In part one of this article we saw how there is compelling evidence to suggest that the ancient Egyptians of the Pyramid age incorporated sound technology into the design of Giza’s Great Pyramid . More extraordinary still is the discovery that the rock-cut Dead-end Passage inside the structure’s enigmatic Subterranean Chamber might well have functioned as a sound resonance tube, generating infrasound with a base frequency in the range of 5 Hz.
If this is correct, why was infrasound so important to the ancients and can we find evidence of its usage among ancient cultures elsewhere in the world? What do we know about the effects of infrasound on human bodily systems and more specifically upon the human mind? The answers to these questions show us that the effects of infrasound might well have been known to our ancestors as early as the Upper Palaeolithic age some 45,000 years ago.
It has long been known that infrasound affects the human brain in a number of different ways. It can induce feelings of nausea, anxiety, paranoia, as well as a sense of dread. In more sensitive individuals this can lead to a feeling of disconnection with the material world, accompanied by a very real sense of otherworldliness.
Scientific studies have even shown that infrasound could be the cause of some sightings of ghosts and apparitions. Since these ideas first emerged in the late 1990s infrasound has been used to explain many different aspects of the paranormal, leading to the conclusion that it is “all in the mind.” (See, for instance, Tandy 1998.)
Although there seems little question that infrasound can induce a shifted state of consciousness there can be no obvious reason to assume that this is not a very real effect on the human brain , one that can lead to genuine visionary experiences and psychic insights. If correct, then were the pyramid builders of ancient Egypt aware not only of some very expressive forms of sound technology, but also of the impact of infrasound on human bodily systems? Is this why the Dead-end Passage in the Subterranean Chamber was deliberately designed to generate infrasound, and why other of its chambers produced it on a slightly lower level?
Megalithic Sound Generation
Certainly, there is compelling evidence that megalithic architecture dating to the Neolithic age was designed to generate infrasound. For instance, in a study of the 5,500-year-old West Kennet Long Barrow monument in Wiltshire, England, British musician and archaeoacoustics expert Steve Marshall determined that its east-west aligned entrance corridor produced infrasound at a frequency of around 8-9 Hz. (Marshall 2016.)
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West Kennet Long Barrow monument entrance holds acoustic properties similar to the Great Pyramid. (Chris Talbot / CC BY-SA 2.0 )
One test conducted with a young enthusiastic ‘initiate’, a 14-year-old boy, inside the long barrow’s central corridor, involved the monument’s inherent ability to generate infrasound through the introduction of a miniature bass drum hit loudly with sticks by a skilled drummer located immediately outside the monument. According to Marshall:
“The boy later reported that with eyes open, he could just make out the end stones of the W[est or end] chamber, which at first appeared to be moving slightly. On one stone of the back wall a small black circle appeared, which grew in size; it took on the appearance of a passage leading to another chamber, which he thought he could see into. He then continued to listen with eyes closed and was convinced that on two occasions someone had joined him [in] the chamber, but he had been entirely alone.” (Marshall 2016, 52.)
Marshall suspected that the youth’s experiences resulted from his exposure to infrasound, suggesting that the West Kennet Long Barrow might have been designed with this purpose in mind. He also determined that the monument’s side chambers resonate at either 84 Hz or 110 Hz, both well within the male vocal range.
Intoning in the King’s Chamber
Similar results were obtained through intoning inside Great Pyramid’s granite sarcophagus . Its principal resonant frequencies were shown to be between 65 Hz and 160 Hz, with the greatest spikes of activity between 114 Hz and 122 Hz (see fig. 1).
Fig. 1. The range of frequencies produced through the reverberation of the granite sarcophagus in the King’s Chamber caused through intoning by Andrew Collins. (Image: © Andrew Collins 2019)
Since intoning seems to be a natural thing to do when lying down inside the sarcophagus there is every reason to assume it was designed with this intention in mind. The average male vocal frequency range is between 85 Hz and 180 Hz, with most female voices spanning the range between 165 Hz and 255 Hz.
Indeed, the fundamental frequency of what is known as the complex speech tone for a typical male—known as pitch or f0—spans the range between 100-120 Hz, even though the female natural pitch is on average one octave higher.
Since the sarcophagus’s optimum resonant frequency range of 114-122 Hz synchronizes near perfectly to the pitch of the male voice , it seems reasonable to suggest that it was designed with the male intoning range in mind. This then is yet further evidence that the pyramid builders possessed an advanced knowledge of sound technology.
