January 2009

This text used to be on the old kode9 website before it melted. . .

The cover of URs Interstellar Fugitives album.

The cover of UR's Interstellar Fugitives album.

While never a huge techno fan, I always loved this text from the sleevenotes from URs ‘Interstellar Fugitives’. Its packed with strong sonic warfare hyperstition signal . . .(thanks to Kodwo for switchin this on). . .pardom ny dylsexia but the original text was very small and difficult to transchribe

Unspoken Reality

Over the ages there have been outbreaks of resistance to what the human spirit knows is evil but is forced to accept as normal. This resistance due to recent advances in genetic research has been traced to an elusive mutant gene that is found in one of every five thousand humans. We will refer to this gene as r1. r1 is older than humanity itself and was sequenced into human genetics by probabilities still unknown. R1 communicates through secret coded rhythm patterns based around the drum which is common in all human societies. It should be noted that these rhythms can also be vocalised, expressed through dance or art and transferred via rhythmically oriented machinery. In this manner r1 can download huge portion of data to those who remain close to the drum with no chance of file corruption, missing or damaged pages and certainly no misinterpretations. As these rhythms are pure r1 consciousness only true expression will create movement of the physical or spiritual realms. Imitations or derivatives will only have a chance to move the physical as the spirit will not recognize them. R1 through the centuries has been suspected to have been at the heart of countess rebellions, coups, overthrows and revolutions. As long as trigger conditions exist r1 will hold the world in a constant state of tension. R1 can modulate itself to emulate other genes in order to hide among the host’s gene pool until triggered. Triggering occurs due to many different inputs. In justice, prejudice, oppression, rape torture and genocide are all fuel for the fire! Once triggered the r1 will emerge and become the dominant factor among the 80,ooo or so other genes that it will rearrange and interact with it over a period of years to make the host achieved r1 purposed. The r1’s biological instructions are capable of converting the most humble human into a digital ebola guerilla operative (DEGO) with reinforced rhythm awareness capabilities.

Sometimes a careful eye can spot an active r1 in its early stages of development as the human host’s morality and prior teachings delays the r1’s shadow warrior techniques. The host is visually and vocally active as it causes suspicion , unrest, inspiration, hope and mental or physical resistance among the once docile population. Unfortunately the host’s lingering faith in humankind leads to its ultimate demise as it is identified and targeted for destruction. These young r1s usually cause immense problems for the system.

Techniques have been developed over the ages to dilute their effectiveness through controlled distortions of media, history and advanced pacification programs. It is for this reasons many diabolical mine fields have been devised to take out young r1s before they can reach maturity.

If allowed to reach maturity the r1 can redefine the host and operate indiscriminately until death within the systems currently being employed.

In a constant search for ways to combat the ever increasing evil of the systems programmers, r1 has most recently employed a little known frightening bioengineered mutant cousin gene that was created during a period of time ranging from the 1400s to the late 1800s in colonized areas throughout the world and especially in the new world of the Americas. The cousin which we will call z (for zero) to signify its complete reassure from history was the result of illicit genetic breeding experiments performed on enslaved human stock the r1 gene. Against the generally accepted practice of killing defiant r1s on sight in order to issue a complain myriad of docile worker stock, some owners paid top dollar to buy r1 stock in order to breed r1 with various other r1 and with the new highly resistant u1 native which were bravely fighting to the death in the America. Much the same as current dog breeders do today with familiar breeds like the k9 german shepherd, rottweiler, Doberman pincher and the pit bull terrier, genetic engineering of this type was done in hopes of creating a warrior enhanced aggressive humanoid to be utilised specially for prize fighting entertainment, or as expendable soldiers for future nations to be colonized.

