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Best Practices Index
Best Practices - General
Best Practices - EVP
Best Practices - Visual ITC
Video Loop
Best Practices - Hauntings Investigation
Best Practices - Development Circle
Best Practices - Remote Viewing
Best Practices - Healing Intention
Best Practices - Research Practitioner
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Tom Butler


The classification of paranormal phenomena is important for setting the expectation of an observer and to help the practitioner gage how well he or she is doing in relationship with to the larger community. A three-class system has previously been used, and only for audio ITC (EVP). This practice is designed to accommodate static and transient forms of audio and visual ITC.
The two-type, three-tier classification includes: Type 1 for noise transform phenomena (transient) and Type 2 for more persistent (static) features opportunistically formed from mundane sources. The Class A (easy to experience), B (more difficult to experience) and C (mostly experienced by the practitioner) remains so that there are Type 1, A, B or C and Type 2 A, B or C.


A common dilemma for practitioners is how to classify examples. The phenomena of interest to the paranormalist community may take many different forms. Two primary categories are spontaneous and induced. For instance, near-death experiences are usually considered spontaneous while EVP are usually considered induced. After Death Communication (ADC) was considered a spontaneous phenomenon until EVP came along, so now we have spontaneous and induced ADC.

In most instances, classification is embedded in the introductory dialogue for an example. The practitioner or witness is expected to realize that exceptions to the general rule should be explained. For instance, an EVP that was stumbled upon during a video-take for a television commercial is an unusual spontaneous EVP and should be explained as such.

Psi sensing as human potential is considered very different from psi field phenomena related to survival. This is a differentiation seldom made by paranormalist, assuming, I suppose that there is no such thing as survival.

A point that is slightly off of the subject is the need to distinguish research intended to prove phenomena is mundane and research intended to understand phenomena. Anomalistic psychology verses psi sensing studies is good example. How phenomena are described in the two different contexts determines how examples are introduced. In this case, it is important to make sure the audience knows which view the practitioner or witness is taking.

Trans-etheric Influences

This is a young field of study and there are many forms of phenomena about which too little is known to classify. This leaves the practitioner or witness little alternative but to be conservative by describing such phenomena as probably not paranormal. For instance, the paranormal faces sometimes found in video-loop ITC are typically present for just a moment (transient). That is why they are usually only seen in photographs or video frames. There is little doubt amongst people who have studied the technique that video-loop ITC produces paranormal phenomena. Classification for the examples are discussed below.

As a comparison, a face seen in calcium buildup on a subway wall (persistent) may be paranormal, but it is tempting to ignore it as happenstance. Ignoring such examples may be intellectually lazy in that we really do not know the bounds of our etheric friends’ capabilities or their motivation. Our reaction might be very different if we knew that a person looking a lot like the calcium pattern had been killed on that very spot.


A common dilemma is how to consider examples of phenomena that are perhaps not as phenomenal as others such as video-loop ITC which is clearly paranormal. For instance, a face seen in calcium buildup on a subway wall may be paranormal, but it is tempting to ignore it as happenstance. Ignoring such examples may be intellectually lazy in that we really do not know the bounds of our etheric friends’ capabilities. Our reaction might be very different if we knew that a person looking a lot like the calcium pattern had been killed on that very spot.

Current Classification System

EVP can be classified as transform and opportunistic. A three-tier system for classifying EVP has been successfully used for many years for transform EVP but has been proven inadequate for other forms. For the purpose of classification, the main difference is that transform phenomena is transient and opportunistic EVP are persistent. A similar problem has been encountered with visual forms of ITC, for which there has been no classification system. The three-class system for rating EVP is:

  • Class A: Can be heard and understood over a speaker by most people
  • Class B: Can be heard over a speaker, but not everyone will agree as to what is said
  • Class C: Can only be heard with headphones and is difficult to understand
Class B or C voices may have one or two clearly understood words but it is how well the overall meaning can be understood that determines the class. Also, loud does not equal Class A.


in the existing classification system used for EVP, the majority of examples are rated as Class C while a small percentage of examples are rated Class B and even fewer are rated Class A. It is estimated that there are a thousand or more Class C examples for every Class A.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The proposed system is based on two major types of phenomena. Phenomena that are typically only momentarily present in the physical are classified in this practice as Type 1 or transient phenomena. Phenomena that typically exist in the physical for a relatively long time are classified as Type 2 or persistent.