The same pattern of frequencies found in both the Great Pyramid and megalithic monuments like the West Kennet Long Barrow have been recorded also in a number of caves in southwest Europe bearing painted art from the Upper Palaeolithic age, circa 42,000-9600 BC. (For a good review of this subject see Devereux 2001.) There is every reason to conclude that these too incorporated the use of infrasound where available.
Instruments of Infrasound
If the idea of utilizing sound in cave or cave-like chambers for the purposes of inducing a sense of otherworldliness has been around since the Upper Palaeolithic age, the chances are that knowledge of how to generate infrasound is equally as old. Most likely this was achieved using long, tube-like instruments that mimicked the natural resonance of cave environments. What exactly might have been their effect on participants in rituals and does this provide some idea why the Great Pyramid’s Dead-end Passage would seem to have been designed specifically to generate infrasound?
Anthropologist Donald Tuzin (1945-2007) worked closely with the Ilahita Arapesh peoples of New Guinea and occasionally witnessed strange ceremonies of the highly secretive male Tambaran cult. In these ceremonies bizarre cacophonies of sound were able to induce altered states of consciousness in participants.
Two ‘secret’ instruments in particular were used for this purpose. (Tuzin 1984) One was a bullroarer whizzed around the head to produce low droning noises interpreted as the “voice of Lefin”, a spirit who spits drums and gongs. The other instrument consisted of “long amplifying pipes” made out of hollow bamboo stalks, approximately 13 feet (4 meters) in length and around 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) in diameter.
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A bullroarer is whizzed around the head to produce low droning noises. (BullSqueaker~commonswiki / Public Domain )
Into one end of the instrument a drum would be inserted, meaning that when played it would produce very deep, quite peculiar sounds identified as the “voice of Nggwal”, the most important of all Tambaran spirits. Together these instruments were able to generate “an experience so unusual as to validate belief in supernatural reality”. (Tuzin 1984, 582.)
Tuzin goes on to write that the sense of a “supernatural reality” induced by the secret instruments of the Tambaran cult, which an initiate would have to wait until he was at least 20 years old of age, and sometimes even 50 years of age, to even set eyes on, most likely came from their ability to generate infrasound.
These sub-aural sounds had a deep impact on the brain’s temporal lobe functions involving what Tuzin described as “subperceptual responses” that “must present to consciousness the uncanny, perhaps disturbing sensation of having a mysterious, ego-alien stranger in its midst”. (Tuzin 1984, 586.) Indeed, for the Ilahita Arapesh there seemed no contradiction between sounds manufactured by themselves and the ‘voices’ of the spirits themselves; the two being quite literally one and the same. (Tuzin 1984, 588.)
As with the distinctive shape of the West Kennet’s Long Barrow’s entrance corridor, the extreme length of the amplifying tubes used by the Ilahita Arapesh in their secret Tambaran cult ceremonies echoes the tube-like appearance of the Great Pyramid’s Dead-end Passage. Moreover, the fact that it formed just one component in a much greater design involving the use of sound acoustics in various other areas of the Great Pyramid, adds weight to the theory that the Dead-end Passage was designed as a sound resonator tube to generate infrasound.
The fact also that similar knowledge was known seemingly to the megalithic culture of Neolithic Britain, the Ilahita Arapesh of Papua New Guinea, and even the Upper Palaeolithic cave artists of southwestern Europe tells us that the roots of this technology is at least as old as the earliest manufactured musical instrument. This takes the form of a bone whistle found in the Denisovan layer of the Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, which is thought to be around 45,000-50,000 years old. (Lbova, Kozhevnikov, and Volkov 2012, CD-1902; Lbova, 2010, 11–2.) Thus, an understanding of sound acoustics was perhaps known to the Denisovans before this knowledge was disseminated among anatomical modern humans of the Upper Palaeolithic age.
The Dead-end Passage’s Infrasound Generation—More Discoveries
The strong possibility that the Great Pyramid’s Dead-end Passage functioned as a resonance tube spurred Rodney Hale to examine more closely its recorded 5.13 Hz resonant frequency. What he discovered is staggering in its implications, for it would seem certain that although infrasound was indeed generated in the range of 5 Hz within the tube its amplitude increased noticeably when I climbed inside the tube. On exiting the tube, it fell back down to a much lower level. In contrast, when the female, J, entered the tube to do her intoning, the 5.13 Hz activity remained the same (see fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Resonant frequencies present in the Dead-end Passage when I was inside it (in black) and when J was inside it (in red). (Image: © Andrew Collins 2019)
At first, Hale felt this finding indicated that the 5.13 Hz peaks of activity recorded in the rock-cut tube must have been generated by my presence, and my presence alone. In an attempt to verify whether this was correct, Hale asked me to make a series of recordings using the same recording device. This I did with the device both by my side and on my body at two locations in my home.