Female r1s and many enslaved women were often forcibly raped by their captors. This introduced an unseen sadistic viciousness into an already aggressively resistant gene pool. Always the opportunist, r1 would scan the intruders genetics to investigate and extract strengths, weakness, tactics and potentials for future use. The result of all these accumulated sins may never be fully understood. These complex genetic combinations administrated by people who had no idea of the genetic pandora’s box they were about to pen yielded z gene stock which was super athletic, deviously intelligent, swift, silent, deadly adaptable, efficient, durable, strategic and at the moment of need chillingly cold. Unfortunately along with these desired soldier like features there came unforeseen side effects. For the first time humans to be mass produced and created without love, the z models were capable of spontaneous, strategic, symbolic or unprovoked violence against its oppressors or cooperative stock of its own kind with no remorse. (see nat turner) apparently it s was controlled by r1 which had overridden the breeders control parameters set forth for the z. the z model was chamelion like, unpredictable and final (see the maroons) and although it could deceptively function within any given society it would only take true directions from r1. using its enhanced rhythm perception it could decipher r1 directives from anything ranging from a field work song to the rhythmic flow of a poets lines to automated modern machinery. The z model was considered economically costly and impossible to contain and after many bloody revolts, uprising and overthrows this type of breeding was discontinued. The z model was considered economically costly and impossible to contain and after many bloody revolts, uprisings and overthrows this type of breeding was discontinued. The z model especially in the united states was systemically targeted for destruction (usually by inaccurate lynching) It was hoped that the dreaded z had become extinct by the early 1900’s/ The northern industrial city of Detroit was especially well suited for r1. This mechanically pulsed city provided r1 with a perfect rhythm foundation to transmit its subversive instruction sequences to those who know in the city’s population. Living in the show o f the unending broken promises of the system, r1 found this city a perfect breeding ground for resistance. Many examples of r1 instructed people emerged from the bowles of this Midwest metropolis against all odds these people set standards of resistance which have inspired millions. One particularly disturbing result of r1 is a virus like consciousness called underground resistance. Since 1988 to present this outfit has been responsible for infecting huge parts of the world with r1’s teaching via black vinyl data disks army sonically spawned somewhere in Detroit, under order from r1 ur as many before them have with the technology available to them at their particular time frames has discovered an unknown way to assemble r1’s thoughts into tones. These tones which are them rhythmically generated by discarded instruments or electronic devices and sonically injected into humans that were previously incapable of understanding r1. This is a most dangerous situation as traditionally only other r1, z or societies close to the drum could decode these messages! It should be noted that once injected the newly infected host’s hard drive will be erased and rebooted with r1 algorhythms. The only known way of the system to combat r1 is to counter inject false prophets of sound into the populace. These puppet agents will be controlled and formatted by the programmers with the sole purpose of leading the naïve and unknowing away from r1 teachings. This had worker many times before, and the only reasons it will not work this time is because of ur its global allies and invisible infrastructure of support. The eight fugitives pictured are suspected ur operatives. Trained in detroit by ur they are all highly skilled at the their particular method of sound. Inject r1 purpose in the cutting edge of human societies world wide as they now have global strike capacity via programmer digital communications systems. The leader of the fugitives is feared to be in the latter stages of z genetic development. This stage is called negative evolution. In this state human characteristics begin to face, the voice becomes unrecognizable, efficiency and logic become the hosts new religion and chance of capturing or learning the fugitive become next to impossible as the fugitive becomes a fiber optic commando which can alternate between the physical world and a digital consciousness, as aspirations for continued colonization and exploitation extend into outer space, scanning technology must be developed to intercept these disruptive genes before mass space travel and sex in zero gravity is allowed, In addition the ur tone generators and their operators must be silence now before even more of their infectious sound waves escape earths; atmosphere. Now that r1 has been traced from nation to nation it is fear that ur’s intention is to go from world to world, galaxy to galaxy and eventually from universe to universe. In closing it is this galactic bureau of investigations (gbi) conclusion that ur, the interstellar fugitives and the black vinyl data disk army they deploy at will be destroyed by you to protect us, in the words of words of one of the greatest r1’s ever “by any means necessary”

This composition has been analysed and approved from genetic factual information by dr. Joyce harper human genetics and embryology group and ucl center from preimplantation genetic diagnosis department of ebstetrics and gynecology. University college London.

This link, details the story of the infrasonics research of the man like Vic Tandy

“Research has previously proven that exposure to low frequency sound can cause a variety of physiological effects, many of them adverse ones, such as shivering, anxiety and breathlessness. These responses can lead a person to think that some unseen danger is imminent, or feel like he is being watched. Infrasound might even cause hallucinations. Tests at NASA have shown that the human eyeball has a resonant frequency of 18 cycles a second, and will vibrate in sympathy with infrasound waves that have a similar frequency. Under these conditions, there would be a “smearing of vision” that is capable of making someone see evanescent hallucinations in the periphery of their visual field. This effect is reminiscent of the theories of neurologist Michael Persinger, who has suggested that electromagnetic waves can interfere with brain activity and lead people to think they see ghosts or aliens.

we’re trying to get a non-militaristic conception of sonic warfare. . .’minor sonic warfare’ doesn’t quite capture what it is. . .

here is nice interview taken from William Burroughs’ review (entitled ‘Rock Magic’) of a Led Zeppelin concert for a music magazine. In it, Burroughs discusses infrasound with guitarist Jimmy Page. . .

