French writer going nuts from wind turbines (France)
Jan 14, 2012
Editor’s note: Monsieur de Bonneville has written and apologized for getting the distance between his home and the 6 turbines, incorrect. Initially, he wrote 4.5 miles in one email, and 7 miles in another. We silently corrected the latter to 7 km, figuring it was a typo (4.5 mi = 7 km).
Now it turns out it was not a typo; it’s more interesting than this. “The turbines are 11.5 km away from my house, as a bird flies,” he clarifies. “I got mixed up between miles and kilometers, writing 7 kilometers, whereas it is 7 miles. I’m sorry.” In fact, 11.5 km = 7.1 mi. (We have now corrected the distances in the text, below.)
We find M. de Bonneville’s mathematical blunder interesting, especially in a man who writes technical manuals for a living (and writes about cultural matters as an artist). We suggest this may be illustrative of the cognitive deficits he describes so poignantly and vividly, below.
After posting the above 3 paragraphs, conjecturing that M. de Bonneville’s cognitive problems have affected his ability to “spatially” calculate the distance from his home to the turbines, he sent the following confirming email:
I just read the “Editor’s Note” you posted on the site at my article. Well, you’re right, perfectly right: I’ve had problems with figures; I keep mixing some things up, now.
A few days ago—did I tell you?—while helping a friend of mine build dividing wood walls in my house (I don’t help much, I’m afraid, depending on whether I’ve slept the previous night or not), I had to saw a 54.8 cm-long piece of wood—and I made the same mistake four times in a row, sawing four pieces at 54.2 or 64.8, etc., although, after the first mistake, I tried to concentrate and although I knew, each time, I had done it wrong just before. (Emphasis added.)
I stopped doing anything after that. Merely passing him the tools he needed.
And that same day (I had previously been “hammered” by the turbine noise all night long), my friend tells me: “How come your deep freeze is unplugged?” “What???? It’s unplugged???? When on earth did I do that,” I answered, totally bewildered.
Well, the deep freeze was full, and the food was there, floating in water. I threw everything away. Couldn’t remember when I had made a mistake with the extension cord.
I’ve lived in this house for nearly 14 years and I’ve never unplugged my deep freeze or got mixed up with the plugs! Who would do that? (Editor’s reply: Someone with Wind Turbine Syndrome, would! That’s who!)
Work in my house, with a friend’s help (he THINKS and CALCULATES for me, I just can’t any more), is advancing well.
This house will soon be ready to rent or sell. (Editor’s reply: How about “abandon”?)
I know I’ll be out of this, away from this house, in two or three months.
In response to our question, “Who’s the turbine manufacturer and what is the nameplate capacity for each turbine,” M. de Bonneville wrote the following:
There was, as far as I know, a prior company involved in their installation, “SIIF Energie.” That’s the company which obtained the building permit, but in fact “EDF Energie Nouvelles” was behind that first company, and now “SIIF Energie” seems to have disappeared. This seems to be characteristic of the financial finagling of wind energy companies.
Hubert de Bonneville
43260 Saint Julien Chapteuil
Dear Dr. Pierpont (12/4/11)
I’m writing to you from France.
I’ve known about your study on Wind Turbine Syndrome, and recently watched some of your interviews of people destroyed by WTS, and since doing all this I’ve been feeling, well, less alone.
And I now know I’m not crazy, which is a rather reassuring thought for me.
So, thank you; your work does help me, even from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
I’ve been living a real nightmare for more than 15 months, now, and found out about its direct cause only weeks after it started ruining my life: Six giant wind turbines I don’t even see from my house have deprived me from sleeping since I began to hear them at the end of May 2010. (The turbines are 7.1 mi = 11.5 km distant from my home, as a bird flies.)
(Editor’s note: M. de Bonneville tells us the turbines are each 2 MW, manufactured by Enercon.
