The 13th Floor

What The Hell Was That?! Unexplained Sounds From Around the World

We live in a real strange world. It’s easy to forget that; our lives are spent, for the most part, repeating things. Wake up. Poop. Shower. Dress. Eat. Travel. Work. Eat. Work. Travel. Enjoy entertainment. Eat. Sleep. We stay within our respective bubbles, fearing the things that exist outside them. Sure, some of us are more adventurous than others, but even then, we stick to what we are comfortable with.

We like to think we got this whole existence thing pretty much figured out, we know the things that are and the things that aren’t. We celebrate our knowledge at trivia nights and by watching JEOPARDY! We are safe. The world is what we know of it.

But there is so much we do not know. There are things in this world that defy explanation. Things that science has no answer for. Things that pop up from time to time just to remind us…

We live in a real strange world.

The oceans, for example, are super weird. The ocean depths are pretty much an alien world existing on Earth. Anglerfish. That’s all you need to think about. Anglerfish exist.

Still, there is a safety in the anglerfish. We can see what it looks like. We know what it is, it’s a fish with creepy teeth and all that jazz. We don’t need to fear it because we know how to deal with it.

But what if we only hear something? Audio, as anyone who watches lots of horror will tell you, is very important to being freaked out. A sound from another room when you are home alone instantly sends a shiver until you remember that you have a cat who you feed and clean up after even though that little jerk won’t give you the time of day.

What happens when you don’t have a cat? That sounds continues to creep you out, doesn’t it?

Well, these sounds here… they didn’t come from a cat. We don’t know what they came from.


That audio was first heard in 1991 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (aka the NOAA) using its Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array. As far as I can tell, and I’m a big old moron so I’m probably oversimplifying this, the Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array is a big super microphone that hangs out in the Pacific Ocean. Why did they put a big super microphone in the Pacific Ocean? I think just to find creepy sounds like the one you just listened to.

Named Upsweep, the sound, a narrow-band upsweep, lasts a few seconds before restarting. It has been going since at least 91 and can be picked up from anywhere in the Pacific Ocean. The sound changes with the seasons, but no one knows why. One thing they do know is that Upsweep is getting lower and lower. Sooner or later, the sound will go silent, possibly without ever being explained.


Where Upsweep is weird, Julia is straight up creepy. Recorded by the NOAA on March 1, 1999, Julia lasted roughly 15 seconds before stopping. While it is similar to the sound of a large iceberg running aground, it is different enough that the NOAA considers it unexplained. Add to the unexplained aspect is that the NOAA were unable to figure out where the sound came from.

What, in my opinion, makes Julia so creepy is that it sounds like a voice. If this was GHOST HUNTERS, they would put some text on the screen to make you think the voice was saying something. What I hear is either “I’m Julia” or “Cthulhu”. Either way, it kooks me out.

The Hum

Upsweep and Julia are down in the oceans somewhere, so I figure as long as I stay out of the water, I’m five by five.

Then came The Hum.

The Hum, in most cases, can only be heard by the cursed few, but every now and then it gives everyone a case of the heebie-jeebies. Over the last fifty years, reports and recordings of The Hum have come from all over the world, usually being heard in rural and suburban populations. The sound seems to start and stop randomly, but it gets louder at night.

I can’t help but notice how much it sounds like the music from INCEPTION, so maybe it’s just an alarm clock going off for whomever’s dream we exist in, and they keep hitting the snooze. Thank goodness we exist in the dream of a lazy person who will be late for work.


Now, chances are there’s a reasonable explanation to Upsweep, Julia, and The Hum. Some logical bit or bob that science hasn’t found an answer to. Or maybe science has the answer for those and they just don’t feel like sharing. DAMN YOU SCIENCE!

A reasonable explanation is what makes UVB-76 really scary. UVB-76, first found in 1982, is a leftover piece from a time before cellphones. The sound, a series of buzzes, can be heard through a shortwave radio at 4625 kHz in a pattern that repeats for 25 minutes before starting over. Sometimes it gets broken up with a person speaking in Russian. Chances are, these buzzes are some code used during the Cold War.

So why am I bringing it up? Listen to the audio. Listen close. Because once, and only once, something weird happened with UVB-76, and you can hear it in the piece I provided for you.

Someone, it sounds like a woman, can be heard screaming a minute and fourteen seconds in.

We know, or at least have a pretty solid idea of what UVB-76 is, but we have no idea who it was that screamed.

The Cosmonaut

I’m going to leave you with one that is unexplained only inasmuch as the Soviet Union, and now the Russian Federation will not acknowledge that this happened either because it didn’t and the audio is a hoax or because it would have made them look bad.

Achille and Giovanni Judica-Cordiglia were two Italian brothers who really liked radios. In the late 50s, the boys found a WWII German bunker in the city of Turin and turned it into their own private listening station. The two scavenged parts from wherever they could find them and built their own radios.

Without meaning to, the Judica-Cordiglia brothers built a radio that could pick up Soviet transmissions from Sputnik and US transmissions from Explorer 1. Achille and Giovanni started to record the transmissions they picked up.

One transmission, recorded on November 28, 1960, is the stuff of nightmares. I am putting this recording at the end because I want to give you fair warning. What you will be listening to is what sounds like a Russian cosmonaut dying upon re-entry. As with many of the early Soviet space tests, we don’t know much about the cosmonaut – the Soviets kept the failures secret to the public, and records are spotty. What we do know is that this cosmonaut sounds like a woman.

If, like me, you don’t speak Russian, here is a transcription of what she says:

Five…four…three …two…one…one two…three…four…five… come in… come in… come in… Listen… listen… Come in…. Come in… Come in… Talk to me… Talk to me… I am hot… I am hot.. What? Forty five? Fifty? Yes… yes… yes… Breathing… Breathing oxygen… Oxygen… I am hot… Isn’t this dangerous? It’s all… Isn’t this dangerous? It’s all… Yes… Yes… Yes… How is this? What? Talk to me… How should I transmit? Yes… yes… yes… What? Our transmission begins now… Forty one… this way… Our transmission begins now… Forty one… Yes… I feel hot… I feel hot… It’s all… It’s hot… I feel hot… I feel hot… I feel hot… I can see a flame.. What? I can see a flame… I can see a flame… I feel hot… I feel hot… Thirty two… Thirty two… forty one… forty one…  Am I going to crash? Yes… yes… I feel hot… I feel hot… I will re-enter… I will re-enter… I am listening… I feel hot

If this is a hoax, Achille and Giovanni pulled off a hell of a great scare, and no one has ever come forward to say it’s fake. Achille died in 2015, but Giovanni is still out there, so maybe we’ll find out.

If this isn’t a hoax, then this could be the last words of the first woman to go into space. This woman should be held in the same esteem as Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin. Instead, we don’t know her name. She had the intelligence and courage to help get humanity closer to the heavens, and she died alone and frightened. She deserves better.