The Legend of the “Brown Note” – That Causes an Unfortunate Response When Played

If you have ever seen South Park or spent too much time on the Internet, you have almost certainly heard of the Brown Note. You might be astonished to find that various scientists have investigated it to determine if it is true. The Brown Note, for the uninitiated, is a hypothetical sound that causes everyone who hears it to defecate uncontrollably and without warning. There are stories on the Internet about this weaponized, about DJs mistakenly playing the Brown Note in front of a 500-person crowd, and about individuals trying out audio equipment only to glance down and realize it’s brown trouser time.

Though there are a few candidates, the genesis of the urban myth – and it is an urban myth – is unknown. One of these was a 1974 report in New Scientist about a “lost” Victorian device known as the Giant Collophone. 

A massive instrument was performed in front of an audience, including Prince Albert, according to the account. However, after the first note was played, “Before a stanza of the anthem was finished, the audience began to display symptoms of discomfort, causing panic. In addition, the widespread psychological distress was accompanied by unpleasant physiological symptoms such as pain, diuresis, and diarrhoea.” The article was satirical, but it misinterpreted as factual. This is logical, considering how strange everything was in Victorian times.

Another theory is that the mythology arose from reports of the Republic XF-84H plane, which is thought to be the world’s loudest plane. The plane, dubbed “Thunderscreech,” is known for giving crewmembers migraines and nausea. However, most importantly, there is no reference to anyone urinating on him or her. What does science have to say about the Brown Note? Various studies have investigated the impact of infrasound (low-frequency noises that humans are unable to hear) on people.

One review of the literature from 2001 states, “Reported effects to include those on the inner ear, vertigo, unbalance, etc.; unbearable feelings, incapacitation, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, and bowel spasm; and resonances in inner organs, such as the heart.” The evidence for such impacts is, to put it mildly, contradictory. There is plenty of evidence that infrasound can irritate people or cause sleep difficulties.

According to one research, “drivers of long-distance transport trucks exposed to infrasound at roughly 115 dBA showed no statistically significant incidence of tiredness, yawning, drowsiness, vertigo, tinnitus, headache, suppressed feeling, hearing impairment, gastrointestinal complaints, or hypertension.” “Infrasound exposure of roughly 115 dBA has no effect on people.”

Another study that looked into the possible use of sound as a weapon failed. “There is much less evidence for bowel spasms and uncontrolled defecation.”The only suggestion discovered in all of the literature analyzed for this paper was one on ‘digestive difficulties’ reported during studies with a powerful 16-Hz siren,” according to the review.

“However, they were not explained in any way, and the explanation that followed dealt of things vibrating in garment pockets. No bowel spasms were detected in the low-frequency exposures up to 150 dB. Low-frequency animal trials are the same way. It’s worth noting that no mention of bowel spasms or uncontrolled defecation was made in the review of vibration tests.”

“As a result, it appears that these reported impacts are based on hearsay rather than scientific data.” It is not impossible that vomiting, uncontrollable defecation, or cardiac issues would occur at greater sound levels in certain frequency bands, although the evidence for these effects is limited at best.” Despite the fact that humans have exposed to a vast variety of notes, none of them has brown. There is a chance (though not probable) that there is a magical note out there that will make you puke, but there is no proof just yet. Moreover, do not you think we would have found it by now if there were such a note?