Sunday, November 25, 2012
What is Electronic voice phenomena (EVP)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are electronically generated noises that resemble speech, but are
supposedly not the result of intentional voice recordings or renderings. Common sources of EVP include static,
stray radio transmissions, and background noise. Recordings of EVP are often created from background sound
by increasing the gain (i.e. sensitivity) of the recording equipment.
Interest in EVP surrounds claims that it is of paranormal origin, although many occurrences have had natural
Parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, who popularized the idea, described EVP as typically brief, usually the
length of a word or short phrase.
As the Spiritualism religious movement became prominent in the 1840s–1920s with a distinguishing belief that the
spirits of the dead can be contacted by mediums, new technologies of the era including photography were
employed by spiritualists in an effort to demonstrate contact with aspirit world. So popular were such ideas
that Thomas Edison was asked in an interview with Scientific American to comment on the possibility of
using his inventions to communicate with spirits. He replied that if the spirits were only capable of subtle
influences, a sensitive recording device would provide a better chance of spirit communication than the table
tipping and ouija boards mediums employed at the time. However, there is no indication that Edison ever
designed or constructed a device for such a purpose. As sound recording became widespread, mediums
explored using this technology to demonstrate communication with the dead as well. Spiritualism declined in
the latter part of the 20th century, but attempts to use portable recording devices and modern digital technologies
to communicate with spirits continued.
American photographer Attila von Szalay was among the first to try recording what he believed to be voices of
the dead as a way to augment his investigations in photographing ghosts. He began his attempts in 1941 using a
78 rpm record, but it wasn't until 1956, after switching to a reel-to-reel tape recorder, that he believed he was
successful. Working with Raymond Bayless, von Szalay conducted a number of recording sessions with a
custom-made apparatus, consisting of a microphone in an insulated cabinet connected to an external recording
device and speaker. Szalay reported finding many sounds on the tape that could not be heard on the speaker
at the time of recording, some of which were recorded when there was no one in the cabinet. He believed these
sounds to be the voices of discarnate spirits. Among the first recordings believed to be spirit voices were such
messages as "This is G!", "Hot dog, Art!", and "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all". Von Szalay
In 1959, Swedish painter and film producer Friedrich Jürgenson was recording bird songs. Upon playing the tape
Konstantin Raudive, a Latvian psychologist who had taught at the University of Uppsala, Sweden and who had
worked in conjunction with Jürgenson, made over 100,000 recordings which he described as being
communications with discarnate people. Some of these recordings were conducted in an RF-screened laboratory
and contained words Raudive said were identifiable. In an attempt to confirm the content of his collection
of recordings, Raudive invited listeners to hear and interpret them. He believed that the clarity of the
In 1980, William O'Neil constructed an electronic audio device called "The Spiricom." O'Neil claimed the device
was built to specifications which he received psychically from George Mueller, a scientist who had died six years
previously. At a Washington, DC press conference on April 6, 1982, O'Neil stated that he was able to hold
two-way conversations with spirits through the Spiricom device, and provided the design specifications to
researchers for free. However, nobody is known to have replicated the results O'Neil claimed using their own
Spiricom devices. O'Neil's partner, retired industrialist George Meek, attributed O'Neil's success, and the
inability of others to replicate it, to O'Neil's mediumistic abilities forming part of the loop that made the system
Another electronic device specifically constructed in an attempt to capture EVP is "Frank's Box" or the
"Ghost Box". Created in 2002 by EVP enthusiast Frank Sumption for supposed real-time communication with
the dead, Sumption claims he received his design instructions from the spirit world. The device is described as a
combination white noise generator and AM radio receiver modified to sweep back and forth through the AM band
selecting split-second snippets of sound. Critics of the device say its effect is subjective and incapable of being
replicated, and since it relies on radio noise, any meaningful response a user gets is purely coincidental, or simply
In 1982, Sarah Estep founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP)
in Severna Park, Maryland, a nonprofit organization with the purpose of increasing awareness of EVP,
and of teaching standardized methods for capturing it. Estep began her exploration of EVP in 1976, and
says she has made hundreds of recordings of messages from deceased friends, relatives, and other individuals,
including Konstantin Raudive, Beethoven, a lamplighter from 18th century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
and extraterrestrials whom she speculated originated from other planets or dimensions.
The term Instrumental Trans-Communication (ITC) was coined by Ernst Senkowski in the 1970s to refer
more generally to communication through any sort of electronic device such as tape recorders, fax machines,
television sets or computers between spirits or other discarnate entities and the living. One particularly
famous claimed incidence of ITC occurred when the image of EVP enthusiast Friedrich Jürgenson
(whose funeral was held that day) was said to have appeared on a television in the home of a colleague,
which had been purposefully tuned to a vacant channel. ITC enthusiasts also look at TV and video camera
In 1979, parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo described an alleged paranormal phenomenon in which people report
that they receive simple, brief, and usually single-occurrence telephone calls from spirits of deceased relatives,
friends, or strangers.
