Third Ear Experiment

19 September 2012



Third Ear


(Psychiatry) Similar to intuition, sensitivity, and awareness – a psychiatrist will use his/her 'third ear' to look for subliminal cues to interpret clinical observations of patients during therapy.


(Physiology) Hearing with ones skeleton, both sides of the eardrum and ones eustachian tubes, tubes that link the pharynx to the middle ear, as opposed to hearing sound with ones external ears.


(Mysticism) An esoteric concept similar to the third eye of certain spiritual traditions. Often referred to as 'the listening mouth' and 'the all hearing ear'. The third ear is believed to be a doorway that leads to inner awareness and deeper regions of consciousness between self and world. People who have developed the capacity to use their third ears are known as hearers.


The Third Ear Experiment, produced by Brant Withers, was an attempt to connect my eustachian tubes to my pineal gland by physically rerouting the way in which sound entered my body. For 28 days straight, from October 25th to November 21st 2011, I blocked up my external ears and attached a copper funnel to my mouth and set out to see and hear what would happen. The experiment was both extremely torturous and meditative. Each day gave birth to a multitude of new ideas of which I was unable to document thoroughly. The act of documentation itself was often a hindrance to the experience so I made quick notes and as many sketches and paintings as possible for future illustration and investigation and I could easily spend the rest of my life in doing so. Below are some of these images and documents from before, during and after the experiment.






(Click below to view images temporarily)







October 6th (Updated October 31st)





4-D Decartes

Modeled after Decartes' woodcut illustrating his theory of vision and interaction with the pineal gland.

October 8th





Fear of Failure

October 15th





Copper Funnel with Strap (Made by Nicole Bailey)

“Nicole Bailey made that real nice strap with beautiful fabric! She won't be seen in public with me during the experiment, but you can't blame her for that!”

October 15th





Hearing Test at Phil Leonard's

"I have strange news to report about my hearing test and after talking to Phil and with Brant briefly I now have the words to express it:

I'm 42 years old and just learned for the first time in my life "normal people" when they wear isolation headphones and are in a controlled silent environment they aren't supposed to hear anything at all. They're supposed to hear nothing, as if nothing equals silence. But as far back as age three I have heard from 3 to 5 omnipresent sounds at once in my head that vary rather frequently and are of little to no consequence because I have always had them. Seldom are they disruptive and hardly ever do they interfere with my normal day to day functioning.
I assumed that this was what silence was: All of the sounds that you hear in your head when it's really quiet.
As it turns out, some of these sounds can be much louder than many frequencies, and all throughout the hearing test the frequencies sounded soft and in the distance in comparison to my silence.
It is really shocking to me that this is not normal, and not all people are as I am in regards to silence.
Furthermore, there is one frequency I can't even hear at all. I can hear 2.5k and 5k cycles in my right ear, but I am unable to hear 4k at all. It is just missing, gone. Phil could hear it easily coming out of the headphones as the volume was apparently turned up so loud.
I prefer to think that the 4k frequency was merely being muffled by some of the mumbling and shifting of tectonic plates and other sounds in my head that I won't go into now.
I can't hear anything at all above 10k unless I'm not wearing the isolation headphones and I am moving my head from side to side rather fast like an autistic person. Then I might be able to hear one above 10k.
This is very very distressing to me. I thought all people were like this, with multiple sounds in their head, and that they were just the sounds of the human brain in action.
When I first learned about this a few hours ago, and heard that there exists a thing I now call "literal silence", I imagined it and the thought of experiencing "literal silence" seemed EXTREMELY terrifying! Silence to me seemed like a harrowing experience! In the past, whenever I've said the word or heard the word 'silence', for 40 years, I thought it was something else. My god! Surely I am not alone?
I thought silence was what deaf people experienced. I could cry right now. How can someone go so long on earth and not know this? It's insanity is what it is, because if I heard "literal silence" right now I would probably think I was dying. Death, that is silence. Or I should say, WAS 'silence' to me.
Is everyone here able to experience literal silence?

Like, I'm still in shock.
The phrase, "Your silence is deafening." doesn't make sense to me anymore. I have always thought that it meant, your absence of response/noise is making all of the sounds in my head real loud right now.

The Third Ear Experiment will most likely not be anything similar to what you would experience, unless you can't experience literal silence either. If this were a scientific experiment I would immediately be disqualified as 'unsuitable' to say the least.
At one point during the hearing test Phil said, "You can't hear that?" and when I replied "No", he looked disturbed with concern maybe even a little sad and said, "I'm sorry man." But I heard all of the other sounds in my head REAL CLEAR, LIKE CLEARER THAN EVER BEFORE!