The Jimmy and Bill Show (excerpt from Crawdaddy 1793)

We talked about the special effects used in the concert. ‘Sure’, he said, ‘lights, lasers, dry ice are fine – but you have to keep some balance. The show must carry itself and not rely too heavily on special effects, however spectacular.’ I brought up the subject of infrasound, that is, sound pitched below 16 hertz, the level of human hearing; as ultrasound is above the level. Professor Gavreau of France developed infrasound as a military weapon. A power infrasound installation can, he claims, kill everyone in a five-mile radius, knock down walls, and break windows. Infrasound kills by setting up vibrations within the body so that, as Gavreau puts it, ‘You can feel all the organs in your body rubbing together.’ The plans for this device can be obtained from the French Patent Office, and infrasound generators constructed from inexpensive materials. Needless to say, one is not concerned with military applications however unlimited, but with more interesting and useful possibilities, reaching much further than five miles.

Infrasound sets up vibrations in the body and nervous system. Need these vibrations necessarily by harmful or unpleasant? All music played at any volume sets up vibrations in the body and nervous system of the listener. That’s why people listen toit. Caruso as you will remember could break a champagne glass across the room. Especially interesting is the possibility of rhythmic pulses of infrasound, that is, music in infrasound. You can’t hear it, but you can feel it.

Jimmy was interested, and I gave him a copy of a newspaper article on infrasound. It seems that the most deadly range is around 7 hertz, and when this is turned on even at a low volume, anyone within range is affected. They feel anxious, ill, depressed, and finally exclaim with one voice ‘I feel terrible!’. . . last thing you want at a rock concert. However, around the borders of infrasound perhaps a safe range can be found. Buddhist mantras act by setting up vibrations in the body. Could this be done in a much more powerful yet safe manner by the use of infrasound rhythms which could of course be combined with audible music? Perhaps infrasound could add a new dimension to rock music. . .

Could musical communication be rendered more precise with infrasound, thus bringing the whole of music a second radical step forward? The first step was made when music came out of the dance halls, roadhouses and nightclubs, in Madison Square Garden and Shea Stadium. Rock music appeals to a mass audience, instead of being the province of relatively few aficionados. Can rock music make another step forward, or is it a self-limiting form, confined by the demands of a mass audience? How much that is radically new can a mass audience safely absorb? We came back to the question of balance. How much new material will accepted by a mass audience? Can rock music go forward without leaving its fans behind?

WB: Did you ever hear about something called infrasound?

JP: Uh, carry on.

WB: Well, infrasound is sound below the level of hearing. And it was developed by someone name professor Gavreau in France as a military weapon. He had a infrasound installation that he could turn on and kill everything within five miles. It can also knock down walls and break windows. But it kills by setting up vibrations within the body. Well, what I was wondering was, whether rhythmical music at sort of the borderline of infrasound could be used to produce rhythms in the audience – because, of course, any music with volume will set up these vibrations. The is part of the way the effect is achieved.

JP: Hmm.

WB: It’s apparently. . .it’s not complicated to build these infrasound things.

JP: I’ve heard of this actually, but not in such a detailed explanation. I’ve heard that certain frequencies can make you physically ill.

WB: yes, well, this can be fatal. That’s not what you’re looking for. But it could be used just to set up vibrations. . .

JP: Ah hah. . .A death ray machine! Of course, when radio first came out they were picketing all the radio stations, weren’t they, saying ‘We don’t want these poisonous rays’[laughter]. . .Yes, well. . .certain notes can break glasses. I mean, opera singers can break glasses with sound, this is true?

WB: That was one of Caruso’s tricks.

JP: But it is true?

WB: Of course.

JB: I’ve never seen it done.

WB: I’ve never seen it done, but I know that you can do it.

JP: I want laser notes, that what I’m after! Cut right through.

WB: Apparently you can make one of these things out of parts you can buy in a junkyard. It’s not a complicated machine to make. And actually the patent. . .it’s patented in France and according to French law, you can obtain a copy of the patent. For a very small fee.

JP: Well, you see the thing is, its hard to know just exactly what is going on, from the state to the audience. . .You can only. . .I mean I’ve never seen the group play, obviously. Because I’m part of it. . . I can only see it on celluloid, or hear it. But I know what I see. And the thing about rhythms within the audience, I would say yes, Yes, definitely. And it is. . .Music which involves riffs, anyway, will have a trance life effect, and it’s really like a mantra. . .And we’ve been attacked for that.

WB: What a mantra does is set up certain vibrations within the body, and this, obviously, does the same thing. Of course. . .it comes out too far. But I was wondering if on the borderline of infrasound that possibly some interesting things could be done.

JP: Ah.

This is the first in a series of blogposts attempting to map sonic warfare resources on the net. . .thats particularly stuff related to military research in infrasound and ultrasound. This article by Jack Sargeant from Fortean Times in 2001 is a classic, and pulls together alot of the key sources. . .they also recently updated it with some nice pics. zippermeyer’s ‘whirlwind cannon’ is particular amusing. I’ve copied the whole text into this post now as they don’t seem to want external links for some irritating reason.