I live in a mountainous area. The wind turbines are above me, away up in the mountain, but they seem never to stop and I hear their extremely low frequency noise whatever the direction of the wind. The high place where they are is windy, so they rotate nearly all the time, but wind is rare around my home (I live in a very quiet place, now literally filled with those turbine sounds).
I’m very worried because I’ve noticed that since about 6 months I clearly suffer from more than a regular lack of sleep or its terrible consequences: the “noises” themselves I hear are UNBEARABLE and deeply affect my brain and my morale. I’ve lost all energy, all kind of drive (motivation), and I can’t work any more because I can’t concentrate anymore. A number of the WTS symptoms you describe do happen to me. What I hear day and night, that noise alone, not just the lack of sleep, drives me crazy. Believe me, I “can see myself” simply collapsing: it’s terrible and scary. And what you say is true: as soon as it stops or I’m away from it, I feel relieved immediately. But those moments are rare and I’m desperate, hardly surviving.
What I hear cannot be easily described. It’s like extremely low “MMMMMMMMMM………MMMMM …..MMMMMMMMMMMMMM……….MMMMM… etc.” with seconds of pure silence between them, and nothing can stop those crazy MMMMM vibrations, not even the earplugs that were made especially for me. I’ve noticed that this very intrusive and lethal noise (I know what “lethal” means in English) is louder in small closed spaces, like a car (windows up and engine off, to me it’s like a test that reveals the presence of the turbines sound) or a basement, even tunnels, MILES AROUND the turbines. This is just crazy. Thousands of people in my small corner of France alone are exposed to what they cannot hear and I seem to be the only one around to hear, which incidentally doesn’t help my case (some people, hopefully, believe me).
That loud and unnatural sound I hear has nothing to do with any kind of “inner” tinnitus, believe me. I can see those turbines from near my house and every time they’re at a stop or rotating very slowly (which is rare), I don’t hear that sound. Same thing when I’m at a place where no turbines are around: no such crazy noise. It definitely comes from the outside (often, I can even hear it outside, I mean it’s everywhere in the countryside, and in any case much amplified in houses). It is UNSTOPPABLE and expands very far.
I tried last month to go 10 miles away to try find some sleep at friends’ and I couldn’t: the noise, though a bit weaker there, was still around and I slept very badly. Badly enough to see one small hope of living normally from time to time—vanish.
I’ve read a lot about the effects of wind turbines and I strongly suspect infrasound to be the direct cause of what is happening to me. Are we sure the people who can’t hear the infrasound are safe, just from not actually hearing them? They’re simply destroying me, anyway.
I imagine you must receive thousands of e-mails, but if you think you might be interested in my account I could then be more specific or answer any questions you might have for me.
After one year in the dark, I’m beginning to think of other people like me around the world.
I’m still in great danger, but the thought of others sharing the same nightmare as mine, well, helps, if I may say so.
In any case, Dr. Pierpont, many thanks to you for your help and for the help you provide to people like me.
Hubert de Bonneville
Dear Dr. Pierpont (12/12/11)
I’ve been away from home lately and I’m about to go away again for one week, to a place where there are NO turbines.
I’m experiencing a sort of “brain laziness” sometimes, and find it difficult to put my ideas together or simply writing emails like this one, but I wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you so much for responding so quickly and for the information you gave me! You are helping.
Last month, I “ran away” for 2 weeks, and on my return I couldn’t take it, so last week I literally ran from home again and spent three days in Clermont-Ferrand at friends’, like a refugee. No turbine sound there! What a relief!
Then, from there, I went to Béziers, France, on Friday, to see an ear specialist who seems to be internationally known.
Nice man but, God, how difficult those scientists are to convince!
The only thing I bring back from that visit is that my ears are normal, perfectly OK, despite a slight loss in the treble, but nothing serious. (I’m 53).
But as far as my hearing of turbine infrasound (or extremely low frequencies) is concerned, the doctor is skeptical. . . .
I paraphrase our conversation: “Let’s suppose you hear what you say you hear. It can’t be that terrible. You’re certainly overreacting, which can be an effect of depression. You should see a shrink and work on that. And don’t move houses, you’d avoid solving the problem!” Etc.
