Musical Hallucinations

There is a condition, a nightmarish condition, in which songs get stuck in your head, and play over and over again in loud, fully-realized, renditions. Research suggests that people who suffer from this are in a very real way experiencing music. This segment explores the science behind how this happens (we hear from Oliver Sacks, Diana Deutsch, among others) and chronicles the journey of Leo Rangell, a 94 year old psychoanalyst who’s been living with musical hallucinations for over a decade. (Listen all the way through to the end—its about 20 minutes total—to hear how Leo’s tale concludes!)

Listen to Musical Hallucinations

Story starts at approx: 1:48

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Illustration by: Daniel Horowitz