Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
February 11,   2010
The Resonance Key

The Resonance Key:

Exploring the Links Between Vibration, Consciousness, and the Zero Point Grid

By Marie Jones and Larry Flaxman

 

An Excerpt

"What's the Frequency?"

 

"I count all the time on resonance. I call on this, you see." Josef Albers

 

Remember those cheesy coin-operated vibrating beds that were all the rage in nearly every motel back in the 1970s? How about alphanumeric pagers that would vibrate when someone paged you? Has some heartless idiot ever driven through your neighborhood in the middle of the night "bumping" the latest rap hit? It seems like everything vibrates. From the invisible photons that collectively make up the light that you are using to read this book, to the cells that form our bodies, everything has a vibration, a frequency, and a resonance. What we perceive as solid form is anything but, for beneath it all lies a field of vibrating waves and particles ... even down to the most subatomic level, popping in and out of existence from a sea of virtual foam.

According to physics, resonance is described as the tendency of a system to oscillate at maximum amplitude at certain frequencies. Although this is a vastly oversimplified definition, resonance can and does mean so much more. It is the science of vibratory frequencies that synch up and create amplification, whether it is of sound, energy, or force. Human behavior tells us that resonance is the synchronization of beliefs, goals, and commonalities that occur between people. We "resonate" with this. We "feel good vibrations" about him or her. Hopefully we are "on the same frequency" or "riding the same wavelength" as our spouse or partner.

Yet behind this seemingly simple concept of the vibratory reality of, well, reality, there is a stunning suggestion that resonance may be what truly makes reality real. A mouthful to be sure, but if everything has its own frequency, and matching frequencies produce specific changes and effects in the environment, we cannot help but wonder if what we see, feel, hear, and experience is all about the patterns that emerge when resonance occurs.

So, if resonance is so important, what exactly is it and who discovered it? Italian physicist, astronomer, and philosopher Galileo Galilei first discovered the concept of resonance in 1602. Using a pendulum, Galileo determined that the swing rate of the pendulum -- the push of the pendulum in time with the natural interval of the swing from one direction to another -- was its resonant frequency. Unfortunately, his theory that a pendulum's swings always take the same amount of time was later proven incorrect.)

This same phenomenon is seen on modern playground swing sets. If you push a person on a swing in time with the natural interval of the swing, the person will swing higher. Push harder or softer and you mess up the resonant frequency. This is due to the amount of energy absorbed by the swing being maximized when the push is "in phase" with the swing's natural oscillation rate. The opposing force of the pushes, lessens the swing's energy when they are not "in phase." And it doesn't do any good to push the swing when it is away from you, because no energy gets transferred into the motion of the swing's original oscillation. The key is to push the swing at just the right time during each repetition of the swing motion to get the maximum impact (and hopefully not send your kid flying over the top bar and into the sand).

To simplify this concept, when things synch up, they flow. When they don't, they are forced and expend more energy, thus preventing resonance from occurring. Interestingly, Galileo was also one of the first scientists to work with sound frequency. He scraped a chisel at different speeds and linked the pitches of the various sounds to the spacing of the chisel's skips, thereby determining their frequency. He wrote about his findings in his 1632 book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Galileo's work was instrumental in the later development of cymatics, which is the study of wave phenomena associated with physical patterns produced through the interaction of sound waves in a particular medium.

The concept of cymatics is an important one, and forms the basis of several theories that we shall expand upon later. In 1967, the late Swiss doctor and researcher Hans Jenny, published the bilingual book Cymatics -- The Structure and Dynamics of Waves and Vibrations.' In this book, Jenny, similar to Chladni 200 years earlier, showed what happens when one takes various materials such as sand, spores, iron filings, water, and viscous substances, and places them on vibrating metal plates and membranes. After a short amount of time, shapes, motions, and patterns appear from the nearly perfectly ordered and stationary to those that are turbulent, organic, and constantly in motion.

Jenny called this new area of research "cymatics," which comes from the Greek word kyma, meaning, "wave." Cymatics could be defined as: the study of how vibrations, in the broad sense, generate and influence patterns, shapes, and moving processes.

This phenomenon has a three-part unity. The fundamental and generative power is in the vibration that, with its periodicity, sustains phenomena with its two poles. At one pole we have form, the figurative pattern. At the other is motion, the dynamic process.

