"Earworms" sounds like a fairly nasty parasitic infection, but in actuality the term refers to music that gets stuck in a person's head. Alda Balthrop-Lewis, a production intern at Speaking of Faith, made a contribution to the SOF Observed blog last week in which she discussed how she actually gets Bible stories stuck in her head:
What is it about Bible stories? For me they can be like catchy music; I’ll get one stuck in my head and then, while I wait for the bus or cut up vegetables or fold laundry, the story will run on repeat, offering its melodies, harmonies, dissonances. These ancient stories — so full of existential drama — can become obsessions.
She's had the book of Ruth in her head for months, and goes on to explain that she loves retellings of Bible stories, as well, with a few interesting links. You can read her post here.
But that led me, as someone who wakes up every Easter morning with Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Lyra Davidica) stuck in her head, to wonder more about faithy earworms. Professor James J. Kellaris (also known as "Dr. Earworm") of the University of Cincinnati, notes that:
Some people believe that earworms are a manifestation of one’s subconscious attempting to send a message, or perhaps even the voice of God “trying to tell us something.” Anecdotes about an atheist getting hymn tunes stuck in her head seem to lend credence to this explanation. However, the theory doesn’t explain why most of us get silly nonsense like “Doo-wah, doo-wah, doo-wah-ditty” stuck in our heads.
Radiolab, a show from WNYC Public Radio in New York, examined the phenomenon a couple of months ago, interviewing 94-year-old Leo Rangell, who woke up after surgery some years back to the sound of a Rabbi singing outside the window. Or, so he thought. The piece goes on to examine "auditory hallucinations," when entire performances are dominating your brain but the orchestra is all in your head. Turns out that your brain and your ears are having a conversation. And that is here.