Recording of a Siren


1178B, 1904.ODY.2 from The Sphinx Library, donated to the Museum by Louise Phyn and Dane Jacobs.

Whoever draws too close, 
off guard, and catches the Sirens’ voices in the air—
no sailing home for him, no wife rising to meet him,
no happy children beaming up at their father’s face.
The high, thrilling song of the Sirens will transfix him,
lolling there in their meadow, round them heaps of corpses
rotting away, rags of skin shriveling on their bones…

The effect of a Siren's voice is one of science's greatest unsolved mysteries. A recording of Siren voices does not appear to alter the human brain in the same way that hearing in a real physical space does. There's plenty of speculation as to why, often related to the ear's ability to detect tones at inaudible frequencies versus the limited range of the original recording device.  

See Page 16 of Francis Hugo's Bestiary of the Mediterranean World.