These three fields --  with vibration and periodicity as the ground field, and form and motion as the two poles -- constitute an indivisible whole, even though one can dominate sometimes. Does this trinity have something within science that corresponds? Yes, says American polarity and music therapist John Bealieu. In his book Music and Sound in the Healing Arts, he draws a comparison between his own three-part structure, which in many respects resembles Jenny's, and the conclusions researchers working with subatomic particles have reached. "There is a similarity between cymatic pictures and quantum particles. In both cases that which appears to be a solid form is also a wave. They are both created and simultaneously organized by the principle of pulse (read: principle of vibration). This is the great mystery with sound: there is no solidity! A form that appears solid is actually created by a underlying vibration."

This unity or underlying vibration between wave and form, in which the quantum field, or the vibration, is understood as reality, then posits that the particle or form, and the wave or motion, are two polar manifestations of that one reality: vibration.

As we further our understanding of resonance, we must take a moment to clarify the concept of standing waves. Standing waves occur when a steady wave runs into a "reflecting barrier" or wave. The incoming wave and the reflective wave travel at the same rate, but because they are going in the opposite directions, the peaks and valleys of one create interference with those of the other wave. These peaks and valleys create a pattern called "nodes" and "anti-nodes," which are still points and the points of alternating crests and troughs (or peaks and valleys).

The strongest standing waves occur when waves are reflected back again, and fit perfectly inside a space the right size and shape to allow incoming the waves to be "in phase" with their own reflections and re-reflections. The frequencies at which these occur are the "resonant frequencies" of the object the waves are within. This bouncing back, or reflection and re-reflection, of waves within a whole number of wavelengths is responsible for creating the sound we hear when a tuning fork is struck. The tuning fork rings at a particular pitch, which is the number of times the sound wave travels from one end of the object to the other and back again within a second. Synched or in-phase sounds with matching resonant frequencies actually create larger waves or vibrations, until "damping" occurs, which stops the entire process. (Think of the opera singer shattering the vibrating glass with her high note. She damped that sucker!).

 

NATURAL RESONANCE

Resonance occurs throughout nature, as well as in many man-made devices. Some of the examples of natural and man-made resonance include:

 

        Acoustic resonances of musical instruments and human vocal cords.

        The timekeeping mechanisms of all modern clocks and watches; the balance wheel in a mechanical watch and the quartz crystal in a quartz watch.

        The tidal resonance of the Bay of Fundy.

        Orbital resonance as exemplified by some moons of the solar system's gas giants.

        The resonance of the basilar membrane in the cochlea of the ear, which enables people to distinguish different frequencies or tones in the sounds they hear.

        AM radios use resonant coil pickups on ferrite rods as compact aerials (much smaller than the wavelength).

        Electrical resonance of tuned circuits in radios and TVs that allow individual stations to be picked up.

        Creation of coherent light by optical resonance in a "laser" cavity.

         The shattering of a crystal wine glass when exposed to a musical tone of the right pitch (its resonance frequency).

 Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

If all this science has made you hungry, fear not! You will be delighted to know that resonance can even be linked to the cooking of your food. For instance, did you know that the great bastion of convenience -- the microwave oven -- operates by cooking without the use of external heat? Would you believe that resonance is responsible? Hungry for a nice, thick, juicy steak? Put a steak in a microwave oven, and the microwave radiation created within the oven interior assumes the same resonant frequency as the water molecules in the steak, thus heating it and cooking it from within. How is that possible? Although the delicious steak may appear to us as a solid object, it is in fact an oscillating mass of molecules that contain water. When energy (and thus, amplitude -- the extent of a vibratory movement measured from the mean position to an extreme, or the maximum departure of the value of an alternating current or wave from the average value) is added courtesy of the microwaves, it heats up and turns the raw mass of meat and water into a juicy, mouthwatering porterhouse.

Of all the different types of resonance, "mechanical resonance" is one of the more intriguing. Mechanical resonance describes how a mechanical system can absorb more energy when the frequency of its oscillations, or vibrations, match those of the system's own natural frequency more so than it would the frequencies of other resonances. Some objects do have more than one natural resonant frequency, especially harmonics, which are made up of multiple frequencies.

