I found something online this week that will help you sell more travel articles and photos — low frequency ghosts. Hear me out…
Low frequency ghosts are said to exist because of an object’s resonant frequency. That is, the frequency at which an object resonates. Picture a wine glass. On a table by itself, the glass sits still. But when a certain frequency sound wave is played in the room with the glass (we’ve all seen cartoons where the opera singer belts out a note that breaks the glass), the particles in that glass begin to resonate and the glass shatters.
Same with piano keys. Obviously, if you open up the top of a piano and then strike a key, you can watch the cord in the back resonate. But did you know that if you sang that key right next to the piano and watched closely, you could also see that cord resonate? The frequency at which you’re singing (the key) is that cord’s resonant frequency.
The same theory explains why some people think they see ghosts.
The story I read was about an engineer who thought he saw a ghost in his lab after work one night. He felt a chill (like someone was watching him) and at the same time, he saw a gray mass hovering in the air across the room in his peripheral vision. He turned to look. But nothing was there.
Being a man of science, with little faith in haunted houses and ghosts, he packed up and went home and thought little about his sighting until the next day.
When he returned to work, he brought with him a fencing sword which he intended to practice with after work.
After his coworkers went home, he clamped the sword in a vise so that he could make some adjustments to it and left the room. When he returned, the tip of the foil was vibrating for no apparent reason.
Now, this would have probably freaked out the average person, having seen a ghost the night before and then noticing a presence in the room again. But not this engineer.
The engineer immediately recognized that there must be an inaudible sound wave coming from somewhere in the lab. This sound wave, he reasoned, was the same frequency as the sword’s resonant frequency. And that’s what was causing it to vibrate.
Being an engineer — and in a lab with equipment — he found a device that could measure the inaudible sounds in the room. And sure enough, he found a sound wave vibrating at 19 cycles per second, coming from a recently installed exhaust fan right above his desk.
He realized immediately that what was causing the foil to vibrate was also the likely cause of the “ghost” he saw the night before. Tests at NASA have shown that the human eyeball has a resonant frequency of 18 cycles per second. And at its resonant frequency, the eyeball will vibrate, causing blurred peripheral vision.
So what does this have to do with travel writing and photography?
Well, in terms of travel, you should know that this theory explains quite a few so-called haunted houses and creepy tombs.
Ancient architects may not have understood the theory of resonant frequency when they were building, but they may have stumbled upon its effects through trial and error.
Neolithic architects in England and Ireland were known to construct their burial chambers with the idea of creating a sense of haunting and doom.
They likely found a building style with long hallways and strategically placed windows that caused air to vibrate through the tomb at an eerie frequency and stuck with it. This instilled reverence for the dead and discouraged grave-robbers.
I wanted to tell you this story for two reasons:
** 1. I thought it was interesting. And the idea of writing about ghosts and haunted houses should be on your mind right now as pitching season-specific articles to editors requires lead time. Editors typically want season-specific stories three to six months in advance. So if you’re not thinking about Halloween and Christmas, you should be. (See this article in our archives about writing season-specific travel articles).
** 2. When you’re pitching stories to editors (or selling photos to photo buyers), you should keep this idea of resonant frequency in mind. Randomly approaching editors with an email that says you’re looking for work — or pitching a story that’s too broad — won’t get you anywhere. But pitching a story at their “resonant frequency,” that is, a frequency that is in tune with the stories they publish and the look they’re going for in their publication, will likely stir some action.
So take a few minutes this weekend to read this article in our archives on pitching season-specific articles to editors.
And then think of an article or photos you can pitch to an editor that will resonate with their publication.
Tomorrow I’ll send you an article from freelance stock photographer, Shelly Perry, on selling season-specific photos to stock agencies.
You can get a head start on selling stock photos with our new e-guide, The Quick and Dirty Guide to Stock Photography: How to Sell Your Photos Online for Quick and Easy Cash. It includes a directory to over 20 of the most approachable agencies on the web — plus detailed instructions on how to sell your photos for cash on each of them.
Have a good weekend.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]