Episode 2: The Hum

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Hey there, Allison here. Sorry for leaving the last recording so open ended. You can thank Tess for that one. She’s the one who had the oh-so-brilliant idea of recording in the middle of the night, of all times. I told her we should just wait until today to look into everything and record our findings but, she insisted that I was just being a old woman and proceeded to ignore me.

*inaudible mumbles*

Unlike some people, I actually enjoy getting to sleep at a decent hour and I’m not thrilled in the least about my current exhausted state. We seriously need to work on a better time to do this…no, Tess, I really don’t want to stay here until the crack of dawn.

    Once I got Tess to refuel me with food and coffee (because I refused to help her until she did so), we came back to continue our work and now, here I am, sitting on the floor, surrounded by piles and piles of folders and envelopes of various sizes and thicknesses. I think the first thing that needs to be done is to start organizing this stuff, Tess.


Tess: “Why?”

Allison: “What do you mean, why? Can you not see all of the crap that is just laying around here? Trust me, once we start getting all of this junk into some sort of order, it’ll make the rest of our work way easier. “
“She can roll her eyes all she wants but, she knows I’m right. I mean, no offense to her grandpa but, this room is a disaster and I have no idea how he managed to function in here without going crazy. “

Tess: “So, where do you want to start?”


“Well, let’s go ahead and put what we have already looked through by the desk. That way we won’t mix anything up.”

*shuffles papers*

“ I think the next thing to do would be to separate everything by category: boxes in one area, folders in another, envelopes in another, that kind of a thing. Yes, I know I sound crazy but, bear with me. Let’s leave the boxes alone for now. We need more muscle and who knows how much junk…I’m sorry, “objects”, as Tess prefers that I call it, is in them. Let’s see what we can do with this pile of folders over here…”

Tess: “Huh, so grandpa ended up looking into this too? How interesting…”

Allison: “What is it?”

Tess: “Come, take a look.”

*shuffles across room*

Allison: ”What does it say on the front of it?”

*wipes the dust off*

“Taos Hum-1980’s?”
“Interesting…I wonder why your grandpa took the time to look into this?”

Tess: “Well, let’s find out. He had to have had a pretty good reason since he made an entire folder dedicated to it.”


February 2nd, 1992

    When I first heard of this “Hum”, as everyone seems to be calling it, it was from one of my buddies that I worked with in the lab, who had heard of it from one of his friends, who had heard it from someone else…you know how it goes. Normally, I wouldn’t think anything of such gossip but, the story that I was told was too bizarre to resist looking into. Once he had begun telling me this “gossip”, I knew that I would have to document this conversation as accurately as possible, for my sanity in case I started to second guess myself later on.

    It all started with a question that was brought up by my friend, who I shall be calling John for his protection in case this somehow gets into the wrong hands. I doubt it ever would but, it never hurts to be a little extra careful.

“So, did you hear about what’s been going on in Taos lately?” He asked.

I couldn’t help but laugh a little at this. There always seemed to be something going on in that strange little town, it seemed almost impossible for something new to have come up.

“No, but I’m sure it’s nothing too surprising,”  I replied.

“Well, the only reason I’m even bringing it up at all is because I know how you are with anything out of the ordinary and…I think this is right up your alley.” He said, seriously.

My little smirk of amusement fell as I could see the seriousness in Johns’ face. “Go on.” I prompted

“There have been some rumors going around that there are certain people in Taos hearing a noise. And not just any kind of noise either. One of my buddies that lives in the area said that he’s been hearing different people saying different things. One person will say that it’s a rumbling noise and another will say it’s something like a humming noise. Apparently, it’s been getting so bad that these “hearers”, that’s what they’re being called now, have been swarming the hospitals, trying to get some sort of answer as to why they are hearing this. My friend thinks that they are all nuts but, I don’t think that’s the case. I honestly don’t know what to think of all of this.” John said.
  