He was not as assertive or blunt as I have rendered it, but nonetheless part of his hypotheses is based on some kind of problem with me, goddammit! (Excuse my French!)
I must say he’d never heard of any kind of WTS problems before, and I gave him a copy of our latest mails (from Dr. Sarah Laurie and your husband, Professor Martin). He took them. (You see, I’ve begun educating those people, as Dr. Laurie and Prof. Martin been suggesting! I’ve been doing the same with my local physician, for some time now.)
Finally, the ear specialist asked me to let him know about any further developments of my “turbine problems.”
I asked him if I could send him information by mail, he said OK. I WILL! Especially the WTS.com site (he can read English). And from there, if he wants to, he’ll be able to go places—very interesting places for someone like him.
I must say I could have done better trying to convince him, but you know how it is with people like me undergoing WTS; we’re not very good at defending ourselves or finding the right words to make our point.
At one time though, I had him puzzled. He was explaining that depressed people are always waking up at night. (Of course I’m depressed! After 17 months of that crazy turbine nightmare, who wouldn’t be?) So, since I’m of course depressed, I wake up at night, and then I hear the turbine noise, and then my brain focuses on it (how simple!). Well, there, I reacted: “You’re telling me I wake up at night, on my own, sort of, and then I hear the turbines? I can assure you that if someone was smashing your front door with an axe at night, the noise would wake you up during your sleep. Now, if such a thing happened to you, you would first wake up for psychological reasons and only then hear the guy smashing down your door????? and focus on it, at that, why not? Is this what you’re telling me, Doctor?”
There, he responded nothing. For a second, I thought he believed me, as if he was saying to himself, “God, that makes sense. . . . ”
It’s a pity I couldn’t convince him more. He’s a nice man; he could have helped.
But in the end the scientists are trapped inside their knowledge, and they simply reverse the cause and the effect. To this kind of person—these people who are convinced they scientifically understand depression—some kind of misinterpretation by the brain is the cause; it can’t be from an exterior cause such as turbine infrasound.
The problem is that the human mind has every means to build up an infinite set of causes for different problems, without any exterior causes, and the people who deny WTS always have a good explanation that allows then to avoid setting foot in “the unknown.” Then, they desperately cling to what they know (“Question the others, not yourself”). They won’t “play your game” and they have many good reasons not to, that’s the problem. But by doing so, they blind themselves to what may be true.
For my part, I’ve always thought that, in life, things add up; they don’t always substitute for one another. I don’t know if I’m clear here: I mean it’s not A or B, it can be both, at the same time. Many scientists use what they know to be true on one side to deny the reality of another side, and that’s a bit simple. Unfortunately, WTS fits perfectly into what they think the human brain is capable of building up on its own, within the field they think they know. Of course, there is no room for “infrasound effects” in psychiatry.
This is an insult to people like me, and to open-minded people who believe us, like you. Thus the research is retarded, or, worse, impeached by the very people who should be doing the research.
Fortunately, real scientists like you and Dr. Laurie and Prof. Alec Salt, and many others who are tackling issues other than WTS, do fight for scientific truth.
For the majority of our western scientific community, however, “We know” means “We don’t hear you” (or the turbines . . .). Real scientists should never know. Then, they would learn something.
If only such persons could hear what I hear or what so many people like me hear. . . . (A terrible thought, I confess. I don’t really wish that, even to my worst enemy, who doesn’t even exist—but you see what I mean.)
Let me tell you now about the latest symptoms I’ve noticed. I already told you about very long and strong headaches when I’m under long exposure, and about my eyes automatically attracted by existing black things within my range of vision, and about dizziness right after being wakened in the night, but nothing like the kind of dizziness one experiences when getting up rapidly. One or two times I’ve found myself awakened abruptly by the turbine noise, with my heart beating very rapidly. (Scary! That happened last year, at the beginning, not since then.) I’ve also mentioned that I’ve not been able to concentrate for work for more than one month now.
