New Sound Technology / Sasquatch Mysteries

Hosted byConnie Willis

New Sound Technology / Sasquatch Mysteries

About the show

At the age of 16, Dr. Joseph Pompei began his career in acoustics as the youngest engineer at Bose Corporation. During his time there, he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering with an Electronic Arts minor from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and later a Master's degree at Northwestern University in psychoacoustics and "3D audio." He joined Connie Willis (info) to discuss the latest sound technology that goes far beyond traditional loudspeakers. Pompei said he grew up in the 1980s as a computer and music nerd, and believes he was "born into the role" that allowed him to develop unique ways of creating sound environments. He recalled that the staff and engineers at Bose were not particularly interested in his idea of creating "sounds that didn't depend on where the speakers were."

Pompei's idea of the "audio spotlight" was developed and perfected in the Media Lab at MIT, where he earned his Ph.D. His system, called "holosonics," uses ultrasound to create "very tight, narrow beams of sound that you can aim like a laser." He said that the primary application of this technology is to deliver sound only to the person who wants to hear it. Pompei commented on the phenomenon of people hearing voices in their heads and assured the audience that it was physically impossible to beam any sound through solid objects like walls. He suggested that the military devices used to beam very loud, high-pitched sound at enemies, were basically "just big loudspeaker arrays."


Navajo tribal member Brenda Harris has been a Sasquatch researcher for most of her life. She joined the program in the second half to discuss her adventures, findings, and conclusions about the legendary creature. Harris recalled her first encounter at the age of about 9 when something apparently stalked the trailer home where her family lived. She said it would "scratch all the way across the bottom of the bedroom window" late at night and emit a very unpleasant odor. She recalled that a family kitten was later found dead in a tree with its claws stuck in the bark like it had tried to escape from something, and was scared literally to death.

Soon after, on an early morning trip to her grandmother's house her parents were startled by something large and hairy that crossed the road in front of them. Harris heard a Navajo radio station warning about a "Yé'iitsoh" (the Navajo word for "monster") in the area. Many years later, when she was married with a family of her own, one of the creatures actually appeared at her doorstep. Harris said that she opened her front door to see "a tall-black figure" standing inches from her, which bolted into the night. Harris also described a dramatic encounter in the Chuska Mountains on the Navajo reservation, in which, accompanied by her terrified sister, a group of the entities appeared to hold onto her jeep when they attempted to escape. Harris said that she senses "a lot of evil" around the Sasquatch creatures.

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