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Written on 3:11 AM by Mrudula

Since 1991, people in the Taos, New Mexico area have reported hearing an annoying, low-frequency hum, the cause of which has yet to be identified. Some residents of Taos are plagued by this machine-like sound that grinds away 24 hours a day, with only occasional respites. Some cannot sleep; others complain of headaches. Most people, however, cannot hear the hum at all.

Nevertheless, it is there. Instruments pick it up. In fact, they have even recorded a higher-frequency component that pulses between 125 and 300 cycles per second.

The cause of the hum is a mystery. One hint comes from the observation that the hum seems concentrated along the Rio Grande Rift, a fault that also runs into Texas and Colorado. One theory blames the hum on the fault's rock surfaces grinding against each other!

The hum is on the threshhold of human hearing - from about 20 to 20,000 hertz or cycles per second. Acoustic investigations have concentrated on low - frequency sounds between 33 and 80 hertz, but have failed to pinpoint the source of the strange sound. The sound has been described as low, grinding and pulsating, like a diesal truck idling in the distance. Explanations are as varied as the people who claim to hear the noise. Everything from a form of mild, contagious mass hallucination to possible secret electromagnetic warfare experiments being conducted at one of the high tech laboratories in the area are discussed as possible sources.

                                              Yet Taos is not unique. Similar reports have been made in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Canada and many places in the United States, most recently in Indiana. Troubled hummers in England have even formed an organisation, the Low Frequency Noise Sufferers Association. The only certainty when dealing with the hum, is that some people hear it, while others do not. That is not to say that the noise isnt real, perhaps some peoples sense of hearing is more suseptible to the noise than others.

                                              While a similar effect has been shown to occur with electric motors operating at certain frequencies, this does not appear to be the case in most of these situations.
- Munnu

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