In 1997, Imants Barušs, of the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario, conducted a
series of experiments using the methods of EVP investigator Konstantin Raudive, and the work of "instrumental
transcommunication researcher" Mark Macy, as a guide. A radio was tuned to an empty frequency, and over
81 sessions a total of 60 hours and 11 minutes of recordings were collected. During recordings, a person either
sat in silence or attempted to make verbal contact with potential sources of EVP. Barušs stated that he did
record several events that sounded like voices, but they were too few and too random to represent viable data
and too open to interpretation to be described definitively as EVP. He concluded: "While we did replicate EVP
in the weak sense of finding voices on audio tapes, none of the phenomena found in our study was clearly
anomalous, let alone attributable to discarnate beings. Hence we have failed to replicate EVP in the strong
sense." The findings were published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration in 2001, and include a literature
In 2005, the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research published a report by paranormal investigator
Alexander MacRae. MacRae conducted recording sessions using a device of his own design that
generated EVP. In an attempt to demonstrate that different individuals would interpret EVP in the
recordings the same way, MacRae asked seven people to compare some selections to a list of five phrases
he provided, and to choose the best match. MacRae said the results of the listening panels indicated that the
Portable digital voice recorders are currently the technology of choice for EVP investigators. Since these
devices are very susceptible to Radio Frequency (RF) contamination, EVP enthusiasts sometimes try to
record EVP in RF- and sound-screened rooms. Nevertheless, in order to record EVP there has to be
noise in the audio circuits of the device used to produce the EVP. For this reason, those who attempt to
record EVP often use two recorders that have differing quality audio circuitry and rely on noise heard from the
poorer quality instrument to generate EVP.
Some EVP enthusiasts describe hearing the words in EVP as an ability, much like learning a new
language. Skeptics say that the claimed instances are all either hoaxes or misinterpretations of
natural phenomena. EVP and ITC are seldom researched within the scientific communityand, as ideas,
are generally derided by scientists when asked.
Paranormal explanations for EVP generally assume production of EVP by a communicating intelligence
through means other than the typical functioning of communication technologies. Natural explanations for
reported instances of EVP tend to dispute this assumption explicitly and provide explanations which do
not require novel mechanisms that are not based on recognized scientific phenomena.
At least one study, by psychologist Imants Barušs, finds that EVP cannot be replicated under controlled
There are a number of simple scientific explanations that can account for why some listeners to the static
on audio devices may believe they hear voices, including radio interference and the tendency of the human
Auditory pareidolia is a situation created when the brain incorrectly interprets random patterns as being familiar
patterns. In the case of EVP it could result in an observer interpreting random noise on an audio recording
as being the familiar sound of a human voice. The propensity for an apparent voice heard in white
noise recordings to be in a language understood well by those researching it, rather than in an unfamiliar
language, has been cited as evidence of this, and a broad class of phenomena referred to by author
Joe Banks as Rorschach Audio has been described as a global explanation for all manifestations
are usually recorded by raising the "noise floor" – the electrical noise created by all electrical devices
– in order to create white noise. When this noise is filtered, it can be made to produce noises which
sound like speech. Federlein says that this is no different from using a wah pedal on a guitar, which
is a focused sweep filter which moves around the spectrum and creates open vowel sounds. This,
according to Federlein, sounds exactly like some EVP. This, in combination with such things
voices. The human brain evolved to recognize patterns, and if a person listens to enough noise the
brain will detect words, even when there is no intelligent source for them. Expectation also plays
an important part in making people believe they are hearing voices in random noise.
Apophenia is related to, but distinct from pareidolia. Apophenia is defined as "the spontaneous finding
of connections or meaning in things which are random, unconnected or meaningless", and has been put forward
as a possible explanation.
Interference, for example, is seen in certain EVP recordings, especially those recorded on devices which
contain RLC circuitry. These cases represent radio signals of voices or other sounds from broadcast
sources. Interference from CB Radio transmissions and wireless baby monitors, or anomalies generated
though cross modulation from other electronic devices, are all documented phenomena. It is even possible
Capture errors are anomalies created by the method used to capture audio signals, such as noise generated
Artifacts created during attempts to boost the clarity of an existing recording might explain some EVP.
Methods include re-sampling, frequency isolation, and noise reduction or enhancement, which can cause
The very first EVP recordings may have originated from the use of tape recording equipment with poorly
aligned erasure and recording heads, resulting in the incomplete erasure of previous audio recordings on the
tape. This could allow a small percentage of previous content to be superimposed or mixed into a new 'silent'
For all radio transmissions above 30 MHz (which are not reflected by the ionosphere) there is a possibility
of meteor reflection of the radio signal. Meteors leave a trail of ionised particles and electrons as they
pass through the upper atmosphere (a process called ablation) which reflect transmission radio waves which
would usually flow into space. These reflected waves are from transmitters which are below the horizon
of the received meteor reflection. In Europe this means the brief scattered wave may carry a foreign voice which
can interfere with radio receivers. Meteor reflected radio waves last between 0.05 seconds and 1 second,
depending on the size of the meteor.
