This is a brief overview of what is currently known about transcommunication with an emphasis on Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). It is written by Tom Butler and published by Association TransCommunication (ATransC). Please feel free to share this under the Creative Commons 3.0 License
This explanation is written in terms of the Trans-Survival Hypothesis.1 It depends on current parapsychological research (psi, psi-field and survival)2 and the accumulated evidence provided by the citizen scientists of the paranormal community.3
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Transcommunication can be defined as a trans-etheric influence that is intended to be communication; trans-etheric communication. The “trans-“ prefix denotes across the etheric-physical interface. Here, “etheric” is used to designate the nonphysical aspect of reality. Virtually all reported paranormal phenomena are thought to involve some form of trans-etheric influence. Not all trans-etheric influences are considered communication. Some, such as residual energy phenomena are thought to simply happen without regard to who is experiencing the event.
“Psi” denotes parapsychological phenomena which include ESP and mind-matter interaction; psi, psychic, and psychical are synonyms. For convenience, in ATransC literature, it is common to speak of physical space, psi space and etheric space where etheric space represents the greater reality. In the Trans-survival Hypothesis, mind, including memory visualization and intentionality, is considered a psi space phenomenon.
Two examples of visual ITC produced recorded by the Socrates Circle by generating optical-frequency noise using a video feedback loop. Left is the profile of a person looking to your left. Right is the head of a dog looking slightly to your left.
Ernst Senkowski4 coined the term, Instrumental TransCommunication (ITC) to describe “ … meaningful anomalies including extraordinary voices, computer text, recorded images and images found on video displays suggestive of a continuance of life after death.” Note that After Death Communication (ADC) and mediumship should be considered subsets of transcommunication but are not necessarily ITC. (Because of common use in this field, terms with a “trans-“ prefix can be used without the hyphen.)
There are three theories commonly used to explain such paranormal experiences as anomalous voices and images in recording media, hauntings phenomena and mediumship. Always the first explanations that should be considered are those that involve only normal phenomena. These include mundane artifacts mistaken as paranormal, fraud and illusion. Of course, if any of these explain the report, then it is not considered transcommunication.
There is much that is not known about the physical world and known physical principles might eventually explain these phenomena. Assuming there is no known mundane explanation, the Super-psi Hypothesis2, 27 would be considered. Super-psi proposes that these phenomena are caused by information that has been somehow recorded into a subtle-energy aspect of reality and which are able to be detected by our senses and instruments. In other words, these experiences are only memories or echoes of the past.
The Survival Hypothesis2 has been proposed for reported experiences that appear to be interactive communication. This hypothesis proposes that people are really an etheric personality entangled with a physical body for the purpose of a lifetime, and that when the body dies, the personality continues to exist in a nonphysical aspect of reality and is able to communicate back “into” the physical.
The ATransC has adopted a working version of the Survival Hypothesis referred to as the Trans-survival Hypothesis as the theory thought to best explain the evidence. The essay Implicit Cosmology provides an index to a series of essays for a thorough discussion of the subject.1
Speculation about EVP can be traced back to the 1920s. In a Scientific American5 interview, Thomas Edison was quizzed on his views regarding contacting the dead. Edison said that it might be “possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that, if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and Ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication.” There is no indication that Edison designed or tried to construct such a device.6
Did Edison make a machine that could talk to the dead?
This seems to be another tall tale that Edison pulled on a reporter. In 1920 Edison told the reporter, B.F. Forbes, that he was working on a machine that could make contact with the spirits of the dead. Newspapers all over the world picked up this story. After a few years, Edison admitted that he had made the whole thing up. Today at Edison National Historic Site, we take care of over five million pages of documents. None of them mention such an experiment.
In 1936, Attila von Szalay, A Californian, started capturing paranormal voices on phonograph records and then in the mid 1950s he was joined by Raymond Bayless. Together they acquired many evidential EVP on their new tape recorders and they published their findings in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.7
The person credited with bringing EVP to the public is Friedrich Jürgenson, a Russian-born Swedish film producer. In 1959, after recording birdsong on his tape recorder, Jürgenson heard on playback what appeared to be a human voice. Subsequent recordings contained a message which seemed to be coming from his dead mother.8
Konstantin Raudive is credited for learning about EVP as a student of Jürgenson and introducing EVP to the English-speaking world with the Colin Smythe publication of the English-language Breakthrough9
Colin Smyth is credited with coining the term, “Electronic Voice Phenomena” (EVP) as a more inclusive alternative to “Raudive Voices,” as the voices recorded by Raudive were referred to at the time.10
In 1982, Sarah Estep founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena. She continued to publish quarterly newsletters until 2000, at which time Tom and Lisa Butler assumed leadership. In 2010, the name of the organization was changed from
Types of EVP
Electronic Voice Phenomena are formed in three very different ways, all of which are dependent on the availability of a relatively chaotic signal which has been shown in research to be influenced with psychokinesis.
Experience is showing that a microphone is only important to introduce additional noise if the noise generated internally by the recorder is not useful for voice formation.
A very high quality recorder produces very little internal noise but a low-quality recorder typically produces too much steady-state noise, which is not useful for EVP.
Current understanding is that noise in the voice range–400 to 4,000 Hz–with many perturbations, such as small noise spikes, is useful for voice formation. The noise is needed for voice, but the perturbations are apparently useful to initiate the voice formation process.
The Panasonic RR-DR60 produces this kind of noise internally, but it is possible to produce it externally. One technique is to rapidly sweep a radio dial. The objective is to sweep the entire dial in under a second so that no whole words or even allophones can be detected. The objective is the resulting noise and not the “whole” sounds. This is not radio-sweep as used in ghost or spirit boxes. That technique sweeps the dial in two to four seconds and may produce whole words in the output file, thus producing many false positives.
Sounds from a common fan, running water or passing cars have been shown to be “dirty enough” to produce EVP.
Traditionally EVP formation has involved the transformation of available audio-frequency energy into voice. This transformation is thought to occur in the electronic equipment, specifically in an analog stage before or after the signal is digitized for storage.
