Yahoo! News News Home - Yahoo! - Help

Reuters
Click here to visit www.getsmart.com
Back to School: College laptops for less | 100% Online Degrees | Online or Campus? | Decorate A Dorm
Welcome, ghintp Personalize News Home Page   -   Sign Out
Yahoo! News   Thu, Sep 18, 2003
Search    for     Advanced
Soundless Music Shown to Produce Weird Sensations
Sun Sep 7, 7:09 PM ET
Add Science - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Patricia Reaney

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Mysteriously snuffed out candles, weird sensations and shivers down the spine may not be due to the presence of ghosts in haunted houses but to very low frequency sound that is inaudible to humans.


Missed Tech Tuesday?
Get wireless Internet to go - here's how. Plus, the scoop on service plans, security and more.


 

British scientists have shown in a controlled experiment that the extreme bass sound known as infrasound produces a range of bizarre effects in people including anxiety, extreme sorrow and chills -- supporting popular suggestions of a link between infrasound and strange sensations.

"Normally you can't hear it," Dr Richard Lord, an acoustic scientist at the National Physical Laboratory in England who worked on the project, said Monday.

Lord and his colleagues, who produced infrasound with a seven meter (yard) pipe and tested its impact on 750 people at a concert, said infrasound is also generated by natural phenomena.

"Some scientists have suggested that this level of sound may be present at some allegedly haunted sites and so cause people to have odd sensations that they attribute to a ghost -- our findings support these ideas," said Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in southern England.

In the first controlled experiment of infrasound, Lord and Wiseman played four contemporary pieces of live music, including some laced with infrasound, at a London concert hall and asked the audience to describe their reactions to the music.

The audience did not know which pieces included infrasound but 22 percent reported more unusual experiences when it was present in the music.

Their unusual experiences included feeling uneasy or sorrowful, getting chills down the spine or nervous feelings of revulsion or fear.

"These results suggest that low frequency sound can cause people to have unusual experiences even though they cannot consciously detect infrasound," said Wiseman, who presented his findings to the British Association science conference.

Infrasound is also produced by storms, seasonal winds and weather patterns and some types of earthquakes (news - web sites). Animals such as elephants also use infrasound to communicate over long distances or as weapons to repel foes.

"So much has been said about infrasound -- it's been associated with just about everything from beam weapons to bad driving. It's wonderful to be able to examine the evidence," said Sarah Angliss, a composer and engineer who worked on the project.


Mail to Friend  Email Story
Message Boards   Post/Read Msgs (245)
Printer Version   Formatted Story
Ratings: Would you recommend this story?
Not at all 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 Highly



Next Story: French Maize Farmers Seen Embracing GM, Eventually (Reuters)

More Science Stories
The Greatest Explosions Studies Reveal Crowded, Violent Early Universe  (SPACE.com)
Rock Face of Mount Rushmore Is Moving   (AP)
Hurricane Isabel hits US coast  (AFP)
Spanish Navy Shocks Blamed for Giant Squid Deaths  (Reuters)
New Theory: Universe Born in a Black Hole  (SPACE.com)


Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Copyright 2003 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy -Terms of Service - Copyright Policy - Ad Feedback