It’s more than likely you’ve never heard a mysterious signal, and even if you did you probably just put it down to lack of sleep. But Earth is home to all kinds of signals that are sometimes difficult to explain, leaving us wondering about aliens, monsters or just secret military communications.
Take for example what scientists called “fast radio bursts” coming from a place way beyond the Milky Way, that have had astronomers confounded for around a decade. Are these bursts of noise the work of aliens or is it just natural phenomenon? Whatever the case, it took the noises a long, long time to get here. Today we’ll look at some of the more fascinating signals here on Earth, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Weird Unexplained Signals That Will Creep You Out.
The Backward Music Station
This signal isn’t of course backward music, although you could say that it sounds like something that may have been concocted by a psychedelic band from the 1960s. We don’t know much about where this very strange sound comes from, but we do know these signals are man-made. You can hear them at certain frequencies every now and again. Most people that have studied the signals seem to think they are a kind of encrypted communication used by either the British or U.S. military. Saying that, there are lots of other theories relating to other groups sending out coded messages.
Yosemite Sam transmission
This one is kinda funny, but just as mysterious. Played on various frequencies in the early 2000s it would start with a strange buzzing sound and then you’d hear the words “Varmint! I’m a gonna blow you to smithereens!” spoken by the Looney Tunes character Yosemite Sam. Again, people have speculated that some information is encoded in this transmission, but no one really knows.
Broadcast on the frequency 4625 kHz, this one is given the nickname of “The Buzzer.” Sometimes there is just a buzzing noise, but now again you can hear some Russian language. It’s been operating since the 1970s and still no one knows what this broadcast is all about. No one has ever admitted to running it, and there is a lot of speculation as to what it means.
In 2017, the BBC said, “It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind.” It’s said tens of thousands of people tune in to listen to the broadcast. The BBC cites several theories, from communication with aliens, to encoded military messages, to it being a “Dead Hand” signal, in that it can actually sound out particles and ascertain a nuclear attack. If there is one, the signal will stop and Russia will retaliate. But we don’t want to scare you. This is merely speculation.
The Squeaky Wheel
This broadcast is also said to come from Russia, although it hasn’t been heard in a few years. We think you can guess what it sounds like, but occasionally the noise would be accompanied by voices. Mainly, it could be heard on the frequencies of 5473 kHz in the day and 3828 kHz at night. People interested in such a broadcast again say it is related to the military. One writer says, “These stations exist to keep the army troops on guard, monitor if all army units are on duty and if extremal event occurs, issue warning.”
Now we go underwater and to a signal that isn’t so scary and most definitely not related to the military – well, we don’t think so. The Bloop is an ultra-low-frequency signal that was first picked up by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 1997. It was thought to originate somewhere west of the tip of South America in the south Pacific Ocean. Was it ice breaking, or the call of a large marine animal? Scientists have never agreed, so the noise remains a mystery. Some people have gone as far as to say the Bloop was made by some mysterious marine animal that lurks in the depths and has managed never to be found by humans. The reason they think this is because such a loud sound couldn’t have been made by any marine animal we currently know about.
The Wow! Signal
From the ocean’s depths to outer space. The Wow signal was heard in 1977 by The Big Ear radio telescope. It gave the researcher such a shock that he wrote “WOW” in his notebook. It’s thought it came from close to the constellation Sagittarius 200 Light years away. Astronomers have been arguing about where this signal came from, but some scientists believe it’s the best evidence that we have been contacted by aliens. Scientists also remark that its frequency was 1,420 MHz, which is the same frequency that hydrogen atoms are emitted.
For that reason, the signal could have been made when a comet in space travelled by with an accompanying hydrogen cloud. That’s why it was only picked up once. So, that blows the alien theory into thin air. A recent paper written about the signal by the Washington Academy of Science writes this in the conclusion to its abstract: “The results of this investigation, therefore, conclude that cometary spectra are detectable at 1420 MHz and, more importantly, that the 1977 ‘Wow!’ Signal was a natural phenomenon from a Solar System body.” We thought we should add that one person remarked that it sounded like aliens with a bad Internet connection.
The Taos Hum
This strange signal is nothing like any of the signals we have already mentioned. It can be heard by people living in north-central New Mexico – about two percent of the population there to be exact. Since the 1990s people have said they are hearing a constant hum, and no one seems to know what it is. Theories abound, ranging from mind control experiments, mass hysteria to, again, aliens. Such a phenomenon has also happened in other parts of the world – such as The Auckland Hum and The Bristol Hum – and has often been blamed on Tinnitus. Others believe it could be machinery, small animals, or just ear defects in a large group of people. Still, these hums around the world remain an unsolved mystery.
This is another noise that was heard by quite a large part of a small community. In 2016 the Guardian wrote that the Canadian army were investigating a strange pinging sound that seemed to be coming from the ocean. This bothered the locals because the sound was scaring away animals in what is usually a popular hunting area in a remote part of the Canadian arctic.
Canada’s Department of National Defense issued a statement, saying, “The Canadian armed forces are aware of allegations of unusual sounds emanating from the seabed in the Fury and Hecla Strait in Nunavut.” But the strange thing was, after looking for all possible sources of the pinging they said they found nothing. “We don’t have a clue,” the department said. The jury is still out as to what was making the noise, but many say it was probably sonar used by mining companies. Others said it was Greenpeace scaring animals away to protect them from being hunted. Mining companies and Greenpeace have denied using sonar near this area.
Unfortunately, there is no recording of this ping.
A similar thing happened in the US, when people of Portland, Oregon, were apparently kept awake by a loud flute sound. Was this the Pied Piper on rat patrol? Residents of a place called Forest Grove reported hearing a constant note that sounded like a flute, throughout many nights. In fact, it’s so clear and loud you could only think it was a hoax, or if you are that way inclined, something like a Blair Witch coming out to spook the locals.
Police and the fire department looked for the source of the noise, but didn’t find anything. Some locals believed it was related to the release of compressed gas or air. Others said it was aliens, Big Foot, or even a chorus of frogs. No one ever found out, but people were naturally freaked, given the clarity of the noise. After a few weeks in 2016 it just stopped, and as NBC news reports, the mystery will probably never be solved.
Thanks for watching, and if you can, please add something to this list or tell us what you know about the noises we have mentioned. And as always, please don’t forget to like, share and subscribe.