Professor Ventura in: Dental Interface (VENT003)

Paranormal phenomenon, extraterrestrial influences or simply a mental case? Who can answer? In this adventure of Prof. Ventura, Bart and Carke, the reader will get to know how a great problem, which shook this small town for a few days, was settled with the help of electronics or at least its basics, answering to some intriguing questions which scared everybody...




Professor Ventura and his students could not believe their eyes: the quiet (and apparently healthy) school secretary, Mr. Boniface, was being taken in a straitjacket by two huge nurses to the traditional white van with a red cross painted on its side.


What had happened? The expression was one of surprise in everyone’s face who saw the scene. No one had noticed anything unusual in Mr. Boniface’s behavior, not even in that day, let alone in the several years which he provided services to the Technical School, that’s why it was such a big deal.


- We can’t just keep looking at the poor man being taken that way! We must do something; get to know what happened and, of course, help!


Professor Ventura was one of the most unhappy, and everyone agreed with him.


- Yes, we need to help, but how? Certainly not even if the whole school attacked these two "gorillas" we couldn’t free Mr. Boniface! - Someone stated the obvious.


- Calm down! No one is thinking of using violence. - Warned one of the boys.


- Let us be rational! The problem starts in getting to know exactly what happened. - Clarke stepped into scene with more consideration.


- Yes, that's right, let's investigate! - The Professor concluded.


As soon as the ambulance left the scene, and the small crowd of professors and students moved, Professor Ventura, Clarke and Bart, went to the office building seeking more information. Professor Crick, the school principal, who seemed very shaken by the incident, and was still by the door, answered the group.


- Come, I will explain exactly what happened!


In his office the principal, after wiping the sweat from his forehead and drinking some coffee began speaking:


- Apparently, the problem of our poor Boniface began a few weeks ago with a simple toothache. He complained that he could not work that way, and then started leaving work a little earlier, with my permission of course, for a treatment.


There is nothing abnormal on a toothache, thought the attentive listeners, eager for something more consistent. The principal continued:


- In the first treatment sessions, there was nothing unusual, but after a few weeks, Boniface began changing! He came to work very moody, he did not talk much and, by his looks, it was as if he had not slept much at night. The conversations with co-workers did not show much, but it was actually found out that he was having insomnia problems...


He still had more to say:


- The problem continued to get worse and Boniface was increasingly changing, until one day, he opened up with one of his colleagues: he was "hearing things"!


- Hearing things? - Everybody spoke at once, as if they were synchronized.


- Yes, hearing things! That's exactly what James, who was Boniface’s "confidant" told me. He tried to get more information from Boniface, but they seemed so absurd that he really began thinking that the poor man was crazy.


The principal seemed a little more shaken down after giving these explanations.


Professor Ventura needed to know more:


- But what kind of absurd things did Boniface say?


The principal did not believe that what he would say could be of any help, given the complete lack of sense, but Professor Ventura and boys seemed very determined to get more information, so he agreed to repeat what James told him:


- He said that every night, at bedtime, after a few minutes he was relaxed, he began hearing strange voices saying something incomprehensible, and then something he identified as music. When the music was over it was replaced by new voices that he could not identify and then music again, which sounded like "country"...


- ???


- Yes, but that's not all, every day it stopped two o’clock in the morning, not a minute more or less, and he was so scared he could not sleep anymore!


Now everyone was quiet! It was a hallucination case, no doubt, but it seemed Professor Ventura had different ideas. Feeling very down they left the principal's office, but Professor Ventura looking more thoughtful called Bart and Clarke to his lab.


- I have a theory...


When Professor Ventura had his theories, certainly it was something serious. With his knowledge about electronics he left no doubt of his competence, but where the electronics would fit in a case of hallucinations? Could Professor Ventura also be good at psychiatry? In the lab, the professor immediately went to his bookshelf and took out a huge pile of xerographic copies of articles from magazines and newspapers, clippings, Internet and pamphlets stored in folders. After some examination time he stopped in one of the folders that seemed to contain what he wanted:

- Here it is! - exclaimed the professor when removing an old article of an American electronic magazine.


Bart and Clarke did not understand anything, and they would take for some time to understand. The professor didn’t show the boys the content of the articles which left them even more curious.


- Calm down, I’ll explain everything very soon! - Professor Ventura noticed they were very impatient. He continued:


- You have to trust me if you want to help Boniface. Ok?


The boys agreed but they weren’t very excited. What was going through Professor Ventura’s head was what they really wanted to know, and if they denied help, then it would be impossible to know what the plan was. However, whatever it was, Bart and Clarke knew there was electronic in it, they just didn’t have the slightest idea of how it would fit in this case. The first clues began appearing when, shortly after the event, Professor Ventura made a few notes and asked the boys something that apparently had nothing to do with it:


- Take it! Stay up late, prepare a tape recorder, and make the signal recording this frequency and at this specific time...


Clarke took the notes carefully, and with Bart they examined the strange request.


But making recordings and at that hour?


