Rhode Island’s Rumble of Insanity™

By Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) | November 7, 2006 6:00 pm

You may have read DiscoBlog’s earlier post about an incessant rumbling sound driving people crazy in Auckland, New Zealand. Last weekend, 8,959 miles away from New Zealand, I also encountered a mysterious Rumble of Insanity™.

While raking leaves at my sister’s home in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, a neighbor—let’s call him “Ned”—stopped by with a leaf blower. “Can you hear that damn sound?” Ned asked me. A plane began to fly overhead. No, not the plane, he said; it sounds like a plane but you can hear it when there are no planes around. After the plane passed, I heard a rumble that was almost imperceptible—but louder than when I put my ear to, say, a rock.

Confusing legal authority with scientific authority, Ned called the police. They could hear it, too. And that was that—a shrug of the shoulders and everyone was back to blowing leaves and doing other weekendish chores.

No word yet on whether there’s any connection here between the rumbling in RI and NZ. We’ll keep our ears to the ground on this one.

PS: To hear a simulation of the sound, courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald and Phil Strong, click here. Wear headphones, because most computer speakers can’t produce the sound—and, apparently, some human ears can’t hear it.

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