Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) describes a variety of different types of sound recordings which resemble speech. They are said to be the voices of departed spirits trying to communicate with people still on earth. The sounds and voices are most commonly found on recordings in which the sensitivity has been increased and subsequently there is static, stray radio transmissions and background noise.

The recognition of EVP

The idea of EVP was first put out by widely respected scientist Thomas Edison. He once famously said, ‘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’.

It was with this notion that Konstantīns Raudive followed. A writer and intellectual, Raudive gave the last ten years of his life to EVP, making over 100,000 recordings which he believed were communications of a paranormal nature. In collaboration with Friedrich Jurgenson, the team invited people to listen to and interpret them. Raudive wrote in his first book that one recording ended with a voice saying, ‘Go to sleep, Margaret’ in French. ‘These words made a deep impression on me, as Margarete Petrautzki had died recently, and her illness and death had greatly affected me’ he said.

The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena was founded in 1982 by Sarah Estep, and is a non-profit organisation whose objective is to raise awareness for EVP. Now renamed Association TransCommunication, the organisation seeks personal accounts from those who have been contacted by deceased loved ones, particularly if it provides evidence of their spiritual survival. Estep claims that in her studies she has received messages from friends and relatives that have passed away, as well as from extra-terrestrials.

The particulars of EVP

EVP is most often recorded on audiotape and ca range of electronic media along with being heard through radio station noise. It has been recorded in different languages and usually consists of single words, short sentences and simple noises like groans.

One of the most interesting aspects of EVP is that the voices at times will interact with the person undertaking the recording and is usually not heard at the time but is there on playback.

The big question

The big question of course is where do the voices come from. There are many suppositions on this, of which the main ones are:

  • Voices of people who have died
  • Messages from angels or demonic spirits
  • Communications from another dimension
  • Projections from the researchers own mind and subconscious
  • The misinterpretation of noise and interference

The answer of course is that no-one really knows and so the research and investigation must go on.

The non-believers

Sceptics argue that the voices can be explained by CB operators, cross modulation or ionospheric ducting. With televisions, radios, baby monitors, walkie-talkies, transmitters and so many other voices being transmitted by humans, they argue it is no surprise that they can cause interference. It is also said that with so many recordings being made along with the inevitable background noise it is always going to be likely that it may sound like words being formed. It is argued that the human brain is also programmed to look for words in noises.

Continued popularity of EVP

While this may deter some, there is still a huge backing of EVP worldwide. EVP tour groups, performers, shows, books, television and radio productions are receiving consistently high audiences and believers at home are always going to be listening in the hope for any kind of message from deceased family members. It may be a phenomenon hard to prove, but it is one that can only be harder to disprove, and those who believe they have heard from loved ones will argue it for all their days.