Sonic Weapons
An acoustic weapon disorients rioters and afflicts an invading army with nausea. It can create ‘ghosts’ and arouse animal passions. Fantastic? Jack Sargeant, delving into the possible uses and abuses of infrasound, isn’t so sure. Additional material by David Sutton.
By Jack Sargeant

December 2001

The human ear can only hear a limited part of the sound spectrum. Above that range is ultrasound and below it is infrasound; although largely unheard, vibrations in these ranges can still affect the human body in ways that are quite different from the informational aspect of simply listening. These higher and lower registers of sound frequencies are, today, the stuff of imaginative speculation. While the conspiracy watchers believe they are the basis of secret weapons research for covert operations, mind control and other conspiratorial uses, another, more idealistic, school associates them with meditative states and magical technology. The wilder fortean literature attributes to the builders of ancient monuments everywhere the secret of levitating blocks of stone by their mastery of sound; such powers were supposedly also used by the Vedic gods to power their vimana flying ships.

The use of disconcerting noise to unsettle the enemy is hardwired into most higher animals, from the warnings and battle roars of confrontational beasts to the trumpets, drums, bugles, bagpipes, devilish war cries, taunts and piercing shrieks used by humans in their conflicts. An example that springs to mind is that of Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now!, blasting Wagner from his Cavalry helicopters. And, moving from film to recent history, consider how General Noriega was bombarded with endless cycles of high-volume pop music when he sought refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama, as were the Branch Davidians during the fateful siege at their compound in Waco.1

Similarly, during the Gulf War, in the prelude to the final massacre of the fleeing Iraqi forces on the road to Basra, Americansoldiers were reported to have blasted grunge and death rock from speakers mounted on their vehicles. Yet in these cases, for all the psychological terror the noise was intended to create, it was a crude application of volume and culturally jarring music rather than the directed application of a sound frequency as a weapon.

Possibly the earliest account in Western literature of sound itself being used as a weapon can be found in the Bible. As detailed in Joshua 6:5, Joshua leads an attack on the city of Jericho (c1400 BC) during which he commands his people, outside the walled city, to remain in total silence for seven days. On the seventh day, seven trumpets made from ram’s horns give a “long blast”, the people shout… and the walls of Jericho come crashing down.2 (It is significant that silence is used as well as noise and perhaps even ultrasound.)

Sound is a waveform, with low infrasonic frequencies having a long wave length (measured in tens of metres), and with high ultrasonic frequencies having a short wave length (measured in millimetres). The frequencies associated with ultrasound are most familiar from their utilisation by the medical profession, chiefly for diagnostic imaging.

While the ears are designed to detect a limited range of frequencies – the human auditory range is between 20Hz and 20,000Hz (1Hz = 1 cycle per second) – different frequencies can affect the whole body and, at volume, can be felt in almost any part of the body. Even with industrial ear protectors, sound waves are able to enter the head via the nose and mouth which are, in turn, linked to the ears by the structure of the skull. Sounds that are higher in frequency than 20,000Hz – ultrasound – are inaudible to humans, while sounds lower than 20Hz – infrasound – are inaudible but can, on occasion, be felt resonating within the body itself. Exposure of unprotected ears to infrasound can also cause an increase in pressure within the middle ear, disturbing the sense of balance.

The natural world is awash with infrasound created by thunder, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, shifting tectonic plates and even winds. The ability of animals, such as bats and dogs, to hear ultrasound is well documented, but numerous animal species can also hear – and utilise – infrasound. Elephants, have a hearing range that is believed to start from 0.1Hz, enabling them to hear the distant rumble of thunderstorms far earlier than humans can and to communicate over long distances. Other animals may even employ infrasound as a weapon: recent research suggests that tigers are able to deliver a physically-stunning 18Hz roar immediately before attacking. Similarly, sperm whales seem to use pulses of infrasound to stun the large squid that form the basis of their diet.

Scientists have developed ways of measuring infrasound associated with these phenomena to aid their research. The military use of infrasound dates back to the First World War, when the detection of such frequencies helped pinpoint the enemy’s heavy artillery. The idea that infrasound could actually be used as a weapon tends to be attributed to Axis scientists 3, but of course much of the weapons research by the Axis powers was also of interest to Allied military scientists (see ‘Sounds suspicious’ panel). The potential of infrasound to affect the human body has long been apparent; as anybody who has leant against the PA at a rave will tell you, even audible sub-bass frequencies at the correct volume can churn your stomach. The theory behind infrasound weapons tends to focus on the idea that certain frequencies can be used as both a weapon and as a method of crowd control.