The resulting signal is seen as a simulation of human voice which may closely mimic the physical voice of the person thought to be speaking. This includes nuances of voice indicating accent, age, sex and attitude. Analysis of the resulting voice often shows novel arrangement of formants (clusters of frequency grouped by octaves of the voice box frequency produced during passage through the mouth) and fragmented voice box frequencies (Formant 0).11
Prior to wide availability of personal computers, the static between radio stations was often used as background sound for transform EVP since radios were a readily available source of sound. Current Best Practices involve the use of noise, such as that produced by a fan. The use of any form of “live voice,” such as a possible voice from a radio broadcast, is strongly discouraged.
This is also known as “opportunistic EVP” because it is thought to require the availability of already formed voice fragments. It depends on a random process which is thought to be influenced by the communicating entity. In the application known as EVPmaker,12 a pre-recorded sound file containing voice is stored in a buffer with each buffer address containing a small segment of the original sound file. A random process is then used to randomly select output the contents of the buffer addresses. The resulting stream of randomly selected sound fragments is combined in an output sound file. Meaningful messages are sometimes found in that output stream. It is believed that the communicating personality’s intention to communicate might cause meaningful perturbations in the random process, thus selecting intended buffer addresses.
EVPmaker developer, Stefan Bion,12 has provided an input sound file on his website which contains speech fragments known as allophones which are generated by a speech synthesis program. In this application, if a word is present in the output, it must be formed by a chance arrangement of allophones or it must be the product of intended manipulation of the random process. The deciding factor is whether or not the utterance is meaningful for the circumstance. An example of this is at real-time, two-way conversations.
Environmental Control of Speech Synthesis
Some applications employ environmental energy sensors to control the operation of a speech synthesis process or to select addresses in a word or voice fragment buffer. It is believed that the communicating personality’s intention to communicate might cause meaningful perturbations in the environmental energy, thus selecting intended buffer addresses.
What is Probably Not EVP
Please review the online journal article, EVP Formation,13 for a more in-depth explanation about what is known about EVP today. An important part of that article is a discussion about characteristics commonly found in EVP. Based on those common characteristics, and the result of other studies, it is becoming evident that certain technologies (probably) do not produce EVP.
The most commonly used of these technologies is radio-sweep, which uses modified radios popularly known as “ghost boxes” or “spirit boxes.” The case study14 report is typical of the kind of study indicating it probably does not produce EVP. A Research Study into the Interpretation of EVP15 which is a 2013 study conducted by Parapsychologist Dr. Mark Leary, indicates that radio-sweep examples thought to be EVP are typically not correctly understood by a listening panel.
There are clearly instances in which the noise produced by rapidly sweeping* radio stations is used to produce transform EVP when the noise produced by the sweep is recorded. In this case, the radio-sweep process is really just a novel form of sound conditioning for the production of transform EVP when the sweep output is recorded. The radio sweep process may be beneficial as an aid to the operator’s intuitive understanding of the question; however resulting “EVP” appears to be more the practitioner’s storytelling to create meaning where none was intended.
*Most radio-sweep devices us a two to three seconds sweep. Sweeping at less than a second, certainly fast enough so that no understandable voice can be heard often produces an output sound that has all of the characteristics needed for transform EVP.
Characteristics of EVP
The following list is extracted from the book, There is No Death and There are No Dead, 16 with additions based on more current work. The characteristics will provide a sense of how EVP sounds and the nature of the phenomenal voices.
The first group of characteristics is specifically for transform EVP, which are thought to be formed by the transformation of audio frequency energy into a simulated voice.11
EVP are distinctive: EVP have a distinctive character of cadence, pitch, frequency, volume and use of background sound. The voices have a distinctive sound to them that is difficult to describe. For instance, EVP messages often have an unusual speed of enunciation; the words seem to be spoken more quickly than normal human speech.
A need for background sound sources: Research has shown that the voice in EVP is formed out of ambient sound energy.17 Because of these characteristics, it is standard practice to assure the availability of ambient sound for voice formation, even while isolating the recording device or process from uncontrolled ambient sounds, such as crowd noise.
Frequency range: EVP are formed in available background sound. As such, if there is a high frequency component in the background sound, say caused by whistling wind, it is possible that the EVP will be of similar frequency range. If there are both higher frequency and lower frequency components in the background sound, it is possible to find EVP formed in both regions of the sound. In some instances, two different voices might overlap.
Missing frequencies: Spectral analysis of EVP samples has shown that the fundamental frequencies of voice associated with the human voice box are sometimes missing. He describes the typical EVP as a “thickening” of the background noise to form the voice.17
Precursor sounds: Sounds are often heard prior to an occurrence of EVP. Although these vary in nature, they tend to be within tenths of a second of a phrase and are a “popping” or “clicking” noise reminiscent of the “squelch” sound caused when the automatic gain control engages as the “push to talk” button is depressed on a Citizens Band radio.18
EVP show evidence of being limited by available energy: Utterances tend to have about the same amount of audio power in their associated sound wave from one EVP sample to another. That is, a short EVP will tend to be louder than a long EVP. A very long phrase might be composed of two or more average-length phrases separated by minor pauses. Also, an utterance may trail off at the end, as if the energy is being depleted before the message is delivered. Again, this is as if the communicator is attempting to manage available power as “packets” of energy.19
EVP are complete words or phrases: Message are typically one to two seconds in duration and are not truncated at the beginning or end. If EVP were radio interference, they would often begin in the middle of a word. EVP messages are usually complete thoughts, as well.19
The voices in EVP are often recognizable: It is common for an EVP to contain the recognizable voice of the discarnate person thought to be speaking. It is also common for that entity to say something that was typical of what he or she would have said while in the physical. Their personality clearly remains intact even though the person no longer has a physical body.20
EVP is found wherever the practitioner listens: This suggests that the source of audio noise is not a factor for EVP, so long as the audio energy is suitable for voice formation. In practice, the majority of techniques for recording EVP involve sound conditioning, rather than unique forms of psi detection. For instance, upscaling infrasound so that it can be heard by human ears or downscaling ultrasound, really constitute techniques of sound conditioning, and the resulting EVP is not evidence that the utterance was formed beyond human hearing, but that it was formed when the audio energy was made available to the recording process.
