detroit has ever complained about the harm. Apparently, it can only be heard in Windsor.


Still, many Windsor locals have never heard the hum, though there might be a few reasons for that, according to a BBC report from 2009.


The hum is most commonly heard by women and those over 50 years of age, though there's no scientific explanation for why that might be.


Second, the hum has reportedly lessened over the years, affecting a smaller and smaller range of neighborhoods like Provo's live nearest to Zug Island, which could explain why he still hears the hum even as its range decreases. But recently, in summer of twenty twenty, the steel plant stopped using their blast furnace and the hum seems to have vanished in Windsor.


The activity on Zug Island is still interesting. First, because it marks the first time the mysterious hum has been pinpointed to an exact location. Second, because the tight government security made it easy to believe that perhaps Homeland Security really did have something to do with the hum, just like the people of Taos, New Mexico, suggested was the military the missing link between Area 51 and the Area 51 of Detroit?


It might seem laughable, but the military does have a history of experimenting with electromagnetic waves.


On December 13th, 2006, the Pentagon released a previously classified report under the Freedom of Information Act entitled Bioethics Effects of Selected Non-lethal Weapons. The report from 1998 detailed the testing of non-lethal methods of torture.


The hope was that by manipulating radio frequencies and pointing them at a target, they could implant voices and white noise in the target's head. In short, the government was developing a mind control device.


From what we can glean from the report, the device seemed to be a kind of laser that would shoot pulses of radio frequency energy at the target, causing a sensation known as microwave hearing. The target would begin hearing sounds that were originating in their own head. The hope was to begin using it on prisoners of war to create, quote, psychologically devastating effects.


Military researchers likely based this invention on something called the fry effect in this earlier study, a close range microwave was able to communicate the numbers one through ten to a human test subject. The subject heard the numbers loud and clear, but audio recorders in the room picked up nothing. It was the stuff of a sci fi film.


The possibilities of this were likely thrilling for the military. Microwave hearing could be used as a weapon.


The report also detailed a few other effects that will sound familiar. In an acoustic energy experiment, subjects were made to listen to low frequency noise at a high volume test. Subjects suffered from nausea, which was the intended outcome. Could this kind of government testing be the reason for the hum? It's a terrifying concept.


And there's one more quick story that paints the bigger picture. It dates back to 1961.


That year, the U.S. Navy launched a test program called Tassimo, an acronym that stands for Take Charge and Move Out, Tecmo used aircraft transmitters to relay messages at very low frequencies in the case of nuclear war.


This would be vital to the war effort, especially if we ever enter a World War Three.


The Tacoma program went through several evolutions between the 1960s and 2000s and proved to be an incredible method of communication. Tocumwal aircrafts can stay safely in the air for long periods of time while they broadcast emergency action messages to key military vehicles and locations.


While the specifics of when and where Tassimo transmissions are sent remain confidential, geoscientist David Demming noted that many Tecmo transmissions coincide with home activity.


Interestingly, Tacoma could also explain home activity in Bristol and Scotland.


Many naval exercises take place in the North Atlantic Ocean between the Tacoma program and mind control lasers. It really seems like the Department of Defense is solely responsible for the mysterious hum, except there's still the question of Taos, New Mexico.


Taos isn't near a land based station, nor is it near a body of water. And the same could be said for a Kokomo, Indiana.


It's pretty out in the middle of nowhere. I blame aliens.


You can state your case next week. For now, I'm interested in diving deep into more feasible theories.


Which brings us to the conspiracies theory.


Number one, the government has developed a mind control device and is testing its efficacy on its own citizens theory.


Number two, the mysterious hum is a byproduct of U.S. naval transmission systems, and the inherent stealth of the program has thus far allowed the root cause to go undetected.


Theory number three the harm as a result of a new technology. But the culprit isn't cell phone towers or the military. Its natural gas lines.


As we fall deeper into the rabbit hole of the mysterious hum, no explanation will seem too far fetched. Thanks for tuning in to conspiracy theories, we'll be back Wednesday to get to the bottom of the mysterious humming. You can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all other originals from podcast for free on Spotify.


Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story.


And the official story isn't always the truth. Conspiracy theories was created by Max Cutler and is a part of the studio's original, it is executive produced by Max Cutler, Sound Design by Brian Ghaleb with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Joshua Kern. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Babbette Dunkel Grahn with writing assistance by Ali Whicker and stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy.


Don't forget to follow haunted places, ghost stories for the spookiest thrillers ever imagined, collected from all around the world and all throughout time. Murden brings a new story to life every Thursday, follow haunted places, ghost stories free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.