Electronic voice phenomenon


Electronic voice phenomenon

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are sections of static noise on the radio or electronic recording that some listeners believe sound like voices speaking words; paranormal investigators sometimes interpret these noises as the voices of ghosts or spirits. [http://www.scientificexploration.org/jse/articles/pdf/15.3_baruss.pdf Baruss, Imants. Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 355–367, 2001, "Failure to Replicate Electronic Voice Phenomena"] Recording EVP has become a technique of those who attempt to contact the souls of dead loved ones or during ghost hunting activities. According to parapsychologist Konstantin Raudive, who popularized the idea, [ cite web|url=http://www.parapsych.org/glossary_e_k.html#e |title=Glossary of Psi |accessdate=2007-11-09 |last= |first= ] EVP are typically brief, usually the length of a word or short phrase.

Skeptics of the paranormal attribute the voice-like aspect of the sounds to apophenia (finding of significance or connections between insignificant or unrelated phenomena), auditory pareidolia (interpreting random sounds into voices in their own language which might otherwise sound like random noise to a foreign speaker), artifacts due to low-quality equipment, and simple hoaxes. Likewise some reported EVP can be attributed to radio interference or other well-documented phenomena.

References to EVP have appeared in the reality television shows "Paranormal State", "Most Haunted", "Celebrity Paranormal Project", and "Ghost Hunters", the fictional television series "Supernatural", "Medium", "Maury (TV series)" and "Ghost Whisperer" and Hollywood films such as "White Noise" and "The Sixth Sense".

History

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 a spirit 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.Carroll, Robert Todd, "The Skeptic's Dictionary" 2003, Wiley Publishing Company, ISBN-10: 0471272426] 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.cite book | last = Fontana | first = David | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Is There an Afterlife: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence | publisher = O Books | year= 2005 | location = Hants, UK | pages = 352-381 | url = | doi = | id = ISBN 1903816904 ]

Early interest

American photographer and medium 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.cite book | last = Sconce | first = Jeffrey | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Haunted Media | publisher = Duke University Press | year= 2000 | location = | pages = 84 | url = | doi = | id = ISBN 0822325721 ] 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 and Bayless' work was published by the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1959.Bayless, R (1959), "Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research", 53#1, 35 – 38] Bayless later went on to co-author the 1979 book, "Phone Calls From the Dead".

In 1959, Swedish painter and film producer Friedrich Jürgenson was recording bird songs. Upon playing the tape later, he heard what he interpreted to be his dead father's voice and then the spirit of his deceased wife calling his name. He went on to make several more recordings, including one that he said contained a message from his late mother.cite book | last = Bjorling | first = Joel | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Consulting Spirits: A Bibliography | publisher = Greenwood Press | year= 1998 | location = Westport, Connecticut | pages = 68 | url = | doi = | id = ISBN 0313302847 ]

Raudive voices

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 people. Some of these recordings were conducted in an RF-screened laboratory and contained words Raudive said were identifiable.cite book | last = Raudive | first = Konstantin | authorlink = Konstantin Raudive | coauthors = | title = Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication With the Dead (Original title: The Inaudible Becomes Audible) | publisher = Taplinger Publishing Co. |year= 1971 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = ISBN 0800809653 ] In an attempt to confirm the content of his collection of recordings, Raudive invited listeners to hear and interpret them.cite book | last = Fontana | first = David | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Is There an Afterlife: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence | publisher = O Books | year= 2005 | location = Hants, UK | pages = 496 | url = | doi = | id = ISBN 1903816904 page 353] cite web|url=http://www.worlditc.org/f_07_senkowski_analysis.htm |title=Analysis of Anomalous Audio and Video Recordings, presented before the "Society For Scientific Exploration" USA – June 1995 |accessdate=2007-09-18 |last=Senkowski |first=Ernst |year=1995 ] cite book | last = Brune | first = Francois | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = The Dead Speak To Us | publisher = Philippe Lebaud | year= 1988 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ISBN 2253051233 ] [cite book | last = Cardoso | first = Anabela | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = ITC Voices: Contact with Another Reality? | publisher = ParaDocs | year= 2003 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ] cite book | last = Bander | first = Peter | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Voices from the tapes: Recordings from the other world | publisher = Drake Publishers | year= 1973 | location = | pages = | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ASIN: B0006CCBAE ] He believed that the clarity of the voices heard in his recordings implied that they could not be readily explained by normal means. Raudive published his first book, "Breakthrough - An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead" in 1968 and it was translated into English in 1971. [http://worlditc.org/ Under researchers results - Konstantin Raudive.]