When I was leaving, Phil said with kindness and sincerity something to the effect, (I don't remember his exact words because I was in shock), "Don't let it bother you, just go on hearing what you normally hear." And yet I know now, a whole different auditory world exists for other people. For everyone who can experience literal silence. What is that like?

I wonder what my life would be like if I could have ever experienced literal silence?

In light of this recent discovery, I will forge ahead and continue with the experiment exactly as planned, and it will certainly make for some interesting art. I took some good quick notes of all of the different things I could hear clearly in the silent environment and once the shock wears off I will attempt to illustrate it.
I wonder how many people in the world have or don't have literal silence in their lives?"

October 17th






My Personal Silence

“It's weird how all of the sounds of silence in my head gradually change from constant and rhythmic to sporadic and random in a counter-clockwise direction and are almost entirely on one side of my head.”

October 17th





You'll Know When It Hertz

October 17th





Stage 1: Aural Eigengrau (From Childhood to October 25th)

“Perhaps it is the same with sound? A universal biological "intrinsic sound" that may be different for everyone? It gets philosophical! Plus, if no one can tell you that they truly hear silence, maybe you are not alone but uniquely enlightened about our universal differences. Instead of a road block, this silence issue may be another facet of your experiment.” – Ayn Morgan (concerning the phenomenon of eigengrau)

October 18th





Investigating How the Jaw Muscles Could Factor In

October 21st





Brain Stem Seahorse

"Due to the desert island in my personal silence, I found a seahorse in my brain stem today."

October 22nd





Third Ear Carrying Card (Recto and Verso)

“Never leave home without it! It was too thick for Kinkos, so I smashed it down really flat and then they ran it through the machine 20 times and finally it got sealed.”

October 25th







Rule Number 1

October 25th





Fertility Symbol 1

"I find myself drawing "fertility symbols" as a way to fertilize the idea metaphorically. The distraction of sex is present but has manifested itself in a different and unexpected way."

October 25th





Hydrating the Fornix

October 26th





Stage 2: Literal Silence (Duration: 9 days)

“I am now experiencing “Literal Silence”, for the first time ever in my life. The shape of it inside my skull is growing. If I don’t move a single muscle and sit or lay perfectly still, I experience silence. I can hear my heartbeat at times and I can also hear the tension in my neck muscles when I move. It’s beautiful. The world can be a very quiet and peaceful place. But my mouth hurts like shit.” 

October 26th





Fertility Symbol 2

October 27th







“My first bike ride to test my equilibrium. I hear a low hum inside my silence and I am breathing pretty hard. I feel like I’m moving two pedals forward and less than a half a pedal back at first, until I get in the groove of it. There is a copper screen inside the funnel to catch bugs with and prevent foreign objects from flying in.”

October 27th









Silence and Pain

October 28th







Third Ear Phone Call

“I've made one phone call to Nicole and tried to talk through my third ear. She was upset for several reasons as you can imagine. I recorded the conversation without telling her, and she has since allowed me to put it up.”

October 28th







Fertility Symbol 3

October 29th





Looks Good = Feels Good

October 29th





Lotus Knots

"I discovered today that the lotus seated position (with the exception of the hands) creates a posture that allows the muscles of the body to not make any noise. While sitting, standing or reclining in other positions I can hear the sound of various muscles as they contract or even maintain seemingly non-tense positions. The slightest movement of any muscle makes noise. In the Lotus position my muscles are noise free, unless I hold my hands in that way, then I can hear the sound of my thumbs and fingers slightly."

October 29th





Ear Knot 1

“It's not an emergency, I'm just using cotton balls taped in now but I might try to put petroleum jelly in first and then cotton on top. That would last another 4 days probably, but I'd need something like glue to keep the cotton ball in place, not just tape. I don't have anything in my ear canal at the moment. Prolonged use of something in the ear canal is what can cause the bad earaches bleeding with pus.”

October 29th





His Master's Voice, His Servant's Ear

“I got a ton of good pics with Nipper from RCA.”

Photograph by Phil Leonard

October 30th






Breathing Sound

"I discovered how to breathe sound today! While sitting in front of Phil's stereo speaker and listening to Panicsville I discovered how to breathe sound! It's incredible! A feeling like none I've ever known before! And the resonance practically levitates me!"

October 30th






October 31st





Breathing Live Music

"I went to the Hideaway. It was Halloween. I didn't feel so out of place. I had just learned how to breathe sound and so i did it while Hostage Pageant was playing. It made me extremely disoriented but felt awesome."