All forms of EVP
EVP Are in a language the practitioner understands: Alexander MacRae has conducted experiments in a place that has no English language radio or television stations, yet resulting EVP were in English, which is his primary language. It is typical for the EVP, no matter where they are recorded, to be in a language that the practitioner understands. There have been exceptions to this which were apparently intended as a demonstration, but as a rule, EVP will be spoken in a language understood by the practitioner or an interested observer.19
This brings up an interesting point of speculation about psi-based communication. Mental mediums often report that they receive communication from nonphysical entities as images which they must interpret. These images are not just mental pictures. They are packets of information that are sufficiently complete for the receiver to fully understand their meaning. Robert Monroe21 referred to this form of information as “Thought Balls.”
EVP are not ambient sound or broadcast programming: Studies have been conducted to determine if EVP are stray radio signals, ambient but unnoticed voices or other sounds. EVP were collected in an electrical, audio and radio frequency shielded room.22 In one study, a radio and a recorder were placed in a padded chamber which was then buried under ground. The recorder did not record radio programming but did record EVP, which were transformed from the noise produced by the radio.23
Party line: Some EVP sound as if they are comments intended for someone other than the practitioner. This is much like momentarily listening in on a party line telephone call. It is not uncommon in both field and controlled recording situations to record comments that seem as if unseen people are discussing the practitioner’s actions in much the same way that you might discuss the activity of someone that you were watching.
EVP are appropriate to the circumstances: There are numerous examples of EVP that are clearly direct responses to questions recorded just prior to the EVP phrase or to the circumstances. An example of an EVP being appropriate to a circumstance is an EVP recorded by Lisa Butler. The Butlers were asking a woman about the upstairs lighting and sound room for the Frank Sinatra Theater at the Cal-Neva Casino at Lake Tahoe, CA. They had heard that the heavy door to the room often shut for no apparent reason, scaring the crews setting up lights and sound systems for shows. The woman told them that she would never ever go up there. Lisa’s recorder was on while she thanked the woman for her assistance. On the recording, Lisa can be heard saying, “Thank you very much.” Underneath her voice, is a clearly heard paranormal voice saying, “Please don’t come.” However politely said, it seems obvious someone did not want to be disturbed.
Precognitive responses: Answers to questions may be recorded prior to a question being asked, so that the answer, as a phenomenal message, is on the sound track followed by the practitioner asking the question. More research is required before making informed speculation about this observed characteristic, but the indication is that, while time may be meaningful to us, our time may well be irrelevant to a nonphysical entity. Alternatively, the entity may be sensing what the practitioner is about to ask as a mind-to-mind exchange following the “avatar model” as discussed in the Implicit Cosmology.1
Vocalized questions elicit more EVP: There is evidence that the communicating entities are able to read our thoughts, as illustrated by the occasional EVP which clearly responds to a comment just seconds before the comment is expressed.19
The “newness” effect: The practitioner’s excitement in trying a new detection device or recording technique may be the source of improved EVP collection. As the new approach becomes “normal operating procedure,” the improvements generally fade back to a more “normal” Quality and Quantity (QQ) of EVP collection. This suggests that it is important for the practitioner to maintain piqued interest during experiments. This is also one of the reasons it is speculated that the practitioner is an integral part of the recording circuit. The practitioner is apparently supplying the necessary psi energy to enable a nonphysical to physical transfer of energy.
Effective devices unique to the practitioner: Exceptionally effective EVP and ITC collecting systems have been developed; however, these typically work well for the developer, but do not necessarily work as well for other practitioners. This paradox supports the belief that the practitioner is part of the recording circuit. It has also reinforced the concept that the communicating entity may be specific to the practitioner.
EVP can be thoughts of living people: Two experiments appear to show that at least some EVP might be initiated by living people who were sleeping or perhaps only distracted at the time. In these prearranged experiments between a practitioner and a sleeping person, questions were clearly answered by a communicating entity, and the answers are appropriate for the sleeping person. This fact of EVP suggests the possibility that EVP can become an important tool for consciousness research. For instance, is it possible that a patient in a coma might initiate an EVP when requested?25
Understanding EVP may be like learning a new language: As discussed in the EVP Online Listening trials report, people with little or no experience listening to EVP will typically correctly report words in Class A transform EVP on average of 20% to 25% of the time. In contrast, an experienced practitioner should correctly understand close to 100% of Class A utterances.26 This number drops to 0% to 5% for studies of radio-sweep (Spirit Box, Frank Box, Ghost Box); 0% if single-syllable utterances are omitted.14, 15
Theories Proposed to Explain Observed ITC Phenomena
The existence of EVP is not realistically contested. Any reasonably capable person with a device capable of recording audio can expect to eventually record an understandable utterance that cannot be explained with known science. The same can be said for some forms of visual ITC. A workable protocol for recording EVP can be found in the Techniques section of ATransC.org (Also below in Recording for EVP). The real questions are what or who is causing them (if appropriate) and how they are caused.
It will be helpful if you understand the three dominant models used to explain the nature of reality. (There is a detailed discussion of these hypotheses in the Trans-survival Hypothesis essay.
The Physical Universe Hypothesis
This is the mainstream science view and what is taught in school.
All that exists is the physical universe.
The universe has evolved from a singularity into what it is today.
Life has evolved on earth from a primordial soup into what it is today.
Mind has evolved as a product of brain which is a product of evolution.
Memory is an artifact of mind.
When the brain dies, mind and memory cease to exist.
People have five senses: smell, sight, hearing touch and taste.
The Super-Psi Hypothesis
This is the parapsychological view in which psi functioning is normal. There is a convergence in thought between the mainstream and parapsychology as physical and psychology research increasingly agrees with the existence of something like psi and a psi field. This view is known as the Super-psi Hypothesis when extreme instances of psi functioning must be considered.
All that exists is the physical universe.
The universe may have evolved from a singularity into what it is today.
A subtle energy (psi) field permeates all of physical reality.
Life has evolved on earth from a primordial soup into what it is today.
Mind exists in the psi field and continues beyond death of the brain as differentiated, residual energy.
Brain is a transmitter/receiver for mind.
Thought, memory and emotions are retained in the psi field.
People have five senses that are informed by impressions from the psi field.
The Survival Hypothesis
This is an alternative view that has evolved out of etheric studies. It is not accepted by mainstream science and only conditionally by parapsychology.
There is a greater reality of which the physical universe is an aspect.
The psi field is an aspect of a greater reality.
The greater reality is composed of etheric energy with a spectrum of characteristics (aspects) of which psi is one.
