Town Plagued by Mystery Hum

Possible culprit: mating fish

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 28, 2013 8:50 AM CDT | Updated Nov 2, 2013 7:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – "It's a really low pitched sound that literally pulsates through the house." If that sounds like the kind of noise that would drive you crazy, be glad you don't live in Southampton. The British town is collectively pulling out its hair over an unexplained hum that has been occurring nightly for months, reports the BBC. The oddest theory: that mating male Midshipman fish are the culprit. The nocturnal creatures woo females by emitting a deep drone, and do their best to out-drone their romantic rivals.

Their hum has a low frequency and a long wavelength, which the Independent reports allows the noise to carry through the walls. But a district council member throws cold water on the suggestion, telling the BBC that "the Midshipman fish is not commonly found within the inshore waters of the UK. As far as we are aware, there are no other marine fish native to this country capable of creating widespread noise disturbance of this nature." And while a scientist with Scottish Association for Marine Science tells the Telegraph "there are certainly 'sonic fish' in the north Atlantic and the approaches to the English Channel," he notes that "it's unlikely that the noise would be so loud as to keep people awake." But the Telegraph keeps the theory alive, pointing out that Seattle is believed to have experienced a fish-created hum as well. (This reminds us of a mystery noise that plagued a Wisconsin town last year.)

What lurks within Southampton's waters?
What lurks within Southampton's waters?   (©)
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