Author of the Month

Greg Taylor, Author of the Month for January 2008

Her Sweet Murmur (cont.)
By Greg Taylor

The Circle is Complete

In his books A Casebook of Otherworldly Music and A Psychic Study of the Music of the Spheres (both available from Anomalist Books[26]), D. Scott Rogo recounts a number of situations which have a similarity to the fairy story above — in that the sound (in this case, music), is heard subjectively. Perhaps one of the most interesting is the tale of the final hours of the German philosopher, Wolfgang Goethe.

Rogo tells how two hours before Goethe's death, the great German writer was visited for the final time by a 'Countess V.', who upon entering the house was dismayed to hear music being played at such a somber time. However, the music was not actually coming from anyone in the house:

"So you have heard it too?" replied Frau von Goethe. "It's inexplicable! Since dawn yesterday, a mysterious music has resounded from time to time, getting into our ears, our hearts, our bones." At this very instant there resounded from above, as if they came from a higher world, sweet and prolonged chords of music which weakened little by little until they faded away."

However, the account tells how each person hearing the music disagreed with another on what it consisted of. The Countess described it as "a quartet playing fragments of music some way off", Frau von Goethe "the sound of a piano, clear and close by", while others heard "an organ, for the other a choral chant" and another a concertina.

There is a similar account in Sir William Barrett's Death-Bed Visions, in which a husband and wife heard music/singing at the time of death (of the wife's brother):

Mrs. Allen says the sounds she heard resembled singing — sweet music without distinguishable words — that she went upstairs directly she heard the music, which continued until she reached the bedroom. Mr. Allen's impression is that the sound resembled the full notes of an organ or of an aeolian harp.

Rogo's keen eye also recognized another similar example, though this time in the annals of mediumship. D.D. Home, one of the first mediums to be scientifically tested — and one of the 'stars' of the history of mediumship — was said to have encountered 'psychic music' throughout his life. One case in particular parallels the anecdotes we have mentioned above, and is recorded in Lord Adair's book Experiences in Spiritualism with D.D. Home:

Almost immediately after we had gone to bed and put the lights out, we both heard the music…Home said that the music formed words; that, in fact, it was a voice speaking and not instrumental music. I could hear nothing but the chords like an organ or harmonium played at a distance.

Lord Adair's account sounds extremely similar to the accounts of Mohammed, and Lucia at Fatima. Mohammed heard Gabriel's words 'through' the tinkling of bells, while Lucia appears to hear the Virgin Mary through a buzzing sound. It is almost as if the strength of 'signal' varies from person to person, and only those with the strongest signal get the intended message…the others get the psychic equivalent of static.

Accounts of Home's séances also mention the 'rushing of wind', with almost exactly the same results as those of the Pentecost (which I mentioned earlier):

Lindsay and Charlie saw tongues or jets of flame proceeding from Home's head. We then all distinctly heard, as it were, a bird flying round the room, whistling and chirping, but saw nothing, except Lindsay, who perceived an indistinct form resembling a bird. There then came a sound as of a great wind rushing through the room, we also felt the wind strongly; the moaning rushing sound was the most weird thing I have ever heard. Home then got up, being in a trance, and spoke something in a language that none of us understood; it may have been nonsense, but it sounded like a sentence in a foreign tongue.[27]

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  1. The two books are actually Volume 1 and 2 of Paranormal Music Experiences, D. Scott Rogo (see My thanks must go to Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books for sending me these titles, as they offered a new line of investigation at just the right time, similar to note 14 above. In fact, the 'library angel' factor and additional synchronicities which occurred during research of this article are worth a separate article in themselves! [back to text]
  2. Recounted in Heyday of a Wizard, A.A. Knopf. My thanks to commenter 'Darryn' on Michael Prescott's blog for pointing this out (see: [back to text]

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