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Headlong
by Rick Hoar
January 22, 2011

Fascinating experience tonight.

A certain song came to mind in the shower this evening. As I sang Headlong by Queen aloud to myself, I paused briefly to wonder what had inspired me to dwell on the tune which I hadn’t heard played for months.

It occurred to me that I do have the track on my iPod which I keep docked on some portable speakers in our living room. The music player is constantly powered, and it plays randomly on and on. We only turn on the speakers occasionally to listen, and the music is presumably inaudible the rest of the time.

As I finished in the bathroom, I hypothesized that I might have been externally influenced into thinking of the song, and if that was the case, it might actually have been played recently – perhaps while I had eaten dinner and watched TV with my wife next to the iPod this evening.

That’s why, on a lark, I came out of the bathroom and announced to my wife, “I predict that when I turn on these speakers, Queen’s Headlong will be playing.”

Without pause, I turned on the dock, and eureka: the final bars of Headlong were indeed playing!

No matter how this event was able to occur, it seems nearly impossible to have been by mere chance (as several days worth of music are playing when my iPod is in “shuffle” mode). Therefore something truly remarkable must have been exhibited to have taken place.

My first thought is that even while “off,” the portable speakers may still emit some diminished frequency of sound from the attached music device. While I would have been in the middle of a shower behind closed doors while the majority of the track played, it is conceivable by conventional acoustics and physiology that I somehow subconsciously heard the music and sang along. The phenomenon would be akin to a dog’s perception of higher-frequency sound waves or subliminal suggestion techniques.

A more wild theory I have is that perhaps it was somehow a manifestation of local clairvoyance. I might have become aware of a near-future experience of hearing the song when I would turn on the speakers a few moments later. This may have only come to mind as we had been watching an episode of Fringe earlier, in particular, one dealing with the science fiction of time travel!

Still, if I had not heard the music in the shower, I would not have immediately come out to the living room and turned on the speaker, so that would seem to be a paradoxical violation in terms of my understanding of time.

I am honestly at a loss to explain this happening, but I did feel it was a clearly observed oddity and therefore worthy of documentation. If you read this and have any insights into the nature of this incident, please do not hesitate to add to the conversation!