Dan over at Slapinions had a neat entry the other day about the discovery of sound recordings that predate those of Thomas Edison. On my way home from work today, they had a story on NPR about it, and it was fascinating! I won't write about all the details here. To get the scoop, read Dan's entry, or read the brief story on NPR.org (I believe a podcast will also be available). Both entries include a sound file of one of the recordings.
They spoke with the professor who led the research team who found these files (turns out the guy teaches at Indiana University), and I always love hearing people speak of the discovery of something unexpected and exciting. What a rush that has to be. They played a few files, starting with the earliest, which consisted of low-pitched buzzing sounds, and apparently was someone speaking. For someone who studies these things for a living, I realize that it was incredibly exciting to hear these recordings. Personally, I couldn't get over how utterly creepy they sounded. It sounded to me like an alien life form trying to make contact. (Maybe I've watched a few too many horror movies, because that's how it immediately struck me. Too many horror movies?! There IS no such thing as too many horror movies!).
The other file they played (and this is the one on Dan's blog, as well as the one on the NPR site) is of someone singing "Claire de Lune." This one is more recognizable as a human voice, with a hint of the tune. This one creeped me out as well...all I could think of was that this was someone long dead communicating across time. "The Dead Speak! A Voice From Beyond the Grave!" On one level, I was thinking how cool it was, but on another, deeper level, it really gave me the heebie-jeebies. I'm not sure what was so creepy about it to me--it must have reminded me of some movie that had that sound in it and really scared me--and I wouldn't be surprised if I have a creepy dream about it tonight.
I felt a little better when the professor said that as he was first listening to the recordings, it hit him that he was listening to something that was recorded before the American Civil War, and that he felt like a ghost was speaking to him.
So it's not just me!