The Town of Taos, in north-central New Mexico, is also home to an unusual mystery: a resident hum of unknown origin, the so-called “Taos Hum.”

A variety of theories have been offered as an explanation, ranging from the mundane to the fantastic, the psychological to the paranormal. Stoned hippies, secret government mind control experiments, underground UFO bases and everything in between have been blamed.

The hum seems to have first been reported in the early 1990s. Joe Mullins, a professor emeritus of engineering at the University of New Mexico, conducted research into the Taos Hum. Based on a survey of residents, about 2 percent of the general population was believed to be “hearers,” those who claimed to detect the hum. Sensitive equipment was set up in the homes of several of the “hearers,” measuring sounds and vibrations but after extensive testing nothing unusual was detected.

The research revealed, however, that there was not a single identifiable Taos Hum but instead several different ones that people reported; some describe it as whir, hum or buzz. The fact that not everyone heard the same thing was puzzling, and suggests that they may have been reporting subjective experiences instead of objective sounds.

Explanations have been offered ranging from secret experiments in Los Alamos, New Mexico, top-secret military flight activity, electromagnetic vibrations emitted by Taos Mountain, or even low-flying alien spacecraft over the night skies.

Not everyone can hear the “mountain song,” in fact, only about two percent of the population can pick up this strange audio phenomenon.

Looming out of the Taos mountain range is a peak known as El Salto. It was this peak, which was reflecting the scarlet colors of the setting sun, that caused the first settlers in the valley to name the entire range Sangre de Cristo – “The Blood of Christ.” This majestic peak has seven waterfalls that cascade down its side in summer and form giant ice sculptures in the winter. For generations, the people of the area have considered El Salto to be a holy mountain that baptizes the valley with its singing waters. Behind many of the waterfalls are caves of different shapes along the various elevations of El Salto peak. These caves will catch the sounds of the cascading waterfalls and echo them across the valley.

In the mid-1800s, the famous healer, holy man, and hermit, Giovanni Maria Agostini Justiniani, passed through the area and climbed all the way to the top of El Salto. He would write in his journal, that he had heard the “singing waters” of the sacred mountain. He described that he had distinctly heard seven notes of the musical scale as nature played her tune on the holy mountain. Mountain climbers today continue to describe hearing a long, endless musical tone, which changes as they climb upward.

People who can hear it describe feeling blessed and comforted by the low-frequency noise. Others do not have such a pleasant experience. Some tell of hearing a low rumbling or buzzing sound, while others describe it as sounding like a distant diesel engine. In many of these cases, people who have heard it also say that the sound is maddening, drives them crazy, and interferes with their sleep. More severe complaints also included pressure on the ears, headaches, and nosebleeds. Of those who complain of the constant humming noise, they also say that it does not sound like a natural phenomenon, often starts abruptly, and heard more after sunset and in the middle of the night than during the day.

Taos is not alone with its “hum.” Other places around the world have also reported the same phenomenon in Bristol, England; Bondi, New South Wales, Australia; and on the Big Island of Hawaii. New Zealand has the Auckland Hum and in Indiana, people hear what is known as the Kokomo Hum.

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