Without questioning and speculating the wildest theories, the two boys went home and prepared to meet the strange request. And indeed they did as asked ... Clarke and Bart barely slept that night, because even after the recordings they kept wondering about the reasons for all that. As agreed, the two arrived early at the lab and with the professor; they started preparing the rest of the strange equipment.


- Did you make the recordings as I asked? - That was the first thing the professor said to the boys.


What did the professor and the boys find out? Surely the readers are curious, but the story of what happened then will satisfy you completely, we believe:


The equipment to continue the experience was awkward and bulky: a heavy medium wave transmitter with nearly 50 watts of power, the old type with valves, which had been used as the school's experimental station; a field intensity measurer; a cell with the requested records; wires, and some measuring instruments. But there was something more important missing: an authorization to test all this with Mr. Boniface. And it would not be easy!


It was necessary to convince both the school principal who would be invited to testify to the fact and the doctor at the hospital where he had been hospitalized, that nothing bad could happen. In fact the hypothesis of Professor Ventura was so fantastic to explain the hallucinations of their poor Boniface that they were not so sure someone could believe him. But it was not what happened: after much talk, serious scientific explanations and documentation, in a private conversation with the director of the hospital, permission was given. However, the hospital director, very curious (and suspicious) wanted to follow everything closely.


- We Just don’t understand why should we also invite the dentist ... - said the school principal who had been informed, but had no idea what would be done.


- I don’t fully understand the idea of the experiments! - Bart and Clarke commented in private, who pretended to understand what was going on, but actually hadn’t discovered anything about the professor's ideas...


The experiment was then scheduled for that afternoon, giving time for Professor Ventura and the boys to install the equipment in an appropriate room, indicated by the hospital director. They put the transmitter and recorder behind a folding screen, pulled a cable from its antenna outlet and they did it ending in a small "antenna" dipole, fixed on the back of a chair on the other side of the screen. They turned the transmitter on and under the guidance of prof. Ventura, verified with the field intensity measurer there was a spot with good signal intensity. At two in the afternoon the poor Boniface, escorted by two "giant" nurses, entered the room scared. His expression of terror changed when he saw the school principal and Professor Ventura.


The school principal then explained that they were there to help, and they would do some "tests" requiring his collaboration to discover the cause of the hallucinations. The tests were simple, but at first no one could tell what they were. Behind the screen, Bart and Clarke waited anxiously to put the "equipment" in operation. Everyone was tense and upset by the results they could have.

Mr. Boniface, because of the trust he had in the principal and Professor Ventura, fully agreed to help, then he was seated in a chair and was blindfolded so as not to be distracted by lights or any movements in the room, creating the environment that corresponded to his dark bedroom at bedtime, when the hallucinations occurred. Maximum silence was recommended. The experiment had begun:


Professor Ventura made a sign with his hands and, as had been agreed, Bart turned the transmitter on. As it was valved, it had to wait at least 2 minutes until the indicator on its dashboard showed it was in operating condition. Bart signed to the professor that everything was OK, and the teacher raised his hand showing two fingers. It was the signal that the second part of the experiment could start.


- Well, Boniface! Focus and tell me what you're feeling. - The professor was now going to explore the meanings of the "patient"


Mr. Boniface twitched, and for a moment said nothing. He waited a little more, and with a nod, hinted that he wasn’t hearing anything. Professor Ventura did then a new sign to Bart, who immediately activated the controls of some of the equipment being used. It was then that the poor Boniface shook in his chair and raising his arms spoke deafly:


- Hang on! I'm listening to something. Yes, that's right...


At this moment he stopped abruptly. Professor Ventura realized then that the "hallucinations" were taking place, but that the poor Boniface stopped suddenly probably thinking, "now it’s when they will think I'm really crazy...".


- Go ahead. Tell us without hesitation what you are listening to, because we want to help you and you know we can! You are listening to music and strange voices, am I right? ...


The professor was looking for a show of faith trying to extract more of the patient. Startled, Boniface could then realize the professor knew exactly what "was in his head." More confident, but still amazed, Boniface continued...


- Yes, that's right! But how do you know?


- I know more, do you want to see? - At the same time Professor Ventura, for the Director astonishment, made a new sign to Bart who worked on the controls of the transmitter. He continued:


- Now you're hearing something that seems like people talking on a strange language, two females, isn’t it?


- Yes, that's right, but how? - Boniface expressed astonishment, but not as much as the director of the hospital and the school principal, as well as Bart and Clarke, who were already beginning to decipher the mystery.

At this point, signing to the boys turn off the equipment, Professor Ventura took the blindfold off Boniface's eyes and exclaimed in a victorious tone:


- The mystery is solved! Boniface is normal and the hallucinations can easily be explained! ...


- ????


Everyone was curious. The professor told everyone to sit, including Bart and Clarke who came closer.


- It's all very simple! When Boniface was hospitalized and I heard the story from the principal, I immediately remembered a case of hallucinations seen in a magazine a few years ago, and that interested me so much that I made a copy and kept it.


It was certainly the article in the folder, which raised the curiosity in Bart and Clarke. The professor continued:


- It was just a guess, but it seemed interesting to check, so I programmed the experiment: What I actually did was to induce hallucinations in Bonifacio, but electronically!


