Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Is there really a sound that makes you poop yourself? © Getty Images

Is there really a noise that makes you poop yourself?

Published: 05th October, 2021 at 11:00
Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

The science behind the infamous ‘brown note’.

The enduring legend of the ‘brown note’ – a sound frequency so low that its resonance through the human body causes spontaneous, uncontrollable pooping – is thankfully no more than a legend. The origin of this hilarious, if unsettling, myth appears to be a spoof article published in 1974, which described a giant horn that apparently gave the entire audience diarrhoea with a rendition of the national anthem at its unveiling in 1850.


However, scientists have tested the effects of different sound frequencies on the human body and found no evidence for the infamous brown note.

Read more:

Asked by: Nabil Bendrimia, London


To submit your questions email us at (don't forget to include your name and location)


Dr Claire Asher is a science journalist and has a PhD in Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (GEE) at the University of Leeds. She also works part time as Manager of the UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Network, based at Imperial College London. Asher is also the author of Brave Green World: How Science Can Save Our Planet.


Sponsored content