October 31st





Bellflower Speaks (Duration: 6 days)

“Over the last few days I've heard a woman I call Bellflower (the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear muse), speak to me inside my head. So I've been taking note! This is what she has said to me in order of occurrence.”

November 1st





Limax Maximus Stress Tension Pain

“This may or may not be experiment related.” 

November 1st





Riding the Light Phenomenon

"I am going to explore this radiating light phenomenon a bit more though. I also think that the documentation has become a distraction to the experience. Every time something happens, I want to record it instantly, and the event stops immediately. So I need to just ride with these events longer and not be so quick to try to capture them while it is still happening."

November 2nd






November 3rd






"Fornicaudio. They don't call it a Fornix for nothing. I think I'm fucking my brain up!"

Etymology: It is a common belief that the origin of the word derives from Latin. The word fornix means "an archway" or "vault" and it became a common euphemism for a brothel as prostitutes could be solicited in the vaults beneath Rome. More directly, fornicatio means "done in the archway"; thus it originally referred to prostitution. - Wikipedia

November 3rd





Rough Day in the Tympanic Cave

November 4th





Ear Knot 2

November 5th






Breathing Sound vs. Making Sound

November 5th






Ear Knot 3

November 6th





Glans Brain (Foreplay and the Quest for the Brain Orgasm)

"I also believe I am soon to be at the "crossroads" in the experiment. I think I've discovered a way to have "brain orgasms" maybe even multiples. The exact opposite of a seizure. And this stimulation is very addictive. I'm able to touch a new pleasure center "up there" as opposed to the common one "down there" if you know what I mean. Anyway, this could come with a great price. Who knows what that price could be, it's anyone's guess. We are in uncharted waters, no man's land of experience, and I am afraid. The time is approaching when I will have to decide wither or not to take that chance. Enlightenment vs. Instant Gratification. You would think that would be a 'no brainer' pardon the pun, but it really will be a tough one. The foreplay alone makes euphoria seem painful."

November 7th





Stage 3: Frequency Symphony (Duration: 10 days)

“All this time, I’ve been waiting for my third ear to become a third eye, I'm now thinking it doesn't work like that. I think that the third ear is a different organ altogether. Don't know if I will hallucinate and go to other realms and see other beings with my ears. I’m not having doubts but I think this frequency symphony new level of awareness might be my 3rd ear. It's weird and horrific. It's quite possible that I've ruined myself auditorily, maybe it will go away after some time, but I think I need to start resigning myself to the fact that I'm going to be stuck with the frequency symphony forever. My ears seem to have a "memory" and an "imagination". It is very strange, I don't get changes when I go into a smaller room or anything but if I hear a frequency with my third ear it seems to do one of two things; 1 - mimic it and save it for later recall,  or 2 - when I hear a frequency the third ear makes a new imaginary one to go along with it. Everything has a frequency and I don't think I'm hearing those, there is not a fast enough reaction time to believe that it is in relation to much other than the ear itself, like it has a mind of it's own.”

November 8th





Breathing Track 3 (from Z'EV's album "5 Pieces to Inhale")

"I remedied that by listening to track 3 again, played it about half way through paused it, was once again in the literal silence stage and stopped the breathing sound experience. It was good to experience literal silence and I felt selfish somewhat in not breathing the tracks more, but the literal silence was so welcoming to me, I just needed it in my life again. About 2 hours have passed and the frequency symphony has returned but only at about 5% or less of what has been normal for the last 4 days or so. The experience sort of healed me. Possibly canceling out whatever frequencies were in this (at times maddening ceaseless symphony). I will be using it again from time to time I'm sure for relief and maintenance purposes. 

Over all, I'd say much of the sounds throughout the 5 pieces were vibrating or resonating with either the copper funnel or the head and skull area, but in breathing/diffusing the more denser and thicker sounds, it gave me a really unique and pleasurable physical experience."

November 8th







"I sat in silence meditating for hours trying to be as still as possible away from any external sounds."

November 9th





Return of the Light Phenomenon

"I'm seeing the colors of light again. About half way through the experiment (16 or 17 days into it). I started seeing these weird colors of light swirling around like a bathroom mat." (I experienced this off and on for app. 8 days until the "Spirit Spectrum" was revealed to me.)

November 10th





The Otic Vesicle

October 14th





The Birth of the Otic Vesicle

November 10th





After Two Social Interactions

"After two social interactions, I wasted almost all damn day trying to convince myself that I'm still normal!"