- But how? Then Boniface was really hearing things? - The director of the hospital seemed impressed.


- Yes, but they were not hallucinations, there were really real! - Once more everyone was perplexed. The professor didn’t let anyone say anymore:


- What happened is a case of detection of radio signals by Boniface’s obturated tooth!


The astonishment was general, especially the dentist who got agitated on his chair, because suddenly John Cyrus, the Dentist, realized that his presence had something to do with the problem... How hallucinations can be caused by a radio signal detected by an obturation. It seemed absurd, but the explanations of Professor Ventura would show it wasn’t.


- Some time ago, in the United States, an individual with a bad obturated tooth, and who lived close to the powerful transmitters of a local station, started to hallucinate: hearing things at night. What he heard, in fact, was the transmissions of the stations near, but through his tooth!


It seemed absurd, but the dentist who had heard the case interfered!


- Yes, we have studied that inappropriate materials used in fillings can cause electrolyte effects, exciting the nerves and causing pain, but never that they could detect radio signals...


- That's exactly what happened! - The professor continued - The metal from the obturation formed a kind of semiconductor junction, able to detect the signals of the radio station, just because it is close...


- A diode detector! - Clarke interrupted feeling victorious.


- Yes, a diode, like the ones used in the common old radios, and given the proximity of the tooth to the hearing nerve, the hearing sense of the individual was stimulated. However, as there wasn’t a faithful amplification system, the signals received had actually an incomprehensible tone. As Boniface said, "like music and voices" that he could not identify ... What we did here was to transmit with our transmitter the sound recordings that Boniface readily captured through his tooth! ...


The eyes of the poor Boniface were shining! So he continued:


$%¨&  kind of signals were coming in my tooth into my home and only at night that I haven’t noticed?
$%¨& kind of signals were coming in my tooth into my home and only at night that I haven’t noticed?



The professor looked at Boniface as if rebuking him:


- Tell me, my friend, what is that behind your house, that great land which is actually a swamp?


- Well, the tower of a radio station... - He stopped. There was the source of his problem... Staring at the professor he continued: - You mean all those nights I was tuning in my tooth, or better, in Dr. Ciro John’s obturation (he looked angrily at the dentist, which shrank on the chair...) the programming of the local radio...


Professor Ventura spoke again:


- Exactly! After you lied down and relaxed, the ideal reception conditions were obtained! And the experiment we did just proved that! What we did was to turn on, near your head, our small transmitter and just radiate signals that we recorded last night, from the local station... The hallucinations that annoyed you... - The teacher then showed the small antenna fixed on the back of the chair connected by a cable to the transmitter.


The Director of the hospital, quiet until now from so much perplexity, opened his mouth for the first time:


- You said, I’m seeing it, but I do not believe! - Everyone was astonished, but the proves were conclusive.


What to do now? For some time the Director of the hospital and the dentist read the article on the American magazine. Professor Ventura, Bart and Clarke, just observed while Boniface couldn’t stop talking ... At one point, the hospital's Director interrupted everyone:


- It's all solved! What do we do? Boniface goes immediately to Dr. Cyrus’ office, who will "fix" the obturation. After, he returns home but with someone he trusts, like the teacher, and stays under observation for a couple of nights. If the hallucinations do not return the patient is discharged...


Everyone clapped and greeted, especially Prof. Ventura who accepted the task of overwatching Boniface for a couple of nights. After three days, with Boniface ready to go back to work, Bart and Clarke found the professor working in the laboratory.


- The hallucinations didn’t return, but there is a lesson learned- the teacher was serious.


Bart, with his imagination, gave the finishing touch to this adventure:


- Won’t there be in the future radios that would be in the teeth, which would allow its use anywhere, without the need of wires, batteries, etc.?


Clarke laughed, thinking of the strange chance of someone swallowing it. Where would the sound come out from?


- Interesting! Things like AM canines, incisors FM and molars of shortwave and even cellphones!


- And how would such receiver be called?

- Toothdyne! (see Note) - Was the answer that made everyone laugh.


The name toothdyne comes from the suffix "dyne" used for a long time to specify different technologies of radio receptors in the generations that emerged from 1920 to 1950

So receptors as neutrodyne, heterodyne and then the superheterodyne were common at this time. Until nowadays, most radio receivers we have are the superheterodyne type.

Note: The story, imaginary, was published in the Electronic Total magazine in 1994, but the case of hallucinations of an individual with defective fillings narrated in the magazine article is true.

 The magazine is Popular Electronics; however, we were unable to locate the date of its release.

 Going beyond, when reviewing this story early in 2003, we received the news that an American company is studying the possibility of deploying mobile phones in teeth!

 You would only have to use a code word to enable the connection, speak the number and then hang conversation, as if talking to yourself... crazy thing!

 To amaze and scare the director of the hospital more and more...

 Another interesting observation we got and we reported on our website is that a Japanese company is taking advantage of the same principle to implant cellphones in the tooth! The receiver would be coupled to the auditory nerve and the microphone would be inside the tooth itself, therefore, within the mouth. The dial would be done by a voice recognition code.


Circuit Bench