An interesting example of mechanical resonance can be found in the anecdotal tale of soldiers marching across a bridge. Because marching in lockstep could create a resonant frequency equal to that of the bridge, and thus cause it to possibly collapse, there is a longstanding myth that soldiers are ordered NOT to march in lockstep and to occasionally break step to avoid mechanical resonant failure. Whether or not they could actually collapse a bridge by marching in unison, we do know that there has been some precedent set.

Back in November of 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington was determined to have collapsed due in part to the complicated match of oscillation between the bridge's own resonant frequency, and that of the strong winds passing through it. The bridge collapse actually had lasting effects in the field of engineering. In some undergraduate physics texts the bridge collapse is still presented as an example of elementary-forced resonance with the wind providing an external periodic frequency that matched the natural structural frequency. Since then, the real cause of the bridge failure was determined to be aeroelastic flutter. Nevertheless, that collapse fueled additional important research in bridge aerodynamics/aeroelastics and influenced the designs of all great long-span bridges since.

 

FIGURE 1-1 Tacoma Narrows

CAPTION: "The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses in November of 1940 allegedly due to mechanical resonance." Image courtesy of Wikipedia

 

London's Millennium Bridge, a steel suspension bridge crossing the River Thames, was also closed after only a few days due to a wobble when more than 80,000 people walked across the bridge on opening day in June of 2000. Structural engineers stated that the lateral vibration (resonant structural response) caused the bridge to be closed for modifications. Londoners nicknamed the bridge "Wobbly Bridge."

Even buildings can fall prey to mechanical resonance. One of our favorite science luminaries, Nikola Tesla, is considered by many to be one of the pioneers in resonance experimentation. Tesla was a Serbian mechanical and electrical engineer who has often been described as the most important scientist and inventor of the modern era. Tesla created his own mechanical oscillators in his New York lab, which resulted in some rather annoying shaking of local buildings. The NYPD became intimately familiar with Mr. Teslas's exploits! In Chapter 2, we will look more deeply into Tesla's contributions to the field of resonance.

Tesla stated before he died that he had created such an "earthquake machine," and today's retrofitted buildings in earthquake zones do indeed include systems of dampers that can absorb the incoming waves from major quakes. The buildings that suffer the most extensive damage in quake zones are actually those with matching resonant frequencies to the quake's waves, a time when resonance is surely not such a "good vibration."

Just as buildings, bridges, and earthquakes have their own resonant frequencies, so to does the planet Earth. Known as the Schumann Resonance, this frequency measures approximately 7.83 hertz, or just a little more than seven and one half beats per second. Scientists suggest the origin of this frequency is located in the area between the surface of the Earth and the ionosphere. The set of spectrum peaks in this extremely low frequency (ELF) portion of the Earth's electromagnetic field was named after physicist Winfried Otto Schumann, who discovered it in 1952. This Earth's dimensions act as a "resonant cavity" for these electromagnetic waves in the ELF band. Lightning and major storm activity excites energy in the cavity, which is also linked to the North American power grid.

Actually, there are several Schumann Resonances. The 7.83 Hz Schumann Resonance was made popular by researcher Robert Beck whose work on ELF signals, Earth resonances, and their affect on alpha brain-wave frequencies was presented at a U.S. psychotronic conference and published in late 1970s. In theory, 7.83 Hz is a brain-wave frequency often associated with intuitive and psychic abilities. But it is wrong to say that the Earth only resonates at 7.83 Hz. There are several frequencies between 7 and 50 hertz that compose the Schumann Resonances, starting at 7.8 Hz and progressing by approximately 5.9 Hz. (7.8, 13.7, 19.6, 25.5, 31.4, 37.3, and 43.2 Hz). These resonances are not considered fixed frequencies, and all of these frequencies fluctuate around their nominal values. Changes in these frequencies are quite normal. For example, the fundamental Schumann frequency fluctuates between 7.0 Hz to 8.5 Hz. These frequencies also vary from specific geological location to geological location, and often have naturally occurring interruptions.

The Schumann Resonances result from cosmic energy build-up within the cavity between Earth's highly conductive surface and the conducting layer in the ionosphere, creating broadband electromagnetic impulses that fill the entire cavity and cause the cavity to resonate. These frequencies create the Earth's "Harmonic Signature."

