It started in the winter of 2015. I started to suffer body aches, insomnia, and weird dreams. At first I wasn’t sure what was going on. Perhaps I had some virus that I didn’t know about, or maybe I was doing something that caused muscle cramps and sleep disturbances. But no matter what I tried, I continued to have the problems.
It wasn’t until one night when I turned off the fan near my bed that I noticed the problem. The whole bedroom was being bathed by an intense, vibrating, low frequency hum. I ruled out the motor of the fan itself, as well as the electric outlets in the room. Whatever was going on, it was outside.
This was a very strange sound. It was hard to hear it when there were other sounds present. It was very intense inside the house, so much so that you could see it vibrating in glasses of water, Jurassic Park style. Outside, there appeared to be no sound at all, until one sat in the car, then it was so intense that you could feel it vibrating against the windows.
At first I thought it was one of the electrical poles near the house. These were known to vibrate in the cold winter air, but the pattern of the vibration didn’t match that of the poles and was at a different pitch. Furthermore, the hum was still present during black-outs, when the lines were de-energized. After an extensive investigation of the electrical grid in the valley, I quickly eliminated them as a source of the sound.
But if it wasn’t the electrical lines, what was it? I found the noise present wherever I went in the valley. It was down at the dump in the central part of the valley, as well as in the main town of Dyer. It even vibrated against buildings on the north end of the valley. This irritating sound, whatever it was, permeated every part of Fish Lake Valley, but it was most intense in the central part of the valley.
I started to think I was going crazy. I could hear the hum when I went to wash clothes at the laundromat. It tickled my ears whenever I carried groceries in from the car. The wall of my bedroom vibrated with the weird rumble, sometimes pulsating, and disturbing my sleep. However, when I asked others if they’d heard the sound, no one had, not even the younger residents of Fish Lake Valley.
It seemed that people in the valley suffer from perpetual hearing loss. It is true that there is a large senior population in Dyer, but this does no explain the other younger people who also don’t hear the hum. But it is entirely possible that I’m the only one present who can hear it.
In 2010, an audiologist diagnosed me with an auditory processing disorder. She explained that my hearing was above average but my brain was unable to process the sheer volume of sound that my ears picked up. My high frequency hearing charted close to that of a dog. My low frequency hearing was even broader. This could explain why I hear the hum when no one else does.
Whatever causes the mysterious hum, it only occurs at certain times of the year. The hum runs from mid-September to sometime in May. It is usually silent in June, July, and August. It resembles the distant rumble of a diesel motor or generator. It also was not present before the winter of 2015, but has returned consistently every year since then.
The only thing I can tell you is what it’s not. As I said before, it’s not the power lines. It is also not an irrigation pump, because if it were, it would run consistently through the summer, which is farming season in the valley. It is most intense in the deep winter, when no water pumps or pivots are running.
Could it be a generator? It’s possible, but if it is, I’ve never found its location and it must be a very large one. It appears to be coming from northeast of my property and up in the Silver Peak Mountains on the east end of the valley. Why it would be here remains a mystery, because there are no towns or other development in the area. All you can find in that region are abandoned mines.
I long ago ruled out the possibility of a mining operation. At the time the sound started, there were no active mines anywhere in the mountains. Also, if it were a mining operation, the sound would be year round, not just in the cold months.
Could it be related to the geothermal drilling operation at the north end of the valley? No. This operation started in 2022, not 2015. The sound predates the operation by several years.
It also is not related to the Ioneer project nearby. Except for geologic explorations and a few drilled wells, the lithium mine is not currently in operation and was not operating heavy equipment in the times that the sound was heard. Also, most of their explorations occurred in the spring, summer, and fall, when snow was not on the ground.
Could it be related to operations at Nellis and Hawthorne? Occasionally we hear explosions from these military outposts in the valley, and sometimes fighter planes buzz the area. Once I even saw the triangular training flares of Nellis hovering over the Silver Peak Mountains. However, it is doubtful that any vibrations from these areas would be causing the problem. Nellis is too far away, and any sound that came from Hawthorne would be farther north or, as discussed in my previous blog post, projected from the White Mountains to the west.
There is the list of things that it is not. But what is causing the hum? Is it a paranormal phenomenon? Probably not, but I wish I had an explanation. Any attempts I’ve made to locate the sound in my car has turned up nothing unusual. Unfortunately, I don’t have a vehicle that is capable of venturing into the Silver Peak Mountains themselves, and I can’t locate anyone else who can hear the sound to help with an investigation.
Until that day comes, the hum continues. Every May it disappears, and every September it returns. And the mystery remains.