Back in 2016 strange reports began to emerge from the small Arctic settlement of Igloolik in Canada’s northern region. A number of hunters had complained that a curious noise – not unlike a beep or a ping – was driving animals away from the vicinity. The reports were about to become even more mysterious, though.
According to at least one account, you see, it seemed as if the otherworldly sound was actually rising from the sea. But apparently, there was no more specific information to help experts try and ascertain the noise’s origins. So the authorities ultimately made the decision to involve the military in the hope of solving the mystery.
Subsequently, a military aircraft took to the skies above the region in search of some solid answers. And, using a variety of on-board high-tech gadgets and gizmos, the plane’s operators attempted to identify any clues that could help make sense of the bizarre sound. Yet upon the completion of their flyover, they still could not reach any conclusions.
Strangely, this isn’t the only instance of an inexplicable noise being heard within Canada’s boundaries. Back in the early 2010s, for instance, reports started to rack up relating to a humming sound that was apparently reverberating through the city of Windsor. And after reportedly first arising in 2011, it seems as if this hum actually grew more intense over the following years.
The so-called Windsor Hum has been described in a number of different ways. According to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, some have characterized the noise as sounding similar to an earthquake. Conversely, others have likened it to a truck – or even an orchestra in the process of tuning. Perhaps the most specific description, though, has seen the sound compared to “a car’s subwoofer playing Barry White.”
And one local by the name of Mike Provost expressed his exasperation to the Windsor Star in 2016. “C’mon – give me a break. Let us get some sleep. Let us get some peace and quiet,” Provost told the paper, according to Vice. “It sounds like the Enterprise going into warp speed.”
The Windsor Hum is apparently even able to shake photo frames hanging on people’s walls, too. And given that the sound’s reportedly most easily perceived at night, people living in the area have complained of interruptions to their slumber. Bizarrely, women are apparently actually more prone to hearing it than men.
The humming noise is even said to bring about feelings of illness in some. And to make matters worse, it reportedly resonates at irregular times – meaning locals are almost waiting for it. As one resident of the area, Gary Grosse, put it to The Globe and Mail, “You go home, and you’re listening for it: ‘Ah, there it is!’”
But the actual source for the Windsor Hum has never been fully established – and this has led to a number of outlandish theories. Some have suggested, for instance, that a billionaire from nearby Detroit has actually been constructing a secret tunnel. And others have posited that the hum instead derives from clandestine testing of nukes – or even from UFOs.
But in spite of these eccentric suggestions, more measured explanations have also been put forward. For instance, both the Canadian government and the University of Windsor have conducted studies in the hopes of establishing the source of the noise. And both have ended up pointing their fingers towards activity on Zug Island.
Zug Island sits at the point where the River Rouge in Michigan joins the Detroit River. This latter waterway separates Windsor from Detroit – and by extension, it acts as a section of Canada’s border with the States. A number of industries – complete with furnaces – use the island as their base of operations, too.
To ensure that these furnaces don’t blow up, though, it’s necessary to release the pressure that builds up within them. But this process ultimately drums up a significant racket – and the din reportedly bounces off metal implements. This intensifies the sound and allows it to make it as far as Windsor.
On the surface, this may appear to be a reasonable explanation that accounts for the strange noise’s source. But conspiracy theorists might be buoyed by the fact that this hypothesis has never been confirmed. And there’s more: the results of a second, publicly funded investigation into the sound have actually been withheld from public view.
So while the Windsor Hum seems reasonably likely to originate from activities on Zug Island, nothing has been conclusively proven. People in the Canadian city are therefore left to merely speculate on what’s really taking place at the industrial hotspot. As Gary Grosse said to The Globe and Mail, “We don’t have any information about what’s happening over there – so there is a kind of mystique or mystery.”
And just as the Windsor Hum represents an enigma, so too does the beeping noise heard from Igloolik. According to a 2016 article in The Guardian, the sound was first noted by hunters on the settlement. And they seemed to believe it was coming from the waters of the Fury and Hecla Strait.
The Fury and Hecla Strait is a thin channel of water found in the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut. And although Nunavut is the largest province in Canada, it actually has one of the lowest populations in the country – second only to the region of Yukon. In fact, in spite of its vast 680,000-square-mile area, Nunavut is home to just under 36,000 people.
And within Nunavut, you can find a tiny outcrop called Igloolik Island. Positioned in the waters of the Foxe Basin, the island is thought to have been home to humans for the past 4,000 years. Today, though, it’s said that a little more than 1,500 people live there.
And Igloolik Island is thought to take its name from the Inuit language known as Inuktitut. Apparently, the term translates as, “There is an igloo here.” Indeed, iglu is said to mean “house” or “building.” So this name supposedly relates to the housing that people originally built in the region.
What’s more, the only settlement found on the island is also called Igloolik. And if official statistics are anything to go by, the population of this community is on the rise; in 1822 only 146 people were recorded as inhabiting the island, but by 2016 this figure had skyrocketed to 1,682.
Igloolik is reportedly positioned around 75 miles away from the waters of the Fury and Hecla Strait. Yet even from this distance, it seems that a number of hunters who were based there still heard a beeping sound coming from the strait. Apparently, these people even claimed that creatures that can normally be found within the channel’s vicinity had been frightened away by the noise.
