The Whispering Gallery
I went to see my dear old Dad last week. He is 99 years of age. He remembers things from the dim and distant past much better than whatever went on yesterday … but then again, so do I.
Like the day he took my sister and me to the Whispering Gallery in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. Dressed in our coordinating Sunday bests we climbed the 257 steep & sloping steps. Then, Dad stood several yards away around the perimeter of the cathedral’s famous dome and whispered into the wall; how much he loved us both. To our youthful amazement, we could hear his voice as clearly as if he’d whispered into our ears. And for the next few minutes we ran to and fro to have a go ourselves.
Our whispered vibrations clung to the surface and “crept” along the gently curving path. The slight angle of the structure kept the sound waves from dispersing out to either side. We could hear each other perfectly. The thing is St Paul’s Cathedral is not unique – there are other iconic whispering galleries that can be found all around the world. These are some I found …
Apparently US president John Qunicy Adams would feign sleep in a certain spot in Washington’s capitol building to listen to his opponents discussing their arguments. Sneaky eh? Then, there is the Bench of Whisperers in Spain where illicit lovers can whisper sexy secrets without raising the wrath of their chaperones.
You might easily miss the arch in Gorlitz, as it is a channeled stone arch above the doorway at house No. 22 in this medieval German town. But you probably won’t miss the is a herringbone-tiled roof arching New York’s Grand Central station’s Oyster Bar. Sounds waves shoot up one of the four corners, along the arched surface of the ceiling, and back down the pillar on the opposite side.
I know there are others – do whisper? But only share if they are not that secret, after all, you don’t know who might be listening …