In an attempt to achieve more compact and controllable infrasound generators, Dr. Gavreau designed and tested special horns and “whistles” of various volumes. These were each remarkably simple flat circular resonant cavities, having a side output duct. They were simply the large analogues of foghorns and police whistles. These flat forms were volumetrically reduced in successive design stages because it was found that their output was far too great. The infrasonic foghorns could produce a frightening two kilowatts of infrasonic energy, at a pitch of one hundred fifty cycles per second.
The flat “police whistles” were more easily designed to required specifications. Their overall characteristics were quite simple to determine, a mathematical formula being devised for the purpose. The whistle’s resonant pitch was found by dividing its diameter into a numerical constant of 51. Increasing the depth of the whistle effectively increased its amplitude. A whistle 1.3 meters in diameter produced an infrasonic pitch of 37 cycles per second. This form violently shook the walls of the entire laboratory complex, though its intensity was less than 2 watts infrasonic power.
Not much amplitude is required for infrasound to produce physiological malady. Several researchers accidentally did themselves great harm when, by deliberate intent or accident, they succeeded in generating infrasonic vibrations. Tesla used vibrating platforms as an aid to vitality. He delighted in “toning the body” with vibrational platforms of his own design. Mounted on heavy rubber pads, these platforms were vibrated by simple motorized “eccentric” wheels.
Their mild use, for a minute, could be pleasantly stimulating. The effects invigorating the whole body for hours thereafter. Excessive use would produce grave illness however, excessive aggravations of the heart being the most dangerous aspect of the stimulation. The entire body “rang” for hours with an elevated heart rate and greatly stimulated blood pressure. The effects could be deadly.
In one historic instance, Samuel Clemens, Tesla’s close friend, refused to descend from the vibrating platform. Tesla was sorry he had allowed him to mount it. After repeated warnings, Tesla’s concern was drowned out by both the vibrating machine and Clemens’ jubilant exaltations and praises. Several more seconds and Clemens nearly soiled his white suit, the effects of infrasound being “duly recorded”.
Tesla often went to great lengths in describing the effects of infrasounds to newspaper reporters who, behind his back, scoffed at the notion that a “little sound” could effect such devastations. Yet, it was precisely with such a “little sound” that Tesla nearly brought down his laboratory on Houston Street. His compact infrasonic impulsers were terribly efficient. Tesla later designed and tested infrasonic impulse weapons capable of wrecking buildings and whole cities on command.
Walt Disney and his artists were once made seriously ill when a sound effect, intended for a short cartoon scene, was slowed down several times on a tape machine and amplified through a theater sound system. The original sound source was a soldering iron, whose buzzing 60 cycle tone was lowered five times to 12 cycles. This tone produced a lingering nausea in the crew which lasted for days.
Physiology seems to remain paralyzed by infrasound. Infrasound stimulates middle ear disruptions, ruining organismic equilibrium. The effect is like severe and prolonged seasickness. Infrasound immobilizes its victims. Restoration to normal vitality requires several hours, or even days. Exposure to mild infrasound intensities produces illness, but increased intensities result in death. Alarming responses to infrasound have been accurately recorded by military medical experts.
Tolerances from 40 to 100 cycles per second have been recorded by military examiners. The results are sobering ones. As infrasonic pitches decrease, the deadly symptoms increase. Altered cardiac rhythms, with pulse rates rising to 40 percent of their rest values, are the precursors to other pre-lethal states. Mild nausea, giddiness, skin flushing, and body tingling occur at 100 cycles per second. Vertigo, anxiety, extreme fatigue, throat pressure, and respiratory dysfunction follow. Coughing, severe sternal pressure, choking, excessive salivation, extreme swallowing pains, inability to breathe, headache, and abdominal pain occur between 60 and 73 cycles per second. Post exposure fatigue is marked. Certain subjects continued to cough for half an hour, while many continued the skin-flush manifestation for up to four hours.
Significant visual acuity decrements are noted when humans are exposed to infrasounds between 43 and 73 cycles per second. Intelligibility scores for persons exposed, fall to a low of 77 percent their normal scores. Spatial orientation becomes completely distorted. Muscular coordination and equilibrium falter considerably. Depressed manual dexterity and slurred speech have been noted before individuals blackout. Just before this point, a significant loss in intelligibility is noted.
The findings of Dr. Gavreau in the infrasonic range between 1 and 10 cycles per second are truly shocking. Lethal infrasonic pitch lies in the 7 cycle range. Small amplitude increases affect human behavior in this pitch range. Intellectual activity is first inhibited, blocked, and then destroyed. As the amplitude is increased, several disconcerting responses had been noted. These responses begin as complete neurological interference. The action of the medulla is physiologically blocked, its autonomic functions cease.
Infrasound clings to the ground, a phenomenon well known in the animal world. Female vocalizations and those of their young, take their traceable routes through the air. High pitched sounds are aerial in nature. This makes females and young natural targets for predators. Low pitched tones cling to the ground, being “guided” along the soil layers. Male vocalizations cannot be localized by predators. Male sounds “hug the ground”, diffusing out from their source. Some males rumble the ground with voice and hooves. These are communications signals which they alone comprehend.
The fact that the ground draws and guides low frequency tones is a remarkable gift to the animal kingdom, enhancing the survival of male leaders. When herds are attacked by predators, the males can continue to give guidance to their companions, while remaining completely “invisible” and elusive. Predators cannot locate the voices and rumblings of male leaders because their low pitched signals ar impossible to pinpoint. They are therefore also impossible to attack. Predators are often overtaken by the males who maintain their diffusive communications across and through the ground.
- ELECTRIC FLYING MACHINES: Thomas Townsend Brown
- THE FUSOR REACTOR: Philo Farnsworth