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This episode contains discussions of violence that some may find disturbing discretion is advised, especially for those under 13.


In 2016, journalist Linda Gettis was enjoying a slow morning at home in Bristol, England, when she began to hear a dull rumble. It felt like her eardrum was vibrating. Initially, she assumed her neighbors were getting work done on their house, but when the noise lasted long into the night, Linda realized there must be something else at play.


She unplugged all the electronics in her house, the Wi-Fi, even the refrigerator, when nothing made a difference. She turned to the Internet for information.


It was then that she learned about the history of the Bristol hum and eerie buzz that had plagued the town since the early 1970s.


Over the years, many theories have tried to explain the origins of the low, pulsating drone often dismissed as inner ear sensitivity.


That summer, Linda Gettys produced an investigative piece on the home for the BBC as part of her story. She interviewed researcher Glenn McPherson, who offered an interesting counterpoint to the tinnitus argument. Before the early 1970s, there wasn't a single reported case of the mysterious hum, whereas tinnitus seems to have existed since the beginning of human history, it seemed that something changed in Bristol in 1971 and then slowly spread across the Western world ever since.


Researchers have spent their time trying to answer that question. What changed? What unleashed this maddening hum that has grown so acute it's even driven one individual to end their own life?


Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a podcast original every Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth.


Carter Roy. And I'm Molly 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 second episode on the mysterious hum and inexplicable invasive low frequency drone that has been reported all over the world.


Last week we examined the history of the hum from its first appearance in the early 1970s to today. It's believed that the home is created by electromagnetic waves, but nobody knows where those waves come from. This week, we'll discuss three conspiracy theories that attempt to explain the Hummes origins. Some theories suggest the harm is produced by active natural gas lines beneath the Earth. Others believe it's the result of low frequency transmissions being sent by military planes.


But a few theorists have suggested something far more damning that the hum is the sound of the government using microwave transmissions to control your mind.


When you have all that and more coming up, stay with us. This podcast is not affiliated with Paksas 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.


The harm was first reported in Bristol, England, in 1971. From there, it spread across England and into Scotland by the 1980s, but it didn't make its way across the Atlantic for almost two decades by the early 1990s. The home had been reported across America and even in some areas of Canada and in Windsor, Ontario. A Canadian federal study traced the home back to Zug Island, a small land mass in Detroit.


On the American side of the river, Zug Island was protected by American homeland security. So despite an official request from Canadian authorities, the United States said they would not allow any investigations into the matter. Naturally, this spurred rumors that the U.S. had somehow created the harm.


Before we delve into theories on where the harm comes from, let's quickly review what we know about the phenomenon. It was initially suggested that the home was a manifestation of a hearing condition known as tinnitus, not electromagnetic waves at all. But researchers and studies have since debunked this, though it explains some reports of this invasive sound.


Tinnitus couldn't explain all of them leading experts to believe that the Hummes electromagnetic waves are produced by an outside source.


Electromagnetic waves are not acoustic sounds. Rather, electromagnetic waves cause a vibration that under certain circumstances, a person might interpret as sound. But because the sound is still coming from an external source, the hum can be drowned out by certain materials.


This research was largely unpacked by geoscientist David Deming, who first heard the hum in the early 2000s. In 2004, Deming published a 25 page study on the matter entitled The Hum and Anomalous Sound Heard Around the World. His paper has become an important work on the mystery. In fact, it corresponds to two of today's conspiracy theories.


Let's start with conspiracy theory.


Number one, the mysterious hum is a byproduct of electromagnetic waves being sent by U.S. military planes.


The United States came out of World War Two in 1945 with one of the strongest navies in the world, and one reason the U.S. Navy was so formidable was the perfection of the submarine.


But in that era, the submarine had one problem. In order to receive communication from land or to recharge its power, it needed to surface. This left submarines vulnerable to air and land attacks.


It took nearly 20 years to troubleshoot the problem. But in the early 1960s, the Navy rolled out their solution.


The Tecmo Initiative recovered Tecmo a bit last week. The program launched its first aircraft in 1963 and eventually built more sophisticated aircraft that could communicate with submerged submarines. The planes would fly near subs general location and transmit coordinates or simple messages, allowing the submarines to remain hidden underwater.


The transmission devices to back up built, used VLF waves or very low frequency electromagnetic waves. At the time, it was believed that VLF couldn't be detected by the human ear.


But we've since learned that VLF waves aren't nearly as inconspicuous as the military had imagined.


Recent research by the Stanford University VLF group shows that VLF waves actually can fall within the human range of hearing. And there are reports of this from as early as the 80s 90s. It's unusual and rare for someone to be able to hear these transmissions, but it's not impossible for some, like geoscientist David Deming.


