What is it about audio that makes it 100 percent spookier than film? I don’t know about you, but I think sound is capable of capturing the imagination and leaving us breathless with fear in a way that no other sense can manage. All the best horror films only work because of their peerless sound engineering. Think about it: if you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of trying to sleep when you can hear the sounds of vermin like mice scratching at the walls, you’ll know how maddeningly creepy simple noises and sounds can be.
So if you’re in the mood for a long and lasting scare then look no further than the following list, where we’ve compiled some of the most frightening audio recordings to be found online. Fair warning; some listeners will find the contents of these recordings extremely distressing, so due caution is advised.
1. The Enfield Poltergeist
The Enfield Poltergeist was an alleged haunting which took place in a council house in Enfield, England, between the years of 1977 and 1979. Single parent Peggy Hodgson reported a number of inexplicable phenomena in her house, including levitating furniture, knocking noises in the walls, thrown objects, and demonic voices. The following is an audio recording of Maurice Grosse, a member of the Psychical Research Society, speaking to Janet Hodgson, the daughter of Peggy. Janet reported that she had been possessed by an “entity” and can be heard speaking in a deep, gravelly, middle-aged voice, quite unlike that of an 11-year-old girl. Numerous skeptics have since dismissed the case as a hoax or prank played by the Hodgson children, but this recording remains haunting nonetheless.
2. Aztec death whistle
These frightening skull-shaped whistles were carved from wood by the ancient Aztec people of Mexico. The curious acoustic properties of these instruments produce a noise that sounds eerily like a human screaming, and archeologists and anthropologists have speculated that the sound of these whistles might have accompanied human sacrifices.
3. The Jonestown suicide tape
In 1978, notorious cult leader Jim Jones ordered all 918 disciples of the radical leftist People’s Temple to commit mass suicide by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid in their base in Jonestown, Guyana. This incident occurred after the Port Kaituma Airstrip shootings, in which Jones ordered his followers to snipe at Congressman Leo Ryan, as well as several other public servants and NBC reporters. In retaliation, the FBI, which had been investigating Jim Jones on charges of alleged human rights violations, attempted to arrest Jones. The FBI recovered the following audio recording, in which Jones can be heard ordering his followers to preempt an arrest and to take their own lives. What followed would be the greatest loss of American civilian life until the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
4. Operation Wandering Souls
Operation Wandering Soul was a propaganda campaign exercised by American forces during the Vietnam War, which exploited an ancient Vietnamese belief in the “wandering soul”- a phenomenon in which the spirits of unburied corpses would wander the earth in a state of pain and anguish. Army engineers spent weeks recording creepy sounds and altered voices, which were intended to terrify the Viet Kong, sow fear and confusion, and redirect troops. Helicopters were sometimes employed to broadcast recordings, and in some, the spliced and doctored recordings pleaded for the communist troops to surrender.
5. Tornado siren
The awful dins made by warning sirens are often designed by sound engineers to be as unsettling and discordant as possible, and this Tornado siren sounding off in Miles City, Montana, is no exception. If anyone lives in a state where severe weather is a routine problem, then these wailing sirens will induce immediate anxiety and distress.
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