Mind with its thoughts, memories and emotions has evolved in the greater reality and continues to exist beyond death of the brain.
For a lifetime, mind and brain are entangled to produce a physical-etheric link.
During a lifetime, mind is expressed as consciousness and an etheric personality (unconscious).
People have five senses that are informed by impressions from the psi field by way of personality to conscious self.1
Radio signals, Unnoticed Conversations and/or Light-Generated Signals
Probably the most obvious explanation is that the voices are recordings of stray radio signals. Inexpensive portable electronic equipment designed to handle audio signals able to detect and record stray radio signals under certain conditions. This is not normally a problem, but it is possible and should be considered when evaluating possible EVP.
The proliferation of digital technology is making it less likely that radio signals might be mistaken as EVP. AM radio is about the last signal source that a voice recorder can detect so that the broadcast information can be understood. If the signal is in a digital format, it must be converted to analog to be understood and equipment not intended to decode the message will not. Digital signaling directs information to a specific address and if the even digital recorders do not have that kind of capability. If you wish to assure yourself that EVP are not radio signals, consider the article: Eliminating Radio Frequency Contamination for EVP23
It is usually the near zero level of the recorded signal that becomes contaminated by stray radio signals, and the normally inaudible contamination can become audible with amplification.
Simple content analysis of EVP is usually sufficient to establish that the utterance in question is unlikely to be crosstalk or unnoticed voices from people in the room. Assuming the practitioner is not attempting to provide “scientific” evidence, it is usually adequate to note whether or not the utterances are complete statements, if they are appropriate to the circumstances and if they are understandable. If they were stray radio or television signals, they would contain the telltale signs of commercial broadcast, they would often be partial statements and they would usually be nonsensical, considering the circumstance. Until you have gained confidence in the validity of EVP you record, it is important to ask friends to be your listening panel. The draft best practice, “EVP Listening Panel,” will help.29
It is also a best practice to use a second audio recording process as a control for situations that might have unnoticed voices in the room or stray radio. Please review “Control Recorder for EVP.” The need for background sound in transform EVP makes it less likely that a higher quality recorder will pick up an EVP. This makes the use of a video recorder to make a visual record of fieldwork an excellent technique for making a control recording of the session.
Imagination of the Experiencer
This is an important possible explanation for any form of phenomena involving unexpected sounds, images or events. Modern technology is capable of producing a wide variety of unexpected results (mundane or technology artifacts). A person can easily mistake an artifact as phenomenal unless the person is an expert in the use of that technology. For instance, when used in an automatic mode, and with a flash, modern cameras often keep the shutter open much longer than the user realizes. A characteristic of film and digital image detectors referred to as “latency” will cause a moving camera to image a bright light, such as a streetlight or the camera flash reflected from a bright object in the scene, much quicker than a poorly illuminated background. This can result in a “ghostly” streak of light in a photograph while the background scene seems to indicate that the camera never moved.
The point is that such photographic artifacts are mundane, yet they are often offered as evidence of ghosts. In the same way, sounds in an audio recording can be made by very mundane influences but yet sound very phenomenal. For instance, it is common for a person to take a breath of air just before speaking, and the sound of that breath can be mistaken as something phenomenal when a person is examining every little sound in the recording.
All aspects of etheric studies are plagued by what is generally termed “the lack of critical thinking” amongst people seeking to experience these phenomena. In view of the complexity of the involved technologies, this is a natural result, especially when the very large population of paranormalists is considered.
Recent study is indicating that the expectations of the practitioner or witnesses can have an influence on how sound is experienced. In the Phantom Voices study,31 nearly half of the participants have reported hearing some form of voice in two audio files that are clearly marked as only containing noise and no voice. A clever practitioner might describe simple noise as voice and provide an explanation as to how those voices are meaningful, and distressingly, witnesses will too often agree. This characteristic of EVP is still being studied, but what is clear is that all of us must be very careful to manage expectations and cultural influences. EVP is objective evidence and that means that other people can hear the same thing without coaching. The inverse of this is also true. Concepts such as “inattentional blindness” and “incredulity blindness” suggest that people who have a strong disbelief in things paranormal are less likely to be able to experience EVP.
EVP are not necessarily initiated by a discarnate personality. As shown in the Life Field Complex diagram discussed in Personality-Centric Perspective essay, a person (etheric personality entangled with a human in an avatar relationship) is required for trans-etheric influences. As such, the question becomes which personality expressed the initial intention.
Thoughts of the Practitioner
Once the “normal” explanations have been asked and answered, there remains the possibility that the voices are paranormal but that they are caused by a physical person. It is here that the argument changes from “Is EVP real” to “Who is talking?”
A number of experiments have been conducted that did indicate it is possible to record the thoughts of people known to be still in the physical.25 Current thinking is that the conscious aspect of a person is what survives physical death, and when a still living person is in some way disassociated from the physical body, his or her conscious self is much the same as the etheric communicator. In other words, it is predicted that the thoughts of a living person should be able to be recorded in EVP.
While many of the observed characteristics of EVP could be explained as thoughts of the living, on occasion, a person will record the voice of a person, say “John,” who is later shown to be the discarnate son of a person who had not yet joined the Association, but that in subsequent conversations, John’s voice is recognized saying the sort of things John would have said while in the flesh. It is this sort of evidence that reminds us that EVP are a complex group of phenomena and no single explanation is likely to be found.
EVP are “Echoes of the Past” or Residual Energy
The Psi Hypothesis33 proposes that the mind is a product of the brain and the information being accessed via EVP and the other forms of apparent etheric-to-physical influences are either caused by the practitioner or some other physical agent, or a form of residual energy described by physicist David Bohm and neurophysiologist Karl Pribram as a field of energy that underlies all of reality.34 This field of energy is thought to have three characteristics that might account for the observed etheric-to-physical phenomena. It is thought to behave according to quantum principles, especially that of entanglement which shows that, once objects have become associated at a quantum level, influencing one object will have a similar influence on the other, even though it may be very far away in distance and in time.
The second characteristic is that this field exhibits the character of nonlocality, meaning that information in it is equally available from any place in the field. This characteristic is required to explain such phenomena as a remote viewer accessing information that is miles away and a medium supposedly getting information from discarnate entities (the psi explanation is that the medium is finding the information in someone’s memory).
