Seattle's mystery hum

Residents of West Seattle are reporting on the return of a mysterious hum that was first heard several years ago. Apparently, the hum shifts in frequency, goes away and then returns. The West Seattle Blog, that first mentioned the intermittent hum back in 2009, has posted a recording of it. The site is investigating whether it's industrial noise from a nearby plant. So far though, the source is unknown. Perhaps the West Seattle hum is participating in a hum symphony with the Taos Hum, New Zealand Hum, and the Bristol Hum. "Is ‘the hum’ industrial noise? Many reports, few complaints – so far"


  1. Sorry. I should probably close my window when I’m practicing my throat singing. Just be grateful I gave up the bagpipes some years ago.

        1. Started shoe horning a joke about hipsters before it had any relevance to the news post, way to get your druthers in before the mainstream.

  2. With all the internet available, why are people still being puzzled by this?  NPR had an article on hum in San Francisco.  During the fifties, when Cold War paranoia was at its height, San Franciscans were afraid it was Soviet submarines.  Then some genius looked through back issues of newspapers and discovered the hum dated back long before the Soviet Union or submarines.  In the early days, locals knew exactly what caused the sound.
    It’s a particular fish — I can’t recall the exact species –and we hear a hum when a whole lot of them are around.  People run around panicking and nobody takes the time to find out what they are panicking about was figured out generations ago.

  3. How about someone makes an android app that records and uploads intensity, gps location and timestamp? Then a crowdsourcing site can distribute the data and people can triangulate the source.

    I’m no expert and it might be something freaky like electrical wires vibrating from magnetic induction and solar / electrical storms, or subterranean conduction, who knows but with enough people using the app even such sources can be identified. The timestamp will help distant factories and astronomers identify not so obvious culprits too. 

    1. I am coding an iPhone app that crawls the interwebs for the phrase, “How about someone makes an app” (and derivations) and it uses natural language processing to parse the specifications and draws upon its vast library of code snippets to create, test, deploy and market the desired app.  To get started, just enter your VISA or MasterCard number in the sign-on box, and it will start listening.

    1. Seattle is notable for its lack of desert sand dunes.

      Keep telling yourself it’s swamp gas.  Do not think about the orbital mind control lasers.

  4. I hear multiple sounds and some complex harmonics. The fundamental sound reminds me of the big engines in towboats on the Ohio and Mississippi. The way the harmonics build and decline reminds me of playing with Tibetan singing bowls.

    So we just need to find a ship or boat with powerful engines and a really big resonating bowl on it or that it is cruising along in/beside.

    Isn’t there a Naval base on the sound that supports submarines?  Very contented submarines, it seems.

  5. The racoons are preparing their attack.  They’ve mastered use of power tools.  It’s only a matter of time..

    (Last time I was in West Seattle, a family of them sauntered across the street while I was trying to wrangle a bee hive into the car.)

Comments are closed.