“What a horrible sound,” a man filming this video of One World Trade Center is heard saying shortly before Hurricane Sandy struck New York City. The noise he’s referring to is an eerie, high-pitched howl that can be heard coming from the tower, which was turned into a giant musical instrument by the impending storm. Reports liken the creepy phenomenon to an Aeolian harp – an ancient instrument played by the wind – sounding an ominous warning of what was to come.
Aeolian harps were popular in ancient Greece. The instruments would be positioned in fields and meant for the god of the wind, Aeolus, to play. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, WTC1 recently became the world’s most expensive Aeolian harp, at $3.9 billion. The high-pitched noise the structure made was captured on video by a displeased witness, and has since been watched over 30,000 times on Youtube.
Some witnesses found the sound coming from the 104-story tower to be a message of disaster to come (which was hauntingly accurate post-Sandy), but others found the whistling to have an element of beauty.
Beautiful or not, the sound did precede disaster, as the World Trade Center site filled with water up to ten feet deep during and after Sandy. Tens of millions of gallons of water covered the 16 acres, but have since been pumped out without causing too much damage to the memorial and surrounding area.