The third characteristic of this field is that it is formed of the residual energy of consciousness, and therefore contains all that was ever known, thought and experienced. It is this residual energy that provides the psychically gathered information. An alternative version of this is that if the information is in someone’s memory, then it is accessible to others, at least subconsciously.
Recording for EVP
The following information is intended to provide a technique which is most likely to produce results. This is for transform EVP based on the material provided by ATransC in the Techniques section of this website. Please also consider the best practices which are drafted in Best Practices
Types of Recording Sessions
These instructions are for transform EVP not using live voice as an input file.
A characteristic of the psi field known as auric energy or bioenergy is thought to accumulate in any frequently occupied place, and especially in places in which strong emotions or frequent deep meditation occurs. As such, find a “special” recording area for your sessions in which you will not be bothered and in which you can control the noise. In field recording, it is difficult to control environmental conditions or supply background sound, but in known “haunted” locations, the energy helpful for contact may already be present.
Any device capable of recording voice frequency sound.37 A computer is recommended and a way to transfer audio from the recording device to a computer. The computer should be equipped with an audio management program, such as the open source, Audacity.38
Digital voice recorders are recommended for transform EVP. Less expensive models produce more internal noise which is useful for voice formation. High quality units will probably require added background noise. A computer can also be used, but will probably require added noise.
Remembering that the voice in transform EVP is apparently formed out of available audio-frequency noise, as a general rule, quieter recorders (less internal noise) will require more background, room noise. (See the sidebar: Background Noise) This means that, if you are using a second recorder as a control, using a higher-quality device will tend to assure the EVP will only be produced in the less expensive device.
Entities will speak at any time of day or night. In the beginning, however, it is advisable to record at a regular time and place. By doing this, the entities learn when there will be an opportunity for contact and your expectation of the upcoming session helps focus your attention on the process. Try to find a place that will be quiet and free of interruptions. Background sounds are okay, but it is important to be aware of these so that they can be distinguished from the EVP during analysis.
Background Sound Source
As previously noted, sounds in the environment are apparently used to help form the words. Most recording situations have some background sounds, but it may be necessary to add noise with something like a fan or running water. Some people use foreign language radio, crowd babble or audio tapes, but ATransC discourages the use of radio static or human speech (live voice) of any form. Be inventive. In controlled conditions, it is also possible to use high-quality recorders, because you can supply sound. (Always consider how sounds in the environment might seem like EVP in a recording.)
Begin with meditation and a short prayer to ask for only those intending the highest good and an invitation to friends on the other side to participate. This is not a religious function. The conscious expression of intent helps to set your expectations and sets bounds for your communicators. Even if you do not accept the hypothesis that EVP are initiated by discarnate beings, whoever or whatever is initiating the messages, setting intention helps the process. It is best to recording when personal energy is the highest.
It may help to make an “appointment” with the intended communicator the day before, during prayer or meditation. Some people also provide feedback before the session so that the communicators will know what worked in the last experiment. It is not necessary to record in the dark.
Begin by stating your intention for communication and then say that you are turning on the recorder. The communicators will often come through as soon as the recorder is turned on and these beginning messages may be the loudest, so it is a good idea to turn on the recorder and wait a few seconds before speaking.
Vocalize your comments during an EVP session. Questions should be recorded, and a period of time between each comment should be left for the communicators to respond–about ten seconds. At the end, ask if they have something to say and leave time for them to respond.
In transform EVP, the voice is usually not heard until playback. Practitioners report that the voices tend to become stronger and clearer as the entities gain in experience, but at first the voices may speak in whispers. Voices may not be recorded in every session and it may take several sessions to discover the first voice. Hearing the voices is a learned ability. It might take thirty minutes to examine a three or four-minute recording. Experienced practitioners learn to use the waveform as a clue as to where an utterance might be. The “Betty’s in there” waveform shown above will give you an idea of what to look for.
Think of EVP as a form of communication. The attitude held by experienced practitioners is that the communicators will leave their message wherever they think someone will listen. It is a good practice to expect to find the voices where normal human voice would be found. It is not a good practice to amplify a nearly flat-line waveform to see if speech is present because enough amplification to make it clearly audible may well amplify radio-frequency contamination.
Most EVP are difficult to understand. Using a classification system helps you have a sense of the quality of your examples, and helps to set the expectations of your listeners. The classical system is the Class A, B and C ranking; however, the ATransC is testing a slightly expanded system36 intended to also include visual forms of ITC. It is explained in the article: “Classifying Phenomena.” It has been posted there so that you will have the opportunity to tell us if you like it and/or how you would like to see it changed.
In the modified system:
Type 1: Transformed physical media; not always present Type 2: Always present; often as a persistent artifact
The Classes are as before, but described in more generic terms:
Class A: Evident without explanation Class B: May require directions Class C: May be vaguely experienced; mostly obscured by noise
Class B or C voices may have one or two clearly understood words. Loud does not equal Class A. Transform EVP are considered Type 1, Class A, B or C.
Keeping a Log
Keeping a recording log is helpful for tracking your progress. If you do keep a written log, it is a good practice to record the date, time and circumstances of the recording. If there are multiple recordings in the recorder, then it is always important to speak your location and to note ambient voices, and such, at the beginning of each recording. When you find an EVP that is clear enough to keep, note the date and time and seconds into the recording in your log. Also, not the words thought to be spoken and perhaps any significance … were you doing something the entity commented on? Be sure to label and save the audio file so that they can be found at a later time. Practitioners report that they feel weather may affect results, but this has not been well studied.
Keeping a well-organized storage system and notes will be very helpful to you when you have many recordings, or want to revisit an old one and need to know when and where it was recorded. Experience has shown that keeping everything is just unreasonable. Unless the message has special significance, it is a good practice to discard all but the clearest examples. Depend on the help of friends acting as your listening panel. If they do not hear what you hear, discard the recording. It is just too easy to fool yourself.
Digital Voice Recorders
The objective for most EVP practitioners is to achieve real-time, two-way communication with a loved one on the other side. If you pursue that line of investigation, it is important to remember that EVP are thought to be formed in a single analog stage of the electronic equipment. This may be in the output stage of an audio player used to supply background sound (if one is used) or in the input stage of the recorder used to collect the EVP.
(It is possible the transform might occur in the air, but that would look more like direct voice, to which current theories do not necessarily apply.)
