The Saga of the Hum

The following text has been compiled from media reports, emails, letters and personal contact with many Hum sufferers. The facts obtained are consistent with the description and explanation of the Hum expressed on this web site. It is somewhat ironic that the one possession that people value most, their own home, should indirectly be the cause of their suffering and illness.


The first report of mass complaints came in the mid 1960's it covered all parts of the UK but a large number was concentrated in the Bristol area where it attained world wide reputation as the Bristol Hum. A group of Hum sufferers organized a committee and travelled to London University where an investigation into the phenomena was being carried out. The group travelled to the Department of Physics Chelsea College to meet the team of investigators. The group was tested individually and it was established that the Hum frequency 36 Hz they were also instructed on how to construct an aluminium helmet to be placed over the head when the Hum was in operation.

On their return to Bristol the group contacted the local authority and Bristol Member of Parliament Arthur Palmer and persuaded them to investigate the matter. Arthur Palmer and the investigating team finally claimed to have traced the source and the Hum stopped, however, the authority refused to reveal the source saying "we have stopped it, be satisfied with that"


This turned out to be only a temporary respite and by the mid 1970's complaints were being received by the Environmental Health Officers in every town and city in the UK. Two national Sunday newspapers, the News of the World and the Sunday Mirror asked their readers "can you hear the Hum and over 2000 people replied.


The intensity of the Hum and the number of complaints continued to rise and in 1988 the UK government acknowledged a problem and commissioned the University of Salford to collate the complaints. In 1992 the Department of the Environment paid the Building Research Establishment 50,000 to look at the problem and a report by Mr J W Sargent was published in 1994. Although at the time it was known that 1000's of people in the UK were suffering from the Hum, the BRE only investigated 41 cases and of these only 6 could be traced to a noise, the remainder were classed as not conclusive or negative measurement.

The report failed completely to provide an explanation for the Hum and could only advise health officers how to deal with the hostility of the Hum sufferers.


In May 2003 the UK Department for Environment published a report on low frequency noise by Dr Geoff Leventhall and despite the fact that the Hum had by now a history of over 40 years and was known to effect many 1000's the report devoted a mere three pages to the subject. No explanation was given as to the cause, and the text, what there was of it, appears to have been cobbled together from media reports. Yet another government whitewash.


The history of the Hum in the USA has been more difficult to trace but around 1992 there was a noticeable increase publicity especially in the town on Taos New Mexico where it became known as the Taos Hum.

As a result of this publicity and complaints, US Representative Bill Richardson called for an investigation and with government funding a team of investigators from the University of New Mexico was formed, the team also included scientists from the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories and the Phillips Air Force Laboratory.

The investigation began in April 1993 but by March 1994 no evidence had been found as the cause of the Hum and shortly afterwards government funding was withdrawn and the investigating team disbanded.


This followed a similar sequence of events to UK investigations, first the public protests followed by a show of concern from the authorities with an investigation and a promise that "something will be done". There followed a short lived investigation with negative results and then the removal of the funding.

German Hum sufferers faired even worse, an appeal to the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag in 2004 was completely rejected and Hum sufferers were advised to seek medical help.


One of the main peculiarities of the Hum, is that although a few young people hear it most are aged 50+ which means a continuous stream of people hearing it for the first time, also, there is by nature, an equal number of people who pass on, most of the original Bristol Hum protestors are by now dead.

This fact is a great advantage to the authorities, for as the percentage of Hum sufferers appears to be constant, the number of protestors is also constant. As each sufferer comes on stream, they all go through the same procedure, first looking for a noise, then contacting the local authorities and the media, eventually they reach the government who have a prepared series of stock answers.

This procedure takes on average between 5 to 10 years by which time the protestor is either dead or completely exhausted.

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