Well, I’ve noticed something new, lately: On several occasions, in the middle of a long period of permanent day and night exposure to that crazy noise, I woke up at night with a strong fever, wet as if I’d been out of a bath without drying, and then, once awake and out of bed, the fever would vanish immediately, not after seconds, but immediately as if by magic. This is not my usual experience of fever (I rarely have fevers anyway).
I have a theory about this: I think that during my sleep, when the noise occurs, my mind struggles to keep me asleep, to ignore the noise, to reject the aggression—and fails to do so after a moment. The fever would then be some kind of physiological reaction from my mind finding itself completely at a loss, unable to cope.
Last night, although the noise was not as loud as it usually is (a sort of “washing machine” noise in the background), I had the sensation my heart was beating with the turbine noise, as if both of them “were going together somewhere.” That thought went through my mind, and then I went back to sleep.
Last Saturday, a friend called on the phone at 11 am. We were to meet at a restaurant in the nearby town of Le Puy-en-Velay with the team of writers I’m part of for a local magazine. “Could you meet my father in St Julien (my village, 1 mile from my home), outside the town hall at 11:30 and drive him to the restaurant?”
“Of course!” I responded. “See you in a while at the restaurant!”
And then, I found myself outside my house calmly waiting for the guy to arrive. At 11:40, the thought flashes through my mind: “Oh my god, I must pick him at the village! He’s not coming up here!”
The phone call had taken place half an hour before, and I had already forgotten the message!
Needless to say, I was appalled by this sudden blank, because if I happen to forget things from time to time, like everybody I guess, I’ve never drawn blanks on such short notice, if I may say so.
I know that for more than one month, now, I’ve not been able to concentrate on work—but blanks like this? It’s a first time in my life.
I’ve also noticed that I can’t keep track of the book I read at night. I used to read a lot (that “used to” is terrible). I read much less now, don’t have the mind to, but I still do sometimes, either when the night is quiet (rare) or to distract myself from the turbine noise, even by reading aloud. Well, I don’t know why I keep reading: I noticed last night that I still had no idea who’s who in the present book or what the hell is happening in there! I go on with a ritual, reading at night, without having the faintest idea of what I’m reading!
I think I’ll leave my house again tonight or tomorrow, for one week, then I’ll be away again for a few days in the coming winter holidays, with the hope of being able to work again in January.
I’m trying to solve the problem of making my house saleable, which requires my presence here (it is my house, I never thought of having to leave it), when at the same time I can’t live in it.
I’ll write again. My love of the English language compensates I think for my lazy, weakened brain, but I still take a long time to produce anything.
Dear Dr. Pierpont (12/18/11)
I was away from home recently, now I’m back.
Today is Sunday. I could sleep last night because I couldn’t the night before because of the crazy infrasound noise, and I was exhausted. The “MMMMMM…………MMMMMM…………..MMMMMMMMMM…….” noise woke me up several times during the night (last night), but I was so tired I managed to stay in bed and go back to sleep. At one moment, I woke up with the noise and a slight fever but I went back to sleep immediately. I was too tired, I guess, and the turbines didn’t have me that time, but I can see a pattern in this fever thing.
Yesterday morning I noticed a pain in my chest, left side, for 10 minutes. This kind of pain never happens to me.
There’s something I noticed last year, shortly after the arrival of the turbine noise, and I’d like to tell you about, because I don’t understand it. I’d also like to know whether anybody has ever experienced this kind of thing.
This has been true ever since, I test it regularly and I can be positive about it, believe me: When the “MMMMMM…….MMMMMMMMM……MMMMMMMMM…” noise is there, if I rapidly shake my head once, the noise disappears for half a second and then immediately goes up again. But with any kind of other sound, music, people talking, a plane in the sky, whatever, this won’t happen. Those other types of sound do not fade away for half a second when I shake my head while hearing them; they keep being continuous.