As I listened to him go on about his personal opinions about the “hearers”, I couldn’t help but feel a little puzzled myself. Logically, I couldn’t think of any way that it would make sense for people to be hearing a noise and for that noise to differ from person to person. But, I also knew that if I was to learn the truth behind this “rumor”, I was going to have to do a little digging on my own, starting with the hospital staff taking care of the people who came in. There has to be a doctor or a nurse who can give me a medical interpretation of what has been going on.


February 3rd, 1992

    My investigating took me to the Holy Cross Hospital, where I was immediately met with the normal chaos that you would find in the ER: sick patients sitting in the packed waiting room, the sound of babies crying mixed with the sound of the nurses barking orders to each other as they ran around, trying to help everyone as quickly as they could. I knew it was going to be tricky to get someone to lend me some time to answer my questions but, I couldn’t leave without getting some answers. I took the opportunity of being forced to wait, to observe some of the people waiting with me. It seemed like the usual crowd at first glance. However as I began to really look, I saw there were outliers, a few people scattered amongst the rest that had no visible illness. One man, in particular, had a “thousand yard stare” and was rocking rather aggressively in his seat. His hands were thrust over his ears so tightly I was surprised his nails weren’t cutting into his scalp. I also saw a younger woman who was humming to herself, but so loudly I could hear her above the din of the rest. It was no song I had ever heard and honestly didn’t seem to be one at all, having no melody or discernable tune at all.  Finally, I saw a seemingly homeless man in the corner of the room, who was mumbling to himself while rocking like the previous man. When I walked a little closer to him I could just make out a few words. I caught something about aliens in his head, and rats under his skin. I didn’t stick around.

   After waiting a few minutes to relay my request to the young lady at the desk, which took quite a bit of persuasion on my part, plus waiting about half an hour more, I was finally able to have a little chat with one of the ER nurses who had been working there for many years. Upon explaining my reason for wanting to talk to her, she told me what she knew, which I will now put below. She made me promise to keep her anonymous but, I will at least say that she was most helpful to me.


“I don’t have a lot of time to talk so, I’ll make this quick.

*sigh*

This whole week has been insane for me and everyone else. We’ve been having people pouring into this place, saying that they think that they are hearing a hum of some sort. With the first couple of people, it looked like a normal case of tinnitus, just something wrong with their auditory system. But, as more and more people came in, the symptoms that they were telling us started to make us stray away from our original theory. Some people have been having difficulty sleeping and more headaches than normal. Other people have been coming in with nose bleeds and saying that they have been having a lot of pressure in their ears. Tonight it seems to be even worse. We have a few who are having visual hallucinations of rats and bugs climbing the walls, and “see-through people” as one young girl put it. We’ve already had one homeless man rushed into the OR tonight after he attempted to remove his own ear. I will spare you those details.”

I asked her for her opinion, to which she responded,

“What do I think? My first instinct is to think that this is just some people having some auditory issues. I almost want to call it some sort of a hallucination, since it seems like each person that comes in says something different every time. But, what I don’t understand is why it hasn’t gone away…it only seems to be getting worse and we are running out of ideas for people. Nothing seems to be helping them and our doctors are running out of solutions.

*inaudible shouting*

“Look, as much as I have enjoyed our little chat, I need to get back to work. I hope someone figures out what the heck is going on around here or things are going to get really bad for us.”

 

As she was telling me this the man who had previously been mumbling in the corner began to scream. He pointed at a spot on the floor and yelled about a bloody hand reaching out from the ground and trying to grab him. Needless to say, I promptly lost the nurses attention, as she hurried for security or anyone who would help subdue the man who had now begun hitting his head against the wall.

That didn’t look like a simple auditory issue to me..

The more I thought about it, I knew it couldn’t be something explained medically. There were too many varying symptoms and too many different people having these issues. My buddy from the lab was right…this was definitely something that was out of the ordinary and something I knew I had to try to figure out. As with most things in science, just because something is unexplained, doesn’t mean it never will be.

