Humans are incredible pieces of work. Our ears are perceptive enough that they are capable of distinguishing variations in sound equivalent to less than one-billionth of atmospheric pressure. Our brains can identify and retain complex auditory patterns. What that basically means is that we can hear a sound and remember it, mentally organizing so that we can retain what that sound means to us. For example, as a small child grows they begin to understand between the sounds of their mother calling to them, as opposed to someone on the television calling out.
Over the generations, we’ve grown accustomed to certain sounds existing in nature and all around us. So that makes it all the more troubling when we hear a sound that we can’t identify. It’s even more worrying when others around us can’t explain a sound’s origin either. As we grow and understand more of the world around us, we can begin to learn more of these mysterious sounds and where they come from. At least that’s the hope.
What if some of these mysterious sounds are beyond our understanding? Did aliens try to send us a message in 1977, and we were just too ignorant to understand? Is there some immense, undersea creature roaming the deepest oceans of the world calling out and we just haven’t discovered it yet? Could mystifying radio signals be the work of spies, or could they have a more mundane explanation? We just don’t have the understanding yet be sure. Over the years, there have been many of these weird, unexplained sounds captured that have baffled those that heard them and indeed scientists worldwide. Let’s take a look at fifteen of the world’s most mysterious sounds that we have yet to identify.
15. The UVB-76 Buzzer
UVB-76 is the name used to refer to a mysterious shortwave radio station that has been broadcasting continuously since 1982. Using the frequency 4625 kHz, the station broadcasts short, monotonous buzz sounds at a rate of approximately 25 tones per minute, 24 hours a day. Occasionally, the buzzing stops and a voice can be heard, speaking in Russian, giving brief cryptic messages before the steady buzzing resumes once more. These voice messages have been transmitted only about three times in 1997, 2002, and then in 2006. They have mostly been numerical in nature, or a list of names, possibly call signs or some sort of station identification. UVB-76 was the common reference until 2010, when the station began to refer to itself as MDZhB, then in January 2016, the call sign changed once again to ZhUOZ.
An intrepid investigator once triangulated the signal to a location in Povarovo, in the Moscow District of Russia. An expedition set out to locate the site but when they arrived a vacant building was found. A search was conducted and a logbook was uncovered that indicated that it was indeed the site of the transmissions at one time. However, the transmissions continue, evidently from a new location. There are several theories about the nature and reasons for the broadcasts. Perhaps it’s an encoded transmission to spies around the world, or some other signal to a covert military base. The actual purpose has never been confirmed and remains a mystery and constant source of speculation.
14. 52-Hertz Whale
For over twenty-five years, marine biologists have monitored a sound emanating from the North Pacific. The sound is similar to a whale’s call but at a much higher pitch of 52 hertz (Hz). Most whales sing at a frequency of 10-20 hertz (Hz). As a result, if this is a whale calling out, it is unlikely any whale will respond. Researchers have never heard a return response. They’ve dubbed the creature the “world’s loneliest whale.”
Since whales typically sing at a much lower frequency, this so-called 52 Hertz (Hz) Whale would seem to be speaking a different language than other whales. There is even speculation that other whales probably can’t even hear him all. The sounds have deepened slightly since 1992, leaving scientists to believe that this is indicative of the whale having matured or grown. Researchers have so far been unable to identify the whale’s species, but they speculate that he could be deformed, or perhaps a hybrid of different species. Though his movements can be tracked by his sounds, he has never been seen and is so far the only one of its kind detected. Researchers hope for the day when they are finally able to visually find this puzzling creature and ascertain once and for all why he calls out in his own mysterious language.
13. The Slow Down
This mysterious sound was recorded on May 19, 1997. It lasted for seven minutes, slowly descending in frequency toward the end, hence its name. The sound was loud enough to be picked up by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on three different sensor monitors, at a range of nearly 2,000 km, most notably on the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array in the Antarctic Peninsula. Scientists were baffled and could find no record of any similar sound. Its origin is unknown. There are several theories but none are conclusive. The NOAA classified it as unknown for years but now publicly claims it believes the sound was simply an iceberg slowly moving over the sea floor until it was brought to a standstill. While this type of sound is somewhat similar to the “Slow Down,” it is distinctly different. The “Slow Down” sound has been picked up several times a year since that initial recording.