If you are listing to the output of a recorder while it is recording, be mindful as to where there are additional analog stages. For instance, is the EVP formed in the amplifier for the speaker you listen to and not fed into the analog-to-digital converter for storage?
We would love to hear from you if you learn anything about this process.
Digital voice recorders are recommended for EVP experiments. Today, all sound tracks—digital or analog—should be listened to in a computer and with a headset. Unlike tape recorders, the built-in microphone is usually satisfactory for EVP. There is a selection guide in the Techniques section of atransc.org.37 The section includes a setup guide for Audacity, which is an effective audio management program that can be downloaded at no cost.38
Analyzing the Recording for EVP
Always use headphones when listening to the recording in a computer. The earmuff style that completely covers the ear is best, but also good are the soft rubber ear buds that are inserted into the channel of the ear.
Assuming a digital recorder is used, the voice is digitized right after it is limited to the required signal strength coming from the input amplifier. If it is necessary to record the sound file into the computer via an audio cable, the signal is turned back into analog, and then digitized again by the computer. There is little or no evidence that an EVP will be changed while in a digital format, but it is possible for change or even new utterance while transferring in the analog phase.
It is possible to reasonably reproduce the average human voice with a sample rate of 8,000 KHz, so it is recommended that the audio file be saved into the computer at 11025 KHz sample rate, 16-bit word file. Mono or stereo is a personal choice. Once the audio file is in the computer, it should be saved as a *.wav file for storage and editing.
Current best practice for sharing an EVP example on the Internet is to convert the file to mono, *.mp3 format, but using editing tools on mp3 is discouraged if it is for research. A 200 kb audio file can be reduced to around 15 Kb when converted from a *.wav file to an *.mps file. This makes it easy for sharing files via the Internet.
It is also best practice to provide a raw clip of the EVP, along with a bit of your voice for reference, if possible, followed by a short silence and then the whole clip again with any editing you may have done. Explain what you have done so that your listener will know what to expect.
Finally, ten decibels or so of amplification, perhaps a little noise reduction and high-end filtering is about all that should be done to a sound track to make the utterance more easily understood. It is possible to change the meaning of an EVP with over processing, and the general rule is to discard the EVP if it cannot be understood with only slight enhancement, and certainly discard nonsensical utterances.
A listening technique is to select a few syllables of a possible utterance and then play it over and over to allow your mind to look for familiar sounds. People are trained to recognize common arrangements of sound as words, but EVP are often formed from odd arrangements of sound, depending on what is supplied, and the usual cues are often missing. A very loud, well-spoken phrase could still be difficult to make out for a person not accustomed to hearing EVP.
In every case, try to use a listening panel.29
Storage and Sharing
Be sure to set up a method of saving your recordings in your computer that will allow you to easily locate examples. A good practice is to save the raw recording session in a dated folder and then also save clips containing the EVP in the same folder. Field recordings are saved under the name of the location and the date. It is helpful to keep a separate folder for your Class A examples for easy retrieval for demonstration to friends.
Unless you are conducting EVP sessions for research, consider it a kindness to only send the portion of the sound file containing the EVP. We too often receive examples that are embedded somewhere in a ten or fifteen minute-long file. It is just too demanding for your witnesses to search for the intended utterance in a long file.
As a final note on this, after recording for ten or fifteen years, we finally learned that it is senseless to keep all of our recordings and logs. It is a good practice to cull the best from the files as you go and discard all but the most meaningful. EVP are actually very common amongst practitioners, and there is little special about Class C and B examples.
What You Need to Know
The following observations will help you gain a perspective of the scope of this study:
The degree of clarity between conscious self and etheric personality is referred to as lucidity. Thinking there is a clear connection, when in fact, there is hardly any at all is referred to as hyperlucidity. This seems to most often occur when a person works alone or does not accept input from others. It is usually seen as a complex of behavior including delusion, argumentative interaction with those who do not support the delusion and rejection of the opinion of subject-matter specialists.
Who Can Hear the Voices
A series of online listening studies showed that the average ATransC website visitor participating in the study could correctly identify only 25% of the words in the Class A EVP examples. (See the study here) Most experienced practitioners have learned not to expect a person who is unaccustomed to hearing EVP to correctly understand examples. This is especially true if the person is skeptical to begin with. The message to all of us is that, even though the example may be very clear and obvious to us, it is unrealistic to attempt to show an example to the police or a grieving person.
Of course, it is possible to guide a person into hearing what we say is in the recording. But by every rational measure, “teaching a person to hear what we say is in the recording is considered “leading.” People, especially people who are grieving the loss of a love done, are simply too easily guided into hearing what is not there.
Before attempting to share an example with untrained witnesses, ATransC recommends that the example be passed by a listening panel without prompting. Only if the majority of a listening panel is able to hear what is believed to be in the example, is the example ready for untrained ears. Doing this helps to protect the practitioner from accusations of taking advantage of people.
A common concern is whether or not it is possible to attract a discarnate entity (ghost) and later be bothered by it. People are realistically concerned that they might “bring one home.” In fact, we have no verified record of anyone being harmed by their communicators. Any harm that has been reported has been due to the practitioner’s overreaction to imagined danger.
There is a potential problem for people who are fearful of the unknown, as their imagination can create circumstances which might be dangerous for them. If you are very fearful of the unknown, if you are inclined to do what you imagine you have been instructed to do or if you have a history of mental illness, it is advisable that you avoid working with any form of transcommunication.
Prone to Seeing Phenomena Where There Are None
This is along the same line of thought as the safety issue mentioned above. People new to these phenomena and those who have not educated themselves in the state of the art are prone to a syndrome sometimes referred to as hyperlucidity. (The clarity of awareness between a person’s conscious self and core personality in the etheric is referred to as lucidity.) Hyperlucidity is marked by the tendency to find phenomena everywhere despite considerable testimony to the contrary by peers.
Association TransCommunication (ATransC) Today
(Formally the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena or AA-EVP)
The Association TransCommunication is a 501 (c)(3) USA nonprofit organization. It is chartered as a publicly supported educational and research organization. The primary means of public education is the atransc.org website, now containing over 400 pages of articles, research and study reports, personal stories, examples, theory and references. ATransC has conducted studies and funded research such as:
Implicit Cosmology: Tom Butler has translated lessons learned by way of ATransC members and emerging understanding of survival into a model of reality intended to help further research in this field. Please take time to review the work at ethericstudies.org. Also consider supporting the Association through the purchase of the book: Your Immortal Self: Exploring the Mindful Way by Tom Butler.
