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Okkulte Stimmen - Mediale Musik: Recordings Of Unseen Intelligences 1905-2007

Mieliśmy wątpliwości czy przedstawiać tego typu nagrania. Jest to zbiór przeróżnych nadnaturalnych zjawisk - głosy opętanych, pogrążonych w schizofrenii, egzorcyzmów (łącznie z nagraniami najsłynniejszego opętania Anneliese Michel), osób będących medium i gadających ze znanymi z historii postaciami. Postanowiliśmy udostępnić te doświadczenia, ale z ostrzeżeniem, że nie są one przeznaczone dla ludzi o słabej wrażliwości.


The recordings here come from a 3-disc collection called “Okkulte Stimmen – Mediale Musik: Recordings Of Unseen Intelligences 1905-2007″ compiled by the German label Supposé.

Recording technologies have, since their inception, invited speculation about spiritual presences. We discussed recently in this space how music copied onto x-rays in Soviet Russia have served as a powerful metaphor for, and instantiation of, the association between technology and death.

In the realm of visual representation, spirit photography was something of a cottage industry in the 20th century. At one time, you could hire a photographer to capture hard visual evidence of a deceased love one in a space they were suspected of haunting. The camera, as they say, doesn’t lie. Of course, once people began to understand film technology a little better, and could identify light leaks, smudges, processing imperfections, and double exposures, photography’s spiritual intrigue was rapidly deflated.

The recordings on “Okkulte Stimmen,” however, are eerie in a very different, and perhaps more enduring sense. Even once we “get” them, they remain scary: Very scary, actually

Though we may have theories about the actual nature of possession (delusion, disease) that differ from the exorcist’s, there is no reason to doubt the authenticity of this particular item. The exorcism, as an event, certainly occurred, and Anneliese Michel has a tragic story. Hers was the last exorcism sanctioned by the Catholic Church, and she died just a few months after the priest finished, presumably of malnutrition.

Regardless of its true explanation, there is something uncanny about hearing a possessed voice. In the conventional sense of uncanninness, this is a matter of cognitive dissonance caused by an auditory short circuit, of hearing an unexpected emanation from a source we thought we knew well. There are also technological, geographic, and linguistic short circuits – so much about this recording feels alien – that further distance us from any place where explication of the event might be possible. Even if we don’t believe in spirits, this recording confronts us with the fact that someone once did, and quite powerfully at that. Now an unsettling, material remainder of their belief has landed in our laps.

John Lydon sings the last line of PiL’s “Annelisa,” based on Annaliese’s life, in an imitation of her voice. (source)

What would a person interested in psi phenomena give for a film of one of the seances of D. D. Home, Mrs. Piper, or Mrs. Leonard, or of a demonstration by Alexis Didier. Barring the development of a functioning time machine, we will never get such treats, but the extraordinary set of CDs Okkulte Stimmen. Mediale Musik provides almost comparable sonic treasures. The recordings, spanning more than a hundred years, are divided into: trance speech (words spoken by mediums in a presumed altered state of consciousness during a seance), direct voices (speech in a seance without an apparent natural source), precognitive claims, xenoglossy (speaking in a tongue apparently never learned by the speaker), glossolalia ("speaking in tongues" or in an incomprehensible language), paranormal music (reputedly channeled from a dead composer or interpreter), raps and haunting phenomena, and electric voice phenomena. There are also not-easy-to-classify tracks such as that of the final seance in which Houdini's wife finally gave up trying to obtain any credible evidence of his survival through mediums, and various shamanic songs. The CDs contain a short presentation of the recordings in German and English, while a more general introduction is found in the book The Message (see a review of that book in this issue). It would take too much space to review every one of the 64 soundtracks, so I highlight some of the most noteworthy ones.

The first CD contains the trance speech, direct voices, and precognition (although other CDs also contain claims of precognitive information) sections. It begins with recordings from the two children involved in the famous Enfield poltergeist case. The voices sound masculine and spooky, but the statement in the booklet by an unnamed speech specialist that a child could not maintain such imposture for hours without damage to her vocal cords lacks supporting evidence. Tragic and even spookier is the soundtrack in the sad case of Anneliese Michel, whose possession and exorcism culminated in her death (for a general discussion of this case, see Cardena, 2007), demonstrating that some of these experiences are by no means child's play or fraud. In the more benign form of identity alteration known as trance mediumship/channeling, it is fascinating to listen to the playful voice of the Feda control of one of the most researched and successful mediums in history, Mrs. Leonard. In contrast, I hope that medium Leslie Flint did not actually communicate with a discarnate Oscar Wilde, as this would imply that in death Wilde gained in pomposity while misplacing his famous wit. Worth mentioning in this first CD are also the soundtrack of the hyperventilation (up to 300 breaths per minute maintained throughout long sessions) of the medium Rudi Schneider, and a recording of the Nazi-friendly medium Hanussen, who used secret information on how the SA would burn the Reichstag to "precognize" this event, yet did not foresee his own death at the hands of his political masters after his indiscretion.

The second CD includes xenoglossy and glossolalia recordings, although it would be more precise to call them vocal utterances during altered states of consciousness as they include shamanic songs that may not necessarily involve the assumption of a foreign or secret language. In this context, it is a pity that the collection does not include a fragment of the exuberant poems/chants of the Mexican mushroom shaman Maria Sabina (Estrada, 1977). Nonetheless the CD contains some fascinating surprises such as the incantations by the infamous esoterist and "Great Beast" Aleister Crowley, and glossolalic prophecies recorded during Pentecostal services. … (source)

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