The Hum geographic proof of an almost World-wide phenomenon linked to renewable energy (power) systems, by Dr Chris Barnes – Bangor Scientific and Educational Consultants.

First published on-line 13th January 2013             e-mail


The Hum its effects and backgrounds are briefly described. The paper demystifies the Hum and especially it removes its association with any covert military technologies which has in the past been suggested as a possibility by Deming and on various forums.   Starting with the premise that the Hum may be in some way associated with power systems, world mapping is used to search for an association between the Hum and certain types of power systems infrastructure. The present findings are a strong association between renewable energy infrastructure, mainly pumped storage hydropower but also wind power, and the Hum.   Mechanisms that can produce this association can be relatively simple or very complex and have been and will continue to be discussed elsewhere.



The Hum is a term for a collective group of mainly unexplained geo-sporadic ‘LFN like’ phenomena which commenced in the UK round about 1980 but was not heard in the USA until the early 1990’s.  The Hum has since been heard throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and parts of Africa and South America.


People affected by the Hum, estimated to be up to 2% of the world’s population, are often but not exclusively middle aged and they perceive a low level but highly annoying noise, often described as rather like distant, irregular firing, idling or pulsating engine, that can either not be audio recorded or only recorded with great difficulty.  Variants of the noise and its quasi-periodic modulation have been described which can be anything from almost continuous through to the musical or more like slow Morse   code through to very sharply rising pulses wherein it feels as though someone is prodding a finger in one’s ear.     Because the Hum is as once can see a highly subjective phenomenon, academics treating this subject are almost forced to rely entirely on anecdotal reports, which does not make for good science. 


Fortunately, however, the present author and some of members of his immediate family are able to perceive the Hum which allows first hand personal experience to be brought into the scientific realm [1,2].   Other features of the Hum are that it is sometimes difficult to block with ear plugs and is sometimes only heard in one ear.  Also the Hum is mainly perceived at night   and is heard either distinctly to switch on and off or to fade in and out.  The Hum also seems to be strongly amplified by buildings.


Some Hums have been proven to be of natural origin such as the one due to volcanic tremor on the big island of Hawaii [3]. Some Hums have been proved to be due to tonal harmonically related multiple sources of acoustic sound and infrasound such as the Kokomo Hum, see Cowan (2008) [4].     The present author is only aware of one other case of LFN documented in a scientific journal, namely Noise and Health wherein there were present Hum like effects which were traced to a communal heating plant.


However, the cause of most Hums remains a complete mystery.  If    these Hum locations are plotted on a World map they appear, at first site, to follow centres of population. Some have said the Hum might all be in the mind, a kind of low frequency tinnitus or tensor tympani tremble.   On this basis one would, perhaps, expect more cases in cities. Yet almost the opposite proves to be true. There are to be found more cases in quiet urban suburbs and rural areas, yet almost exclusively in the developed, Western world.  This finding would tend to suggest that the Hum is a real external phenomenon. If Hum were everywhere one must add, of course, there could be more masking noise in big cities to blank the Hum.  I  have  previously suggested that vehicular movement prevalent in big cities destroys the coherence in time of arrivals of necessary components of the Hum [2].


The outstandingly unusual world geographic distribution of the Hum at the time of Deming’s paper i.e. that it was only found in Western developed countries has led to speculation that it may be associated with some sort of Western military defence technology. Deming [5] has commented that the Hum best seems to correlate in time and space with the operations of TCAMO military aircraft.       Some on Hum forums have suggested that the Hum could be due to ionospheric heaters, especially HAARP.  The Hum however predates HAARP but not EISCAT or SURA or the early soviet OTHR ( over the horizon radars) such as: DUGA 1 and 2.   Certainly the Hum started to be heard in the UK at about the time when EISCAT and DUGA1 and 2 first came on the air.  


It is thought, but by no means certain, that TCAMO technology may have now been replaced by  submarine communication technology.     In any event if the Hum were due to TCAMO it would either need to be due to infrasound from the circling aircraft or due to ELF radiation. If it were due to ELF radiation it is difficult to understand why people living near ELF transmitters do not hear the Hum unless amplitude and/or frequency level specific quantum biological detection is implicit [1].  In any event one would perhaps only expect coastal Hums with TCAMO whereas they are now quite well distributed.


Some such as Dawes [6] have been adamant since the outset of the Hum that power systems technology is involved [6] and now as evidenced by Hum forums in the USA there would seem to be a growing lobby trying to blame  PLT/BPL technologies.  These technologies are not implemented widely in the UK yet here the Hum is rife.     


It is some twenty years since Deming’s paper and the Hum is now found in other non-western alliance countries such as some in Africa and South America.  Based on visits to a website for those hearing the Hum or concerned about it in 2009 there is now even a case of the Hum in Russia from the region of Zagorsk which has the only pumped storage power station in the county. Russia also has wind power but only in remote off-grid situations. 



I have  previously shown an association with one specific Hum in Bangor Wales and the surrounding area with renewable power in the shape of Dinorwig pumped storage scheme.  I have further observed an   unusual parametric electromagnetic -acoustic excitation in the region   of the 400 KV double circuit and 132 KV Scottish Power Circuits nearby when under significant wind power excitation [7].     