piricom

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 O'Neil's results using their own Spiricom devices. [ cite web|url=http://www.wintersteel.com/EVP.html |title=Electronic Voice Phenomena |accessdate=2007-09-20 |publisher=Winter Steel ] [ cite web|url=http://www.worlditc.org/h_07_meek_spiri_000_007.htm |title=An electromagnetic-etheric systems approach to communications with other levels of human consciousness |accessdate=2007-09-20 |last=Meek |first=George W ] 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 work." cite journal|title=Report from Europe: Earthside instrumental communications with higher planes of existence via telephone and computer are now a reality|journal=Unlimited Horizons, Metascience Foundation Inc|year=1988|first=George W|last=Meek|coauthors=|volume=6|issue=1|pages=1–11|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2007-09-20 ]

Modern era (1980s-present)

In 1982, Sarah Estep founded the [http://www.aaevp.com 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.

A few German enthusiasts coined the term "Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC)" 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.Baruss, Imants (2001), [http://www.scientificexploration.org/jse/articles/pdf/15.3_baruss.pdf "Failure to Replicate Electronic Voice Phenomenon"] , Journal of Scientific Exploration, V15#3, 0892-3310/01] Dr. Cardoso, Anabela (2003) "ITC Voices: Contact with Another Reality?"] 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 enthusiastists also look at TV and video camera feedback loop of the Droste effect." cite web|url=http://www.worlditc.org/h_08_schreiber_0.htm |title=Claus Schreiber, Germany |accessdate=2007-09-21 |publisher=World ITC ] [ cite web|url=http://www.skepdic.com/itc.html |title=Skeptic's Dictionary on instrumental transcommunication (ITC) |accessdate=2007-09-22 |last=Carroll |first=Robert Todd ]

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 review.

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. [cite web
last = MacRae
first = Alexander
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A Bio-electromagnetic Device of Unusual Properties
work =
publisher = www.skyelab.co.uk
date =
url = http://www.skyelab.co.uk/review/aa.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-27
] 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 selections were of paranormal origin.cite journal | last = MacRae | first = Alexander | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Report of an Electronic Voice Phenomenon Experiment inside a Double-Screened Room | journal = Journal of the Society for Psychical Research | volume = | issue = | pages = | publisher = Society for Psychical Research | month= October | year= 2005 | url = | doi = | id = | accessdate = ] [ cite journal|title=The Alpha Mystery|journal= FATE Magazine|date=2000-07-01|first=José|last=Feola|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.llewellyn.com/archive/fate/38/|format=|accessdate=2007-09-22 ]

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.cite web | last = Chisholm | first = Judith | title = A Short History of EVP | publisher = Psychic World | year = 2000 | url = http://www.psychicworld.net/EVP3.htm | accessdate = 2006-12-03] [ cite web|url=http://aaevp.com/articles/articles_bill_weisensale_experiment.htm |title=Eliminating Radio Frequency Contamination for EVP |accessdate=2007-09-21 |last=Weisensale |first=Bill |publisher=Website of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena ] Nevertheless, in order to record EVP there has to be noise in the audio circuits of the device used to produce the EVP. [ Citation| first=Paolo | last=Presi| coauthors=| contribution=The Work at Il Laboratorio| title=The Work at Il Laboratorio| editor-first=| editor-last=| coeditors=| publisher=| place=| pages=| date=| year=| id= | contribution-url=http://aaevp.com/articles/articles_about_il_laboratorio.htm| format=| accessdate=2007-09-21 ] 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. [ cite web|url=http://etheric-studies.aaevp.com/best_practices/bp_example.htm |title=Example Proposed Best Practice Using a Second or Control Audio Recorder as a Means of Identifying Mundane Sounds |accessdate=2007-09-21 |last=Butler |first=Tom |publisher=Website of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena ]