You are part of this community
The ATransC depends on public support to continue. Your donations will help assure that the research continues, but your participation is even more needed. This is a time in which all things paranormal are contracting while the skeptical community is thriving. By every measure, the paranormal community, including parapsychology and the study of ITC is fading away. If you think this work is important, then it is important that you become active and help reverse the tide.
Rogo, D Scott and Bayless, Raymond, Phone Calls From The Dead, Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey, 1979.
Jürgenson, Friedrich, Voice Transmissions with the Deceased, (German to English Translation, T. Wingert & G. Wynne, 2001) Friedrich Jürgenson Foundation, Sweden (Original work published 1964) atransc.org/books-itc/
Raudive, Konstantin, Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead, New York: Taplinger, 1971. First published by Colin Smythe, Ltd. and still available at colin-smythe.com.
MacRae, Alexander (2005), “Report of an Anomalous Speech Products Experiment Inside a Double Screened Room,” as printed in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 69, 2005, spr.ac.uk/.
The Wikipedia entries for frontier subjects such as EVP change as passing editors contribute corrections and different points of view. Since the skeptical editors have driven off most of the people who are knowledgeable about frontier subjects, paranormal articles frequently have many errors and are written with terminology designed to cast doubt on the subject, rather than to simply inform. Versions of articles with these errors have been copied onto other websites, which perpetuates the spreading of misinformation.
Concerns with Wikipedia was written to explain why this it is important to everyone involved with frontier subjects to work for balance in Wikipedia articles. It offers suggestions for moderating Wikipedia’s negative influence.
March 2014 Update: Since Wikipedia has taken such a hard-line stance against all things paranormal as a matter of policy, the only rational response is to seek alternative means of explaining the reality of these phenomena. Please consider becoming an editor with Citizendium, an alternative wiki that has a policy of at least considering subject-matter expertise and is will allow well-considered references from the paranormal journals.
You are encouraged to put this logo on your website. The more links from other websites to Concerns with Wikipedia, the better chance there is that the public education article will be read.
Many of the articles on this website address the who, what, how and why of trans-etheric influences, including EVP and ITC, but they are mostly concerned with well-documented characteristics. For instance, see Characteristic Test for EVP. This article includes questions, observations and ideas about how phenomena are formed that are not commonly considered. It will be expanded as new characteristics suggest themselves. It is for the community to help decide if they deserve to be considered “common.”
EVP formation as frequency selection or amplitude selection.
Most transform EVP are thought to be formed by transforming available audio-frequency energy into voice. However, in some cases, the waveform representing ambient sound may be used to form the voice. If this is true, then the resulting display might be more like a “talking guitar” than to human voice pattern.
In this example recorded within Hoover Damn, the concrete room echoes the tourist’s excited voices. For comparison, Lisa’s voice can be heard at the end of the recording. The formants in her voice are clearly shown in the spectrograph view. The waveform view clearly represents the sound level of the crowd. Between 2 and 4.2 seconds, there is a whining voice that says something like “I’m down here” or “I’m Von Breal.” The “I’m” extends between 2 and 3.1 seconds. All of the utterance is above 1300Hz.
In truth, I have no idea what it says, which should cause concern that it may not be phenomenal. It is presented here as a possible exception to the rule of transform EVP being formed by opportunistically using available frequency and amplitude. If this is the opportunistic us of sound amplitude, then it may indicate a theory for voice formation other than stochastic amplification.
Possible amplitude modulation EVP example
Robert Monroe designed his entrainment exercises around levels referred to as “Focus” (See The Monroe Way) where Focus 10 is: The first stage in separation of mind-consciousness from physical reality.” he used sound to entrain the listener’s mind and lead it into ever deeper levels of awareness.
After sitting with several physical mediums, I have noticed that a similar process appears to be active in the way mediums enter the necessary levels of awareness to produce phenomena. For instance, Hoyt Robinette demonstrates blind readings of what is written on paper for about an hour just before producing phenomena.
Virtually all of the physical mediums I have witnessed follow essentially the same pattern of introducing a series of etheric speaker, each with a unique specialty such as moving objects, gatekeeper and reunions. In some cases, the communicating entity will wake up the medium to experience the phenomena along with the sitters. The medium is alert right away, and afterwards, the medium quickly returns to deep trance. This is a relatively short cycle of wakening and return to trance, yet when brought back at the end of the session, the medium takes many moments to shake off the grogginess of trance.
There appears to be a relationship between the procession of etheric visitors and the mediums depth of trance. In the same way, Robinette routine may be a form of entrainment used to induce the needed state of awareness. This is an important point which may help explain why mediums are so bound by routine. If this is the case, then it is no wonder that a séance conducted in 2000 might look very similar to one conducted by the same medium in 2011.
Seeing Both Sides: The arrow of creation is at the center of the dispute concerning the validity of EVP by Tom Butler, (cc)2001
There is a common thread that runs throughout any discussion of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). It is the general acceptance amongst EVP experimenters that we are communicating with other people. Not dead people, really, just people who are no longer in this world. It permeates our thoughts even though we know there are those who do not agree and even though no one has been able to offer a comprehensive explanation for the presence of these communicating entities. The belief is just there, inescapable and undeniable: we are talking to people whom others call dead.
For the people who study EVP, this idea that we survive physical death is not a matter of religious belief. The evidence seems clear and undeniable. Yes, it is true that this belief is shared by most religions of the world. But there is much to be said for the sort of physical evidence provided by EVP, as opposed to revealed knowledge. There is no need to have faith in something that is so well documented with evidence.
Others do not agree with the conclusions we draw from EVP. People who have been trained in the physical sciences generally discount the possibility that we survive physical death. Or, if they do not outright discount survival, they relegate it to that which is religious and make no attempt to mingle these articles of faith with facts of science.
How can this be? How can intelligent, earnest people who are clearly observing the same reality, find so little common ground.
I believe the foundation of this difference in worldview can be found in the assumption of where creation has taken place. Here, by creation, I intend to say the formation and evolution of self-aware entities. The nature of the other objects in our reality must wait for a later discussion.