According to the Working Paper on Infrasound Weapons produced by Hungary for the United Nations in 1978 4, the frequency that is thought to be most dangerous to humans is between 7 and 8Hz. This is the resonant frequency of flesh and, theoretically, it can rupture internal organs if loud enough. Seven hertz is also the average frequency of the brain’s alpha rhythms; thus this frequency has been described as dangerous but also relaxing. Whether exposure to such infrasound can trigger epileptic seizures, as some fear, remains unclear; experimental data on exposure to such frequencies gives a variety of results. It should be noted, however, that the strobe light effect associated with triggering epileptic seizures flashes at an equivalent rhythm. Frequencies below 50Hz commonly lose their coherence and are perceived to pulse or fluctuate, which is analogous to the strobing beat of a modulated light.

It was NASA scientists in the early 1960s who produced most of the documentation of the effects of infrasound on the human body; they were particularly keen to discover how proximity to the low frequencies produced by rocket engines would affect their astronauts, especially during launching. Their extensive tests confirmed that, at certain volumes, infrasound did indeed have various physiological consequences. According to results published by NASA researcher GH Mohr, frequencies between 0Hz and 100Hz, at up to 150-155dB, produced vibrations of the chest wall, changes in respiratory rhythm, gagging sensations, headaches, coughing, visual distortion, and post-exposure fatigue. 5 Subsequent research has determined that the frequency that causes vibration of the eyeballs – and therefore distortion of vision – is around 19Hz.

The effects of this specific frequency were confirmed, independently, by the work of engineer Vic Tandy while attempting to demystify a ‘haunting’ in his Coventry laboratory. This ‘spook’ was characterised by a feeling of unease and vague glimpses of a grey apparition. A spot of detective work implicated a newly installed extractor fan that, Tandy found, was generating infrasound of 18.9Hz.

Tandy believes that ‘ghost hunters’ could benefit from investigating the
infrasound frequencies at other ‘haunted’ locales. Not only does the 19Hz frequency create visual disturbances by vibrating the eyeball – hence the shimmering appearance of apparitions – but the frequency could also stimulate a psychological sense of disquiet (hairs on the back of the neck rising and so forth). Even the ‘drop in temperature’ associated with spectral manifestations could be an effect of infrasound: “It does not cause a measurable drop in temperature of the air,” says Tandy, but “the effect is caused by a reaction in the body.”

Effects like these could also, theoretically, be contributing to sick-building syndrome as standing waves of infrasound can be created by architectural anomalies or frequencies set up by electronic devices. sIn 1978, the artist-industrial musician Monte Cazazza and the group Throbbing Gristle (above) experimented in their East London studio with the creation of both ultrasound and infrasound frequencies. Cazazza remembers during infrasound tests using an industrial tone generator that the air began to shimmer and his clothes visibly “rippled under the waves.” The group’s ultrasound experiments were equally notorious; using an array of piezo-electric speakers (“because they were cheap” remembers Monte), they used frequencies in excess of 20,000Hz in a ‘sonic loop’, creating a continual, culminating wave. Their target was some troublesome neighbours; according to the group, the neighbours’ dogs began to bark and both people and animals exhibited aggressive irritability. Unsurprisingly, the unwanted neighbours moved shortly after the sonic attacks.

There is good reason to believe, then, that exposure to certain infrasound frequencies could stimulate aggression and exacerbate psychological disturbances. This might explain accounts of ‘temporary psychosis’ associated with some natural phenomena, such as the Mistral (in the Rhone Valley) and the Sirocco (off the Sahara), the famous winds that are said to create periods of momentary insanity. That certain gusts of wind have infrasound frequencies has been documented. 6

The link between periods of insanity and exposure to specific infrasound frequencies forms the basis for the ‘Feraliminal Lycanthropizer’, a device claimed to stimulate atavistic animality, sexual excitement, and a loss of inhibitions in its target. As described in an essay published in Dainty Viscera magazine, the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer creates two infrasound frequencies – 3Hz and 9Hz – which, combined, generate a lower, third
frequency of 0.56Hz. The machine also uses a combination of four subliminal, looped, audio tape recordings – playing both forwards and backwards – outside the normal audible pitch.