From the above and the available geographic observations the hypothesis is now formulated that the majority    of world Hum has one cause and that is renewable energy power systems.   The purpose of this present work is simply to confirm the link.  Mechanisms for the radiation of the Hum from such systems and perception of the Hum by humans have been and will continue to be discussed elsewhere.  The present author wishes to stress, however, that the mechanism for   generation and perception of the Hum should not necessarily be expected to be a simple one.  He believes the generation to involve a complex interaction with harmonics and oscillations from power systems’ infrastructure, their ability to produce acoustic, seismic and electromagnetic fields and the ability of these in turn to involve the earth’s lithosphere and full atmosphere and the perception to include infrasound, acoustics and magnetism. Quoting NASA recently regarding something equally as controversial as the Hum, namely, solar influence on global climate change, just because a hypothesis is complex does not mean it should be ridiculed or is wrong.  Despite my complex hypothesis I adhere to the principle of Occam’s Razor when considering the Hum.


Before looking at the geographic data we should remind ourselves of the history of the Hum. In the UK and Europe this dates back to about the mid   1970’s. The mid 1970’s saw the bulk of pumped storage power plants been built. The first building boom of pumped-storage plants, between 1970 and 1990, occurred because facilities were needed to draw the surplus electricity of the large fossil and nuclear plants in times of light load and to deliver sufficient amounts of electricity in times of peak load. After adequate pumped-storage capacity had been developed by the end of the 1980s, few new facilities were constructed. Between 1990 and 2010, only 15 plants with a total capacity of 5.6 GW were built in Europe [8].  


Long-time Hum investigator John Dawes has always asserted that the power grid must have something to do with the Hum in that somehow the 50 Hz signal modulates the local gravitational field [6].  John is not a trained scientist and so has not put forward a theoretical hypothesis as to how this could happen but has nevertheless acquired a lot of reports from affected people.  John’s maps show the homes of Hum sufferers to be distributed throughout and close to the main high voltage power grid in the UK.   Although power grid distribution technology changed during the 1970’s and 80’s this changed technology has now also become available to other countries from where there have been no Hum reports until recently.


I believe we have not only to look at power grid technology  alone but also at power grid generation technology and in particular power flows.  In other words it is a matter of considering what we are connecting to our power grids in the way of both principal and embedded generation and how these generating units interact with each other via the grid and via earth, atmosphere and even space which is the critically important factor for the Hum. 


The Geographic data

Geographic mapping data on the locations of wind farms and renewable power systems around the world is readily available on-line.  There are only two world Hum maps. One is based on internet inquiries from people hearing the phenomenon in 2009 and the other is the start of a new database dated 2013.    The relevant comparisons are shown below:



Top left Hum Database 2013                                 Top Right Hum Enquiries 2009


Bottom Left: Wind farms                                   Bottom Right: Renewable energy


Looking at the above mapping, whichever model of renewable power is used and whichever of the two available Hum databases is employed the spatial correlation appears solid and remarkably undeniable. The above hypothesis is strongly supported.  


A correlation based on visits to a website and anecdotal registrations into a data base is one thing but can this hypothesis explain any or all of the early high profile Hum cases or the more recent ones reported in the press for example.   








1975 approx




1975 approx






Loch Ness















Barnard Caslte














North Shore












From the above it can reasonably be argued that renewable energy in the form of either pumped storage or wind could be responsible for all high profile Hum cases except the original Bristol Hum. original US Hum location of Kokomo 

is very close to a huge pumped storage facility as is Windsor Ontario. Taos is in the very north of New Mexico close to the neighbouring state which has three large pumped storage hydro-plants.  Add in wind power and no wonder most of the US has the Hum.




Europe’s vast Hum problem can be visualised by examining the density of pumped storage power production, see below:

The Hum in other Countries


Nagarjunasagar in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has pumped storage and presumably has the Hum judging by visits to the 2009 Hum database map.  India also has recent wind power close to that site as well.   Hong Kong and Japan both now have the Hum and pumped storage and wind turbines not of these places had the Hum at the time of the original Deming paper.    Ukraine has the Hum since gaining an operational pumped storage plant at Dneister in 2009, and the list goes on.  Australia has the Hum and visits to the 2009 mapping database came from close to Tumut, Talbing, Wivenhoe and Kangaroo Valley. These are all locations with pumped storage hydro-power. 


New Zealand’s North Island has had Hum since about 2006.  Although reference has been found to hydropower, no reference to specific pumped storage sites other than one proposed which has not yet built has been found. There are however, extensive new wind farms and an extension to a geothermal energy plant in the region where the Hum is being experienced.  



                                      Renewable energy mainly in the form of pumped storage but also wind seems to correlate with the Hum throughout the modern World.  In Europe and the USA pumped storage alone   could probably account for all the Hum cases we experience but there are some sites and countries which only have wind power or even solar PV power and have started experiencing the Hum since the connection of these forms of power as embedded systems.


Regarding Russia, for example,  it is only just beginning to exploit these sorts of technologies and its power grid infra-structure is somewhat different form the West. This will be discussed elsewhere. Regarding China, because of censorship this might account for why there are no significant Hum reports but there are also differences in its power grid technology which will be discussed elsewhere.  


Further work

The author intends to review and criticise where necessary his previous work in the light of these most recent findings.   Mechanisms for the generation and perception of the Hum will also be re-examined although the author’s present view is that the mechanisms he has previously deduced are fairly concrete.  


Other academics are now urgently encouraged to confirm the author’s findings and give support in confirming mechanisms and seeking methods of prevention.  The present author will be glad of any collaboration.


References ( added in January 2016)

1.     Chris Barnes Letter to the Editor, The Hum: An anomalous sound around the world, Journal of Scientific   Exploration,  Vol. 21, No.4 , pp 754-755, 2007.HTTPS://WWW.SCIENTIFICEXPLORATION.ORG/SPEAKERS/CHRIS-BARNES