November 11th





Audio Pulse Play with Hallucination Ramblings 1-3

1-"My face split in half vertically. The left half, real warm. A plastic trashcan dragged slowly through a sewer. The last of the bathtub water spirals down the drain speeding up faster and faster forever. "Om-om-om-om-om", 5 bass tones in left ear. Rising and falling right ear high soft pitch. Heartbeat in multiple places at once. Hidden, just him with night goggles. "Whatever he says, it means you're doing the opposite." Whoooeeeuupp Weeeoooowaampp. The same thing a clown would have. "We're not shaking on it, no no no no no we can't do that." I look down and see 10 fingers on each hand, with no knuckles. An echo, but there's no hollowness to the room and it just comes back. Each new sound my ears create, is instantly followed by a strong, clear, pulse inside them. Pulse as penetration. In and out of the ear. The auricle is the oracle. Without her it's just casual blood sex."

2-"Teapot steaming out of the top of my head. Neck muscle makes a lazy lion roar. Birds chirp center left mad at a mechanical whippoorwill. A single note of a siren. Both the woman and alarm. Vigorous shaking rattle, the handle through my foramen magnum. Finger flicked water on a hot grill. The pulse alone creates immense suspense. Meeuh meeuh meeuh. Mosquito ear forehead numb. A silent round of Yahtzee. Pendulum pulse. Right arm numb. Fuzzy vegetable mold all over my trunk. I have one big nostril and the top of a star is shoved up it. My bowels empty without shame. Hot darkness. "He's playing the tambourine like he means it!" With the stamina of a new machine. The front half of a crown snapped onto my head. I look down and see three right legs and one left leg. "Weellll, you're all nutty!" "I need to corroborate your part of the body." "I don't think so." Happy. He leaned into the Maitre d', "I'm independent". Rosy pink night in the skylight. "Well, you've had enough time." I'm sitting at the end of the table. Across from me is Jaclyn Smith rubbing her eye."

3-"A constant tone, panning. The teapot and the rattle have switched places. The steam is coming in through my foramen magnum. Hissing loud. And the rattle is bouncing on top of my head, up and down Something falls on the floor of the attic I don't have. Twice. The inside of my head is a dwelling, and the furniture is moving around by itself. A U.F.O. ray beam is not above me but facing me. And slowly pulsating. Oh, I'm lying on my back, that's why. Bass drum here and there left ear. Pulse vertical pump. Bass drum another thump. Multi-pulse stretches skull diagonally. Right hand numb. I can't get symmetrical. Vast pulsating light so fast it's vibratory. Faster than a film projector. Running water. Outdoors. Surround sound cerebral fluid swish. Needle in the prostate. I'm on a conveyor belt passing kid's toys I don't understand. Headphones vacuum sealed to the head. I have no brain, and there's animals I don't know between my ears and the empty space. Kaleidoscope of bare bottoms, merging into each other perfectly. My right ear is the static dominant ear. But everything else takes precedence. My pulse is digging dirt. Green and purple lines spin down in my left eye. My right hand and forearm went really numb. I'm out of balance. Taking my pulse in multiple places at the same time. Hearing them creating various rhythms, finding the best ones to coincide. It's a trance and I'm hypnotized. Hours are lost here."

November 12th





Hand Signs

"She showed me three hand signs and asked, "Which one of these does not belong?" The correct answer was "C", the thumb has its own artery."

November 12th





My Spiritual Strong Arm of Safety AKA My Guardian Forearm

"I didn't even know I was going to swallow anything, or have problems swallowing anything when a human arm appeared from another dimension. Not a cloud or "thin air". I saw where it came from and where it went back to. Anyway, it grabbed me by the Adam's apple and started tugging on it up and down. I thought it was trying to kill me, so I twisted my body and tried to turn my head away from it when a Vicks lozenge popped down my throat. The human arm then disappeared back behind this plane of geometry we can't see. It saved my life. At least it thinks it did. There is a higher power for goodness. A spiritual strong arm of safety. I saw it and I felt it and it left one little mark. Maybe tomorrow I'll have bruises."

November 13th





Stage 4: The Four Basic Elements of Sound (Duration: 4 months)

"There seem to be 4 fundamental sounds within my third ear. The rattle, teapot, heartbeat, and frequencies. The heartbeat and frequencies seem to be localized just inside the external ears, while the rattle and teapot come from either just above my Foramen magnum or atop the skull (they trade places sometimes), it's as if the handle of the rattle and the teapot themselves were below the opening of the Foramen magnum and the rattle is bouncing up and down inside the skull, on it even, and the teapot spout is whistling steam just blasting through it. The frequencies are constant and I liken them to fire. Some are very "searing" and give off a tremendous amount of heat. The tea pot and rattle when they become dominant, tend to announce the onset of a 'visual' event. The pulse always follows after that event. When the frequencies become too dominant, I can however find my pulse and 'zoom in' on it and reduce the dominance of the frequencies by listening to and focusing/concentrating on the heartbeat."