Expected distribution by class.gif

In Type 2, persistence can be quantified as sufficient time for a person to observe the feature. As a general rule, persistent phenomena appear to be formed by opportunistically adapting naturally occurring processes to express the message, assuming one is intended. A cloud formation that resembles a face, for instance.

Each type is divided into three-subclasses as Class A, B and C. As before, the Classes are defined so that there are many Class C examples for a few Class B and even fewer Class A examples.

As indicated in Figure 2, Class C examples (less objective) are considered much less evidential than Class B or Class A examples (more objective) because they are not easily shared. Examples that are perceived as less objective are much more difficult to establish their paranormality.

Both audible and visible phenomena are classified as:

Type 1: Transformed physical media; not always present
Type 2: Always present; often as a persistent artifact
Type 1 and Type 2.gif

Both Type 1 and Type 2 are divided by three classes. They are as before, but described in more generic terms to accommodate different types of phenomena:

Class A: Evident without explanation
Class B: May require directions
Class C: May be vaguely experienced; mostly obscured by noise

Audio ITC

The input sound used in EVP helps determine the type. There will be exceptions, but as a general rule:

Type 1 Audible: Input is audio-frequency noise, either ambient room noise or supplied, perhaps from a fan or a noise generator. The formation of voice is thought to be via transformation as the communicator imposes intended order on the otherwise chaotic noise. This is thought to involve stochastic amplification.
Type 2 Audible: Input sound is typically live voice. This includes someone talking on the radio, in the room or pre-recorded, perhaps in a foreign language. The easily heard voice is supplied, but formation of the message is seen as the opportunistic selection of parts of the existing voice. Often, paranormal status comes from the context of the voice-like sound.

It is important to note that a Type 1 EVP can be formed in any sound, including noise or voice. As such, foreign-language voice can be transformed into new words. With that said, the practitioner can be expected to provide both input and output files for comparison. Also, since it is known that EVP occur in one process, two recorders recording the same input file should not produce the same EVP.

Visual ITC

Features found in photographs and video frames of medium-density optical noise are considered transform features. They are transient, in that an observer does not see them at the time of recording, only upon review of the media.

By comparison, a pattern on a piece of toast that resembles a face is long lasting and visible without the need to examine a photograph. With these considerations in mind:

Type 1 Visual: Input is optical noise, usually medium density which is not very light or very dark. Textured surfaces facilitate image formation, as does image compression techniques. Often, visibility of the resulting paranormal feature is limited by the resolution of the media.
Type 2 Visual: Naturally occurring surface characteristics which are more or less static can sometimes be arranged to form faces. Whether or not the faces are intentionally formed is not clear.

The feature may be mundane background shapes seen in a distorted reflection, unfamiliar combination of shapes or naturally occurring processes such as the buildup of calcium on a wet wall that seems to resemble something familiar. In many cases, Type 2 visual examples may be mundane, but become paranormal by when or where they are detected.

Example Application

Combined visual ITC images.jpg

The ITC images shown in this montage would be classified as:

  1. Type 1, Class B - Original breath-vapor photograph ©
  2. Not applicable - Image 1 enhanced by the artist
  3. Type 2, Class B - The crystal Chris used to make his point The arrow points to an enlarged, enhanced version of a face more or less on the surface. We argued that it is a fortuitously arranged artifact. ©
  4. Type 1, Class A - A face "in" a crystal photographed by the Scole Mediums ©
  5. Type 1, Class A - A face found in light reflected from moving water
  6. Type 2, Class C - Original photograph of a face on a wall of a Spiritualist church. You will barely see it. The congregation swears that it was not there when they painted the wall white.
  7. Improved to Type 2-A - The same face, only enhanced. The camera (1997 I think) did not have a good UV filter and detected the image better than the naked eye. However, I also enhanced the contrast.
  8. Type 1, Class A - A video-loop image I use for my avatar.

Substantiating material

Provide references supporting the practice if appropriate. Include substantiating evidence not identified by the references. Also when appropriate, include all statements indicating a recommended procedure should be supported by one or more of the following:

  • Logical conclusions based on accepted social behavior, ethical standards and successful practices.
  • Personal experience which is supported by at least three witnesses. (Their contact information should be available but not in the document).
  • Research that has been published in a regularly published publication or on the Internet, and that includes at a minimum, an explanation of the experimental protocol, results, involved researchers, date of research and original purpose for the research.


Locating EVP Formation and Detecting False Positives

The Formation of EVP

A Research Study into the Interpretation of EVP