The Hum and Pollution by Dr Chris Barnes Bangor Scientific and
Educational Consultants email firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised November 2015
The Hum is briefly
described. Many world Hums remain
unresolved by environmental health experts and in these cases the Hum may be
regarded as more than just a noise. A quantum biological argument is advanced
for the involvement of biogenic and competing geologic magnetite as a bio-hum
detector. Unresolved cases of Hum ought
to be more prolific in areas of the world with geologic magnetite pollution or
soils or rocks with high magnetic remanence. The work generally supports this
hypothesis. Highly localised
environmental testing and subject blood testing might finally resolve magnetic
involvement in the Hum.
The Hum is a highly geo-sporadic (magneto) acoustic phenomenon
which plagues the lives of millions of mainly middle aged people world-
wide. A person who hears or perceives the
Hum is referred to as a Hummer and describes it is like the sound of a distant
idling engine. Musically minded Hummers tone match the phenomenon at between 30
and 80 Hz with periodic modulations of between 0.5 and 5 Hz, see Deming 2004 .
Some Hums have been shown to be due to infrasound
and acoustic sound. However, some Hums
remain unsolved. The present author has suggested that these Hums may have a
magnetic component on the basis of personal perception, experimentation and
experience and that of his wife also a Hummer see .
The author has previously suggested that
biogenic magnetite may be involved in Hum perception. It is now commonly accepted in molecular
biology that there are substantial deposits of biogenic magnetite in the human
brain and body see R. Robin Baker, Janice G. Mather & John H. Kennaugh
Traditional science suggests that there should be no bulk interaction
this material capable of opening up of ion channel membrane pores as required
for audition and other sensory bio-processes except at huge magnetic field
strengths. However, the very latest
ideas in quantum biology and spintronics suggest that
bio magnetite has a major part to play in brain and biological systems in
general via electron spin interactions with DNA and organic molecules. A specific example is thought to be magnetic
vector potential memorisation in bird navigation .
Indeed spin modulated data storage could be a much
wider paradigm throughout biology.
I have certainly found that some cases of the Hum are linked by
quantum mechanical concepts in that Hum
amplitude seems to maximise at certain key distances from radio transmitters
according to the electromagnetic Aaronhov Bohm effect,
see Barnes .
However, the obvious question has to be if everyone
has bio-magnetite in their brain and auditory system, why does everybody not
hear the Hum?
hypothesis advanced here is that humans can assimilate competing or geologic or
synthetic mineral magnetite due to atmospheric pollution or natural erosion of
certain rocks and soils. Geologic
magnetite has exactly the opposite CSD (crystal size distribution) to biogenic
magnetite, see Arato et al (2005) . Yet it is known to be absorbed via the lungs
and can be assimilated into cells including blood cells .
By using these differing
microscopic techniques they were able to visualize and detect particles ≤0.2
μm and nanoparticles in red blood cells. They
found that the surface charge and the material of the particles did not
influence their entering. These results suggest that particles may penetrate
the red blood cell membrane by a still unknown mechanism different from
phagocytosis and endocytosis.
It is assumed that it is this foreign magnetite
that gives rise to a mechanism for Hum perception. If this is the case the Hum
ought to maximise in areas of the World where there is large amounts of
magnetic particle pollution. Not much
data is available directly on iron and magnetite pollution but these are
thought to maximise where PM10 and/or PM2.5 pollution is high(refs). A few studies have been done on magnetic
tree leaf pollution by magnetic susceptibility measurement (Atmospheric EnvironmentVolume 37, Issue 21,
July 2003, Pages 2967–2977) Biomonitoring of traffic air pollution in Rome
using magnetic properties of tree leaves Eva Moreno,, Leonardo Sagnotti, Jaume Dinarès-Turell, Aldo Winkler, Antonio CascellaIstituto
Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via Vigna Murata
605, Roma 00143, Italy and also
on soils (K.L. Hay).