 

Present Day


Allison: “Well, I can definitely see why your grandpa was so interested in it. A hum that only certain people can hear and that whole scene in the ER, oh my gosh…I wonder what else he figured out about it?”

*flips through pages*

“Strange, there isn’t anything else in here…I wonder what happened? Did he just not follow up again or did someone try to stop him? Either way, it looks like we have some research of our own to do. There’s gotta be someone that looked into this after your grandpa did, especially since this seems really out there. I’m going to go ahead and end the recording here and I’ll come back when we have some sort of information on this.”


The next day,

Hey guys! Since I stopped the recording yesterday, Tess and I had quite the time trying to figure out who could possibly know about this ‘Taos Hum’ and be able to provide us with some sort of closure on what happened back then. Right when we thought we weren’t going to be able to find anybody, Tess remembered that there was a professor at UNM who, out of his own curiosity, did some research on the Taos Hum and would probably be able to share his findings with us. I was a little skeptical as to if he was going to be open to letting college students of all people have his precious research information but, Tess pulled through on her end and informed me this morning that she and I were going to pay a little visit to the campus to have a talk with Professor Emmet Collins, who taught engineering of all things. I wasn’t about to bring this piece of junk recorder with me so, I used my phone instead to record the conversation they had:


Professor:”Ah yes, the Taos Hum…definitely one of the strangest occurrences to ever happen in that town. I didn’t realize how much of an oddity it was until I actually did the research into it.”

 

Tess: “How did you start on such a big project?”

 

Professor: “Well, when you have that many people telling you different things, the easiest way to get the answers you want is to do a survey. So, that’s what I did. The results were….quite perplexing, honestly.”

Tess: “How so?”

Professor: “Well, out of the general population of Taos, two percent fell into the category of being a “hearer”, as the people in the area decided they were going to be called. In order to figure out exactly what this two percent was hearing, I teamed up with a couple of connections I had in Congress who were also looking into this and set up sensitive equipment in their homes. This would measure the sounds and vibrations to see if there was anything out of the ordinary that we could work with.”
“From what the equipment picked up, we found out that each hearer was hearing from a frequency of between 32 to 80 hertz, which is a unit of frequency in case you were wondering. Don’t give me that look, not a lot of you kids these days know what those technical terms mean. Anyway, another bit of information that I found to be quite interesting was that the hearers we surveyed could actually move away from the noise. One gentleman that we surveyed, in particular, said that he could move 48 kilometers away from the noise but, it never went away entirely.”

 

Tess: “how interesting..”


Professor: “ Yeah, but I think what made this whole investigation the most perplexing was the percentages that we got from the survey itself. When we looked back on the information we gathered, 62% of the hearers heard the noise between 8pm and 9am and 80% of them heard it at least once a week. And gender didn’t seem to factor in at all, since the distribution of male and female hearers was almost equal, with 52% hearers being male and the rest being female.”

 

Tess: “in your opinion, how likely do you think it would be for me to go to Taos and hear it for myself?”


Professor: “Well, that’s very difficult to say, seeing as we do not understand this still. However, given your youth, I would say it is less likely for you to experience it. See, the last factor that we made sure to take into consideration was age. A lot of the older people that we had surveyed said that they were told that they simply had hearing problems. I couldn’t help but feel the same way until I saw that about 72% of the hearers that were surveyed were between the age group of 30 and 59 years old. I don’t know about the rest of the people that were helping me but, this definitely ruled out the hearing problem factor for me.”

Tess: “So have you reached a conclusion as of right now?”

Professor: “ Well, I have to admit that I’m still just as puzzled as I was when I had originally started my research. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer to what this ‘hum’ is or where it could be coming from. Maybe someone will find the missing pieces and figure all of this out…or maybe it’ll just fall into the shadows and be forgotten. It’s hard to say. Now, if that’s all, I’d like to get back to my work, yes?”

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