Well over 50 years ago I read a short story about an organ in a building (church or music hall?) which I believe had been slated for demolition. Rather than suffer the indignity of destruction at others' hands, the organ began playing itself with such power and force that the vibrations brought the building down upon the organ. Does anyone know the title of this short story and the name of the author?

  • In what language was that story? What does GHS mean?
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 11:51
  • 1
    We have a checklist with tips on asking detailed story identification questions - could you go through it and see what else you can remember? A more detailed question would increase your chances of finding the answer. Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


This is "Shock Wave" by Richard Matheson (of "I am Legend" fame):

The organ was alive.

He gasped as Wendall reached over to jab a hand across the switch. Nothing happened. Wendall cursed and worked the switch back and forth. The motor kept on running.

Now pressure found its peak, each pipe shuddering with storm winds. Tones and overtones flooded out in a paroxysm of sound. The hymn fell mangled underneath the weight of hostile chords

The notes were so low they had no audible pitch. They were vibrations in the air. Mechanically, the pedals fell, piling up a mountainous chord. It was the roar of some titanic animal, the thundering of a hundred, storm-tossed oceans, the earth sprung open to swallow every life. Floors buckled, walls caved in with crumbling roars. The dome hung for an instant, then rushed down and mangled half the nave. A monstrous cloud of plaster and mortar dust enveloped everything. Within its swimming opacity, the church, with a crackling, splintering, crashing, thundering explosion, went down.

  • 1
    Good find! I think "Shock Wave" might be a variant title of "Crescendo" and can be read at the Internet Archive, if you want to edit that in.
    – shoover
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 17:21
  • @shoover Also, the original publication (as "Crescendo") in the magazine Gamma is freely available at the Internet Archive, no registration required.
    – user14111
    Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 23:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.