November 14th





Spontaneous Ignition of My Head

"When the teapot steam moves the rattle handle up and down, and their physical connection intersects with a constant and searing (app. 8.5k) frequency sound (connected between both ears). Hold it, and find three simultaneous pulses within your body, using one from either ear. Quickly, the arrangement of all become one composition, and the head will then spontaneously ignite (on the outside) for as long as the balance and harmony can be maintained inside. It does not burn physically and the flames are not painful, but they do however prove difficult to see through."

November 15th 





Meditation vs. Torture

"For aural pulse purposes, when relaxing or meditating it is better to sit on the hands than to clasp them in prayer." 

November 16th





My Guardian Forearm Saved My Life Again

November 17th





The Spirit Spectrum (Inverted Complement of ROYGBIV)

"Today an elderly church woman on the street, (who probably thought I was disabled), came up to me and put her hand on my left shoulder and said, "That is a really beautiful blue jacket you have, it is just splendid!" And then she felt and rubbed the material. Well, the jacket as you probably know is neon orange. When she said this, I thought "Oh, she's color blind." and then I thanked her for the compliment and turned away. Instantly all of the colors of the world became their complement and soon after inverted together and I saw our ROYGBV spectrum from 4 sides. I now know where the other plane of geometry is that we can't see. It is within the inverse of the complement to our own spectral THz or the spirit spectrum's electromagnetic waves propagating spirit light of non linear frequencies. Of this world, but not of this flesh. I know this because, only the (hand) of the Spiritual Strong Arm of Safety came out, turned neon blue, and burned an inverse complement imprint of itself on the side of the Tree of Life on Market St. The blue imprint like 'paint' was between green and violet only they were switched above and below in placement. It's hard to explain this."

November 18th





On the opposite side of the All Seeing Eye is the All Consuming Mouth

"When I awoke to the underwater sea creatures, there was a triangle manta with one eye (like the 'all seeing eye') floating around, but the eye was on its ventral side and on the dorsal side was a mouth, an all devouring, all eating, all consuming mouth. But not like the devil's, it was godly and it hovered over my belly and other parts and sucked my sickness toxins out of me. It was healing, very healing and I didn't know it. It sucked so hard it was on the verge of internal hemorrhaging."

November 19th





The One Eyed Land Ray Absorbing Color

"Moving really slowly, a one eyed "landray" (not a stingray, no tail) came out of the spirit spectrum and did not seem to reflect, emit or transmit much light. It absorbed it a lot though. I wouldn't say it was environmentally camouflaged because of this either. It looked a lot like the muddy gray color you get when you mix a bunch of colors together. I could see it fairly clearly when stationary and in motion. And I could see the sucking of reflected light colors from objects around it, and I could see it absorbing the light/colors into it as it moved. It was round in shape, and its edges rippled in waves when in motion, so I doubt it had legs but I never got to see its body underneath it. It moved like a ray in water through the air, but really low to the ground. Its single eye, was located center top and had its own dome. It could see 360 degrees around it and everything above it. The eyeball was big and bright white with a black pupil. Though it looked at me once when it first emerged, It didn't seem interested in me at all. It just sort of moved around checking out my furniture, walls and ceiling, sucking up colors here and there. The rattle and the teapot are together in both ears. I hear no frequencies or pulse. I've been under 2 quilts for hours. There is a whole school of landrays now. They don't get close enough to each other to suck what little muddy color/light they have. Like fish they turn on a dime, in unison, but in different directions, always staying equidistant from one another above the floor and up and down and around the walls drinking/eating color. They are really attracted to the quilts and all of the art work on the walls.  I poked one as it was leaving the couch, and saw the flesh color leave my index finger temporarily and got a sharp belly ache. I don't know how they mate."

November 20th





The Geophysical Interactions Between the Four Elemental Sounds

November 21st





Self-Portrait as Seen in the Spirit Spectrum

November 21st






"Saliva pH corrosion oxidized copper despite routine maintenance message to Poseidon and all of his little unknown sea dwellers on land: Without them I'd see nothing crusty blue-green coral, in this spectrum or any other. Thank you for sharing, you have saved my life over night."

November 21st





Doorway to the Spirit Spectrum

(Post Experiment)





The Golden Ratio Leading the Spirit Spectrum to the Pineal Body

(Post Experiment)





Third Ear Symbol Wheel

(Post Experiment)