Saturday, June 27, 2015

Communicating with the Other Side -- ITC & EVP, Part 2

Paranormal investigators who use ghost boxes do so with the expectation these devices may provide a means of communicating with the Other Side. But ghost boxes might as well be black boxes. Sure the results can be very impressive, but where are these results coming from?

(This is the second in a series of articles on ITC -- Instrumental TransCommunication -- and EVP and their role in paranormal investigating. If you missed the first article in the series, click here. You might  want to revisit the final part of that article anyway to get a running start into this one!) 

For one thing, we have to remember that EVP are *not* human voices.

That's a hard concept for us to wrap our heads around. Sure, one of the possible origins of the voices are the survival of  personalities after death, but the voices recorded are not really their actual voices. In fact, many paranormal researchers point out EVPs can fall outside the expected frequencies and characteristics generated by human vocal cords.

EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena, and the operative word is electronic, which has two senses: 1) voices captured through electronic equipment, but also, 2) voices *generated* through electronic equipment. That means EVP are not disembodied voices since they occur as the result of electronics -- they are, after all, electronic phenomena by definition! -- and therefore produce human-like speech but not human speech.

This is true whether we're talking EVP produced by ghost boxes or audio-only digital recorders since even direct recordings capture sounds that need to be replayed in order to hear.

Nikola Tesla
A Short (& Selective) History of EVP Capture
EVP production has a history dating back to the beginnings of practical electronics.

Seems like every time a new technology emerged -- telegraph, wireless radio, telephone, audio recordings -- inventors and users reported strange and inexplicable messages. Even Nikola Tesla picked up unexplained voices, and since no one else was transmitting within range at that early stage of radio development, he assumed he was receiving conversations from nearby planets.

Thomas Edison considered the phenomenon, correctly deducing that EVP (a term that wouldn't take on coinage until the 1970s) would be a matter of a device sensitive enough to amplify very faint signals.

In his private diary, Edison writes, "I do myself hope that personality survives and that we persist. If we do persist upon the other side of the grave, then my apparatus, with its extraordinary delicacy, should one day give us the proof of that persistence...."

Oscar D'Argonell described voices with discarnate voices through early telephones in 1925, and Edgar Wallace captured the first EVP on a 78 r.p.m. record cutter in 1932. By 1947, Attila von Szalay reported success using magnetic tape. Father Ernetti of the Experimental Physics Laboratory at Catholic University in Milan conducted oscillograph experiments with a wire magnetiphone in 1952, but when the wire broke, he still recorded voices -- and conducted and recorded conversations with his dead father.

78 r.p.m. record cutter
When Swedish scientist Friedrich Jürgenson was recording bird songs in 1959, he also captured a voice commenting on his work. In further recordings, he captured his deceased mother's voice telling him, "Friedrich, you are being watched." He shifted his scientific focus to EVP.

Over subsequent decades, researchers like Konstantin Raudive, Franz Seidl, Marcedllo Bacci, Americans Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless, Hans Otto-Koenig, Sarah Estep, and many others from around the world have continued to accumulate instances of EVP. Every time a new or refined technology advanced, EVP occurred in the new form-- as though voices on the other side were indeed "watching" progress and responding.

 And on this side, paranormal researchers -- especially the Association of TransCommunication (ATransC) -- have pulled together enough data to propose a growing list of characteristics that seem to distinguish these EVP. (In particular, take a look at the ATransC "TransCommunication White Paper" to skim through a list of 21 characteristics.)

There seems to be plenty of evidence of reported communication throughout the 20th Century, often from scientists and researchers who stumbled onto EVP even when they weren't looking for the phenomenon.

Ghost Box Tech
But let's fast-forward to 2002, and the invention of the first ghost box by Frank Sumption, often called "Frank's Box." The purpose of Sumption's device was real-time communication with the dead, and he claimed he got inspiration for the design from the spirit world -- guess they were "watching" him as well!

Frank's box was perhaps the first device to combine white noise and radio frequency (RF) scanning to provide sounds that spirits could use for communication, and it received its share of criticism from skeptics and paranormal investigators alike, citing that even though words were random, the experience was still explainable as auditory pareidolia – a situation created when the brain incorrectly interprets random patterns as being familiar patterns. Not to mention other sources of transmission such as Citizen's Band radio!

Fair enough, and one of the plausible objections to many subsequent iterations of ghost boxes over the next dozen years. But the latest generation seems to have sophisticated the process in a way that no longer relies on RF. 

And at that point, the game just got more interesting -- the subject of the next article. (Click here to read the next article in the series.)

* * *

We're having as much fun analyzing the results of our investigations over the past year as we did conducting those investigations for our book, WILD WEST GHOSTS.

There are puzzling experiences and encounters aplenty out there, and you just may want to pick up a copy of the book for either armchair musings of your own or else as a guide for some of your own expeditions into the fascinating world of the paranormal.

You can pick up the book as either an e-read or a trade paperback. Visit our Website for the links.

In the meantime, happy hunting!