The Ranchlands Hum
For this investigation, I was a whopping 13 km away from my house, haha! We’ve come so far, Fright Fam. I’m so blessed to explore the way I do. It’s also my longest entry, cause it was back when I thought EVERYTHING was significant.
Have you ever heard of The Ranchlands Hum?
Neither had I. But in April of 2017, I found myself in Northwest Calgary, standing in a chicken wire cage and wearing a plastic blindfold to supposedly amplify my “natural human radar”.
Tbh I'm still not sure what a "natural human radar" is, but I digress.
Handmade by Stephanie Harlow, a resident of Calgary’s Ranchlands neighbourhood, the wooden-framed, six-foot tall box seems like... a bit of a stretch. Even for weird shit. The structure—though not particularly cramped, and easy to see out of, due to the chicken wire—is oddly claustrophobic. I’m told to breathe normally before being instructed to pull my blindfold down to cover my eyes.
Why it’s not sufficient for me to simply close my eyes, or why the tailormade blindfold is made out of plastic, of all things, is never explained to me. Expecting little to no change in perception, I tug the squeaky blindfold down (was this made from a raincoat? And also, why? These are added to a long list of questions that I won't get answers to) and attempt to rearrange my hair around it. Out of the tinniest sliver of light at the bottom, I can see Steph move to plug something in.
Shockingly, I hear it.
Not it, it. Not the Hum. The lack of it. The lack of anything.
I’m suddenly in a void of sound.
The instant effect this has on me is unbelievable. Without intending to, I hold my breath.
I am at the bottom of the ocean.
I am a baby in the womb.
I am a Lisa Frank space-whale, floating over the moon in a neon tide of solar flare.
Reluctantly, I take off the blindfold and signal that I want out of the Box (there’s no official latch, so they’ve essentially locked me in).
Steph nods emphatically when I relay my experience to her. She tells me that the entire reason she built the Box was in the hope of filtering out The Hum—which, has been recorded in the neighbourhood since the 1970s.
An hour later, we’re eating dinner, an order of Korean chicken we’ve DoorDashed, and I reflect on two things the Box experience has taught me:
1) I should do a Float sometime.
2) Now that my “human radar” has been reset, and I’ve experienced *true* silence, I can definitely hear it. Yes, it. The it. The Hum.
Steph describes to me how infrequently it used to come to her. When they bought the house four years ago, once in a while she would hear this weird, low, rumbling drone. Steph estimates that, in the beginning, she’d hear it every couple of months or so. But here’s the weird part: almost always, she’d be the only one to hear it. Even when it got so loud that Steph would start crying, people would just give her tilted-head-curious-dog looks. Lately, she hears it daily, for hours at a time.
So what the hell is The Hum?
Steph’s diverse, wide-ranging and well-researched theories include:
1) It’s the government.
2) It’s rocks.
Personally, I think #2 has some merit, though I wouldn't put it past the government.
Steph’s wife, Kayla, wholeheartedly believes that the source of The Hum is not scientific, not geological, but of the realm of the
supernatural. “Preternatural”, actually. Which is how I got involved.
Over the four nights I stayed with the two, I learned that Steph is frequently called upon to gently talk Kayla down from a ghostly round of “J’accuse!” Saying the girl spooks easy would be like saying Kanye is sometimes a little erratic.
So, I do my set up and we wait. We eat chicken. We watch MasterChef Canada together and I become acquainted with the couple’s pet rabbit, Tabitha. They tell me she’s named after the witch on a 90s soap opera, and I marvel at the artistic simplicity of the soap opera genre. I sleep great the first two nights, then on the third night, wake up to Kayla crouched in the corner of the bedroom I’m in, burning sage in the dark.
She insists she didn’t want to wake me but that something had to be done for Steph, who’d had a night terror and woke up screaming bloody murder. I sort of nod and get up to do some checks around the house to see if there’s been some kind of official activity.
Why didn’t I wake up when Steph was screaming? I’m a light sleeper, which makes catching potential ghost phenomena way easier.
The motion detector hasn’t been set off but my handheld infrared thermometer measures a drop as soon as I step into the living room. I call Kayla and Stephanie to come and be witness.
Helping her still-shaking wife to sit on the couch, Kayla automatically reaches to turn the lights on. I hurriedly gesture to stop, but I’m not quick enough. It doesn’t matter. The lights don’t come on. This freaks Kayla out and she protectively sits next to Steph, who seems to have her gaze fixed on something in the middle of the room that I’m simply not seeing.
Scanning the room with the thermometer, it’s obvious that the whole area is markedly chillier than the rest of the house. On instinct, I aim the device where Steph is looking. Bingo. It’s easily the coldest spot in the room.
I let my eyes get kinda lazy—like in the psychic video I linked a while back—kinda receptive to perceiving things from the other realm. I also just kind of space out. I don’t hear anything, so I’m not overly excited about standing in this hysterical couple’s living room at three in the morning until I see it.
Not it, it. But the lack of it.
Just like the Box created an absence of sound, it’s like whatever’s in the middle of the living room has created an absence of light. Not only is it colder there, but it’s straight up pitch black starring Vin Diesel.
Nearby, I see that Tabitha is awake in her cage but standing completely still. She’s also looking at the middle of the room. I do some size calculations in my head and determine that the spot is about as far from the wire Box you could get while still staying on the property.
Could it be that the thing in the living room doesn’t like the Box?
While contemplating this, my thermometer bleeps a brief spike. I look down to investigate, and when I glance back up, the void in the middle of the room is gone. It’s just a regular carpet again.
I’m about to pack it in and check the other rooms when I hear Kayla’s voice.
I look over at the two on the couch and see that Steph is staring intently at the woman next to her. I can’t see Kayla’s face from this angle, but Steph looks like a zombie.
Softly, but firmly, Kayla says
And, just like that, the lights turn on. It happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to get my camera. Not only was it brighter in the room, it got warmer immediately and Tabitha the rabbit started nosing around her cage again.
The haunting was over and I wasn't even sure it had started.
Steph seemed to be talking and interacting normally right afterward and, when asked, said that she could only remember having some bad dreams. Kayla, on the other hand, was very upfront.
“A ghost was inside of me”
“But I stood in my power, and I commanded the spirit to leave. And it respected that.”
She seemed really satisfied. They both did. So, we all went back to bed and nothing else happened.
A note to my future self, be prepared for anything. You snooze, you ghost-lose.
The next day, I pack up my stuff and I say goodbye to the two of them. They seemed very grateful for my part in their ghost-journey, though if I'm being completely honest, I have no idea what happened. But I didn't tell them that, as I would hate to ruin a touching moment.
Until next time.