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'The world's most dangerous instrument' was rumored to have killed people who used it

'The world's most dangerous instrument' was rumored to have killed people who used it

The deadly instrument is said to have resulted in death for people who once played it

'The world's most dangerous instrument' was once rumored to have killed people who were brave enough to use it,

The extremely rare instrument in question is widely known as a 'glass armonica' and was first invented by Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, way back in 1761.

Historians say that Franklin first devised the plan for the deadly instrument when he saw another musician playing glasses filled with water. Check it out in action here:

Intrigued by the performance, the inventor then had some glass bowls made of varying sizes and mounted them onto a spindle and used a treadle to make them spin.

The glass armonica was made from an iron rod with rotating glass bowls fitting one inside the next which were all held together with cork, according to Lethbridge News.

"The varying sizes of the bowls allowed them to vibrate at different pitches used in the Western scale," the outlet explains.

Franklin then 'color-coded' each bowl to represent different notes which made it possible to 'go beyond' just simple notes as it allowed users to incorporate a whole range of 'various chords and melodies' as well.

The outlet added: "The rod was attached to a wheel, which was manually turned by a foot pedal.

"The musician would dip their fingers in water and touch each bowl’s edge as it turned to get a sound similar to that of the singing glasses."

The glass armonica looks like something out of a medieval torture chamber.
Wikimedia Commons

The glass armonica took the world by storm in its early stages after being hailed as one of the most celebrated instruments of the 18th century but, by the 1820s, it took a turn for the worse after people soon began reporting harrowing stories after playing it.

The instrument allegedly began killing people with reports that its sheer complexity totally overstimulated the brain which ultimately caused a whole array of nasty symptoms.

Such included; dizziness, nervousness, hallucinations, and cramps amongst performers.

Players also allegedly complained of muscle spasms.

The Franklin Institute explains: "A few listeners were also subject to ill effects; after an incident in Germany where a child died during a performance, the armonica was actually banned in a few towns.

"Some people thought that the high-pitched, ethereal tones invoked the spirits of the dead, had magical powers, or drove listeners mad."

Some believed the sounds from the instrument 'invoked the spirits of the dead'.

Others, however, believed that it was the lead from the crystal bowls or paint which was 'absorbed into the musicians' fingers when they touched the glass' that led to all the sickness.

However, no explanation or proof was ever properly given to such claims.

The Franklin Institute continued: "Franklin himself ignored all of the controversy and continued to play the instrument until the end of his life with none of the symptoms mentioned.

"But the armonica's popularity never really returned to what it had been when it was first introduced."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy / Michael Ventura / Peter Conner

Topics: Music, Weird