Electronic Voice Phenomena


Ever since the film "White Noise" (directed by Geoffrey Sax) was released in 2005, I’ve been asked incessantly about electronic voice phenomena (EVP), in which ghostly voices apparently are picked up on recording devices. It seems that every would-be ghost hunter is packing a high-tech audio-recording device and heading for the nearest cemetery or abandoned prison. These spectral recordings seem pretty easy to catch! Investigators even claim to have whole conversations with whatever it is they're picking up: They ask questions; the whatever seems to answer via the recording device.


There's even a new organization: The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena, which says it has members in 40 states.
Even the great inventor Thomas Edison was a mild believer in EVPs.
Chalk it up to my journalistic instincts, but -- in all deference to Mr. Edison -- I remain a skeptic in many ways. While nobody would be more excited than I if EVPs were somehow proven to be voices from other worlds, I think there is a long way to go.


Other investigators play EVPs for me all the time, especially from places like Gettysburg, and some could be snatches of conversation from what I would call other parts of space-time – our past or future, as it were. This certainly would fit my own "multiple worlds" and quantum physics point of view.


I don’t try to record EVPs myself, not only because I don’t trust them but because I don’t need to – I often hear them without the aid of any electronic device (as in the Pomfret Village of Voices case in “Faces at the Window.”) I get very suspicious, however, when personal messages come across, very often in completely contemporary dialects and in accents that don’t match what the voice claims to be. There are all sorts of explanations for EVPs, most of them interesting and unexpected, but some quite mundane.


Then there is the simple question of how some "spirit" without a body (and therefore no vocal cords) can even have a voice to be recorded in the first place.


This in turn makes me wonder if parasites don't sometimes use EVPs to excite or upset gullible people so they put out energy the critters can feed upon.


Cross modulation may be one explanation for at least some EVPs; pareidolia may be another. Are you old enough to remember "thoughtographer" Ted Serios? He evidently was able to look into a camera lens and impose an image on the film. He could even do it with sealed film or photographic plates. If legitimate, I can't see why certain people wouldn't be able to do that with audio devices, even unconsciously.


In any case, I wonder why many people who make their livings in radio or in audio recording report nothing like EVPs in their entire experience.
Bear in mind (and this is going to sound terribly condescending) that most “paranormal investigators” today, even some prominent ones, are very young and very inexperienced. Many of them are drunk with technology they don’t really understand, and they take everything they run into at face value. Their research methods – if they have any – are slipshod at best. On the other hand, there are investigators I trust who rely on EVPs, and that cuts some ice with me.


Friends in the field sometimes remind me that I rely heavily on photography. Audio recording is just another such medium, they say, and they have a point. So I remain open minded to EVPs, but certainly some serious research is needed.


And, as "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock said, there are always possibilities.

Copyright 2005 by Paul F. Eno. All rights reserved.