This would explain why the hum started in Bristol in 1971, only a few years after the U.S. government started running certain Tecmo initiatives off the coast of Great Britain, geoscientist David Deming suspected that the harm might be the product of radio transmissions between Tecmo planes, submarines and land.


As further evidence, Demming pointed out, the Jacomo built land bases near some of the towns where the hum had been reported.


Demming theorized that the international spread of the hum was the byproduct of global naval forces developing similar technologies.


But not everyone was so taken with Deming's theory. Some skeptics suggested that the years between the start of the Tecmo program in the 1960s and the appearance of the harm in 1971 was too long for it to make sense, given the fact that planes and submarines were involved.


The theory also didn't explain why the home was most often heard inside buildings and rarely outside.


Nor did it address the fact that Tecmo didn't seem to care about their secret signals being heard around the world. Maybe the harm was a byproduct of covert military operations, but if it was, it seemed like the technology wasn't working, if the human ear could detect these secret transmissions. Imagine what enemy technology could intercept.


Of course, the military still uses VLF transmission today, and the messages are almost certainly encoded for added safety. They likely use precautions we'll never know about. Maybe the hum is the equivalent of hearing someone talking behind closed doors. It's there, but indistinguishable. That splenic overt, sure.


But whispers behind closed doors are enough to reveal your location. And in war that could be fatal. Not to mention I agree with the skeptics. If this were true, there would have been more reports of the hum outside and the date seemed more than coincidental. So I'm giving this theory a six out of 10. It makes a lot of sense. It's just not airtight.


For me, the dates are simply a coincidence.


I'm more inclined to give it a four out of 10. If the military was so concerned with covert operations, chances are they would have found a way to keep it entirely under wraps.


Well, covert operations are of the utmost importance to the U.S. military and three letter agencies like the CIA, FBI and the DSD, which leads us to another study that might explain the mysterious hum.


It sounds far fetched, but Tassimo developed a very real mind control device.


Coming up, the United States history of audio torture and mind control PA casters, we're 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. The harm was first reported shortly after the U.S. government began sending electromagnetic waves signals to submerged submarines, and some believe that the correlation is not a coincidence. But figuring out how to communicate with underwater vessels wasn't the only government initiative happening.


Which brings us to conspiracy theory number two, that the hum is actually the sound of a mind control device developed by the United States Department of Defense. Now, mind control conspiracies are a dime a dozen, but this one has some staying power. If our episodes on MK Ultra and taught us anything, it's that the government is always looking for new ways to manipulate. As we mentioned last week, the human ear is sensitive to electromagnetic waves. These low frequency waves tingle hairs on the inner ears of certain people and turn the ears and amplifiers.


And for some ears, the amplification effect is significantly louder than others using this knowledge.


The United States Department of Defense began to wonder whether electromagnetic waves could be used to send audio messages directly to people. If humans could hear a hum, perhaps they could hear words, too.


Now, we don't have a lot of specifics on these experiments, largely because they were declassified only recently through the Freedom of Information Act.


But according to a 1998 Army document called Bio Effects of Selected Non-lethal Weapons, the DOD was experimenting with a device that some journalists have called a telepathic Reagan.


This Reagan used electromagnetic energy to send messages to human test subjects. It isn't clear exactly how the Reagan worked, but we know that eventually the government was able to send a numbers sequence, one to 10 to a human test subject using the device.


Apparently, the test subject clearly heard all 10 numbers, but the audio equipment in the room registered nothing, building on decades of previous research. By the 1990s, it seems the army had successfully engineered sound using electromagnetic waves, which is incredible.


But for our purposes, the more relevant question is how did they use this new technology?


Well, there's no information available on whether the telepathic Reagan was ever actually used in the field.


But we know there were plans to use the Reagan to extract information from captive terrorists or enemies of the state. Again, we're missing specifics on how this might be done, but we can say that the United States has a long history of using acoustic torture.


At Guantanamo Bay, military officials would play heavy metal music by the band Metallica at blaring volumes for days on end until prisoners snapped and were willing to answer their questions. But it was more than just simple irritation. The music was used to deprive prisoners of sleep.


Now, according to the Army Field Manual, it's mandatory to allow prisoners of war at least four hours of sleep per day. But this is clearly not enough for a person to live on while they endure months or years of torture.


Sleep deprivation and musical torture have been approved as enhanced interrogation techniques in America for decades. So it's reasonable to assume that O'Reagan, one that can deliver sound straight to a person's mind, would be a welcome addition to the arsenal. As far as we can tell, nobody would even know the torture was happening besides the prisoner.


And this is why some conspiracies suggest that the Department of Defense didn't stop at torturing enemies of the state. They believe that the government might be testing the effects of this technology on its own people even now.


If the harm is the result of the Department of Defense unleashing mind control technology on its citizens, it would appear that they're targeting small towns and cities across America. Hueytown, Alabama, House, New Mexico, Kokomo, Indiana. These are all towns where the harm has been reported.