Some EVP enthusiasts describe hearing the words in EVP as an ability, much like learning a new language. [ cite journal|title=You can Hear Dead People|journal=Fate|date=2001-02-01|first=|last=Konstantinos|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.llewellyn.com/archive/fate/95/|format=|accessdate=2007-09-21 ] Skeptics say that the claimed instances are all either hoaxes or misinterpretations of natural phenomena. EVP and ITC are seldom researched within the scientific community and, as ideas, are generally derided by scientists when asked.

Explanations and origins

Those who think that EVP are paranormal manifestations have a number of speculations as to what EVP may possibly be. [ cite web|url=http://www.aaevp.com/articles/articles_about_cosmology.htm |title=A Brief Discussion on the Origin of EVP Messages |accessdate=2007-09-21 |last=Butler |first=Tom Website of the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena] Common explanations include living humans imprinting thoughts directly on an electronic medium through psychokinesis cite book | last = Jahn | first = Robert G. | authorlink = | coauthors = Dunne, Brenda J. | title = Margins of Reality: The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World | publisher = Harcourt Brace Jovanovich |year= 1987 | location = San Diego, California | pages = | url = | doi = | id = ISBN 0151571481 ] and communication by discarnate entities such as spirits, [ [http://www.friendly-ghosts.com/faqs.html EVPs - Questions & Answers ] ] [ cite journal|title=Group analyzes paranormal activity|journal=The Collegian|date= October 26, 2004 |first=Josh|last=Josh Bosack|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2007-09-21 ] nature energies, beings from other dimensions, or extraterrestrials.Estep, Sarah, "Voices Of Eternity"," page 144, [http://aaevp.com/voices_of_eternity_web.pdf] ]

Since EVP has been ignored and derided as fiction by the scientific communityFact|date=September 2008 and is not generally studied by academic researchers, there is no singular consensus on what all EVP are. However, there are a number of straightforward 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 brain to recognize patterns in random stimuli.cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = EVP | work = Skeptic's Dictionary | publisher = | date = | url = http://skepdic.com/evp.html | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2006-12-01 ] A percentage of recordings may be hoaxes created by frauds or pranksters.

The very first EVP recordings may have originated from the use of tape recording equipment with poorly aligned erasure and recording heads, resulting in previous audio recordings not being completely erased. This could allow a small percentage of previous content to be superimposed or mixed into a new 'silent' recording. [ [http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1997_articles/may97/analysinganalogue.html?print=yes Analysing Analogue ] ] Fact|date=September 2008

Explanations based on psychology and perception

"Auditory pareidolia" is a situation created when the brain incorrectly interprets random patterns as being familiar patterns. [Wiggins Arthur W. Wynn Charles M. (2001), "Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends and Pseudoscience Begins", National Academies Press, ISBN 0-309-07309-X] 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. [cite book |last=Zusne |first=Leonard |coauthors=Warren H. Jones |title=Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking |publisher=Lawrence Erlbaum Associates |year=1989 |isbn=0805805087 |pages=78 |url=http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0805805087 |accessdate=2007-04-06] 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 of EVP. Joe Banks "Rorschach Audio", the "Ghost Orchid" CD sleevenotes, PARC / Ash International, 1999] Joe Banks "Rorschach Audio: A Lecture at The Royal Society of British Sculptors", Diffusion 8, pp. 2-6, Sonic Arts Network, 2000] [ Joe Banks "Rorschach Audio: Ghost Voices and Perceptual Creativity", Leonardo Music Journal 11, pp. 77-83, The MIT Press, 2001] [ Joe Banks "Rorschach Audio: Art and Illusion for Sound", Strange Attractor Journal 1, pp. 124-159, Strange Attractor Press, 2004]

