The Music of Erich Zann (by Dean Stuart)
In Tour de Lovecraft: The Tales (Atomic Overmind Press, 2011) Kenneth Hite calls “The Music of Erich Zann” one of Lovecraft’s finest pieces. It is pure Lovecraftian, not a Poe story, not a Dunsany story, not a Machen story. The Music of Erich Zann was written in 1921 but “From Beyond” was written 1920 and I would suggest that From Beyond is a pure Lovecraftian story as well. As I have stated in a previous article, Mr. Hite said that From Beyond was excessively and heavily influenced by Poe but he also states that the story is a key to understanding HPL’s philosophy associated with the Cthulhu mythos (Hite, 2011).
Both tales are short and packed with a considerable amount of information. However, what is particularly interesting is that in some aspects The Music of Erich Zann is the antithesis of From Beyond. While From Beyond is about using a machine to generate some type of electro-magnetic field to stimulate the pineal gland and open a two-way door to an overlapping reality, The Music of Erich Zann appears to be about a man using music to keep some type of inter-dimensional door closed.
Discussions on the science behind the tale “From Beyond” have already been presented in previous articles. However, an updated and more direct interpretation of this story within the context of relativity and quantum mechanics as well as the need to integrate a series of additional dimensions beyond the additional four of space-time is required for this article. As Michio Kaku has described , the objective of developing a Grand Unified Theory, one that includes electromagnetism, the Strong Force (inside the nucleus of the atom), the Weak Force (the section of the atom outside of the atom), AND gravity requires the consideration of hyperspace and the existence of 10 dimensions (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Wraps and the 10th Dimension by Michio Kaku, 1994). I want to make two points in reference to From Beyond and The Music of Erich Zann, relative to Kaku’s book. The first point concerns modes of operation, the second concerns prevailing theories that may explain the science behind each story (that obviously requires further testing).
In From Beyond the device creates a field that stimulates our pineal gland so that we can see things all around us that we normally can’t see. Consequently, the generated field also allows those other entities to see us as well. It appears that the device is impacting us and the entities and not space-time itself. Sound waves operate by creating vibrations or resonances in the air. These vibrations hit a membrane (or in our case our ear drum) and in turn are converted into electrical signals that are sent to our brain and interpreted as sounds and information (Kaku, 1994). The device in From Beyond appears to create some unique vibrations that must stimulate membranes of some sort in our pineal gland, which in turn allows us to perceive things that are not normally observed. Unfortunately, the device has the same impact on the entities that live all around use and they can also see us.
The device (known as the Resonator in the movie) in the tale From Beyond.
In the case of Erich Zann we have something every different happening. There is a weakened barrier (possibly a membrane?) in space-time that Zann is keeping closed with his music. Unlike From Beyond where Tillinghast gives some partial explanation of how his machine operates, Zann writes the explanation down on some paper only to have them be blown away into the interstellar / inter-dimensional winds. However, based on what we know something was trying to get into our reality and Zann appears to be preventing this from occurring with his music. This leads us to the second point associated with this article; the theory behind these stories.
The Music of Erich Zann (from unfilmable.blogspot.com)
The strange, semi-corporal entities we encounter in From Beyond appear to be part of our reality or space-time. They are there and always have been there, its just that we cannot normally see them. This is similar to the concepts of hyperspace, which also goes by the name Kaluza-Klein theory or superstring theory, which requires six more spatial dimensions beyond our usual four in space-time (Kaku, 1994). Thus, in From Beyond it appears that the device opens these higher (or lower depending on your point of view) dimensions allowing all entities to see what is in the other dimensions.
In sharp contrast to From Beyond, in The Music of Erich Zann, I believe we are dealing with a parallel Universe putting into ours. As shown in the figure below, Stephen Hawking’s Wave Function of the Universe is looking at the birth of the Universe from a quantum perspective so that there are an infinite number of all possible universes but that we live in the universe that had the highest probability of being stable to support life. However, has shown below, as our universe formed, there is still a small but non-vanishing probability that some of these neighboring, parallel universes are in existence (Kaku, 1994). Was Erich Zann preventing one of these parallel universes from spilling into ours?
Demonstration of Hawking’s wave function of the Universe (from universe-review.ca)
Next time we will discuss in more detail how the Music of Erich Zann was keeping a parallel universe at bay. Thank you – Fred.