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"Postscript; last week the buzzing happened again, so loud yet so easily dismissed against the background of city noise. How could I prove to myself that it was not simply just coming from my head, could I possibly have the rare hearing condition, tinnitus, which causes ringing in the ears? I remembered a Mr. Science experiment where the electromagnetic transparency of various substances was being demonstrated. A portable radio was placed into a wooden box. 'Hear that? The radio is still playing, which means? That's right, wood is electromagnetically transparent.' The radio was imprisoned in various other containers to see what would happen. Then finally it was wrapped in aluminium foil, and fell silent. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the tin foil. Pulling a three foot strip of it, I wrapped it around my head, and the buzzing stopped."
I think the idea originally came from schizophrenics, who often hear voices and think it's an alien or some kind of radio signal. They wear garbage can lids and tin foil hats to protect themselves from the voices.
I'm serious, I've known several schizophrenics who have worn either garbage can lids or tin foil hats. It became a euphemism for "crazy".
Using a sophisticated network analyser to measure the strength of the radio signal penetrating three different models of aluminium head gear – the Classical, the Fez and the Centurion – they found that, while the hats mostly had a modest attenuating effect, they in fact amplified signals on certain frequencies, namely 1.2 – 1.4 Ghz – the range allocated to the US government.