If that's the case, what's the government's desired result? Well, naturally, we don't know.


Some have suggested that the DOD is still in planning phases for their technology, targeting certain communities and testing to see the guns capabilities.


But if the government is trying to control our minds, surely they would have gotten the information they needed by now or we would have noticed some ramifications. It's been decades since the home was first reported in America. Not to mention an American technology doesn't explain why the home was first reported in Bristol, England.


Sure, but it is suspicious that the Department of Homeland Security wouldn't allow a Canadian investigation of Zug Island. Maybe they'd been using the island as a testing site for their mind control machine. I don't buy it.


I'm giving this theory a one out of 10. There's just no way the U.S. government is slowly driving its citizens crazy, at least not to a radar gun.


As much as I love a government conspiracy. You're probably right.


And with that, we move on to our third and final conspiracy theory, the mysterious harm is caused by natural gas lines.


Like our last theory, this seems almost too far fetched to be true, but the science behind this one is fascinating. And the story begins with a man named Steve Coalhouse.


In September 2009, in the sleepy town of Brookfield, Connecticut, 60 year old Steve Kohlhaas was nodding off to sleep when he heard a whine. It was his black lab.


The dog had stopped halfway up the stairs of his house and started to cower.


Four days, the dog walked around the house with her tail between her legs, Steve worried she was sick, but a trip to the veterinarian's office proved otherwise. Flummoxed, the vet gave the dog an antidepressant drug typically prescribed humans. It seemed to calm her.


Then one day in October, Steve began to hear a rumble himself, like Linda Gettys, he thought it might have been construction work on a neighbor's house. He looked everywhere for what could be causing it, but he saw nothing except he noticed that the water in his above ground swimming pool was vibrating like there was a small earthquake happening. Now, Steve had a background in mechanical engineering, he had worked in government facilities for decades, including nuclear power plants.


So his first instinct was to launch an all out investigation.


Of course, he began on the Internet where he quickly realized he wasn't alone. After a few clicks, he found his way to a global map of self reported home activity. Steve noted the clusters of red dots, mostly covering the western half of the world in his research. Steve was intrigued to learn that many other people had experienced physical evidence of the harm in their homes. According to him, it would manifest in different ways. Sometimes the floorboards are bedsprings would seem to vibrate, and apparently the sound caused him to feel nauseous, almost as if his head was being squeezed.


Steve began exploring the area surrounding his house, and he spent hours wandering the woods and swamplands. Though he wasn't sure what he was looking for, his outdoor trekking produced a poignant clue. He couldn't hear the hum outside at all.


Even on days when the drone was especially persistent inside, the hum nearly disappeared the moment Steve stepped outside of his house from his research, he knew that this had also been the case in Bristol, England. For whatever reason, the reverberating noise was only audible inside or very near to buildings.


Steve allowed this investigation to eat up all of his time.


Then one morning, as he turned on his gas oven, he remembered something, a vital clue that he had completely overlooked. Coming up, an old act of civic service gives way to a thrilling investigation.


Now back to the story. Since the fall of 2009, 60 year old Steve Cole has had dedicated every waking hour to investigating the mysterious origins of the hum, but every lead seemed to give way to a dead end.


Then in 2010, Steve was reminded of an incident that occurred recently.


In 2008, a company called Iroquois Gas Transmission System built a large compressor station less than a mile from his house. This project had been in the works for years, and despite strong opposition from the community, it finally went through.


At the time, Steve was worried about the safety of the gas lines. But now he worried if something in the pipelines was also causing the harm and it was all that he could think about.


He waited until the next time the harm appeared and then jumped in his car and headed to the compressor station, when he arrived, he saw they weren't running the generator.


Apparently, it had been quiet all day. Steve was perplexed.


He told the onsite engineer about his investigation. The man replied that the generator couldn't create enough noise to rattle Steve's window panes and swimming pool. The distance between it and Steve's home was far too great. Instead, he suggested that the noise might be from increased traffic on a nearby highway. Steve doubted it, but decided to test the theory anyway.


On his way home, Steve made sure to take the highway when he did, he noticed several gas line markers. They were new.


Steve had forgotten that in addition to the new generator, Iroquois Gas had made major changes to the natural gas line, including an expansion. Maybe a new gas line had been added near his house over the next year using various maps. Steve tried to track every gas pipeline he could. He then started to compile a cohesive grid of the surrounding area.


Every Saturday and Sunday, he would jump in his car and spend hours tracing pipelines. He'd stop at houses along the way, asking if residents had heard the hum. His findings were telling.


Several said that they too had heard the hum, especially at night, but most didn't know about its name or reputation. But Steve learned from two parents that for their young son, the incessant drone had been especially devastating.