The legends about the machine challenge belief; besides being credited with sparking unrestrained orgies, it has – at least according to Dainty Viscera – been blamed for the sex-and-strangulation deaths of six youths. Some, who claim to have used the machine, have felt themselves become mentally stronger and their will more focused. The enigmatic author of the essay claims that “[a] Catalonian national using the machine daily over a period of five or six weeks eventually managed to ingratiate himself to Adolf Hitler, [and] persuade his quarry to adopt the swastika as high totem and emblem of the burgeoning National Socialist Conference”.7 Such stories are, clearly, beyond belief. There is no evidence that the Feraliminal Lycanthropizer exists or could have such effects; information on it is limited and shrouded in secrecy. Any technology or documented process, no matter how rudimentary, that can affect people, both physiologically and psychologically, at a distance is bound to attract military scientists. A search of the available literature and the Internet reveals that many conspiracy theorists, paranoiacs, and some political activists, sincerely believe that the military has developed infrasound weapons… but precisely what these weapons are, how they function, and how they would be deployed remains vague. Unlike bacteriological, chemical, atomic, laser, and even microwave warfare, little information exists on the use of infrasound as a weapon.

Unsubstantiated reports suggested that infrasound weapons, built and tested in the 1970s, went badly wrong, resulted in wide-scale devastation within a four mile (6.4km) radius including uncontrolled killing sprees. I have seen no evidence yet to back up this rumour. Vic Tandy suggests that a broadcast infrasound weapon would, indeed, “cause more trouble than it is worth.” He explains: “In open air, the energy required to drive it is enormous and the effects unpredictable, ranging from serious harm to very little depending on the individual targeted. Directing infrasound is difficult because of the long wavelength, so if the weapon is to be activated by a person holding it, it would be hard to protect them from the sound. Direct contact with the weapon might also pose vibration problems for the operator.”

There is, however, evidence to suggest that ultrasound has been considered by military and law enforcement authorities as a likely technology for so-called ‘non-lethal weapons’ for use in crowd control and ‘coercive interrogation’. ‘White noise’ is believed to have been a key element in sensory deprivation techniques since the early 1970s and ultrasonic riot control devices are also believed to have been deployed in quelling civil unrest. One such device – the ‘squawk box’ – blasts two slightly different, intolerably high-pitched ultrasound frequencies (16,000Hz and 16,002Hz) at rioters; the two, when combined in the ear, effectively produce the frequencies 32,002Hz and 2Hz. The result, as one commentator put it, is to create in the rioters “a compelling wish to be somewhere else”. 8 Whilst the military or law enforcement officials have never admitted to its use, or even its existence, instructions on how to build a ‘Phasor Pain Field Generator’ (“intended for Law Enforcement Personal Or For Qualified Acoustical Research”) is available from Information Unlimited, as are schematics for handheld ultrasound self-defence devices. 9

Predictably, the media image of the use of infrasound is as a weapon that disables the body and discomforts the mind; however, it has also been discussed in association with enlightened meditative states. 10 The mantras and chants of monks, priests and followers of a variety of religions are commonly believed to have a profoundly calming effect on practitioners just as some musical instruments – like Tibetan thigh bone trumpets – are thought to resonate at the same frequency as the human body, whilst Tibetan singing bowls are believed to trigger specific frequencies in the brain. A significant part of this old ‘mystical’ technology is the ritual buildings (tombs, chambers, cathedrals and temples) designed to amplify or modulate the resonances created by rhythmic chants, singing or music. 11

The activity in our brains functions at several specific frequencies 12 so it seems logical that certain frequencies of sound which are harmonics of that neural activity may influence brain-specific activities. Audiotapes are available which are designed to stimulate the relaxing frequencies associated with meditative states via a process of binaural beats. These recordings work by sending different frequencies to each ear which, when combined in the brain, produce a therapeutic ‘pink noise’. Thus, an 800Hz tone in one ear, and 810Hz in the other, would create a 10Hz frequency intended to soothe the Alpha waves. Whether these binaural tapes work depends, undoubtedly, on the listener’s susceptibility to sound and to the philosophy associated with the tapes; however, many who use them report successful results.

We might not notice it, but infrasound permeates our daily environment; the machines around us, the buildings, and the weather all generate infrasound frequencies. The effects may be as unsettling as a ghostly vision, as tiring as the pressure created before a storm, or as invigorating as a good night’s sleep. Disabling forms of infrasound may be used in future wars or to quell civil riots and demonstrations. With important consequences like these, it is unsettling to realise that we actually know far too little about the audio frequencies that surround us.

Muzak to my ears

During the Second World War, workers in munitions factories would listen to the radio as they worked, and it was observed that they seemed to keep pace with the rhythm of the broadcast music. The faster the beat, the faster the production line would move.

Much has been made of ‘muzak’ and the way in which it has been used to both sooth and motivate people in factories, office buildings and shopping malls. Muzak’s pop-derived tones are intended to create – broadly speaking – a relaxed environment. However, muzak can be used as carrier for subliminal (hidden) messages which, for example, dissuade thieves in shops. Cynics have suggested that muzak could also be exploited to convey messages urging greater consumption in shops and increased work in factories. It is almost impossible to tell how successful these anti-crime and pro-shopping messages are, but their continued existence suggests that at least some of those investing in the shopping-as-leisure industry believe they are thereby turning muzak into a global industry.