The Schumann Resonance, as we will see in future chapters, is linked with the pyramids in Egypt, sacred geometry, ley lines, and other sacred locations and paranormal hot zones. It might even have an effect on our own bodies.

Electromagnetic radiation itself is classified into types according to the frequency of the wave. In order of increasing frequency, these include:

        Radio waves.

        Microwaves.

        Terahertz radiation.

        Infrared radiation.

        Visible light.

        Ultraviolet radiation.

        X-rays.

        Gamma rays.

Radio waves have the longest wavelengths -- the size of buildings, with gamma rays having the shortest length -- smaller than the nucleus of an atom.

The distance between two adjacent crests and troughs is the actual wavelength. Electromagnetic radiation does actually consist of both wave-like and particle properties, with the wave properties more common when the electromagnetic radiation is measured throughout larger time frames and distances, and the particle properties more common at smaller time frames and distances.

Visible light makes up only a small window of these frequencies, most of which are invisible to the eyes of living organisms. Light has a spectrum of frequencies, which together form a light wave with different frequencies having different angles of refraction. White light, when passed through a prism, is separated into different frequency waves. This occurs because of "the wavelength dependant refractive index" of the prism material.

Radiation with a frequency in this visible spectrum reflects off of an object and strikes the eye of the observer, resulting in visual perception and imagery. The human brain then processes the reflected frequencies into various shades, hues, and colors, resulting in most humans perceiving the same object in the same way. In other words, a red rose usually looks like a red rose, unless one is colorblind.

Perhaps the most fascinating type of resonance occurs within the realm of sound. Acoustics is the science of sound, ultrasound, and infrasound, which includes all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids. The word acoustic is derived from an ancient Greek term meaning "to be heard." The study of acoustics began in the ancient Greek and Roman cultures between the sixth century BCE and first century BCE, and, naturally, began with the study of music. Pythagoras took a deep interest in the science and nature of musical intervals, and helped to propel the field of study forward, with further research done by the likes of Aristotle and Galileo.

 

INFRASOUND

  • Avalanches: location, depth, duration.
  • Meteors: altitude, direction, type, size, location.
  • Ocean waves: storms at sea, magnitude, spectra.
  • Severe weather: location, intensity.
  • Tornadoes: detection, location, warning, core radius, funnel shape, precursors.
  • Turbulence: aircraft avoidance, altitude, strength, extent.
  • Earthquakes: precursors, seismic-acoustic coupling.
  • Volcanoes: location, intensity.
  • Elephants, whales, hippos, rhinoceros, giraffe, okapi, and alligator are just a few examples of animals that create infrasound.
  • Some migratory birds are able to hear the infrasonic sounds produced when ocean waves break. This allows them to orient themselves with coastlines.
  • An elephant is capable of hearing sound waves well below the human hearing limitation (approximately 30 hertz). Typically, an elephant's numerous different rumbles will span between 14 and 35 hertz. The far-reaching use of high-pressure infrasound opens the elephant's spatial experience far beyond our limited capabilities.

 

ULTRASOUND

  • Animal echolocation
  • Microchiropterans, or microbats: carnivorous bats (not fruit bats or flying foxes).
  • Cetaceans: dolphins, porpoises, orcas, and whales.
  • Two bird species: swiftlets and oilbirds.
  • Some visually impared humans have learned this technique
  • Sonar (an acronym for sound navigation and ranging) including
  • Bathymetry.
  • Echo sounding.
  • Fish finders.
  •  

Adapted from www.hyptertextbook.com

 

The idea that sound and sonic vibration was such a fundamental part of the construct of reality was nothing new, and persists even to this day. Similar to visual perception, the realm of sound seems to cross the lines between the seen and unseen.

In nature, animals use sound to locate objects. Echolocation is the act of emitting sound waves and detecting the echo to locate an object or for navigational purposes. Fishing bats have developed such sophisticated echolocation abilities that they can detect the fins of a minnow, which have the consistency of a human hair, protruding only two millimeters above a pond surface. Dolphins and whales also echolocate, also referred to as biosonar, emitting calls into their environment and using the return echo as a way of finding everything from food to danger to a potential mate. Birds and shrews also have the skill of biosonar, although perhaps not as sophisticated as the bat.

