Human Antenna

Today I read a Straight Dope reprint on stories of people hearing radio broadcasts through dental fillings.

Many a time I’ve wanted to send my two cents to the Straight Dope but never know how to log onto their bulletin board. I have my own story to tell on the latter subject, so I tell it here:

In the 1960s I was in my apartment on Riverside Drive and 116th Street. A Miles Davis solo came into my head: nothing unusual about that, Mile’s music has been etched in my soul since the very early 1950s, it remains etched there today. In this case though I realized that the tune I was hearing may not have been Miles after all, there was a wonderful, beautiful, soulful trumpet recording on tap in those days by Nat Adderly, Canonball’s brother, himself a great musician, composer, soloist … star. Regardless the tune was demanding my attention, but it was very soft: I absolutely had to hear it louder. I went to my record collection, the Miles’ section stretched from here to there, and started to rummage: Let’s see: it’s not the Kind of Blue album, not Milestones, not Walkin’ … As I did this I thought of the Nat Adderly possibility. In any case, anticipating finding an LP to try through the hifi system, I activated my amplifier. No: I turned on the master switch: every componet left on when I turned the master off, now came on. It so happened that my FM tuner was also on. And there, right in the middle of a trumpet note, perfectly in synch, the trumpet solo I was hearing got amplified through the speakers!

Ah! Not Miles, yes, Nat! I didn’t have that record, however much I loved it. The tuner was set to WRVR, an FM station out of Riverside Cathedral, just a few blocks north of me, in a direct line from my living room window. Looking north I could see the roof tops, Riverside’s carillon tower, WRVR’s broadcast antenna …
I listened to the tune, then instantly called WRVR and told whoever answered what had just happened. Oh, wow, man, said whoever it was, and that was the end of that.

I don’t have an explanation. I only know it’s true. I can speculate on what might have been the case, so can you. Most people dismiss stories that don’t fit their cosmology, or intrude bull shit magical answers.

It was a one time occurrence, I didn’t normally go around hearing radio broadcasts in my head, not even Miles Davis tunes. I sure wish I’d run across Nat Adderly in the years since, I really wish he could know of my experience. Actually I’d like to tell Miles too. (Here I’m telling everyone!) (I once desperately wanted to tell Miles something, I decided to tell Teo Macero. I looked in the phone book, Manhattan, there was Teo, I called him: he answered, I told him. Tell Miles, he said. How? Write it, he said, mail it to me, I’ll see that he gets it. I did, and heard nothing further.
But heaven might just be eternity occupied with people telling you they got such messages; while hell might be hearing nothing from nobody.

I don’t believe I heard the DJ playing the tune from four blocks north. But I did hear the Nat solo being broadcast: but unamplified. Maybe I heard it in my head because the tuner was set to WRVR: my turning on the equipment merely raised the volume, most welcomely.

Oh, hey, whoever can ID the Nat Adderly piece for me, for us, please do so. Nat played lots of good jazz but this hit record of his was conspicuously “Miles” – like: deeply human, soulful, isolated, lonely, in pain …

Stories by Age

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in chronological pk, limbo, pk Personal, stories. Bookmark the permalink.

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