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A brief history of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)

A brief history of Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP)

EVPs are unexplained sounds and disembodied voices captured electronically. Believed by some to be the recorded evidence of residual or intelligent spirits communicating with us.

EVP is not a new phenomenon and can be traced back almost 100 years. We take a brief look at the history of EVP and the people behind it's discovery and experimental development.

1920s

Thomas Edison, the famous American inventor, believed that it might be possible to capture disembodied voices with a machine, he wrote: "If our personality survives (after death), then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect, other faculties, and knowledge that we acquire on this Earth. Therefore … if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something."

Edison’s attempts to invent such a machine were unsuccessful but he never stopped believing that communication with the dead would one day be possible.

1930s

In 1939, Attila von Szalay, an American photographer, experimented with a phonograph record cutter in trying to capture spirit voices. It's said that he achieved some success with this method and got even better results in later years using a wire recorder. In the late 1950s, the results of his experiments were documented in an article for the American Society for Psychical Research.

1940s

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the first “verifiable” spirit voice was recorded on tape. This was accomplished by the Reverend Drayton Thomas while testing medium Gladys Osborne Leonard's psychic abilities. As she produced a spirit manifestation, Reverend Thomas captured the audible, disembodied voice on tape. Thomas later identified the voice as that of his own father.
In the late 1940s, Marcello Bacci of Grosseto, Italy claimed to be able to pick up voices of the deceased on a vacuum tube radio.

1950s

In 1952, two Catholic priests, Father Ernetti and Father Gemelli, inadvertently picked up EVP while recording Gregorian chants on a magnetophone. When the wire on the machine kept breaking, Father Gemelli looked to heavens and asked his dead father for help. To the shock of both men, his father's voice was heard on the recording saying, "Of course I shall help you. I'm always with you." Further experiments confirmed the phenomenon.

In 1959, Friedrich Juergenson, a Swedish film producer, was recording bird songs. On playback, he could discern his mother's voice saying in German, "Friedrich, you are being watched. Friedel, my little Friedel, can you hear me?" His subsequent recording of hundreds of such voices would earn him the title "the Father of EVP." He wrote two books on the subject: Voices from the Universe and Radio Contact with the Dead.

1960s

Juergenson's work came to the attention of a Latvian psychologist named Dr. Konstantin Raudive. At first skeptical, Raudive began his own experiments in 1967. He too recorded the voice of his deceased mother saying, "Kostulit, this is your mother." Kostulit was the boyhood name she always called him. He recorded thousands of EVP voices.

1970s and 1980s

From 1979 to 1982 Spiritual researchers George and Jeanette Meek joined forces with pyschic William O'Neil to record EVPs using radio oscillators. During that time O'Neil built an electronic audio device dubbed "The Spiricom." O'Neil claimed the device was built to exact specifications he received psychically from Dr George Jeffries Mueller, a university professor and NASA scientist who had died six years previously. George Meek and William O’Neil recorded more than twenty hours of dialog with Dr. Mueller, through the Spiricom.

1990s to present

EVP continues to be experimented with and used in paranormal investigations by a number of individuals, organizations and ghost research societies.

EVP classes

Today EVPs are categorized by researchers as being either Class A, B or C based on the clarity of the recording.

Class A

Clearly understood by almost anyone with little or no dispute. These EVPs are also usually the loudest.

Class B

Usually characterized by warping of the voice in certain syllables. Lower in volume or more distant sounding than Class A. Class B is the most common type of EVP captured.

Class C

Characterized by excessive warping. They are the lowest in volume (often whispering) and are the hardest to understand and the most open to interpretation.

Adding your captured EVPs to Ghostwatch is easy. Create a playlist of your audio from either SoundCloud or Youtube and link it to your report. EVP is worthy of continued study, we look forward to hearing your EVP evidence in your next paranormal report on Ghostwatch. Good luck and happy Hunting!

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