In his essay “The Electronic Revolution”, cynical libertarian William S Burroughs suggested that riots could be triggered by playing tapes of gunshots, screams, and violent altercations at strategic locations. The idea influenced German filmmaker Klaus Maeck, who based his 1984 film Decoder on the idea of anti-muzak that creates riots. Shooting some of the film in Berlin during the annual May Day riots, Maeck found that many of Burroughs’ ideas were already employed by the crowd, who were broadcasting tapes of conflict and riot-noise.

In May 2001, in a novel crowd control experiment, bars and clubs in Leicester, Britain, began to play, at closing time, music from popular children’s TV programmes – including Magic Roundabout, Mr Benn and Looney Tunes cartoons. The idea was to lull patrons by the associated nostalgia into avoiding violent drunken brawls. 13

Sounds Suspicious…

Any discussion of sonic weapons has to contend with a huge volume of internet-circulated misinformation. As one scientist put it: “One cannot avoid the impression that much of what is written on acoustic weapons is based on hearsay and misunderstandings.” Discussions of the subject invariably throw up the usual suspects of conspiracy theory – Tesla, the Nazis, the US military’s ‘black’ research projects – while remaining vague, or downright contradictory, on names and dates.

Leaving aside the wilder claims about the German secret weapons programmes of World War II, it is certainly true that scientists under Hitler’s regime were involved in projects covering just about every conceivable area of weaponry. The best known were the ‘V’ weapons and the rocket and jet-propelled fighters like the Me163 and the Me262 – but Allied intelligence, by the end of the war, had uncovered a vast array of far more bizarre projects, the development of which had been encouraged by Germany’s non-centralised and chaotic approach to R&D. In the words of one contemporary American intelligence report: “There were more crackpot notions getting political support than we would have imagined.” Some of the most eccentric projects seem to have originated with an Austrian researcher called Dr Zippermeyer, whose response to the ferocious Allied air bombardment of the Reich was to experiment with both wind and sound as potential anti-aircraft weapons.
One such device was the Windkanone or ‘Whirlwind Cannon’ (above) , which was meant to produce artificial ‘whirlwinds’ by generating explosions in a combustion chamber and directing them through specially designed nozzles at the target. Experiments with a small cannon supposedly shattered planks at 200-yard (183m) range, and a full-size one was built. Fortunately for British and American aircraft, the effect was impossible to reproduce at high altitudes and the project was scrapped. The huge hulk of the ‘Whirlwind Cannon’ itself, though, was discovered rusting and abandoned by bemused Allied forces on the Artillery Proving ground at Hillersleben in April 1945.

Experimenting with the destructive properties of sound was a logical course for Zippermeyer, whose labs also worked on the Luftkanone or ‘Sound Cannon’ which burned methane and air to produce a rapid series of explosions that were beamed by ‘sound-mirrors’ into the sky; the resulting noise built up into a high-pitched tone which, apparantly, had been shown as lethal to animals at close range and uncomfortable for human beings at 300 yards (274m). Ultimately, though, the ‘Sound Cannon’ was doomed by the same limitations that had beset the ‘Whirlwind Cannon’ – the impossibility of getting the destructive effects high enough to actually attack a flying target.

To demonstrate the confusion surrounding the whole subject, other accounts speak of a ‘Sound Cannon’ designed by a Dr Richard Wallauschek, a ‘Vortex Gun’ attributed to a ‘Dr Zimmermayer’ and a ‘Wind Cannon’ built at Stuttgart that was supposedly employed defensively at a bridge on the Elbe. Most of these accounts are unreferenced, and all seem to be more or less imaginative variants on the Zippermeyer devices.

The name most often mentioned in connection with the deadly potential of infrasound is that of French robotics researcher Dr Gavreau (sometimes given as ‘Gavraud’), variously credited with having made some significant discoveries “around 1957”, “in 1965” and “in the early ‘70s”. To boil the story down to its essentials, Gavreau and his team experienced inexplicable bouts of nausea in their lab. These were eventually traced to a faulty motor-driven ventilator which, with the aid of a large concrete duct, was producing an infrasonic resonance.

Blithely abandoning his official research, Gavreau devoted himself to studying the effects of infrasound on humans and designing sonic weapons. The first was a sort of giant infrasound ‘organ’ with pipes some six feet (1.8m) in diameter and 75ft (23m) in length. On starting the device, the entire test building was shaken and nearly destroyed, while the hapless researchers were gripped in an “envelope of death”. Luckily, a brave technician managed to shut down the power supply. Gavreau and his team were dangerously ill for days, their internal organs wracked with painful spasms as a result of their body cavities having resonated at the deadly frequency. They had only just escaped being “torn apart” by their own experiment. In Lyall Watson’s version of the story, one of Gavreau’s team was said to have been instantly killed by a six-foot-long ‘whistle’, “his internal organs… mashed into an amorphous jelly by the vibrations”.