Echoes can help in navigation as well, and as in the case of bats, to forage for food. Calls are measured based upon intensity, frequency modulation (FM), and constant frequency (CF), harmonic composition (one frequency or multiple frequencies that make a harmonic series), and note duration (a single bat echolocation note can last up to 100 milliseconds). The ability to echolocate involves the auditory system, which is adapted specifically for this purpose, and specialized primary sensory neurons in the brain that can sense and interpret the calls. Various parts of the animal's brain play roles, including a structure in the middle brain of bats called the inferior collicus. The auditory cortex is much larger in echolocating creatures than in mammals that do not use the skill.

There have been cases of human echolocation, allegedly used by blind people to navigate their environment. Tapping canes or clicking noises can help the blind find their way in a world void of visual cues. With heightened auditory ability, they can use the sound waves reflected by nearby objects to determine how close they are, or the size of the object as they move along. Because humans are not able to make the sounds at the higher frequencies of bats and other animals, to which the skill comes naturally, human echolocation is crude by comparison.

Acoustic location is the use of sound in general to locate objects, and also encompasses sonar and echo sounding, which measures the distance to the bottom of the ocean using the echo of sound pulses. Ultrasounds are used in the medical field to view the insides of the body. Radar detects the echo of radio waves to locate or pinpoint the position of an object.

Some critters, such as the Aeds aegypti, the species of mosquito that serves as a vector for dengue and yellow fevers in humans, use sound to attract the opposite sex. Talk about resonating with another! This mosquito literally sings its own special "love song," using the resonation of its beating wings in the thoracic box. The frequency of a female's "song" falls between 300 to 600 Hz and easily attracts the male, who gives off his own matching "song" in the 600 frequency range, creating a lovely harmonic of "come and get me baby." Together, but only if they are a true tonal match, they make beautiful music and breed a ton of new fever-carrying mosquitoes.

For years scientists thought mosquitoes could not even hear in this frequency range, but now realize that this use of harmonics might actually be used to one day get rid of these nasty disease-carriers for good. But for now, they engage in "harmonic convergence," something no other creature has been yet proven to do.

Sound has played a vital role in our lives throughout time, and even Egyptologists who study the meaning behind the Great Pyramid at Giza suggest that sound and resonance were of the utmost importance to highly advanced ancient civilizations.

 

Sounding Off on Sound

        Sound is a mechanical, longitudinal wave.

        Sound is produced by small and rapid pressure changes.

        The speed of sound depends upon the medium and its state.

        The amplitude of a sound wave corresponds to its intensity or loudness.

        The frequency of a sound wave corresponds to its pitch.

        The upper frequency limit for human hearing is around 18,000 to 20,000 Hz.

        Frequencies above the range of human hearing are ultrasonic.

        The lower frequency limit for human hearing is around 18 to 20 Hz.

        Frequencies below the range of human hearing are infrasonic.

        The frequency of a sound wave does not change as the sound wave propagates.

        Large objects generally produce long-wavelength, low-frequency sounds.

        Small objects generally produce short-wavelength, high-frequency sounds.

        The ability of an animal or electronic sensor to identify the location or direction of the origin of a sound is known as sound localization.

        A reflected sound wave is known as an echo.

 

Adapted from www.hypertextbook.com

 

Acoustic resonance works just as mechanical resonance does, but the system is one based upon harmonics and musical instruments. String instruments, such as harps, guitars, violins, and pianos, have resonant frequencies that relate directly to the mass, length, and tension of each string. Even tube instruments, such as flutes, clarinets, and horns, measure their own resonance in accordance with the length and shape of the tube, as well as whether or not it is open or closed at the ends. A modern flute is an open pipe, while a clarinet is considered closed. Vibrating air columns create similar resonances to the harmonics created by strings.

Sound vibrations, when matched in resonance, create lovely harmonics, but unwanted resonance can also result in a "wolf note," or a particular resonant note that causes the instrument to resonate a bit too loudly. Single notes of sound create music, but even a single note can result in ear-splitting feedback when a microphone is in the range of a speaker or amplifier, reproducing the sound waves picked up from the opposite side of a room, but one or more wavelengths behind. Any musician or fan of live music has had to deal with the perils of feedback.