Paranormal explanations for the origin of EVP include living humans imprinting thoughts directly on an
electronic medium through psychokinesis and communication by discarnate entities such as spirits,
There are a number of organizations dedicated to studying EVP and instrumental transcommunication,
otherwise express interest in the subject. Individuals within these organizations may participate in investigations,
author books or journal articles, deliver presentations, and hold conferences where they share experiences.
The Association TransCommunication (ATransC), formerly the American Association of Electronic Voice
Phenomena (AA-EVP), and the International Ghost Hunters Society conduct ongoing investigations
of EVP and ITC including collecting examples of purported EVP available over the internet.
The Rorschach Audio Project, initiated by sound artist Joe Banks, which presents EVP
as a product of radio interference combined with auditory pareidolia and the Interdisciplinary Laboratory
for Biopsychocybernetics Research, a non-profit organization dedicated studying anomalous psi phenomena
related to neurophysiological conditions. According to the AA-EVP, it is "the only organized group of
researchers we know of specializing in the study of ITC.".
Spiritualists, as well as others who believe in Survivalism, have an ongoing interest in EVP. Many
Spiritualists believe that communication with the dead is a scientifically proven fact, and experiment
with a variety of techniques for spirit communication which they believe provide evidence of the continuation
of life. According to the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, "An important modern day development
in mediumship is spirit communications via an electronic device. This is most commonly known as Electronic
Voice Phenomena (EVP)". An informal survey by the
organization's Department Of Phenomenal Evidence cites that 1/3 of churches conduct sessions in which
participants seek to communicate with spirit entities using EVP.
The James Randi Educational Foundation offers a million dollars for proof that any phenomena, including
The concept of EVP has had an impact on popular culture. It is popular as an entertaining pursuit,
as in ghost hunting, and as a means of dealing with grief. It has influenced literature, radio, film, and television.
Investigation of EVP is the subject of hundreds of regional and national groups and Internet message
boards. Paranormal investigator John Zaffis claims, "There's been a boom in ghost hunting ever
since the Internet took off." Investigators, equipped with electronic gear—like EMF meters, video cameras,
and audio recorders—scour reportedly haunted venues, trying to uncover visual and audio evidence of ghosts.
Many use portable recording devices in an attempt to capture EVP.
Films involving EVP include The Sixth Sense, White Noise, The Changeling. It has also been featured
on television series like Ghost Whisperer, The Omega Factor, A Haunting, Ghost Hunters, MonsterQuest, Ghost Adventures, The Secret Saturdays, Fact or Faked:
Coast To Coast AM hosts George Noory and Art Bell have explored the topic of EVP with featured guests
such as Brendan Cook and Barbara McBeath of the Ghost Investigators Society, and paranormal investigator
and 'demonologist' Lou Gentile. The Spirit of John Lennon, a pay-per-view seance broadcast in 2006,
in which TV crew members, a psychic, and an "expert in paranormal activity" claim the spirit of former Beatle
John Lennon made contact with them through what was described as "an Electronic Voice Phenomenon
Legion, a 1983 novel by William Peter Blatty, contains a subplot where Dr. Vincent Amfortas, a terminally
ill neurologist, leaves a "to-be-opened-upon-my-death" letter for Lt. Kinderman detailing his accounts of contac
t with the dead, including the doctor's recently deceased wife, Ann, through EVP recordings. Amfortas' character
and the EVP subplot do not appear in the film version of the novel, Exorcist III. In Nyctivoe a 2001 vampire-inspired
play by Dimitris Lyacos the male character as well as his deceased companion are speaking from a recording
device amidst a static/white noise background. In Pattern Recognition, a 2003 novel by William Gibson, the main
character's mother tries to convince her that her father is communicating with her from recordings after his
death/disappearance in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Welcome to the 'Raymond Cass Foundation'.
Raymond Cass was the UK pioneer in the work related to the phenomenon known as EVP ( Electronic Voice Phenomena). Here we will show the work Raymond carried out and the results he achieved. We will also endeavor to further his work by carrying out yet more experiments and publishing the results.
The foundation's patron is Raymond's widow 'Edith Cass'
The foundation is self funded and non profit. If anyone would like to help further our research please use the address on the 'contacts' page.
Some Great Books on EVP and the Paranormal HERE
NEWS: Read one of Raymonds Press articles from 1979.....Click HERE
NEWS: A transcript of some of Raudive's early voices.....Click HERE
NEWS: A new Archive page is setup for Raymonds work. It is work in progress so please check back regularly.....Click HERE
NEWS: Listen to some of Raymonds work on a Resonance FM Radio show about EVP.....Click HERE
NEWS: Listen to Raymond compare Airband with his recorded voices to dispell any thoughts on bleed through!.....Click HERE
NEWS: New page on "G. Gilbert Bonner". A friend of Raymond Cass and EVP researcher......Click HERE
For any information please contact us at the email address below.