Understanding EVP: Electronic Voice Phenomena

A little known anniversary is fast approaching. June 12 will mark the 47th year since Fredrich Jorgensen (1903 – 1987) captured the first documented example of electronic voice phenomena, or EVP. Jorgensen was trying to record the voice of the Chaffinch in the little garden outside his home. He sat up a tape recorder and a microphone and allowed the to run until he heard the machine reach the end of the tape and turn itself off. It was some time later when Jurgenson was finally able to review his tape recording. At the beginning of the tape, he could hear the songs of several Chaffinch, and was pleased that he’d captured such a good recording. However, toward the middle of the recording, there seemed to be some sort of mal-function, or interference. There was a strange roaring type sound, followed by a distinctly male Norwegian voice talking about “nightly bird voices”. There seemed to be a literal chorus of bird song following this brief dialogue. Then as suddenly as the strange interruption had occurred, it ended, and the Chaffinch song returned and continued to the end of the tape. Having worked in film as a director, Jurgenson was aware of the possibility of there having been radio transmission interference. Yet, he thought it very odd that the interference would be a voice talking about “bird song” at the exact moment he was making a recording of birds singing. Jurgenson decided to try to repeat the recording situation in different areas inside and outside his home. In no time, he succeeded! Voices appeared on almost all of his recordings! Jurgenson became fascinated by this strange phenomenon and continued his work with EVP. He published two renowned books, one in Swedish in 1964 and the second in German three years later. Of course, Jurgenson speculated on the origin of the voice phenomena, at one point even credited aliens. Later he revised his original speculation and came to believe that EVP is the recorded voices of the dead.

It was not Fredrich Jorgensen, rather, Dr. Konstantin Raudive (1909 – 1974) who brought the study of Electronic Voice Phenomena into the forefront. Contrary to popular belief, however, the often used term “Raudive Voices” is actually a misnomer. Raudive did not discover Electronic Voice Phenomena, and the only small improvement made on Jorgenson’s technique of capturing the phenomena was made by a colleague of Raudive. Professor Alex Schneider hit on the idea to connect the simplest possible “radio-receiver ” directly to the input of the tape recorder. The voices recorded by Raudive have the same basic sound as Jurgenson’s, with one exception. Ruadive’s voices were often in as many as 7 different languages on a single recording. His voices also seemed to be shorter in length and more difficult to understand. Oddly similar is the fact that all the shortcomings in many of Jurgenson’s voice-recordings, such as the disturbing background noise, and the weak vocal intensity, can be found on Raudive’s voices as well.

If you look up the words “electronic voice phenomena” in the popular internet based Free Dictionary by Farlex (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com) – this is the definition you will get:
Electronic Voice Phenomena (or EVP), refers to “spirit voices” that are said to manifest themselves on audio recordings. EVP is a subcategory of Instrumental Transcommunication (or ITC), which includes all electronically recorded phenomena, including telephones, televisions, computers, and specialized audio equipment. Though there are a number of EVP proponents who insist that the phenomenon is inexplicable by conventional science, skeptics argue there are prosiac explanations for the phenomenon that do not require communication from ghosts or from other paranormal sources.

So whether you believe this strange phenomena is the disembodied voices of the dead, aliens giving us secret messages from beyond, or simply “skip” from other signals and sources – this is a very bazaar occurrence that happens with great frequency. Movies such as the popular 2005 Universal Studios “White Noise”, and paranormal investigation television shows such as SciFi Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” have recently sparked interest in the study of EVP. Anyone with the capability to capture an audio recording and play it back can experiment with EVP. From a simple tape recorder and microphone as Jorgenson used, to a radio signal such as Raudive experimented with, this is something even a novice can study.

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