EVP voices are not heard during recording, only on playback. They typically speak in short, cryptic and sometimes grammatically incorrect phrases. They speak in a variety of languages, regardless of the listeners, and sometimes are heard to sing songs. Sometimes the voices sound natural other times mechanical. Sometimes one or two voices are head, at other times a multitude of them. The voices are identifiable as men; women or children and animals sounds have also been picked up by EVP recordings
E.V.P researchers believe they capture on tape the voices of the dead, spirits and extraterrestrials, but sceptics conclude that the voices come from radio, television and citizen band (CB) radio transmissions or are imagined from static or white sound.
EVP is one of the first high-technology attempts to communicate with the dead and other paranormal beings. Thomas Edison believed that an electronic device could be built for paranormal communication. He was fascinated by spirit photography and believed that if spirits could be captured on film, they could be captured electronically. Edison announced in the October 1920 issue of scientific American that he was working on a device that could capture the voices of the dead, however it was still not completed by the time he died in 1931, No machine and no plans for one were found after his death.
In 1936, Attila von Szalay began experimenting with a record cutter and player in an attempt to capture voice on phonograph records. He said that he began to hear a "tiny voice" in the air near him in 1938. He believed the voice belonged to his dead son, Edson. The experiments yielded what sounded like male and female voices, a whistling and rapping. In 1947, Von Szalay tried using a wire recorder in an effort to improve his results but had difficulty with the wire.
In the 1950s, George Hunt Williamson attempted to tape paranormal voices, particularly of extraterrestrials. In 1956, Von Szalay began experiments with researchers to capture voices on electromagnetic tape.
The EVP remained obscure until the unexpected discovery of Friedrich Jurgenson, A Swedish opera singer, painter and film producer. In 1959, Jurgenson tape-recorded bird songs in the countryside near his villa. On playback, he heard a male voice discuss "nocturnal bird songs" in Norwegian. At first he thought it was from a radio show, to determine the source of the voice he made other recordings to see if the same thing happened. Though he heard no voices during taping, when he played back the recordings he heard a multitude of voices. The voices gave personal information about Jurgenson, plus instructions on how to record even more voices.
By the 1980s, thousands of EVP researchers around the world were recording messages from the dead. Many engineers and electronics experts had devised sophisticated experimental equipment for catching these spirit voices. In Germany, the association for voice taping research was founded in the 1970s, followed by a second organization a few years later, the research association for voice taping. In 1982, Sarah Estep founded the American association-electronic voice phenomena in the United States.
Estep rates voices according to three categories:
Class C: faint, whispery voices that can be barely be heard and are sometimes indecipherable,
Class B: Voices are louder and clearer and can be sometimes heard without headphones
Class A: Voices are clear, can be heard without headphones and can be duplicated onto other tapes.
In 1982, the EVP field received a worldwide publicity boost
with the announcement of George Meek, a retired engineer,
that he and a medium and electronics expert, William O’Neill
had built a device called the spiricom that could communicate with the dead. Both Meek and O’Neill claim to have been helped in the development of the spiricom by two spirit beings. Meek was contacted by a dead scientist that gave him instructions, then in 1977 Meek met O’Neill who claimed to have been contacted by a dead ham radio operator going by the name of "Doc Nick" who gave them the technical information that they needed. Meek founded the metascience foundation of North Carolina and invested more than half a million dollars of his own money into the research they needed. Spiricom allegedly helped two way conversations between the living and the dead. Meek made available the plans for spiricom to anyone who wanted them free of charge, unfortunately everyone who was given the plans reported no success. EVP researcher’s theorized that spiricom’s success was largely due to the unique mediumistic abilities of O’Neill. Meek went on to pursue more and more sophisticated systems to "reach astral levels where higher minds resided".
Many investigators doubt EVP voices are paranormal. Between 1970 and 1972 the society for psychical research, in London, commissioned D.J Ellis to investigate EVP voices. He concluded that the interpretation of the sounds was highly subjective and was susceptible to imagination, and that the voices were more likely natural phenomena. His conclusions were supported by the Rorschach sound test, which shows that a person can listen to a variety of sounds and can hear what they wish to hear.
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