I’ve also noticed that, at night, when I lay still in the silence and the noise is there (no silence, then . . .) it does the same thing: it goes away for half a second if I move an arm or my shoulder. But if I keep moving, the noise reinstalls itself and moving has no effect any more. Same thing if I keep shaking my head for a few seconds: the noise reinstalls itself after a time and shaking my head does not interrupt it any more.
Thanks again for your help,
Dear Dr. Pierpont (12/20/11)
As you predicted, I’m not feeling better with time. . . .
I had chest pain near the heart, for maybe 30 seconds, the day before yesterday. Never had that before, and again fevers at night on brutal awakenings due to the noise. Didn’t sleep a wink for two nights out of the past three (hmm, correct?) and, well, I know: I have to move away from here. It’s so hard for me to have to leave my home, but I’m working on it.
On Friday, I’m going to Geneva for Xmas, I’ve got a very good friend there, I go there regularly. Last month, I spent 2 weeks there, already running for shelter. Last week, I spent 4 days in Clermont-Ferrand. Shelter again. I think I’ll hop like that, from place to place, until I can live at some new place of my own, but not before spring, I’m afraid.
My kindest regards,
Dear Lilli Green (1/2/12)
First, I wish you a Happy New Year!
I’m writing at the suggestion of Dr. Sarah Laurie, to tell you I’d be interested in meeting you and your husband to talk about the way 6 turbines near my home have been seriously affecting my health for more than a year and a half.
The turbines are 11.5 km (7.1 mi), as a bird flies, from my home. I can’t see them—this is a mountainous area—but I can hear the extremely low frequencies/infrasound they emit whenever they’re on, which is the case most of the time.
The stronger, worse noise occurs when the wind is blowing from the South: I’m then in the turbines’ wake and unfortunately south winds are the prevailing ones up there where the machines are located. But I always know when they’re on, even if the wind is favourable. It’s in the air, the noise is always in the air when the turbines are rotating, and it’s there miles around and, unlike everybody else I know, I can hear it, as a noise/vibration coming from the outside. A strange, unnatural noise that finds its way down to uncharted paths in the brain and the body and I can’t do a thing to stop it. God, it’s airborne, it’s in THE AIR, and what are we if air itself brings harm to people? Where to go on this planet?
After about a year’s exposure, I am experiencing many of the WTS symptoms Dr. Pierpont describes in her book (I’m reading it now).
I had noticed these symptoms long before I knew they existed, and Nina’s book confirms I had not been dreaming or just “hearing things.” I’m astonished, “appalled” would be the appropriate word, when I read what hundreds of people say about WTS! Everybody seems to describe the effects of turbine noise in exactly the same words!
The scariest thing happening to me is the now repeated loss of some cognitive function, plus sleep deprivation and the usual loss of motivation (to say the least . . .), etc. The strangest thing is that when the noise is not around, I immediately feel relieved and positive again about life. But then it doesn’t last; the noise always comes back and this also is killing me. If we meet, we’ll talk about all that.
I stayed completely lost and down, not understanding what was happening to me, for a whole year, and then I wrote to Calvin Martin. He responded immediately and gave me Dr. Sarah Laurie’s email address, and since then I’ve been in contact with both of them. Their attention, kindness, concern and advice triggered some life in me, and I sort of woke up and began to do something about my situation.
God bless them! I was dying here, going down and down, literally stuck in my nightmare.
Life can be given at a distance, over the oceans of this planet. . . .
Now I’m in contact with people around here who also help me face the situation. A retired physician and people from a local association fighting IWT’s. The doc wants to build up a “health dossier” (neurological angle), and the guy from the association helps me in establishing connections between wind directions and what I feel. I’m also in contact with government authorities.
Seriously thinking of Calvin’s and Sarah’s main piece of advice, I’ve also started to be careful about exposure and have made arrangements to go sleep at places away from my home from time to time while waiting for a more definitive solution about moving away.
That’s the picture, right now.