The Hum type 3 a feature of the shifting scene of electricity generation and distribution, convincing the sceptics.  By Dr Chris Barnes Bangor Scientific Consultants email


A short general review of the Hum and progress in its research is presented. The paper defines Hum type 3 as that associated with electricity and power.  Two chance findings during a radio show phone in session have enabled the author to make very profound and important links with the ceasing of certain key power generation nodes in the UK and spontaneous eruptions of the Hum immediately thereafter in other areas and hypotheses for this are advanced.  The signal properties emitted by power systems are shown to ideally match the received signal properties of the Hum.



The Hum is a generic term for a usually pulsating low frequency sound which is either difficult and/or impossible to trace and/or record and is perceived by a relatively small percentage of populous.  The Hum has been described by those afflicted as sounding rather like a large bee trapped in a bottle or a distant irregular idling engine. The noise is often louder at night and in semi-rural or urban areas which in themselves are not too distant from industrial areas, larger cities, power stations or high voltage pylons.  In  the UK and the USA high pressure gas mains also often follow the same or similar corridors to the high voltage electricity distribution grid  as this makes planning consent easier and limits dual scarring of the landscape.     


The characteristics of the Hum are also closely associated with those of low frequency noise. The latter though is often traceable. The present author was initially sceptical about the involvement of the electricity power grid in the Hum but over recent years and aided by experiment, personal experience, anecdotal reports  and further informed by the results of a radio Wales phone in program called ‘Good Evening Wales’ he is now absolutely convinced.  The author has given Hums associated with the power grid a specific title and refers to them as Hum Type 3.      


Hum type 3 differs from other types of Hum in that the source per se seems untraceable other than it maximises in certain houses in certain geographic locations and under power lines and sometimes at certain key distances from radio transmitters when in a parked vehicle. Clearly Hum type 3 is prima facia an incredibly complex beast and indeed the author feels that one reason traditional scientific journals have rarely embraced the Hum is that they simply don’t understand it.  Others have ridiculed the Hum and those who research it as, once again, it is basic human nature to ridicule or scoff at things we don’t understand.   Even University academics who have investigated the Hum haven’t got very far. Thus as a totally independent researcher, the author feels proud that he his possibly one the foremost authorities on the subject in the World!     For example scientists at Southampton University have got no further than Hum type 1 i.e. noise from distant factories!   This was known about just after the Industrial revolution and referred to as the Hummadruz!  Early descriptions of the Hummadraz however differ from the pulsating noises heard today.   Then we have Dr Geoff Leventhall of the University of Salford who has been investigating the Hum for forty years and still doesn’t have the answer!

Hum type 3

So what sets Hum type 3 apart from the others besides its lack of traceability?  The answer is in its unique properties.  Hum type 3 appears to have multiple acoustic and infrasonic components but it also appears to have magnetic or electro-magnetic components.   Hum type 3 components seem to need to arrive coherently to produce effect. Hum type 3 is influenced by planetary cycles space physics and the physics and seismicity of the solid earth yet many other aspects of its behaviour point purely to an anthropogenic source ( refs all the author’s work to date).

The biggest single anthropogenic energy source on our planet is our power systems. Power systems create signals which fulfil all the above requirements to produce type 3 Hum.  Power systems have been shown to interact in space. The energy in Power systems is created by and often dissipated in synchronous rotating machinery.  Thus wherever such machines are mounted there will be radiated airborne and ground borne vibrations which have intimate phase relationships with each other and with their attendant elctro (magnetic) fields.  Likewise similar signals will also be radiated from all the conductors in the interconnecting network.  Overhead conductors can not only radiate signals into space but also cause ground borne induction into gas mains, water mains and railway lines as well.  In multi-pole synchronous machines there will be sub harmonic frequencies for example the 500 rpm motor –generator sets at dinorwig will have the sixth sub harmonic of the uk mains associated with them i.e. 8.33 Hz.  Today power systems contain lots of sold state technology such as SVCS and STATCOMS which will emphasise harmonic generation and so more efficiently couple their energy into space. Also these days there is more DC injection into power systems from things as mundane as electronic metering systems to PV inverters and wind turbines.  Such injection gives rise to transients and inter-harmonic frequencies also radiated as above.    Small wonder then that cases of the Hum appear to be increasing.          


Ground borne and airborne vibration and electromagnetic signals can travel large distances of tens or even hundreds of kilometres and thus it is not always possible to source the Hum.


The best evidence to date

The best anecdotal evidence to date on these matters came to the author during a radio Wales interview.  A lady in the Wye Valley being interviewed on ‘her Hum’, clearly a type 3, stated that it began in April 2012. The author has noticed that coincidentally this Hum commenced upon the permanent closure  of one of the reactors at Wylfa nuclear power station.  During the programme another lady phoned from Central Wales to say she had a Hum which began exactly a month earlier. A little searching revealed this coincided with the permanent closure Of Oldbury power station reactor number 1.      A couple of weeks after the programme, the author decided to see if other UK Hums could be correlated in a similar manner. The results are staggering and serve to confirm power systems involvement and just how complex is such involvement, see table 1.











Stocksbridge Jan 2007



Sheffield Jan 2007

Dungeness B


Loch Ness Nov 2008

Sudbury  Nov 2008

Feb 2009  Swanage, Purbeck, Poole

Not nuclear


1/2 July 2010

Llanidloes Wales and Near Didcot Oxford

Major Outage

1/2 July 2010






Llandridnod Wells March 2012


25TH April 2012

Haverford West and Wye Valley



Table 1.


It can be seen that whenever a substantial provider of electrical power into the UK grid has ceased, a HUM seems to start up immediately in some totally distant and unrelated area. There are two possible hypotheses leading to this. Clearly in order to maintain capacity in the grid   more power must be generated elsewhere. Either by using existing power stations, in which case the Hum may be caused by overload on sections of grid which have never before carries such high current or by more stray acoustic and electromagnetic coupling form such sections.  As an alternative still related to the provision of energy more embedded generation may be called into play. For instance it is well known that a lot of water authorities and health authorities have their own very large emergency diesel generators and can be contracted to feed the grid at times of need and emergency. Such generators are often not well screened against vibration and/or acoustic radiation. For those plagued with the Hum in the regions tabulated, it might well be worth pursuing such lines of enquiry.    


One thing is for sure. This chance finding is the strongest possible link yet showing a connection between power systems and type 3 Hum and is similar to the link exposed for wind generation and specific motor generator pairs at Dinorwig for the Bangor Hum. For example three phase synchronous machines can execute torsional oscillations when connected to uneven loads  (ref) which would serve only to accentuate the Hum.


Further work

Now the origin of Type 3 Hum is well and truly ‘out of the bag’ the author is researching what makes a Hummer?  In other words is there a special or particular type of person that is sensitive to the Hum?  A link with pulsed radio systems has previously been suggested but is there anything else?