The most famous “mysterious hum” in the world may have hummed its last non-catchy, sleep-interrupting, mind-numbing yet barely audible blast. Residents and officials in Windsor, Ontario – directly across the Detroit River from Detroit, Michigan – say they haven’t heard the Windsor Hum for at least a year … and a little-known incident a few months ago may be the reason. Grease?
"It's not about what you hear, it's about what you feel.... It is literally vibrating your organs, even though most people won't be able to verbalize it that way."
CBC News interviewed Colin Novak, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Windsor who led a 2013 study into the hum back when U.S. officials on the other side of the river were shrugging their shoulders. Back then, it was being lumped into the in places like Taos, Bristol, and Auckland. In most places, the hum is heard (and sometimes felt) by locals, but the Windsor hum was different – Canadians heard and felt the low frequency infrasound (below 30 hertz) but it seemed to be coming from the U.S.
“Although the origin of the hum was initially up for debate, research in recent years pinpointed the culprit as a U.S. Steel facility on Zug Island, just across the river from Windsor's west end.”
Zug Island is part of River Rouge, Michigan, and the U.S. Steel plant supplies the motor vehicle industries – ironically, many who could actually hear the hum described it as an idling truck. As one might expect, corporate and government officials deflected the accusations and pointed fingers at other things thought to cause the world’s mysterious hums -- underwater ocean waves, volcanoes, tinnitus, mating calls of the toadfish (really!). Meanwhile, the hum persisted … until April 2020, which is turning out to be a month to be remembered for many other reasons. In fact, the disappearance of the Windsor hum may actually be related to one of them. It occurred on April 1st but was no joke to the good citizens of Windsor.
“At the end of last year, U.S. Steel announced it would be significantly scaling back operations at its Great Lakes facilities — including Zug Island — starting on April 1, citing a need to stay competitive in a changing market.”
Bingo! All we need now is a confirmation from someone reputable in Windsor. Wait a minute …
“According to Colin Novak, the lead researcher on Canada's 2013 flagship study into the hum, the noise has practically vanished since the decision to idle the plant was made.”
In fact, Novak says the hum has been fading in both calendar frequency and audio frequency since last year when U.S. Steel was cited by Michigan's Department of Environment for excessive pollution and harmful emissions and decided to cut back on operations rather than fix the problems. That doesn’t sound like “a need to stay competitive in a changing market” but residents of Windsor are glad to be rid of the hum and River Rougers are equally happy to be able to breath clean air.
It's a known scientific fact that the coronavirus shutdowns around the world have significantly reduced pollution, noise and human-caused seismic vibrations, especially in major cities. The Windsor hum is yet another example of science shutting down excuses, conspiracy theories and denials to once again prove that many strange things around the world are human, military and corporate caused.
Hmm. (Sorry, that one was me.)