For months, the boy had been complaining about his ears ringing, he had constant headaches and despite multiple trips to doctors, nobody could find anything physically wrong with him.


At home, he became withdrawn. He experienced bouts of intense sadness and his parents worried that he might be depressed.


So when Steve reached out to them and told them about the harm, it felt like a godsend without meaning to. It seemed he had saved their son from a mental breakdown. As it turned out, shortly before the boy began hearing the hum, his parents had insulated their home.


Of course, this is relatively standard to drown out ambient noise that might otherwise filter through walls.


But what they didn't know was that in doing so, they'd made their home a megaphone for the low frequency vibrations that caused the harm. And the family lived in the West Hartford area, which Steve knew had just undergone pipeline expansion. Steve walked the family through his theory. Then he set up recording equipment around their house so they could hear the source of their son's torment. And soon enough, Steve's equipment picked up evidence of the harm. The boy's father broke down crying.


Finally, after months of anguish, they had an answer.


Over the next few months, Steve solicited pipeline maps from all over the country, slowly expanding his grid of high powered gasline networks around the United States.


Then he returned to the Internet and found the chart of self reported home activity and printed it onto an overlay screen when he placed it on the map of gasoline networks he'd made. It was a near perfect match, and further research has only supported his theory.


The West Hartford area wasn't the only region connected to natural gas and the hum in 1971, when the hum was first widely reported. According to Steve, Bristol had just undergone a major expansion to their gas lines in the early 1990s, which is when Taos, New Mexico began hearing the hum. The town had just installed high powered natural gas lines.


Steve also learned that the home was most commonly heard in a well insulated homes. As we mentioned in the last episode, Caitanya and Bob Saltzman, the couple who broke the story of the home in Taos, had just built a custom home.


Now that he knew where to look, the evidence seemed to be everywhere. And armed with information, he began looking for ways he could help.


In 2010, Steve Coll has studied the correlation between the home and mental illness, he called the affliction associated with the hum gas pipeline syndrome, and he believed that it had often been misdiagnosed as anxiety, depression and in extreme cases, even schizophrenia.


The physical and mental side effects of the hum were so bad that Steve considered moving out of his town entirely. At certain points, he felt like his brain was being squeezed out. His ears even made several complaints to the city, but they didn't seem to lead anywhere.


He worried about those who suffered similar problems but didn't know about the harm or ways to curb its harmful effects. As we mentioned, it had reportedly caused one individual to take their own life.


And somewhat controversially, Steve believed it may have even played a small part in a 2012 mass shooting in Sandy Hook in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.


Police were hard pressed to find a motive for the shooter. Steve, however, found it interesting that the young man's house was along a high powered gas line that had recently been a hotbed of home activity.


Of course, there were many more factors at play in this atrocity, and the harm alone couldn't be responsible.


Still, Steve thought that any information that might prevent another shooting was worth sharing when he turned his research over to the police.


Steve believed they seemed genuinely interested in the findings, but it's unclear what, if anything, ever came of it as far as we know. City officials and local regulators haven't commissioned a study, potentially because Steve was the only one making these claims.


Or maybe because if natural gas lines were responsible for the mysterious hum, the financial ramifications could be disastrous. It would take an enormous amount of time, money and energy to reverse what's already been done by companies like Iroquois Gas.


But can you put a price on a human life? I don't think so. That said, I do think Steve's theory makes a lot of sense. It's the only one we've covered that accounts for the spread of the harm, the increased volume of reports and the variety of locations. For that, I give this theory in eight out of 10.


I'm going to be a little more conservative and give it a seven out of 10. The evidence is certainly compelling and no one has stepped forward to challenge Steve's findings. But I worry about confirmation bias on this one until there is an official report validating these findings. I'm hesitant to call the mystery solved. That said, I won't be insulating my house any time soon.


That makes two of us well.


After an investigative search, I feel comfortable ruling out a government mind control device. It doesn't quite add up.


I'm with you on that. I also think that military transmissions, while interesting, don't quite make sense.


After all, what's the point in sending secret messages through a system that could potentially be overheard at the hum stopped in the mid 90s? This theory would make more sense, but technology has gotten too advanced to rely on such overtly conspicuous systems.


Yeah, I think we're in agreement.


I'm with Steve Coll has his theory makes the most sense, even though it's not officially verified and hopefully the cause of the harm will be dealt with soon so that everyone can get a good night's sleep. Thanks for tuning in to conspiracy theories. We'd also like to thank Steve Kohlhaas and the in depth documentary about his research produced by The Atlantic, which was very helpful in bringing you today's episode.


We'll be back Wednesday with a new episode. 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 in Gezi Park, 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 Grun 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. Alistair Murden brings a new story to life every Thursday. Follow haunted places, ghost stories free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.