An old Soap Lake High School (Soap Lake, Washington) buddy, Mike McNamara had just watched a History Channel episode on the 110 Hz phenomena.  Knowing the HHTM blog and my interest in strange things relative to hearing, sound and audiology, he asked me if I had ever done anything a blog on this topic.  For Mac and others interested, if you did not see them first time around, I wrote a bit on this topic in May, 2013 in a series called the Auditory Clues to Extraterrestrial Visits, Part I, Part II  & Part III and about 3 years ago (February, 2015) in a discussion of Binaural Beats which are closely related to the 110Hz phenomena.  While none of these blogs specifically discuss the 110 Hz phenomenon there is evidence that that many of the ancient temples and monuments in various parts of the world have one thing in common……. 110Hz sound that is engineered into their structures.  

110 Hz is known to represent the human pitch. Buddhist and Hindu chant their mantras in the same frequency. Archeologists indicate that these chambers was used for rituals and chanting. In the structure 110 Hz resonance would then allow enhanced right brain activity. The right brain is the center for art, poetry, sensuality, spirituality, feelings, imaginations and innovations.rightbrainhttps://www.healthline.com/health/left-brain-vs-right-brain The right mind is an intuitive gift while the left brain is a faithful servant. Studies have been found that once able to excess the right brain. A person becomes more problem solving and less conflicting in nature. It does not follow a logical pattern and thus is totally free. Something so sacred to our ancients that they build these structures to symbolize it.  

Archaeoacoustics  is a new sub discipline with archeology that studies the acoustics within archaeological sites and artifacts. Since many of the ancient cultures focused on the oral and therefore the aural, it is becoming increasingly recognized that the study of the sonic nature within archaeological structures can enhance the understanding of these structures and the ancient cultures that created them. Archeoacoustics is an interdisciplinary field which includes areas such as archaeology, ethnomusicology, acoustics and digital modelling.

Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

 

Emerging studies in archaeology by these new professionals, described by the Old Temples Study Foundation, suggest that sound and a desire to harness its effects may have been equally important to the  visual aesthetics in the design of humankind’s earliest ancient temples and monumental buildings.  According to this new research, ancient, or prehistoric, builders of the monumental structures found in such diverse places as Ireland, Malta, southern Turkey and Peru all have a peculiarly common characteristic — they may have been specially designed to conduct and manipulate sound to produce certain sensory effects, in particular, the generation of a 110Hz sound (now measured by the archaeoacoustic professionals) which  may also be set up to be used as Binaural beats.  Beginning in 2008, a recent and ongoing study of the massive 6,000-year-old stone structure complex known as the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum on the island of Malta is producing some revelatory results. Located in Paola, Malta, the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum is a cultural property of exceptional prehistoric value and the only known example of a subterranean structure from the Bronze Age. The ‘labyrinth’, as it is often called, consists of a series of elliptical chambers and alveoli of varying importance across three levels, to which access is gained by different corridors. The principal rooms distinguish themselves by their domed vaulting and by the elaborate structure of false bays inspired by the doorways and windows of contemporary terrestrial constructions. The structure is unique in that it is subterranean and created through the removal of an estimated 2,000 tons of stone carved with stone hammers and antler picks. Acoustically, low voices within the walls of this carved out structure create eerie, reverberating echoes, and a sound made or words spoken in certain places can be clearly heard throughout all of its three levels. Now, scientists are suggesting that certain sound vibration frequencies created by the structure are at 110 Hz and when sound is emitted within its walls actually alter human brain functions of those within earshot.  Many of these sophisticated cultures created Megalithic structures shows complicated aspect of archaeology known as Corbelling. A system of over-sailing row stones descending one by one. Balanced by dividing the weight of the stones equally. The Mathematics involved in the design of this carved limestone is massive an present in many structures around the world.  Whether it was deliberate or not, but the people who spent time under its influence will resonate to the same frequency affecting their minds.

Its not just in Malta, but Ireland as well ….a structure about the same age as the Maltese one called, Newgrange is a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, it is the jewel in the crown of Ireland’s Ancient East. Newgrange was constructed about 5,200 years ago (3,200 B.C.) which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza.  Its also a 110 Hz signal structure……and there are many others!

 

References:

Jacobs, E. (2017).  With Archaeoacoustics, Researchers Listen for Clues to the Prehistoric Past.  Atlas Obscura.  Retrieved February 12, 2018.

Newgrange.com (2018).  Newgranges:  World Heritage Site.  Retrieved February 15, 2018.

Popular Archaeology (2012). Ancient Builders Created Monumental Structures that Altered Sound and Mind, Say Researchers.  Retrieve February 12, 2018

Traynor, R. (2015). Binaural Beats. Hearing Health and Technology Matters (HHTM).  Retrieved February 12, 2018.

Soap Lake Chamber of Commerce (2018) Soap Lake, Washington.  Retrieved February 11, 2018.

 

So where does Audiology meet Art History?   One of the first classics at HHTM was the discussion of how Vincent van Gogh really lost his pinna.  While some feel that he just wacked off his right pinna with a knife….there is another version of the story that we found at Hearing International originally posted as “The Mysterious Case of Vincent van Gogh’s Pinna” in September of 2011 as the blog was just beginning…..RMT

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Sherman (2009) states that Vincent Van Gogh is not only universally recognized as among the great artists in history, but also as the tortured genius and crazy painter who sliced off his own ear. Art-loving audiologists from around the world have long been baffled by Van Gogh’s loss of his right pinna and his much-discussed hearing impairment.