Skeptics such as David Federlein, Chris French, Terrence Hines and Michael Shermer say that EVP 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 as cross modulation of radio stations or faulty ground loops can cause the impression of paranormal 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. [cite news |last=Shermer |first=Michael |title=Turn Me On, Dead Man |year=2005 |month=May |publisher=Scientific American |url=http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000EB977-12BE-1264-8F9683414B7FFE9F |accessdate=2007-02-28] cite news | first=Huw | last=Williams | coauthors= | title='Ghostly' chatter - fact or fiction? | date=2005-01-06 | publisher=BBC News.com | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/4152805.stm | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-23 | language = ] Expectation also plays an important part in making people believe they are hearing voices in random noise. [Hines, Terrence, "Pseudoscience and the Paranormal: A Critical Examination of the Evidence", Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1988. ISBN 0-87975-419-2.Thagard (1978) "op cit" 223 "ff"]

"Apophenia" is related to, but distinct from pareidolia." cite web|url=http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=39714 |title=Definition of Apophenia |accessdate=2007-09-23 |publisher=MedicineNet.com ] 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.cite web
last = Phaedra
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Believing is seeing
work = The Skeptic Express
publisher =
year = 2006
url = http://theskepticexpress.com/Believing_is_seeing.php
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2007-03-08
]

Physical explanations

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.cite book | author= Paul Tipler| title=Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Electricity, Magnetism, Light, and Elementary Modern Physics (5th ed.) | publisher=W. H. Freeman | year=2004 | id=ISBN 0-7167-0810-8] 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 for circuits to resonate without any internal power source by means of radio reception.

"Capture errors" are anomalies created by the method used to capture audio signals, such as noise generated through the over-amplification of a signal at the point of recording.Smith, Steven W. (2002) "Digital Signal Processing - A Practical Guide for Engineers and Scientists", Newnes, ISBN 0-7506-7444-X]

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 recordings to take on qualities significantly different from those that were present in the original recording. [Randi, James (2006-06-09), " [http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-06/060906just.html#i1 Just Where is Lou Gentile?] ,]

Organizations

There are a number of organizations dedicated to studying EVP and instrumental transcommunication. Individuals within these organizations may participate in investigations, author books or journal articles, deliver presentations, and hold conferences where they share experiences. [ cite web|url=http://aaevp.com/conference/aaevp_conference.html |title= Report on the 2006 AA-EVP Conference |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] In addition organizations exist which dispute the validity of the phenomena on scientific grounds.

The "American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena" (AA-EVP) [ cite web|url=http://www.aaevp.com/ |title=AA-EVP:Electronic Voice Phenomena and Instrumental TransCommunication |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] averages around 500 members in 47 USA states and 22 countries including the USA (current: 2007)." [ cite web|url=http://www.aaevp.com/about_more.htm |title=More About AA-EVP |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] and the "International Ghost Hunters Society", conduct ongoing investigations of EVP and ITC including collecting examples of purported EVP available over the internet. [ cite web|url=http://www.ghostweb.com/ |title=International Ghost Hunters Society |accessdate=2007-09-22 |first=Dave and Sharon Oester ] . "The Rorschach Audio Project", initiated by sound artist Joe Banks, [ cite journal|title=Rorschach Audio: Ghost Voices and Perceptual Creativity|journal=Leonardo Music Journal|year=2001|first=Joe|last=Banks|coauthors=|volume=11|issue=|pages=77–83|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2007-09-22|doi=10.1162/09611210152780728 ] [ cite journal|title=Rorschach Audio: Art and Illusion for Sound|journal=Strange Attractor Journal 1|year=2004|first=Joe|last=Banks|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=124–159|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2007-09-22 ] 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. [ cite web|url=http://www.laboratorio.too.it/ |title= INTERDISCIPLINARY LABORATORY FOR BIOPSYCHOCYBERNETICS RESEARCH Who we are |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] According to the AA-EVP, it is "the only organized group of researchers we know of specializing in the study of ITC." [ cite web|url=http://aaevp.com/links_world.htm |title=EVP/ITC Organizations & Websites Around the World |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] .

