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
What lurks within Southampton's waters?   (©)

(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.)

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Showing 3 of 29 comments
Superabound
Nov 4, 2013 11:35 AM CST
Most likely some sort of hidden NSA installation.
fractal
Nov 2, 2013 12:18 PM CDT
They have my sympathy. Deep/low vibrational sounds are ominous. Many years ago, when I was a starving student, I was high on LSD and started hearing a strong, low vibration thru the walls and floor of my building. Freaky, scary movie sounding... Finally, I left the building and went stumbling around the city totally high. When I came back hours later the sound was still there! Called the landlord and put the phone up to the wall so he could hear it. He was out of bed and there in 20 minutes. We had radiator/steam heat in the building, and apparently, the system was getting ready to blow up...
busteroni
Nov 2, 2013 8:29 AM CDT
I had a buddy that was a midshipman and he said on leave they were always interested in mating.