Julia is the name given to a sound that was recorded on March 1, 1999, by NOAA. It is a strange whining sound that last for approximately 15 seconds. It was picked up on the equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array. The source of the sound is unknown, but it was loud enough to be heard throughout the array. This mysterious sound was limited in bandwidth. There is some ambiguity in the point of origin of the sound but it is believed to have originated from anywhere between Bransfield Strait and Cape Adare in Antarctica.
As an odd coincidence, it was been reported that on the very day that the Julia was recorded, NASA’s Apollo AA35 satellite captured photographs of an immense shadow undulating through the water in the off the coast of Antarctica; however, this is all speculation no photos that I’m aware of have been released by NASA. After years of being classified as unknown, NOAA now publicly claims the sound most likely came from a large iceberg that ran aground off the coast of Antarctica.
11. The Train
This sound was recorded on March 5, 1997 on NOAA’s eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array. The sound resembles a train travelling in the distance, sounding its horn. It rose to a quasi-steady frequency of about 32-35 Hz. Officially classified as unexplained, the NOAA now publicly claims it was most likely the sound of a very large iceberg moving across the Ross Sea Shelf, near Cape Adare, dragging its keel across the sea floor (seems to be their go-to explanation these days…). Most don’t buy their explanation as unexplained sounds like the Train, Julia, and the Slow-Down sound dissimilar yet all have been labelled with the blanket cause of icebergs dragging.
10. The Hum
Throughout the world, people have been hearing a strange hum; a relentless low frequency hum, about 56 Hz. It has been reported in places like New Mexico (the famous Taos Hum), Europe, and New Zealand. Not everyone can hear, but those who do describe it alike, saying it not unlike a diesel engine heard from a distance, getting louder when they are indoors, or at night, with vibrations that can be felt. It is irritating and persistent. Some hearers have been so distraught by the hum that it has caused insomnia, dizziness, irritability, anxiety, and in one case, suicide.
Those who have tried to record the sound claim that microphones are unable to accurately capture the hum. The hum heard by residents of the Big Island in Hawaii has been inconclusively attributed to volcanic activity; however, the same can’t be said for the hums heard in Taos, or Kent, England, or any of the other locations plagued by the unrelenting sound. No definitive cause has been given. Is it electromagnetic in nature? Collective tinnitus? Mass delusion? Supernatural? We may never know.
There called skyquakes, or more popularly known as mistpouffers. It’s a strange name that refers to a series of bizarre booms that have been heard in areas ranging from the Netherlands to Bangladesh, in Canada, Italy, Ireland, and Japan; pretty much all around the world, including the United States. They’ve been reported as far back as the 1850s. Early European settlers in North America heard the booms and were told by the native Iroquois that they were the sound of the Great Spirit. The term, “Mistpouffer,” actually originates from booms heard at Seneca Lake, New York. Author James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote The Last of the Mohicans, wrote The Lake Gun in 1850, where he described hearing the booms, sounding like artillery fire, at the lake. Cooper referred to the sounds as “Seneca guns,” or “Mistpoufffers.” The term stuck.
These mysterious booms are usually described as sounding like a cannon firing, a sonic boom, or really loud thunder, even though no clouds are present in the sky. In fact, it is usually reported being heard on calm, sunny days, though they have been reported more frequently near large bodies of water. These booms have been sufficient to rattle chinaware in a house and cause shock waves. In 1978, one particular boom that was on Bell Island off Newfoundland in Canada was so strong that it damaged homes. Some say it is some sort of supernatural phenomena, others that is must be some secret electromagnetic pulse weapon being tested. Still others maintain it must be the sound of meteorites piercing our atmosphere, or maybe gas escaping from vents in the planet’s surface. We may never know.
