Residents of Windsor, a Canadian city near Detroit, have been complaining about a mysterious noise interfering with their daily lives for over eight years now, but despite numerous attempts to establish its origin, nobody has been able to figure out what’s causing it.
Called the ‘Windsor Hum’, the mysterious noise plaguing the Canadian city of over 210,000 people reportedly varies in intensity and comes and goes at random intervals. Sometimes it can be heard for just a few hours, and other times it lingers for days, causing those who can hear it to suffer from symptoms like severe headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, depression, among others. Some residents have been so affected by the Windsor Hum that they packed up and moved far away just so they could escape it.
Photo: Ken Lund/Wikimedia Commons
“You know how you hear of people who have gone out to secluded places to get away from certain sounds or noises and the like? I’ve wanted to do that many times in the past year or so because it has gotten so bad,” Windsor resident Sabrina Wiese wrote on a closed Facebook group dedicated to finding the source of the hum. “Imagine having to flee all you know and love just to have a chance to hear nothing humming in your head for hours on end.”
“You can’t get away from it. You go outside to work in your garden, you go outside to enjoy the sun, the noise is there,” 64-year-old Mike Provost told The Guardian, two years ago. “If you think of thunder, and you take that thunder and constantly repeat it for hours and days, weeks, that’s all it is.”
Some residents describe the Windsor Hum as the sound made by a subwoofer, others as an idling diesel engine, and some even compare it to the the Star Trek Enterprise preparing to go into warp speed. The one thing that all those who can hear the Windsor Hum agree on is that it is debilitating. Because it’s so inconsistent, coming and going at various intervals, and varying in its intensity, it’s virtually impossible impossible to get used to.
Photo: Ken Lund/Wikimedia Commons
Animals apparently have it even worse, according to Gary Grosse, a Windsor resident who has dedicated thousands of hours to finding the source of the hum and silencing it.
“Animals are being medicated for anxiety too. It sounds really freaky, but there are dogs crying all the time because animals are more susceptible. We even have some cats that won’t go outside,” Grosse said.
Identifying the origin of the Windsor Hum has been compared to chasing a ghost. Mot only is it inconsistent, but it’s also not heard by everyone in the city of Windsor and its vicinity. However, its existence is hard to deny if only by the number of reports about it. Six years ago, over 22,000 people dialed in to a local teleconference to complain about the hum and the effect it could have on their health and on the foundation of their home.
“It’s as if you had a fire hose moving back and forth and the people who have the water falling on them hear the noise, and if you’re outside that stream, you don’t hear the noise,” said Tim Carpenter, a retired consulting engineer who specialized in geotechnical engineering and machine vibrations.
Over the years, the Windsor Hum has been associated with all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories, like secret tunneling, UFOs and covert Government operations, but while you can’t rule out any possibility at this point, many Windsor residents are convinced that it has to do with the blast furnace operations on the nearby Zug Island, owned by US Steel.
“We didn’t identify the smoking gun, but there’s enough evidence there to strongly suggest that that’s the likely source,” said Colin Novak of the University of Windsor, one of the lead researchers on a 2013 Canadian government study of the hum.
Over the years, activists trying to solve the mystery of the Windsor Hum have complained that US Steel has been uncooperative and secretive about its operations on Zug Island. Both the New York Times and The Guardian attempted to contact the company about this issue, but it did not respond to requests for comment.
Gary Grosse and several other Windsor residents even pushed the idea that US Steel be given immunity from a lawsuit if its machinery proves to be the cause of the hum, on the condition that the company investigate the noise and take steps to mitigate it if it turns out their machines are causing it. Unfortunately, that proposition was put forward two years ago, but nothing has changed. The Windsor Hum still torments people, and there’s virtually nothing they can do but abandon their homes and move somewhere far away.