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.
- Is there really poo everywhere?
- Why is poo always brown, no matter what we eat?
- Why can you pee without pooing, but you can’t poo without peeing?
- What happens in my body when I fart?
Asked by: Nabil Bendrimia, London
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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.