Desert Traditions
…where new journeys into life, tradition & culture begin

Searching for the Taos HUMMMM!

The town of Taos, a small laid back arty community in north-central New Mexico, has been home to many famous residents including arts patroness Mabel Dodge Luhan and her Pueblo Indian husband Tony. Here, in the presence of sacred Taos Mountain, this unusual couple created a retreat that attracted the likes of D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Dorothy Brett, Aldous Huxley, Ansell Adams and many other creative souls. Taos is also home to another unusual resident - the so-called ‘Taos Hum.’

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Mabel & Tony's House, Taos (solarium on top!) © Carole Douglas 2015

Phenomena such as this fascinate me; many strange and wonderful theories have been put forward, ranging from the mundane to the fantastic, the psychological to the paranormal. However, stoned hippies, secret government mind control experiments and underground UFO bases aside, during the recent Beyond Santa Fe tour I took the opportunity to ask the locals. Our driver Jim reckoned it could emanate from Los Alamos, the nuclear power site that gave us the atomic bomb. We all later joked that it was the accumulation of people hum, humming while sitting impatiently at traffic lights.

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Beware stray cattle and UFOS (left) and our driver Jim (right) © Carole Douglas 2015

The guy who owns the best junkyard in the world, Gasoline Alley on the banks of the Rio Grande, hypothesised it was UFOs – I mean where else in the world do road signs warn of low flying saucers along with wandering cows? When I asked a Pueblo Indian, who was selling his wares in Santa Fe Plaza, about the hum he looked at me oddly and replied enigmatically ‘It may be the wind over the mountains and it may be the songs of our ancestors – it depends…’ On the strength of that I bought a pair of earrings that echo the stratum of the New Mexican landscape.

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Unrivalled junk at Gasoline Alley © Carole Douglas 2015

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Jewellery that positively hums with the land © Carole Douglas 2015

I kept on asking and collecting and in the end the explanation I liked best came from the young woman in the shoe store in Taos Plaza. ‘It is the quartz crystal humming’ she said ‘Taos Mountain is solid quartz’. I know about the resonance of the planet and so did Kurt Vonnegut and so did Mr Nair of Kutch in India who predicted the 2001 earthquake because he is in tune with the earth’s hum, its electromagnetic fields and its karmic forces.

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My head lay in a direct line with the solid quartz mountain © Carole Douglas 2015

As for me - I slept in a direct line with Taos Mountain. From my room, the Solarium, at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house where we stayed, I had a 360 degree vista of the grey sage brush encrusted land; the Sangre de Cristo mountain range sat purple hued at the edges, and my head, when it touched the pillow each night, lay in the lee of the sacred mountain. Each morning I awoke with crystal clarity well before dawn and watched the sun tip the cloud cloaked mountains before it crept slowly over the land and pushing night away in its path. I looked over the same vista from the same space inhabited at times by DH Lawrence. He left his legacy not only in the bathroom windows he painted, he also left in the words that hum on; ‘In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico, one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly and the old world gave way to the new.’

The windows that DH Lawrence painted in the bathroom © Carole Douglas 2015

The windows that DH Lawrence painted in the bathroom © Carole Douglas 2015

I did not hear the hum. It is possible that the Taos Hum is real, and that its origins will always remain hidden, and it's also possible that the hum exists only in the minds and ears of those who believe. You are welcome to join me in the hunt for the Taos Hum in July 2016.

Dawn breaks over the Sangre de Christo Mountains © Carole Douglas 2015

Dawn breaks over the Sangre de Christo Mountains © Carole Douglas 2015