Another Gavreau test, involving a device less than a cubic metre in volume, caused a large, fan-shaped portion of Marseilles to shake. Later, a mounted and remotely-controlled version was said to have “burst heavy battlements and tank interiors open with a hideous effortlessness”.

While Andy Cobley, in a letter to FT (FT83:54) claims that he could find no trace of the Gavreau patents that supposedly reside in the Paris Patent Office, an angry Dr David Fisher claimed that he had himself seen them – but had no intention of sharing such dangerous knowledge with “the sort of people who read Fortean Times” (FT85:52).

Do they work?

Well, perhaps Dr Fisher need not worry. At the 1999 conference of the Acoustical Society of America in Berlin, Jurgen Altmann presented a paper questioning the feasibility of sonic weapons. He conceded that the US military was researching ultrasound and infrasound and envisaged their use against both civilian and military targets, but given the lack of evidence, Altmann wanted to ask a few fundamental questions: What kind of sound sources could be used? What would the effects on humans be? Could permanent damage result?

It is possible to produce extremely strong infrasound and ultrasound at volumes high enough to cause damage, but, Altmann argued, producing the sounds alone is not enough to create an actual sonic weapon. The main difficulty lies in propagating the sound waves over distance to their intended target, a possibility hampered by the tendency of low-frequency waves to expand in all directions, thus losing focused power, and of high-frequency waves to enter a “shocked state” where energy is lost to the air. So sonic weapons, even those employing ultrasound and infrasound, would only work over very short distances and, rather than resulting in the kinds of psychological or physical effects claimed by conspiracy-heads or military nuts, would probably just cause serious and permanent hearing damage. Altmann had found no evidence that human targets would be rendered incapable of action by being severely spooked or losing physical control: “I have found no hard evidence for vomiting or uncontrolled defecation, even at levels of 170 dB or more.”

So sonic weapons, despite the oft-repeated claims, would most likely be large, cumbersome, close-range devices resulting in ruptured eardrums.


* 1. Exactly what pop music was played at Koresh and his followers remains ambigious; reports have suggested the group were bombarded with everything from pop-music to Christmas songs (although actual song titles remain elusive). Noises ranging from the sounds of clocks ticking to the screams of dying rabbits have been alleged to have been utilised in the sonic assault on the compound. See also FT133:34-38 and note 10 below.
* 2. According to archæological research by Bryant G Wood, and published in Biblical Archæology Review (1990), these stone walls were 15ft (4.6m) high in places.
* 3. The belief that the Nazis developed sonic technologies appears to be largely unsubstantiated, part of a modern reflex to attribute sinister research or technology to the Nazis on no more grounds than that it is ‘the kind-of-thing-Nazi-scientists-would-do’… along with flying UFOs into the Hollow Earth.
* 4. This paper, and several other key texts on infrasound, are collected together in Stuart Swezey, ed, Amok Journal: Sensurround Edition (Amok Books: LA, 1995).
* 5. Dr Michael Bryan and Dr William Tempest, “Does Infrasound Make Drivers ‘Drunk’?”, in Swezey, op cit.
* 6. Lyall Watson, Heaven’s Breath (Morrow, NY; 1984, p.260ff). See also FT coverage of the ‘humadruzz’, the pervasive hum-drone-buzz reports by many people in the British countryside – FT115:28-31.
* 7. Although authorship of the essay in Dainty Viscera is anonymous the same essay appears on the Internet under the byline of David Woodard – see .
* 8. Author Unknown, “Army Tests New Riot Weapon” in Swezey, op cit.
* 9. Information Unlimited, PO Box 716, Amherst, NH 03031-0716, USA
* 10. According to the on-line Waco Siege chronology, during the siege at the Branch Davidian compound, the FBI broadcast Tibetan Chants at high volume.
* 11. Paul Devereux explored some of these ideas in FT89:48 and FT93:47.
* 12. Delta (0.5 – 4Hz), Theta (4Hz – 7Hz), Alpha (7Hz – 12Hz), and Beta (13Hz – 30Hz).
* 13. The Guardian, Society section (6 June 2001) p.12.


* Stuart Swezey, ed.; Amok Journal: Sensurround Edition (Amok Books, 1999)
* Ian V Hogg; German Secret Weapons of the Second World War (Greenhill Books, 1999)subliminal

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