New evidence shows acoustic resonance behind Devil’s Church ‘witchcraft’

New evidence shows acoustic resonance behind Devil's Church 'witchcraft'

New evidence shows acoustic resonance behind Devil’s Church ‘witchcraft’

In the heart of eastern Finland’s Koli National Park lies a natural wonder that has intrigued locals and visitors alike for centuries – the Pirunkirkko, or Devil’s Church.

This 34-meter-long crevice cave believed to be a sacred space where local sages convened to connect with the spirit world, has long been a constant feature in local folklore. Practitioners of shamanism continue to flock to this mystical cavern today, organizing drumming sessions within its depths.

However, recent research by archaeologist Riitta Rainio of the University of Helsinki and cultural studies researcher Elina Hytönen-Ng from the University of Eastern Finland suggests that the unique acoustics may hold the key to understanding the beliefs and rituals associated with the Devil’s Church.

The acoustic wonders of Devil’s Church.

Rainio and Hytönen-Ng dived into the acoustics of Devil’s Church, exploring whether its distinctive resonance phenomenon could explain the spiritual significance attributed to the cave. They discovered that the cave houses a unique acoustic resonance that amplifies and prolongs sound at a specific frequency.

Historical archives revealed that the Devil’s Church was not merely a gathering place for mystics but also served as a stage for healing rituals and drumming sessions.

Kinolainen, a renowned sage in the region, utilized the cave for magical practices, bringing his patients to converse with the Devil about the causes and cures of their ailments. “This kind of healing ritual often included loud yelling, stomping, shooting, and banging,” explained Rainio in a statement.

Hytönen-Ng’s interviews with a contemporary shamanic practitioner further corroborated the connection between Devil’s Church and spiritual experiences. The practitioner emphasized the unique energy within the cave, particularly during drumming sessions at the back of the cavern, which, according to them, opened up “new horizons.”

When the researchers conducted acoustic measurements in the cave’s corridor-like, smooth-walled back, they observed a strong resonance phenomenon. According to Rainio, this is caused by a standing wave between parallel walls, generating a tone at 231 Hz, which is amplified and prolonged by the cave’s natural frequency, adding a mystical dimension to the rituals performed within.

The acoustic recordings confirmed the vocalization of tones at 231 Hz, highlighting a fascinating alignment between the modern-day practitioner’s experiences and the resonance phenomenon identified by the researchers.

A sonic bridge to the past.

The researchers noted that while resonance is a common occurrence in built environments, it is exceptionally rare in the natural world, especially within caves with smooth, solid, parallel surfaces.

Comparable resonances have been documented in Paleolithic caves in France and Spain, often associated with paintings on cave walls. Rainio and Hytönen-Ng suspect that the resonance-amplified, persistent tone in Devil’s Church might have been subtly present during ancient rituals, shaping the beliefs and experiences of those who gathered within.

“Where a researcher of acoustics hears as resonance, people of the past may have sensed the presence of a spirit, and a shamanic practitioner may feel the presence of an exceptional energy, each according to their background,” added Rainio.

Devil’s Church, with its rare acoustic properties, emerges not only as a geological wonder but as a fascinating glimpse into the intersection of archaeology, cultural studies, and acoustics.

Source: Interesting Engineering

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New evidence shows acoustic resonance behind Devil’s Church ‘witchcraft’

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