Wherever you go, there it is ... a low, droning hum that seems to follow you at home, at work, when you're alone or with friends and family. You wear earplugs in a futile attempt to block it. You complain to others about the sound but no one else can hear it. It feels like you might just be going crazy.
It's not an episode of "The Twilight Zone." There are certain geographic areas, such as England, Scotland and the United States, where a low, mysterious hum is audible to only about 2 percent of the local population.
Those unfortunate folks complain of the noise's haunting pervasiveness. Many of them suffer headaches, nosebleeds and sleep problems. The sounds may be more noticeable at night, a constant throbbing or pulsing noise that never stops.
Sufferers are typically past middle age, but doctors rule out tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Some people become so distressed that they commit suicide.
A few hums have been traced back to specific sources, like huge diesel engines and power lines. And at least one scientists attributes the so-called Bristol Hum to seismic waves caused by ocean waves. Other hums around the world are simply unexplained, causing ceaseless stress to the afflicted.
Real life, as is obvious, is full of unsettling scenarios. Sometimes it's the dread of an unexplained sound. In other cases, it's the outright bloody awfulness of an unfathomable murder scene. But whether it's mystery or gore, sometimes the truth of our world is scarier than any horror movie. Perhaps Mother Nature is the ultimate horror show screenwriter, composing scenes of chaos and strangeness that not even Hollywood can conjure.
Author's Note: 10 Real Events That Sound Just Like Horror Movies
I grew up watching movies like "The Exorcist" and "Poltergeist," the kind of psychologically warping films that make you question the nature of reality. Like all kids, once you start to grow up, you realize that movies have nothing on reality. There are all sorts of weird and scary things happening all around you, caused by bizarre human behavior or by the strangeness of our natural surroundings. You don't really need Hollywood in order to be terrified — all you have to do is set foot outside your front door.
- Bass, Erin Z. and Anne Wheeler. "The Real Madame LaLaurie and Other Legends from 'American Horror Story: Coven.'" Deep South Magazine. Jan. 15, 2014. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://deepsouthmag.com/2014/01/the-real-madame-lalaurie-other-legends-from-american-horror-story-coven/
- Benzkofer, Stephan. "Chicago's First Serial Killer." Chicago Tribune. Oct. 24, 2014. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-serial-killer-white-city-flashback-1026-20141025-story.html
- The Bristol Post. "The Mystery of the Bristol Hum Has Been Solved." April 20, 2015. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/mystery-Bristol-Hum-solved/story-26359165-detail/story.html
- Crew, Bec. "The Great Kentucky Meat Shower Mystery Unwound by Projectile Vulture Vomit." Scientific American. Dec. 1, 2014. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/the-great-kentucky-meat-shower-mystery-unwound-by-projectile-vulture-vomit/
- Dash, Mike. "The Ax Murderer Who Got Away." Smithsonian Magazine. June 8, 2012. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-ax-murderer-who-got-away-117037374/?no-ist
- Epperly, Edgar V. "The Villisca Axe Murders: A Forgotten Chapter of American Violence." Fourth Wall Films. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.villiscamovie.com/story_01.htm
- Fox News. "Blood Swapping Reanimates Dead Dogs." June 28, 2005. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/06/28/blood-swapping-reanimates-dead-dogs.html
- Gonzales, Darya. "The Dyatlov Pass Incident Location Draws in Tourists." Russia Beyond the Headlines. Feb. 25, 2013. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://rbth.com/travel/2013/02/25/extreme_tourism_in_the_urals_dyatlovs_footsteps_23259.html
- "The Hinterkaifeck Murder Case." June 2007. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.hinterkaifeck.net/index.php?menuid=11&reporeid=77
- History. "A Torture Chamber Is Uncovered by Arson." (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-torture-chamber-is-uncovered-by-arson
- Kazek, Kelly. "Is Two-toed Tom Real? Killer Alabama Gator Mentioned in 'Go Set a Watchman.'" Alabama Media. July 20, 2015. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.al.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/07/is_two-toed_tom_real_killer_al.html
- Lallanilla, Marc. "Mysterious Hum Driving People Crazy Around the World." Live Science. July 25, 2013. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.livescience.com/38427-the-hum-mystery-taos-hum.html
- Martin, John Bartlow. "The Master of the Murder Castle." Harper's Magazine. December 1943. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://harpers.org/archive/1943/12/the-master-of-the-murder-castle/
- Mead, Derek. "Russia's Dyatlov Pass Incident, the Strangest Unsolved Mystery of the Past Century." Motherboard. Feb. 15, 2013. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/dyatlov-pass-incident-strangest-unsolved-mystery
- Mihm, Stephen. "Zombie Dogs." The New York Times Magazine. Dec. 11, 2005. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/magazine/zombie-dogs.html?_r=0
- The New York Times. "Flesh Descending in a Shower." March 10, 1876. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9403E5D81E3FE73BBC4852DFB566838D669FDE
- NPR. "The Silent Twins." May 8, 2015. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.npr.org/2015/05/08/405191622/the-silent-twins
- Ortega, Xavier. "From Beyond the Woods: The Hinterakaifeck Murders." Ghost Theory. June 1, 2013. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.ghosttheory.com/2013/06/01/from-beyond-the-woods-the-hinterkaifeck-murders
- Wallace, Marjorie. "The Tragedy of a Double Life." The Guardian. July 12, 2003. (Oct. 8, 2015) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2003/jul/13/health.lifeandhealth
HowStuffWorks tells the story of Ron Stallworth, the black police officer who infiltrated the KKK, and the subject of the movie 'BlacKkKlansman.'