Spiritualists, as well as others who believe in Survivalism, have an ongoing interest in EVP. [ cite web|url=http://www.cfpf.org.uk/impressum.html |title=About The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] 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. [ cite web|url=http://www.nsac.org/spiritualism.htm |title=NSAC - Spiritualism |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] 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)". [ cite web|url=http://nsacphenomena.com/concepts.htm |title= Phenomenal Evidence Department of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches Concepts Involved in Spiritualism |accessdate=2007-09-22 ] 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." cite web|url=http://nsacphenomena.com/articles/the_churches.htm |title=About the NSAC Churches |accessdate=2007-09-21 |date=2005-11-29 |publisher=National Spiritualist Association of Churches ]

The James Randi Educational Foundation offers a million dollars for proof that any phenomena, including EVP, are caused paranormally. The prize remains uncollected.

Cultural impact

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.

Paranormal groups and ghost hunting

Investigation of EVP is the subject of hundreds of Internet message boards, regional, and national groups. cite web|url=http://www.azcentral.com/ent/pop/articles/0310ghosthunter10.html |title=Ghost hunters in search of the paranormal |accessdate=2007-09-21 |last=Schlesinger |first=Victoria |date=2005-03-10 |publisher=AZCentral.com ] " cite web|url=http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-supernatural_28met.ART.North.Edition1.3ef5d91.html |title=Paranormal investigators not afraid to scare up some ghosts |accessdate=2007-09-21 |last=Appleton |first=Roy |date=2006-10-28 |work=The Dallas Morning News ] According to paranormal investigator John Zaffis, "There's been a boom in ghost hunting ever since the Internet took off." Investigators, equipped with electronic gear such as EMF meters, video cameras and audio recorders, scour reportedly haunted venues, trying to uncover visual and audio evidence of hauntings. Many use portable recording devices in an attempt to capture EVP.

Radio, film and television

* "The Sixth Sense", a 1999 film starring Bruce Willis. The main character, a psychologist, realizes that audiotapes of his former patient interviews include the voices of dead people, who have been haunting the patient.
* "Ghost Whisperer", 2005 TV series. In the episode "Voices", a dead woman tries to reach her son using EVP.
* "Supernatural", a TV series launched in 2005 which draws from many legends and paranormal phenomena, frequently uses EVP as a plot device.
* "White Noise", a 2005 film starring Michael Keaton, focuses exclusively on the phenomenon of EVP and the main character's attempts to contact his recently deceased wife through it. The filmmakers assert at the end of the film that 1 in 12 EVP messages received is threatening in nature, a figure disputed by many in the field." cite web|url=http://www.lonestarspirits.org/media6.html |title=Long awaited movie White Noise - A major disappointment |accessdate=2007-09-19 |date=Spring 2005 |publisher=Lone Star Spirits.com ]
* "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.cite news | first=George | last=Noory | coauthors= | title=Demonology & EVPs | date=2006-04-02 | publisher=Coast to Coast AM | url =http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2006/04/02.html | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-19 | language = ] cite news | first=Art | last=Bell | coauthors= | title=Recorded Spirit Communications | date=2006-04-15 | publisher= | url =http://www.coasttocoastam.com/shows/2006/04/15.html | work =Coast to Coast AM | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-19 | language = ]
* "Lost Souls", a made-for-tv movie that uses an EVP to communicate with the spirits of 2 murdered children.
* "The SciFi Channel's Ghost Hunters" TV series often features EVP as part of investigations conducted by Atlantic Paranormal Society members.cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Ghost Hunters Episodes | date= | publisher=SciFi.com | url =http://www.scifi.com/ghosthunters/episodes/season01/0101/ | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-19 | language = ]
* "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 (EVP)".cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=TV psychics claim Lennon contact | date=2006-04-25 | publisher= | url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4941490.stm | work =BBC News | pages = | accessdate = 2007-09-19 | language = ]
* In 2008, the History Channel television series "MonsterQuest" picked up two EVPs in the Lizzie Borden house, said to be the most haunted house in America.

Literature

* "Legion", a 1983 novel by William Peter Blatty. Written as a sequel to his 1971 novel "The Exorcist", "Legion" 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 contact with the dead, including the Dr'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".
* "Pattern Recognition", 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.

ee also

* Parapsychology
* Mediumship
* Backward message
* Ghost hunting
* Reverse speech

References


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