Drilled boreholes generally are the only feasible means to access the subsurface for the emplacement of downhole electrodes for most hole–hole and hole–surface resistivity experiments. However, the very existence of the borehole itself creates the potential for significant noise due to the inevitable conductivity contrast that develops between the borehole walls and the formation. Borehole cylindrical noise develops whenever a current source is placed in a drilled borehole. Borehole geometries may range from nearly perfect cylinders to highly, irregular, rugose holes in consolidated rock, to relatively minor, collapsed, disturbed zones in caving sediments. Boreholes in non-caving formations generally are filled with artificial, conductive materials to afford crucial, electrical continuity between downhole electrodes and the borehole walls. Filled boreholes form cylindrically shaped heterogeneities that create significant noise due to preferential current flow up and down the conductive columns. Selected conditions are simulated with a finite difference model to illustrate the significance of borehole cylindrical noise on hole–hole and hole–surface mise-à-la-masse electrical potentials near a current electrode. Mise-à-la-masse electrical potentials measured during a field tracer experiment also are presented. These measurements are used to illustrate significant errors may develop in the interpretation of apparent resistivity estimates out to a distance of several meters from the current source if borehole cylindrical noise is not recognized and accounted for in the analysis of electrical potential data.