Pop star's sonic boom rocks the neighbours- Library of Mu

Library of Mu record:
Title: Pop star's sonic boom rocks the neighbours
Date: 25 June, 1996
Journal: Daily Telegraph
Author: Paul Stokes
Type of resource: Features
Status: original
No. views: 1855
Description: an account of the sonic gun affair full of innaccuracies, but including a long quote from Cauty about why he built and tested a sonic weapon.

Pop star's sonic boom rocks the neighbours

By Paul Stokes (25 June, 1996, Daily Telegraph)

A POP STAR'S experiments with his 25,000-watt home-made sonic gun have brought an answering blast from dozens of people living up to two miles from his country estate.

Ray Tucker, 59, and his wife Pat, 52, who keep a herd of cattle and 170 sheep on their farm near Totnes in Devon, say that the noise drove the cows wild and led to the loss of a calf a few days from birth. Mrs Tucker said: "When the noise started it was a low howl like an aircraft about to crash. Then it stopped and, when it started again, it sounded more like a very loud didgeridoo."

The Tuckers are now planning to ask for compensation for the calf, which they say would have been worth £900, and extra vets' bills. Jim Cauty is the man behind the acoustic gun. He made a fortune as a member of the group KLF with a string of House Music hits in the early 1990s, including Doctoring the House and Justified and Ancient.

Critics - not just Mrs Tucker - have compared percussive, repetitive "House" to a giant didgeridoo or the sound of a plane heading for certain disaster. Mr Cauty tested his gun to the full for four hours last Friday during a party for 10 friends at his home, Knowle House, near Broadhempston, Totnes. The tests were accompanied by the firing of red flares and came at the end of a fireworks display. Silence eventually fell when police called at 1am.

Mr Cauty, whose arts establishment, the K Foundation, claimed to have burnt 1 million as a protest against the "pretensions" of the Turner art prize, explained his fascination with sonic guns yesterday. It began after he bought two Saracen armoured vehicles at a scrapyard for 4,000 and found equipment in them that he thought could have been used in sonic warfare. He then began assembling his acoustic gun from information he found on the Internet.

Installing huge amplifiers and special speakers to cope with the very low frequencies has cost him tens of thousands of pounds. Initial tests were carried out at the Royal Festival Hall and he is now looking at new ways to experiment with the contraption without upsetting his neighbours. Mr Cauty said: "I am very sorry about any damage or inconvenience we have caused, but the Ministry of Defence should not be worried because it is all stuff we have rebuilt ourselves. "We are trying to find out how far a very low frequency will travel. We know it goes a long way and we were seeing if we could reach the radio mast at Halwell.

It seems there has been quite of lot of research in America into acoustic weapons and seven Hertz is the level at which they will affect humans. "My equipment could not go that low, because it would rip apart the speakers. I do not know what the Government know about all this. I have seen a reference to a device called a curdler used by the Army for riot control in Northern Ireland. "The French once built a device which I have seen a picture of and is so big that it had to be mounted on a train with the speakers encased in concrete. I moved to Devon six months ago for a bit of a rest and this is a project I am taking an interest in. I do not see it as music or art."

He said that he aimed the gun away from homes. It seemed to have no effect on sheep and he did not realise that it would disturb cattle. He was put in the picture when Mr and Mrs Tucker arrived on his doorstep. Mrs Tucker said: "We went round to see Mr Cauty and took the dead calf with us in the back of our Land Rover. He said it had been a tremendous bash, but then we showed him the calf and told him that is what he had done. "We had six heifers in calf which started stampeding around their field looking for somewhere to get out. If the bull had broken out it would have been disastrous, because someone might have been hurt and the animal would have had to be shot. "It was too dangerous for my husband to stay in the field. He stood by the gate and tried to calm them down. The next day two of the heifers went into labour and we lost one of the calves."

The Defence Ministry said it had no knowledge of testing sound weapons and the Army Historical Branch had no information. John Bullen, of the Imperial War Museum, said: "There was a lot of interest in sound between the wars but mainly as a means of detection. The Germans experimented with it during the last war. The intention was to cause distress to people."

This version of the text came from the Telegraph website - it is possible the story underwent further sub-editing before appearing in the paper?


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Posted by Guest on 2012-11-05 03:26:21

Hi My name is Matt, I live in Albany Western Australia, i do alot of Re-inventions, I love electronics, Blacksmithing and re-cycling, So I incorporate all three in my projects, I have just completed in making a sound amplification projector, which fires a 10.5 cycle per second wave in a straight line. using a quad thermionic valve amplifier, producing 1500Watts RMS, and home made aluminum drivers suspension using Kevlar reinforced rings,and using a strontium magnet and focusing the wave in a ceramic coated stainless tube I have made its low bowl moving vibrations have loosened the mortar in brickwork 100meters away. you can contact me at blackdog.engineering@gmail.com cheers

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