These experiments showed no evidence whatsoever of a 5 Hz infrasound frequency, either present in the rooms used for this purpose, or around me in general. This made it clear that the 5 Hz activity was not being generated by me. It had to have an origin inside the Dead-end Passage.
Another curious fact surrounding my presence in the Dead-end Passage was that the levels of all the main resonant frequencies increased far more on the second occasion of my entry into the tube, much more so than they did on my initial entry (see fig. 3).
Fig. 3. The differences in levels of the Dead-end Passage’s resonant frequencies from my first entry into the tube (left) to my second entry (right). They have all increased dramatically on the second occasion. (Image: © Andrew Collins 2019)
Why should this have been so? On my first entry inside the tube I had sat cross-legged at its end and simply intoned, while on the second occasion I had laid down with my body outstretched and my head almost touching the back wall. I had then relaxed my mind and attempted to achieve a deep meditational state. Any noises I did hear, like knocks and even my stomach rumbling, were noted verbally during the recording.
So, the most likely cause of the change of amplitude in the tube’s resonant frequencies during my two visits was either due to my change in position or the fact that, on the second occasion, I had used meditational techniques to quieten the mind. Did this trigger the rise in infrasound in some manner? Whatever the answer (and very clearly further work is required to take the matter further), my presence in the Dead-end Passage caused the amplitudes of its resonant frequencies to increase, in particular its fundamental frequency of 5 Hz.
As the only thing a person can do when in the Dead-end Passage is either sit cross-legged or lie down lengthways, then it really does make sense that its original function involved a person, an initiate or priest perhaps, entering inside it and achieving some kind of altered state of consciousness. This might have been achieved through either the use of meditational practices or the achievement of non-REM sleep, enhanced, of course, by the effects of the tube’s own inherent infrasound; the two resonating in sympathy with each other.
Since this rock-cut passage lies almost directly beneath the dead center of the pyramid, any induced sense of otherworldliness when inside it is likely to have been linked with the building’s primary function. Since this was most likely connected with the eternal nature of the spirit of the pharaoh responsible for its construction, then a close association with the cosmic nature of the human soul and its supposed destination in the afterlife has to be considered likely.
As outlined elsewhere, (for a full review of this topic see Collins 2018) this deep cosmic journey involved an ascent to the constellation of Orion, and then an onward passage via the Milky Way to the constellation of Cygnus, the entrance to the sky world proper. It is a process outlined in the 4,300-year-old Pyramid Texts, found inscribed on the interior walls of several Old Kingdom pyramids, whereby in death every pharaoh automatically becomes the god Osiris.
In this guise, the soul’s primary goal was to achieve rebirth in the womb of Osiris’s mother. She was the sky-goddess Nut , who was herself a personification of the Milky Way, her womb synonymous with the fork in the Milky Way marked by the stars of Cygnus. Having achieved entry to the afterlife, the ascended soul of the pharaoh was reunited with both the gods and the ancestors.
The sky-goddess Nut with outstretched wings, depicted on an Egyptian mummy coffin. (Jonathunder / Public Domain )
At the same time, he or she would become a new star among the so-called Imperishable Stars, the circumpolar and near-circumpolar stars of the northern night sky. All of this would have been played out in a terrestrial sense within the inner chambers of a pyramid, almost as if by doing so it would ensure the success of the soul’s final ascension—a classic case of “as above, so below”.
Could it be that the initiate or priest granted access to the Dead-end Passage for extended rituals involving the use of infrasound was somehow able to link their inner consciousness with the building’s genius loci, the two merging to quite literally maintain and perhaps even guide its future destiny?
If correct, then these findings suggest that the notion of spending an extended period of time inside the darkness of the Dead-end Passage, while being bathed in infrasound, might well be crucial to our understanding of the true function not only of the Great Pyramid, but also of its highly mysterious Subterranean Chamber, which remains an enigma to this day.
Spending time inside the darkness of the Dead-end Passage may help one understand the true function of the Great Pyramid. (Image: © Andrew Collins 2019)
Top image: Was the Great Pyramid built with sound technology in mind? Source: © Andrew Collins
This article was written with additional information provided by Rodney Hale, C Eng. MIET.
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