Vincent Van Gogh, one of  the leading Impressionists, also takes his rightful place with other historical figures who have suffered from Meniere’s disease. These include Martin Luther and, more recently, Alan Shepherd, Les Paul, Perry Lee, and many others (Disabled World, 2008). Although his physicians diagnosed Van Gogh as having epilepsy and madness, Hargrave (2011) writes that the painter was known to have suffered from tinnitus, which he described as ringing or roaring in the ears, as well as impaired hearing and intolerance of loud noises (classic Meniere’s symptoms).The late 19th century Dutch artist created a number of paintings and drawings that are now among the world’s most expensive and popular works of art. But in his short lifetime, he sold only one of his more than 2000 works, which included 1100 drawings and sketches along with 900 paintings. The Van Gogh Gallery (2011) notes that he produced his finest works  in less than three years, using a technique that grew more and more impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line.Van Gogh’s inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful; dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual essence of man and nature. Before becoming an artist, Van Gogh worked as a pastor, art salesman, and teacher. He was a well-known recluse, sometimes spending hours in silence with his bible.

Although Prosper Meniere’s 1861 paper outlining the disease that bears his name  was published two years before Van Gogh’s birth, the condition was  not well known or medically accepted in the late 19th century. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Dr. Peyron, a physician at the St. Remy (France) asylum for epileptics and lunatics, diagnosed Van Gogh with epilepsy and thought this to be the cause of his malady. Based upon this diagnosis, the painter voluntarily admitted himself to the St. Remy facility in May of 1889.  He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound the next year.

For a century he was thought to have been epileptic and was well known as the crazy painter who cut off his own ear.  In an effort to correct the record, Arenberg et al. (1990), a group of neuro-otologists, reviewed 796 of Van Gogh’s personal letters to family and friends written between 1884 and his suicide in 1890. Their analysis reveals a man who was constantly in control of his reason, but who suffered from severe and repeated attacks of disabling vertigo, not a seizure disorder.  In their opinion, the clinical descriptions in his letters are those of a person suffering from Meniere’s disease, not epilepsy. The authors point out that Prosper Meniere’s 1861 description of his syndrome (an inner-ear disorder) was not well known when Van Gogh died and that it often was misdiagnosed as epilepsy well into the 20th century.  Arenberg et al. concluded that it is highly probable that he suffered from Meniere’s.

These days, we have a much better understanding of this disorder and we realize that Meniere’s is a debilitating disease that has a certain regimen for treatment.  In Van Gogh’s time, however, the complications and frustrations created by the symptoms of the disease often caused significant behavioral difficulties. In Van Gogh’s case, these concomitant behavioral issues were often severe and created an image of a deranged individual capable of cutting off his own ear.

The story goes that in the 1880s Van Gogh wanted to begin a painting school in Arles, a town in southeastern France. He hoped that his artist friends Camille Pissaro, Claude Monet, and Paul Gaugin would take part in this enterprise. But only Gaugin agreed to work with him for a time there. When Gaugin was about to leave Arles, legend has it, a frustrated Van Gogh chased him with an open razor, but ended up cutting off his own right pinna. Of course, this behavior was consistent with the diagnosis of epilepsy and madness, which has been part of popular folklore ever since.

Sherman (2009) cites new evidence that the disturbed Dutch artist made up the story to protect Gauguin, an object of his affection at the time.  This evidence suggests that it was Gaugin, an excellent fencer, who cut off Van Gogh’s pinna with a sword during a quarrel.

After an unhappy stay in Arles, Gauguin was planning to move out, leaving his estranged friend behind. Gaugin had walked out of the house with his baggage, his trusty épée in hand.  Van Gogh, who had earlier thrown a glass at Gaugin, followed him. As the pair approached a bordello, their row intensified, and Gauguin cut off Van Gogh’s left earlobe with his sword – either in anger or self-defense.  Gaugin then threw the weapon into the Rhône River. Van Gogh, meanwhile, delivered the severed ear to a prostitute and then staggered home, where police discovered him the following day, the new account claims.

Samuel (2009) has discovered results from German art historians that indicate the two men both kept a “pact of silence” – Gauguin to avoid prosecution and Van Gogh in a vain attempt to keep a friend with whom he was hopelessly infatuated. The sword is said have been wrapped it in cloth and handed it to a prostitute in a nearby brothel.

“To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one’s fling from time to time, smoke one’s pipe, and drink one’s coffee in peace.”…..Van Gogh

 

References

Arenberg, I; Countryman, L.; Bernstein, L., & Shambaugh, G. (1990). Van Gogh had Meniere’s Disease not epilepsy. JAMA, Vol 264, No 4, pp 491-493. Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 21, 2011.

Baloh, R., (2001). Prosper Meniere and his disease. Arch of Neurol, Vol. 56, No 7, pp1151-1156. Retrieved  September 21, 2011.

Disabled World, (2008). Famous people with Meniere’s Disease. Retrieved September 22, 2011.

Hargrave, C., (2011). Health Discoveries: Alternatives to Medicine. Healthdiscoveries.com, Retrieved September 19, 2011.

Samuel, H. (2009). Vangogh’s ear was cut off by friend Gaguin with a sword. Telegraph. Retrieved  September 21, 2011.

Sherman, W., (2009). Historians blame Van Gogh’s hearing loss on Gaugin. Animalnewyork.com, Retrieved September 19, 2011.

Van Gogh Gallery (2011). Biography of Vincent Van Gogh. Retrieved February 7, 2018.