Beginning in the 1960s, Soviet submarines patrolling the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans began hearing strange sounds. They described it as an odd “quacking.” The sound was picked up whenever the subs would enter certain areas and their instruments seemed to indicate its source was a moving underwater object; however, nothing ever registered on sonar. This phenomenon was heard at frequencies from 50 to 300 Hz, usually lasting between one and three seconds. At first, the Soviets believed it must be some secret American technology. They soon began to think it was of biological origin, possibly a giant squid, which lacks a rigid skeleton possibly allowing it to remain hidden on sonar. Strengthening this theory was the fact that the sound would react to the submarines, actively avoiding them, moving around and even circling them.
Around the 1980s, the sounds became less frequently heard. Then, in 2014, some sources claimed that they had heard the sound once more and had sighted the source. It was claimed that Antarctic minke whales were making the sounds. As minke whales communicate like all other whales, it is odd that they would also make vocalizations such as these. Scientists still classify the sound as unexplained but research is being conducted to conclude if and why these whales would be making this mysterious sound.
If you don’t believe in ghosts, don’t laugh! Have you heard these eerie recordings before? There is definitely something being recorded. EVP’s, or electronic voice phenomenon, is the paranormal term for capturing a disembodied voice on an audio, or digital, recording. Paranormal investigators claim these are the voices of the spirit realm. These voices aren’t heard during the time of the recording and are only discovered when the recording is played back. These EVP’s vary with some being single words, others being phrases or sentences. Still others could be entire conversations with multiple voices being recorded at once.
While paranormal researchers believe these odd sounds are words, sceptics say that the sounds are inadvertent and a natural phenomenon. One theory debunkers use is that it is apophenia, which is where the mind strives to find patterns or meaning in useless data. Or, it could be pareidolia, where the mind is transplanting an illusion of something of importance where none exists. Still others claim it is just what it is purported to be, voices from beyond. I’ve heard quite a few and some can really be attributed to searching for words in otherwise meaningless background noise; however, others really, really, I mean really, sound like precise words or phrases. What do you think? Do you believe in the paranormal? Is it possible that these could be the voices of spirits who have yet to cross over? We may never know.
6. The Unknown Howl
The Howl refers to a series of mysterious sounds that have been heard emanating out of northern Canada. These Howls are just that, eerie howls that have been captured on video and correspond to know known animal or natural occurrence. Supposedly the sounds are originating from deep within a forest near the small town of Conklin, Alberta. However, other reports of the Howl have been reported near the area of Pas, Manitoba. The nature of the Howls has been the subject of some controversy. Some have stated that it sounds musical in nature, others that it is the very sound of Hell. Some claim extraterrestrial origins. Currently, there is just no reasonable explanation for the mysterious sounds. The sounds are still being reported, in new locations such as Glasgow, Chicago, and Denmark.
5. The Upsweep
Captured on the NOAA’s equatorial autonomous hydrophone arrays, the Upsweep, as it’s been called, consists of a long series of narrow-band upsweeping sounds, lasting several seconds each. The sound was immediately present when the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) began recording with their sound surveillance system (SOSUS) in August 1991. The sound level was high enough for it to be recorded throughout the Pacific Ocean. The sound does appear to be seasonal, commonly peaking in the spring and fall; however, it is not clear if this pattern is due to changes in the originating source or seasonal changes in its environment.
After careful study, the origin has been approximately tracked to 54°S by 140°W, near a location of believed volcanic seismic activity; however, the exact location still remains unknown. The sound has been steadily declining since PMEL first began tracking it in 1991, but the NOAA’s equatorial autonomous hydrophone array is still picking it up strong.
4. The Whistle
The Whistle is an unexplained sound that was first recorded on July 7, 1997, by only one hydrophone used by NOAA. The location of the source is unknown and there is very little information on it. Since no other hydrophones have detected the sound, this has made tracking the sound back to its origin very difficult. The best guess scenario is that the sound originated somewhere around 3700 km off the coast of Costa Rica. The frequency the Whistle is heard on is between 1 and 6 Hz, and has been likened to the sound a kettle of boiling water makes, though don’t get me wrong, it still sounds mysterious as that’s got to be one large kettle! Some scientists have postulated that it could possibly be related to volcanic activity on the sea floor; however, they are quick to point out that the sound remains unexplained.