One very amusing example of acoustic resonance at work exists in the town of Lancaster, California. Known as the "musical highway," there is a stretch of road about a mile outside of the city that, when driven over, plays the theme from the Lone Ranger. This oddity has drawn thousands of curiosity seekers to the area who delight in driving over the otherwise unimpressive stretch of road again and again (you can experience it on YouTube!). The musical effect comes from grooves cut into the road surface, the idea of the auto manufacturer, Honda, as a way to promote their Honda Civic, which they claim gets the best musical results when driven at 55mph on the road. The car's weight and combined speed are optimal for hearing the asphalt overture. Similar musical highways now appear in the Netherlands, Japan, and South Korea.

Nature has its own "boom boxes," too, most notably the Singing Sand Dunes of the Atlantic Sahara in Morocco, one of 35 known locations around the globe that make their own brand of mysterious music. According to a recent LiveScience article, "Singing Sand Dunes: The Mystery of Desert Music," staff writer Michael Schirber reports on the mysterious sounds that emanate from the dunes in a loud, low-pitched rumble that can last as long as 15 minutes. Bruno Andreotti, a scientist at the University of Paris, took some hi-tech equipment to study the barchans, or large crescent-shaped dunes, which are said to "sing" two or three times a day if the winds are just right. Andreotti and his team also found they could induce the sounds by creating little avalanches, but were still not able to pinpoint the actual mechanism behind the music.

Using measurements of the vibrations in the sand and air, Andreotti was able to detect surface waves on the sand that emanated from the avalanche at the relatively slow speed of about 130 feet per second. The face of the dune acted like a huge loudspeaker -- with the waves on the surface producing the sound in the air. Andreotti believes the sound comes from the collision of the grains of sand that create a "feedback loop," which then causes the sound waves to synchronize the collisions of sand grains so that they end up being all on the same beat.

The sound the sand dunes makes is low-pitched, between 95 and 105 Hz, described as something akin to a low-flying propeller aircraft.

Again, this is music created purely by the resonance of sand grains against each other, the wind, and the air to create just the right mix for making sweet song ... if you are into music that sounds like propeller aircraft, that is.

Many people who study consciousness and the human body suggest that acoustic resonance can influence the body's organs and cells, even the functioning of the brain. In future chapters, we will explore the links between vibration, sound, and altered states of consciousness, as well as the manifestation of paranormal phenomena. A simple example of how music can affect the body, though, can be seen in the lovely Tibetan Singing Bowls. Also known as Himalayan Bowls, these "standing bells" are made of Panchaloha, or five specific metals composing a bronze alloy of copper, tin, zinc, iron, and other small traces of metals. These bowls produce multiphonic and polyharmonic overtones, unique to the bowls alone, and are believed to induce a highly meditative state, trance induction, and altered states of consciousness.

The bowls vibrate to produce sound when their sides or rims are struck in a certain way, or exposed to the friction of a wooden, plastic, or leather mallet that "rubs" the rim of the bowl to create the "singing sound." The bowls are known to produce rather complex chords of harmonic overtones, as well as soft bell-like tones, many of which are used in specific rituals to mark the passing of time, or certain events and holy times. Some scholars suggest that singing bowls have been in use in the Himalayan region as far back as the eighth century BCE as an enhancement to meditative practices, as well trance induction and prayer. Author's note: I (Larry) own an antique Tibetan singing bowl, and although it sounds really cool and "new agey," I've yet to find myself rocketing into some transcendental state of Zen while playing it.

But just as the Singing Bowls produce sounds that supposedly transform one to a higher level of consciousness, rumor suggests that sound can also do some rotten things to the human body. One particularly nasty legend of the infamous Brown Note persists. As it's name implies, the Brown Note is reportedly the specific infrasound frequency that causes humans to lose control of their bowels. Though there is absolutely no scientific evidence of the reality of the Brown Note, and shows such as Mythbusters and Brainiac: Science Abuse have tested the note to no avail, the rumor persists that high-power sound waves below 20 Hz are felt by the body as a vibration, rather than heard by the ear as a noise. The Brown Note frequency range is said to be between 5 and 9 Hz, and the authors of this book challenge any reader to prove it is a real note and not just another urban legend!

According to her thesis paper entitled "Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla: Thunder and Lightning," Katherine Krumme tells the story of Tesla receiving a very special visitor to his laboratory -- Mark Twain. While Twain was at the lab, Tesla had been experimenting with the interesting effects of a mechanical oscillator, which produced alternating current of a high frequency. Tesla was especially interesting in the significant low frequency vibrations the machine produces and wondered if the vibrations might have therapeutic or health benefits.

