Kids around the country are getting high on the internet, thanks to MP3s that induce a state of ecstasy. And it could be a gateway drug leading teens to real-world narcotics.
At least, that’s what Oklahoma News 9 is reporting about a phenomenon called “i-dosing,” which involves finding an online dealer who can hook you up with “digital drugs” that get you high through your headphones.
And officials are taking it seriously.
“Kids are going to flock to these sites just to see what it is about and it can lead them to other places,” Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs spokesman Mark Woodward told News 9.
I-dosing involves donning headphones and listening to “music” — largely a droning noise — which the sites peddling the sounds promise will get you high. Teens are listening to such tracks as “Gates of Hades,” which is available on YouTube gratis (yes, the first one is always free).
That’s the lead in to a bit on Wired.com’s Threat Level blog about house wives in middle America getting irrational because their kids are experimenting with this generation’s version of the fainting game, albeit one that doesn’t involve killing off scores of brain cells.
I’ll be honest with you, when I first read this I was pretty livid. After all, isn’t the point of music to get a reaction out of the listener by way of creating a sensation in them? I listen to a lot of experimental, tonal based music. Long, sweeping, ambient soundscape-y sort of stuff that’s specifically designed to create subtle sensation in the listener.
The piece I’m listening to right now? It makes me feel cold. A series of hollow, echoing sounds are set over a constant harmonic tingling that sounds like wind in ice covered trees. And when I focus on it, I feel cooler. That is what the music is supposed to do.
At first I had trouble believing claims of people getting “high” of listening to digitally created tonal frequencies. I could believe that by depriving themselves of other sensory input (which if you watch the video on the Threat Level, that’s what they are doing to “take” the i-dose), their body would compensate for it by focusing more on the aural, and thus intensifying the experience. But any sort of claims to euphoria or lingering highs would be complete crap, right?
Then I thought about alien abductions.
And the sound that causes them.
Back in the 80s, there was a man going around to various scifi conventions that – for a nominal fee and your signature on a waiver form – would strap you into a modified dentist’s chair, attach electrodes to your head, hypnotize you and give you an abduction experience. The experience was pretty universal. You’re taken from your place of rest by some small, fetus-like human, to some place unfamiliar. Then, the fetus human does things to you that you are powerless to prevent, and unable to understand. Finally, the fetus human returns you to safely to your home. A guy at a scifi con with a space next to the booth selling Klingon foreheads could give this to you.
His trick? Extremely low frequency vibrations. You see, the abduction experience is timeless and world-wide. Red-caps and faeries in Europe were blamed for it in the Middle Ages. The Japanese had their forest spirits. Nearly every culture has a folklore story that replicates what we thought was a totally modern phenomenon. And why is that? Because rocks break. Not pebbles or bolders or even huge slabs, but multi-million ton, mile-long swaths of bedrock. Some one had realized that abduction experiences are focused around areas with large amount of bedrock. Then they went a step further and checked the time of the abductions against any seismic activity. They found a direct correlation.
When rocks break, they give off energy. The bigger the rock, the more the energy. The energy is in the form of extremely low frequency vibrations. Think really slow, but really strong radio waves. And when these waves reach a human in the right state of sleep, they cause an abduction experience. That’s what the man at the scifi con was doing. He was getting people in the right state of sleep, then introducing ELF vibrations to their head. Voila, instant abduction.
The idea is that the ELF sets off some kind of base-level response from our brain. Sort of how if you type cmd into the run prompt of any version of windows, you’ll get the same response. We may all be different, and the details of the abduction experience will reflect that difference, but the basic response to that input is the same for everyone.
Now, what the hell does that have to do with i-dosing? Well, if a sound can cause a sleeping person to think they’re being abducted, I could make the bridge that a similar sound could induce minor euphoria in a conscious person. But claims of sound getting you as high as coke or heroin? Or that any of this is addictive? That’s complete bullshit. Paranoid, deluded bullshit.
Ultimately, none of that is the issue at hand. The real issue is that you’ve got parents who are so petrified of their children experimenting, and who are unable to converse with them on any sort of meaningful, personal level, that they’ll just run screaming to the news cameras, policemen and legislators for some knee-jerk fix. Which, in a twist of cold irony, will just make whatever they are railing against that much more enticing to their kids.