Canadians make a racket about mysterious 'hum' coming from US side of border

Published May 01, 2012

| The Wall Street Journal

Last month, Bob Dechert, a senior aide to Canada's foreign minister, was dispatched to Detroit with an important diplomatic mission: to stop a highly-annoying noise.

The so-called Windsor hum, described as a low-frequency rumbling sound, has rattled windows and knocked objects off shelves in this border community just across the Detroit River from the Motor City. Locals have said it sounds like a large diesel truck idling, a loud boom box or the bass vocals of Barry White.

Residents in Windsor, Ontario, have blamed the hum for causing illness, whipping dogs into frenzies, keeping cats housebound and sending goldfish to the surface in backyard ponds. Many have resorted to switching on their furnace fan all season to drown out the noise.

Even weirder, Americans cannot seem to hear it. Canadians find that suspicious -- especially since their research suggests the hum is coming from the Yankees' side -- and accuse US officials of staying silent over the noise.

"The government of Canada takes this issue seriously," Dechert said after his recent fact-finding trip, which included a visit to a heavily-industrialized area on the American side of the river that some Canadian scientists believe is to blame for the hum.

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