Twain then asked to experience the vibrations and stood on a platform of the machine while Tesla set the oscillator into operation. Twain was enjoying himself greatly and exclaimed: "This gives you vigour and vitality." Tesla warned Twain not to stay on the platform too long, but Twain remained, stating he was having too much fun. Tesla again insisted, but Twain stayed on the machine for several minutes more until, suddenly, he exclaimed: "Quick, Tesla. Where is it?"

Without hesitation, Tesla pointed to the restroom. Twain had experienced firsthand what the laboratory workers had known for some time: the laxative effect of the machine's low frequency vibrations. Although we have no way of corroborating the facts surrounding that incident, perhaps that this may have been the genesis of the Brown Note legend!

Many acoustics experts insist that there is no real evidence that infrasound can cause vomiting or defecation, however, some conspiracy theorists point to the military's ongoing interest in developing ultrasonic weapons as evidence to the contrary. There is some evidence, however, that loud concert music, especially when coming from subwoofer arrays of speakers, is responsible for the lung collapse of people standing too close to the arrays (Wired magazine, September 2004). Author's Note: Marie can attest to this after attending a Judas Priest concert in the 1980s. She still can't breathe!

For the purposes of this book, infrasound is perhaps the most important sound frequency range that we shall discuss. Infrasound is simply sound with a frequency that is too low for the human ear to audibly discern. The range of what is considered infrasonic covers sounds below the lowest limits of the human ear, from 20 hertz down to 0.001 hertz. Interestingly enough, this is the range of sound utilized by seismographic instruments for detecting earthquake activity. The volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883 first introduced the observations of naturally occurring infrasonic waves. During the eruption, the acoustic waves literally circled the Earth several times, and were recorded on barometers at various locations around the globe.

The man considered the pioneer of infrasound research is French scientist Vladimir Gavreau, who experienced everything from inner ear pain to shaking lab equipment while experimenting with infrasonic waves in the 1960s. From his research, he went on to invent an infrasonic whistle.

Infrasound occurs naturally during times of severe weather, avalanches, and seismic activity such as earthquakes and volcanoes, iceberg cavings, lightning, tornadoes, and other natural phenomena, as well as man-made sonic booms and chemical and nuclear explosions. Even diesel machinery and wind turbines can create infrasonic waves, as well as those subwoofer speakers responsible for lung collapses at loud concerts.

Animals are able to perceive sound in the infrasonic range. As a matter of fact, animals have been known to evacuate an area during earthquakes and other natural disasters. They are able to utilize the naturally emitted sounds created by the events as a type of early warning system, as was seen during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, when thousands of animals reportedly fled the general area. In addition to the use as an "emergency notification system," whales, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and even alligators use infrasound as a form of communication, while migrating birds might also utilize infrasound as a navigational tool.

In Nature magazine's "Can Animals Predict Disaster?" studies have indeed shown that even zoo animals respond to infrasound, although in a more muted reaction due to their constant exposure to such sounds in their usual urban settings. Alligators specifically use infrasound to signal to a mate and can produce a number of infrasonic sounds by "vibrating air inside special sound-producing sacs in their chins."

Human beings also appear to have an intrinsic response to infrasound. In fact, during World War II, it is believed that Nazi propaganda engineers used infrasonic sound as a means to rouse anger amongst the sizeable crowds that would gather to hear Hitler. Infrasound may have been one factor in creating an entire nation filled with hatred and anger. In addition, and as we will see in a future chapter, infrasonic sound has been associated with the perception of "paranormal" phenomena. Sounds spooky! But studies have been conducted at musical concerts involving human response to differing types of music, and according to the Nature report, more than one quarter of the listeners reported "ghostly" feelings of anxiety, sorrow, fear, and even chills down the spine while listening to infrasonic melodies.

These kinds of studies have put infrasound front and center in the field of paranormal research. But before we tune into that ghostly frequency, let's look at some of the brains behind the science of resonance.

 

*This excerpt from The Resonance Key reprinted with permission of the publisher, New Page Books. Copyright C 2009. All Rights Reserved.

 

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