DEADLY SOUND: Vladimir Gavreau

Deadly Sound: Vladimir Gavreau

Gerry Vassilatos

HE listened and closed his eyes as the rolling waves of sound poured over and through his being. Thrilling, intoxicating, the hysteria of heaven, the enthralled and frightening flight of angels. Electrifying. Messaien’s organ music signalled messages of meaning, titanic foghorns ululating among dimly perceived near-worlds. Olivier Messaien, master composer of musical expressionism, used the ground thrumming tones of great Parisian cathedral organs to evoke sensations which may only be called otherworldly. Masterfully macabre. Black foundations, blue pillars, and rainbow ceilings.

Sound, rhythm, and space. Ultra-chromatic chord frames, rising like rock walls from the black depths. And immense stellar crystallizations, radiating tonal perfumes through deep and black radiant space. Lovely and lyrically swooping melodies, the flight of birds through delicate limbs. And melodic lines, reaching up toward unknown depths of space, each had their foundation in ultrabass tones of rooted depth. The basso profunda of Messaien are the critical foundations, the strong vertical pillars of an immense architecture which extends beyond performance walls. He scoured the deep and unreachable roots of worlds to hold his musical cathedrals together. Such majesty and grandeur of sound! Rich in the intelligence which flooded and made the world, the musical currents and the atmosphere of tones. Fluidic music and meaning.

The most fundamental signals which permeate this world are inaudible. They not only surpass our hearing, but they undergird our being. Natural infrasounds rumble through experience daily. There manifestations are fortunately infrequent and incoherent. Infrasound is inaudible to human hearing, being of pitch below 15 cycles per second. The bottom human limit. The plynth. The foundation. Infrasound is not heard, it is felt. Infrasound holds a terrible secret in its silent roar.

Infrasound produces varied physiological sensations which begin as vague “irritations”. At certain pitch, infrasound produces physical pressure. At specific low intensity, fear and disorientation. Nazi propaganda engineers methodically used infrasound to stir up the hostilities of crowds who were gathered to hear their madman. The results are historical nightmares.

At a very specific pitch, infrasound explodes matter. At others, infrasound incapacitates and kills. Organisms rupture in its blast. Sea creatures use this power to stun and kill prey.

The swelling bass tones of the cathedral seem as though they can burst the very pillars which uphold the ancient vaults. Stained glass windows have been known to erupt in a shower of colored fragments from the organ’s basso profunda. Impulsed ultrabass tones…thunder. Somewhere in the almost inaudible roll of these basement sounds there was a devastating and fearful power.


The Cold War was on. The United States alone held the dread secret. The most terrible weapon yet developed was the private property of one government. The mere existence of the atomic bomb was threat to nations whose motives were not entirely altruistic. Motivated, aggressive, and imperialistic, obtaining atomic bomb data was a priority for several nations. The only manner in which some nations obtained the secret was by stealing it. When Stalin’s science officers finally developed an atomic duplicate of the American bomb, pressure suddenly was placed upon every other European nation to achieve an equivalent or better device.

When one seeks to defend one’s borders, the consequences of releasing weapons of devastation to the world do not seem important. Weaponry is death-oriented by nature. But there are moral differences between weapons of defense and weapons of offense. Previous to this atomic proliferation, competing nations concentrated their weapons research on truly bizarre and equally deadly means for defending their national boundaries. A great variety of such deadly weapons were perfected in rapid succession. This included deadly variations and combinations of gas weaponry, pathogenic agents, and radiant weaponry. Stalin’s research teams investigated psychic powers as a possible means for destroying an enemy. Psychotronic warfare was developed among numerous groups, both private and national, with measurable success. Information on some simpler psychotronic weapons have recently been obtained through an increasing process of Soviet disclosure.

In truth, the larger the weaponry the less safe the national boundaries truly were. While the superpowers concentrated their weapons development programs on mass-destructive nuclear weaponry, others focussed on more practical conventions. The limited tactical warfare of small battlefields seemed a more immediate need. While developing their own atomic device, France sought defensive tactical weaponry on every possible technological front. Short range weapons would best defend against a conventional national assault. But other systems were also sought; systems which, though non-nuclear, were equally invincible. As the great Frankish Knight, Charles “the Hammer” Martel repelled ruthless invaders from the medieval east, so a new hammer would be sought to defend France against possible new enemies from the east. Even as Charles Martel arose from obscurity, so this strange new “hammer” would arise in equal obscurity.


The central research theme of Dr. Vladimir Gavreau was the development of remote controlled automatons and robotic devices. To this end he assembled a group of scientists in 1957. The group, including Marcel Miane, Henri Saul, and Raymond Comdat, successfully developed a great variety of robotic devices for industrial and military purposes. In the course of developing mobile robots for use in battlefields and industrial fields, Dr. Gavreau and his staff made a strange and astounding observation which, not only interrupted their work, but became their major research theme.

Housed in a large concrete building, the entire group periodically experienced a disconcerting nausea which flooded the research facility. Day after day, for weeks at a time, the symptoms plagued the researchers. Called to inspect the situation, industrial examiners also fell victim to the malady. It was thought that the condition was caused by pathogens, a “building sickness”. No such agencies were ever biologically detected. Yet the condition prevailed. Research schedules now seriously interrupted, a complete examination of the building was called.

The researchers noticed that the mysterious nauseations ceased when certain laboratory windows were blocked. It was then assumed that “chemical gas emissions” of some kind were responsible for the malady, and so a thorough search of the building was undertaken. While no noxious fumes could be detected by any technical means, the source was finally traced by building engineers to an improperly installed motor-driven ventilator. The engineers at first thought that this motor might be emitting noxious fumes, possibly evaporated oils and lubricants. But no evaporated products were ever detected. It was found that the loosely poised low speed motor, poised in its cavernous duct of several stories, was developing “nauseating vibrations”.

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