Music of the spheres

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(Host) Commentator Joe Citro recalls the story of a nineteenth century girl who may have heard the “Music of the Spheres.”

(Citro) The parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo had a unique area of study. He was fascinated by a mystical musical phenomenon heard by very few people – the so-called “The Music of the Spheres.” Supposedly – on unpredictable occasions – certain individuals hear beautiful, awe-inspiring harmonies that seem to come from nowhere. The music is so exquisite that one woman told Mr. Rogo that she would gladly die just to hear those heavenly harmonies again.

In all my research I have found only one example in Vermont. It dates from 1812 and involves a 14-year-old girl from Barnet: Elizabeth McCallum. One bright July morning she set out on horseback to visit the McNab family who lived several miles through a thickly wooded section of Blue Mountain. When Elizabeth arrived she was in a state of agitation and wonder. She told her friends that something marvelous had happened in the woods and she described the spot with precision. Elizabeth told how – virtually in the middle of nowhere – she heard music, strange and beautiful music like nothing she had ever heard before. It seemed to come from every direction, from all around, filling the air, displacing all other sounds.

For a long time the group puzzled over the event. No one had an explanation. What had she heard? Where might such sounds originate? After lunch Elizabeth hurried home to tell her own family about her beautiful experience. She followed the same trail, hoping to hear the sounds again. But Elizabeth never returned home. As twilight settled, her parents became alarmed. As darkness thickened, waiting became impossible. Mr. McCallum summoned a few neighbors. Everyone grabbed lanterns and set out along the darkened path toward the McNab place. Within an hour they found the horse, without its rider. Elizabeth was lying beside the trail. The young woman was dead. There were no marks nor bruises. There was no blood nor broken bones. The bewildered searchers found not a single clue about how Elizabeth met her end. Later, Mr. McNab and his wife told the McCallums about the music Elizabeth had described. Strangely, her body had been discovered at the exact spot where shed heard the mysterious melody.

Scott Rogo – the only researcher who has studied the mysterious “Music of the Spheres” – discovered such reports are rare. Most are by mystics, people in altered states of consciousness, or dying individuals. He wrote, “Perhaps all of us will hear those rapturous sounds when we make the great spiritual transition.” Presumably he found out for himself. Mr. Rogo died in 1990 at age forty. The rest of us will have to wait and see.

This is Joe Citro.

Novelist Joe Citro is a native Vermonter. He lives in Burlington.

Copyright 2003, Joe Citro

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