3. The Trumpet
The Trumpet is a disturbing trumpet-like sound that is being heard in spots across the globe. Recordings have been made of the scary sound in British Columbia, Texas, Norway, and in Australia. Sometimes the exact sound is varied, sounding more like the moan of some unknown animal, while other times it more consistent with a low-pitched rumble, a whine, or even a thumping. One thing is for certain, when people hear it they are chilled and most people stand still transfixed in place. So far, no satisfactory explanation has been uncovered.
A physics professor from the University of Saskatchewan, Dr. Jean Pierre St. Maurice hypothesizes that the sounds may be from electromagnetic waves derived from the aurora lights commonly seen in the Arctic and Antarctic skies. Some who hear the eerie sound liken it to a religious event and point to the final book of the Bible’s New Testament, the Book of Revelations. There it is written that the voices of angels will be heard sounding like trumpets signalling the coming of catastrophic plagues upon the Earth. Are these sounds a sign from God? Is it a natural phenomenon we just don’t understand yet? Not even the experts can agree and they admit can’t even tell if the sounds are coming from the ground or the sky.
2. The Bloop
The Bloop is one of the most fascinating unexplained sounds to have ever been reported. On several occasions in 1997, this sound could be heard reverberating throughout the Pacific Ocean. The sound rises rapidly in frequency over a period of one minute and was so loud that is was picked up by multiple sensors that were located 5,000 km apart. These underwater hydrophones were placed in an area known as the “deep sound channel,” during the Cold War to detect and track Soviet Submarines. Now the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) use them to monitor deep see phenomena. When sped up sixteen times it sounds like its name, “bloop.” The source was roughly triangulated to coordinates: 50°S 100°W, in the South Pacific Ocean, west of the southern tip of South America.
In 2002, it was determined that the sound’s audio profile contains a rapid variation in frequency, closely resembling that of a living creature, such as a whale, though several times louder than that of the loudest recorded species, the blue whale. This has led many to speculate on the possibility that some creature larger than the largest known whale is lurking deep in the ocean depths. Science fiction devotees make note that if NOAA is adamant that the sound cannot be man-made, resembling the sound of a living creature, yet there is no creature ever existing that we know of that large, then it must mean only one thing: it’s the call of Cthulhu! As luck would have it, the source the sound was tracked back to is in a remote corner of the Pacific near where author H.P. Lovecraft based the lair of the legendary sea monster. Thought the true source still remains unknown, the NOAA now believes the Bloop has to be ice-related.
1. The “Wow!” Signal
It remains the strongest evidence to date of extraterrestrial life and it was recorded one August night in 1977. Jerry Ehman, volunteering for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), was scanning radio waves from deep space in hopes of finding that one signal that establishes an intelligent alien civilization exists. He was using the Big Ear telescope of the Ohio State University. Suddenly, Ehman picked recorded a huge spike in activity with a strong narrow-band signal, lasting 72 seconds. Ehman wrote “Wow!” in the margin of the printout. The alphanumerical scale to register such signals ranges from 1 to 9, then A to Z, with most radio waves registering just 1’s and 2’s. However, this signal had a sequence of “6EQUJ5;” very strong indeed!
The signal was on just the right frequency that it would easily be differentiated from background noise, and matched the signature of an extraterrestrial signal on exactly the frequency we would use to send a similar signal out into space. He tracked the signal and found it originated from near a star called Tau Sagittarii, 120 light years away. This incredible signal was only picked up by two of the Big Ear’s detectors and all attempts to find the signal again have failed. All rational explanations given by sceptics have been proven incorrect, from space debris colliding with each other to errant satellite transmissions. The “Wow!” Signal is still the only confirmed sound received from deep space that could possibly have originated from an unknown alien civilization.