Flowers for the Freaking Out Girl

dafodils.jpg I took yesterday off, which meant making a few phone calls, doing a little work related reading and then switching to fun reading, which currently is Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day. I tried to read it without seeing Anthony Hopkins (who played the lead role in the movie version of the book) but Hopkins got the character so right it was hopeless. I’ve surrendered to it.

Today I’ve got choir rehearsal, and then tonight a book party for a very very very interesting sounding book: Muses, Madmen, and Prophets: Rethinking the History, Science, and Meaning of Auditory Hallucination by Daniel B. Smith. This book could potentially be both fun and work-related. I’m interested in the subject regardless of the book, AND it’s related to what I’m writing about.

Poll Question: Do you ever hear things? Voices or footsteps, or anything? (I used to sometimes hear music that wasn’t there. My mind seemed to resolve noise into music, ie, an air conditioner would sound like a brass band. It was unnerving, and I was glad when it stopped!)

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

4 thoughts on “Flowers for the Freaking Out Girl

  1. I just finished “The Remains of the Day” last week and I also couldn’t get Anthony Hopkins’ voice out of my head while reading. He really was perfect, wasn’t he? And it’s such a lovely, subtle book.

    As for your question, I sometimes hear my doorbell ring, the buzzer from downstairs, that is, and there’s no one there. I had to learn to watch the cat. If he didn’t react, then I was dreaming it.

  2. You’re not alone at all. My mind seems to always turn random noises into some kind of music, especially if there’s even the slightest rhythm to the noise. Freaks, unite!

  3. I am just about positive that blow dryer manufacturers insert something into them that causes the brain to think it’s hearing a ringing telephone whenever the blow dryer is turned on. I think that vacuum manufacturers do the same thing.

    Maybe it’s just me…

  4. I found all these studies that seem to indicate that normal people hears things. Not voices telling them what to do, but sounds and music, and occasionally someone calling their name (when it’s not someone on the street calling out to someone with the same name, but clearly an auditory hallucination).

    And a lot of them say even people who hear more extensive voices, it’s not necessarily a sign of mental illness. It’s all very interesting.

    I just thought about when you feel bad or weird about something you are going through, and how much better you feel when you hear that lots of people have experienced the same thing. People who hear voices probably have enough to deal with, and if it turns out that it’s not so unusual, and that there are all sorts of explanations for it that do not include mental illness, how much easier it might be to cope with it.

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