According to a Nunavut politician by the name of Paul Quassa, there are typically numerous sea creatures in the area. In fact, he has referred to the area as a polynya – a section of water enclosed by ice. And a polynya would typically contain a substantial amount of aquatic creatures.
Quassa has further elaborated on his thoughts, as reported by CBC News in November 2016. “That’s one of the major hunting areas in the summer and winter because it’s a polynya,” he explained. “And this time around – this summer – there were hardly any [sea mammals]. And this became a suspicious thing.”
Another Nunavut politician has expressed a similar sentiment, too. George Qulaut has explained to CBC News that the period of his life that he spent hunting has left his hearing impaired. So given this health development, the politician admitted to being unable to hear the beeping. But even so, he could still note its impact on the area.
Drawing on his own hunting experiences, Qulaut pointed out that certain creatures that were normally found within the vicinity had disappeared. “That passage is a migratory route for bowhead whales, bearded seals and ringed seals. There would be so many in that particular area,” he explained. “This summer there was none.”
Hunters in the region, however, are not the only ones who claimed to have heard the beeping sound. In fact, it’s also been reported that it can be perceived through the bodies of boats. And some people aboard private vessels have actually claimed to have discerned bizarre noises while out on the water.
Yet despite several reports from people who’ve alleged to have heard the beep or ping, its source nonetheless remained an enigma. And in the absence of a proper answer, a number of different theories began to emerge. After all, people tend to enjoy a good old-fashioned mystery within the context of the natural world.
One suggestion about the sound’s origins is based around the notion of USOs. This abbreviation stands for unidentified submersible – or submerged – object, and it basically represents the inverse of a UFO. In other words, the term describes a mysterious item found underwater. It should be noted, though, that this needn’t automatically relate to something supernatural or alien.
Another theory has pointed towards the activities of a particular mining corporation. Apparently, this company had previously engaged in investigations related to sonar at a nearby inlet. The implication, then, is that similar undertakings could be responsible for the enigmatic beeping noise. However, the company has denied any such claims.
And one other assertion that has apparently been thoroughly considered is based around a specific American naval program: the Canada Basin Acoustic Propagation Experiment (CANAPE). This study ran from 2016 and 2017, and those who participated in it sought to learn more about how modifications of sea ice can potentially affect the properties of sound.
It’s been suggested, then, that activities related to CANAPE were at the root of the curious noises emanating from the water. But this notion has been dismissed by experts associated with the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Apparently, the frequencies emitted from the CANAPE project simply would not make it to the Fury and Hecla Strait.
And yet another theory that has seemingly come up short relates to the idea that Greenpeace is responsible. You see, according to this line of thinking, the environmental group has intentionally emitted the sound in the area. It did this, the theory posits, to drive animals away from an area known for hunting.
Greenpeace itself, however, has denied these claims. And Farrah Khan – a spokesperson for the group – has elaborated on why the charity would not partake in such activities. “Not only would we not do anything to harm marine life, but we very much respect the right of Inuit to hunt and would definitely not want to impact that in any way,” Khan said in a statement delivered from Toronto.
So with outlandish theories abounding – but yielding little in the way of answers – in time the military came into the picture. “The Department of National Defence has been informed of the strange noises emanating in the Fury and Hecla Strait area,” read a statement released by the Canadian department. “The Canadian Armed Forces are taking the appropriate steps to actively investigate the situation.”
So the Canadian armed forces sent an aircraft referred to as the CP-140 Aurora skyward to investigate the Fury and Hecla Strait below. And flying overhead, the plane reportedly observed two groups of whales and a number of walruses. Wildlife spotting aside, though, the craft apparently didn’t pick up on “any acoustic anomalies.”
Having initially come up with nothing, the military sent someone to Igloolik a few months later to investigate the strange sound further. Towards the end of January 2017, in fact, acoustics expert Doug Brown arrived at the settlement for a nine-day visit. And he had the job of speaking to the locals and trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Brown met with hunters and spoke to them with the help of a translator. He then played the sounds of a sonar ping to them, looking to see if they would recognize it. None of them did, however – seemingly implying that sonar had not caused the noise coming from the strait.
Brown also visited an Igloolik radio station. From there, he called for locals to come to him with information regarding the odd noise. Frustratingly, though, apparently nobody came forward. The acoustics expert later met with the settlement’s mayor, who explained that one of the people who had originally noted the sound from aboard a boat was in the village. Yet Brown never managed to meet this individual.
Sadly, then, Brown’s trip eventually drew to a close without any solid conclusions. As he himself put it to Vice, “As we’re concerned right now, it’s a closed case.” But the acoustics expert was only in the area for nine days, and he seemed to have missed out on speaking to some important figures who might have helped.
Ultimately, the Canadian military investigations came up short, and subsequently some have even gone so far as to question whether the mysterious sound ever existed at all. Yet before this enigmatic incident occurred, a number of visitors to the Arctic had apparently also complained of odd noises during their travels. In fact, some of the earlier explorers of the region reported hearing a bizarre cacophony caused – or so they no doubt believed – by the movement of ice. And some have even referred to these sounds as the “Devil’s Symphony.”
So far, then, experts have resoundingly failed to get to the bottom of the mystery noises that are emanating from the Fury and Hecla Strait. But prior instances of strange Arctic sounds would seemingly back up the existence of bizarre beeps and pings rising from the ocean depths. And maybe with future analysis, somebody one day might just solve the enigma once and for all.