This article is a series of excerpts from the author’s most recent book Sinister Resonance. It begins with the premise that sound is a haunting, a ghost, a presence whose location in space is ambiguous and whose existence in time is transitory. The intangibility of sound is uncanny – a phenomenal presence both in the head, at its point of source and all around, and never entirely distinct from auditory hallucinations. The close listener is like a medium who draws out substance from that which is not entirely there. The history of listening must be constructed from narratives of myth and fiction, silent arts such as painting, the resonance of architecture, auditory artefacts and nature. In such contexts, sound often functions as a metaphor for mystical revelation, instability, forbidden desires, disorder, formlessness, the unknown, unconscious and extra-human, a representation of immaterial worlds. Threaded through is Marcel Duchamp’s curious observation – ‘One can look at seeing but one can’t hear hearing’ – and his concept of the infra-thin, those human experiences so fugitive that they exist only in the imaginative absences of perception.