Residents of a town in Northern Ireland have been extra-grouchy recently due to an ongoing “hummmmmm” noise that’s been keeping them up at night. No one’s sure where the irritating noise is coming from, so the local council has brought in sonic experts to investigate the problem.
The nighttime annoyance has been heard across a broad area around Omagh in County Tyrone over the past few weeks, BBC News NI reports. Folks have described the sound as a “persistent buzz or hum" that becomes more prominent at night.
Alliance Party councillor Stephen Donnelly instructed the council to investigate the problem and they've confirmed that there is a legitimate issue. What exactly is causing the sound, however, remains a mystery.
"We initially thought that it was limited to the southeast at the time, but as time went by and people started to engage with me, it became clear that it was something that was affecting the entirety of the town, and the possibility is that it is seasonal,” Donnelly told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.
"It's possibly related to weather, but I think the honest point at this stage is that we don't know the actual origin and we have to be able to try and establish the facts first before we can secure a solution," he added.
The Hum has been reported numerous times across parts of Europe, Australia, and North America since the 1970s. One notable example started in 1993 when people in Taos, New Mexico, started complaining about a mysterious low-frequency hum that almost felt like a vibration. Researchers have closely studied the so-called Taos Hum, but there’s still no consensus on its source.
There are a bunch of theories of what might be behind the Hum, ranging from mechanical devices to tinnitus and mass psychogenic illness. One recurring theory is that it might have something to do with very low-frequency radio waves used by the military.
All options are on the table for ongoing problems in Omagh, although Donnelly was keen to stress that nothing overly sinister nor supernatural seems to be afoot.
"I appreciate that whenever a story like this is draped in mystery and intrigue, it can be quite fun to kind of entertain different theories. But the thing that I always say to people is, don't trust the conspiracy theories,” he continued.
"What is a fun problem will undoubtedly have a very boring explanation in time. And I have no doubt that this will be the same."