On this basis the Hum ought to be more prevalent in
areas where for whatever reason airborne particulate pollution is high. This
may be due to magnetic nano-particles from industry,
combustion fly ash, transport (air, road and rail) or even natural erosion of
basaltic rocks and soil. An example of
the latter could be the original Taos Hum in New Mexico where the Taos Plateau
is known to contain Basaltic rocks with a particularly high magnetic remanence ( Kathryn J. Murdock, University of
Massachusetts - Amherst). The main minerals here are
magnetite, haematite and ilmenite ( iron titanium oxide). The latter two are
also weakly magnetic. It is also known
particles of the latter two or nano-particles of
other magnetic pollutants such as chromium and nickel could be bio-absorbed via
the lungs as with geologic or synthetic magnetite but an open mind should
certainly be kept as the latter two are major pollutants in some parts of the
UK. Generally, the concentration of
airborne iron compounds exceeds that of
chromium and nickel by approximately 100 fold
(Monacia – 2000) and is more comparable with
aluminium and lead pollution. It is
perplexing to understand why Defra, although recently making public domain
colour contour style map data on all kinds of pollution, do not map Iron
pollution? The iron data is available but is harder to interpret. Similarly the data for other pollutants of concern such as Barium ad
Aluminium. Defra pollution studies make
a play on concluding that there is generally less metal and heavy metal
pollution in 2005 than in the period 1994 -1998. Yet for some strange reason
there is a huge gap in all their data between 2001 and 2004, the very period
when the author and his wife first started to perceive the Hum! Indeed in 2000
it appears that a lot of the data is trending steeply upwards!! (Final report 2007: 110pp UK Heavy Metal
Monitoring Network 2003 - 2005, Project Number EPG 1/3/204). A Spanish study
recently found the ratio of the concentration between leaves and wood was
elevated for Al, Ba and Fe in pine samples from the polluted sites. The ratio
of the concentration in bark or leaves to their concentration in wood and stated that it might be useful to detect
inorganic atmospheric pollutants.( Rossini Oliva S, Mingorance MD
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of Seville, Adva. Reina Mercedes s/n, Apto de
Correo 1095, E-41080 Seville, Spain. email@example.com).
Hum and Pollution
No experimental work as such is required, other
than to collate and compare public domain data of available Hum reports and
available mapping with PM2.5 pollution in various sites around the World. PM2.5 and PM10 correlate well with
cardio-pulmonary mortality. A World map
of the latter is shown below:
Figure 1 Cardio- pulmonary mortality World Map.
The peak distribution correlates reasonably well with World visits to a site for people
experiencing the Hum
Figure 2 World visits to internet
If one narrows the geographic location down, one
can get specific Hum site correlations.
Consider first the USA. Taking a satellite derived PM2.5 distribution,
figure 3, is very instructive. Two of the USA’s most famous Hum sites are in
regions of highest PM2.5 pollution. Yet the original Taos site is not.
This does not rule out natural magnetic remanence
as being relevant at Taos. We should remember this map is for higher airborne
Figure3; Satellite derived PM2.5 for USA.
Similar comparisons may be made for the UK and
Europe, see PM2.5 hotspots map Figure 4 below
Figure 4 : European PM2.5
Referring to figure 4 the brighter the colour
of spot the larger is the PM2.5 pollution density and so possibly also the
magnetic nano-particle density.
In Europe places reported as having the Hum are
Germany (Cologne/Koln) Austria and Zurich Switzerland. Strikingly, these are all places which have
red or orange spots on the PM2.5 map.
Figure 5: Britain pm10 Pollution
Map Courtesy of DEFRA.
PM2.5 was not available but all other pollutants
shown on DEFRA website including Benzene, CO, Butadiene more or less followed
the PM10 distribution. It is reasonable to suppose nano-particle
distribution from roads and industry may follow a similar pattern.
In the UK Largs Scotland
is one of the most well-known places for the Hum, also notice how for some
unknown reason the Largs region also has the most
PM10 in Britain as marked by the orange
There are also similar spots of pollution around
Bristol, Birmingham, Woodlands Durham, Kerry Ireland and Sudbury Suffolk and
parts of South Wales. All have either
for a long time or more recently reported the Hum. Regards magnetic pollution in Woodland Durham
there is reference by KL Hay http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079194697001043 to heavily polluted topsoil
around Newcastle and Teeside on the basis of magnetic
The data generally supports the hypothesis to
a large extent. On balance, the Hum is found in places in the world where PM2.5
pollution is high. Iron particulates in the form of geologic magnetite are also
high in PM2.5 pollution. Geologic magnetite is foreign to the human body
compared with biogenic magnetite and has a different and indeed exactly
opposite CSD. It is proposed that in
some individuals this gives rise to a magnetic detection means for the Hum.
This in no way detracts from any previous published work of the author
regarding signal sources and mechanisms for Hum generation and indeed merely
compliments and augments the same.
The only way to further validate the
hypothesis would be for air and soil analysis at specific Hum locations to be
done and for blood magnetite screening with CSD analysis of afflicted
individuals. The work does not rule out
the possibility that other magnetic pollutant particles besides magnetite might
be bio-assimilated into the human body and take part in the Hum detection
On a final note the author has commented that
the Hum is often perceived loudest in houses of building that contain old steel
girders. It is envisioned that in a sense these increase the mutual coupling
between the Hum source and the body Hum bio-detector as facilitated by the
appropriate magnetite distribution and quantum spintronic arrangement.
The author wishes to acknowledge his wife and son
for continued support in acquiring experimental data through personal
experience of the Hum and for valuable discussions thereupon.