In the physical sciences, our self-awareness can be reliably traced back to the origins of the first living cells in that fabled primordial soup of creation here on earth. Based on this model, it is assumed that similar primordial soups must have existed in other parts of the universe, leaving room in this model for the existence of other life forms. Perhaps our universe is teaming with life.
Now here, I will enlist the study of metaphysics to champion the side of survival, for scholars of this field also seek to embrace the question of survival from a scientific viewpoint. In metaphysics, the origin of physical life is, indeed, thought to have originated in that fabled soup. However, also in metaphysics, physical life and self-awareness have very different paths of evolution. Self is thought to have originated outside of physical reality.
So here, I am introducing the concept that there is a greater reality, of which, our physical universe is but an aspect. Because this greater reality is not physical, I will simply refer to it as nonphysical reality. While the existence of nonphysical reality cannot be declared a given, it can be stipulated that there is such a thing for this discussion. Just for the sake of discussion.
There is no use discussing how Self came to be. Perhaps there was a primordial soup of energy that first gained self-awareness. Regretfully, the how of Self’s creation is beyond the scope of this discussion. I will say, though, that this is not about an anthropomorphic god of creation. The point here is that, in metaphysics, there is a dual aspect in the nature of people. We are human beings and we have evolved from simple organisms here on earth. Also, we are Self and, as Self, we have evolved in an environment that is outside of physical reality.
So, allow me to describe the question of origin as a question of creation and the path of evolution as the arrow of creation. The question then, is which way does the arrow of creation really point?
In physical science, there is no foundation for a nonphysical aspect of reality. The arrow of creation must point from that primordial soup to present day. Anyone properly trained in the physical sciences has no choice but to hold that this is true if they are to remain faithful to their education.
In metaphysics, as it is amongst most EVP researchers, and yes, in theology, speculation in the existence of a greater reality allows us to embrace all of physical science and to expand that understanding with the concepts defining nonphysical reality. For Self, the arrow of creation can point both ways, but it must first point from some etheric origin toward present day. No other consideration can explain the phenomena we experience.
There is a second trajectory of this metaphysical arrow of creation that must be described. Somehow, someway, the physical aspect of reality must also have been created. The arrow of creation points toward the creation of that physical world primordial soup, as well.
And so, this is the point of my comments. The observed and demonstrable phenomena cannot be explained unless the arrow of creation for the Self is considered to point from the nonphysical to the physical aspects of reality. Once the existence of a nonphysical aspect of reality is accepted, then the majority of what is generally called “paranormal” phenomena can be explained as the natural processes of nature.
Allow me to offer a for instance. It has been clearly demonstrated that it is possible to stimulate the brain in such a way as to cause the person to remember something or to sense mental images. In physical science, the conclusion is that, since it is possible to find a place in the brain that is involved with that function, then that function must originate in that part of the brain. Therefore, for instance, memory is a function of the brain. By extension, Self is a function of the brain. The arrow points to the evolution of Self as a byproduct of the evolution of the body.
However, if the existence of a nonphysical aspect of reality is allowed, then it can as easily be argued that, by so stimulating a region of the brain, the researchers are stimulating the portion of the human body that facilitates the Self’s existence in the physical. In other words, in metaphysics, the Principle of Agreement holds that an object of reality must be energetically in agreement with the aspect of reality it will inhabit. In practical application, we express this as Self residing in a physical body. It is our physical body that enables us to be energetically in agreement with the physical aspect of reality. For a particular ability of Self to be expressed in the physical, the body must be able to support that ability. If for some reason the body is damaged, say it is blind, then that ability cannot be expressed. In this case, the Self would not be able to see in the physical.
The body probably has evolved from that single cell, but it is a physical thing that functions as a host for Self. Yes, it is a form of life with an attendant energetic body, but the body is believed to lack Self-awareness. It is generally thought to be dependent on Self for volition beyond simple requirements of survival such as eating or reproduction.
In another example, recent research in parapsychology has established that we are able to telekinetically influence physical objects. This in itself is a substantial breakthrough in support of the possibility of a nonphysical aspect of reality. Since telekinesis has gained some credibility amongst physical scientists, it has come to be something of a catchall to explain other, less acceptable phenomena such as survival of the Self. In EVP, telekinesis is often cited as an explanation for the origin of EVP. “Humans are telekinetically putting the voices on tape.”
In fact, telekinesis may be a good explanation for the processes involved in EVP, since by definition, it means to mentally influence objects. The Self is nonphysical. Self residing in a physical body and Self that is free of a body while the body is sleeping or because of physical death, should be qualitatively the same. However, since the communicating entity is generally thought to be free of a physical body, it must have the assistance of a Self still residing in a physical body to satisfy the Principle of Agreement. In more common terms, the EVP experimenter is believed to function as a medium through which the communicating entity is able to impress its messages.
Of course, the mediumship aspect of EVP is not accepted by all EVP researcher, let alone physical scientists. However, this should serve as an example of how simply changing the direction of the arrow of creation can change the interpretation of an observation. The possible presence of telekinesis in EVP does not mean that the experimenter is the communicating entity. It means that the EVP may be impressed into the recording medium via telekinesis. The source of the telekinetic ability may be the EVP researcher, but the source of the message and all of its characteristics could very well be a nonphysical entity. The observation that telekinesis is involved would be the same in either case.
If you consider that our universe is but an aspect of a greater reality, and if you consider the complexity we are aware of in this universe, then simple extrapolation demands that the larger reality be vastly more complex. But the existence of a greater reality and some hypotheses concerning its nature must first be stipulated to before such an extrapolation can be made. Who amongst us is qualified to make such an extrapolation?
Few of us who are trained in the physical sciences are also trained in metaphysical thought. While it is the nature of EVP to attract researchers who are technically inclined, few EVP researchers are well versed in both fields. Evidence of this is frequently placed before us by physical scientists who propose super conscious or holographic principles to explain all of the various characteristics of EVP that is reported by experimenters. At the same time, we see EVP researchers who have substantial background in metaphysics, propose the survival hypotheses as the explanation for all of the reported phenomena.
In fact, all of these explanations may correctly explain some of the observed phenomena, but as stated, they are not acceptable to the other school of thought because they do not answer all of the questions. Not being one to sight a problem without proposing a solution, it is clear to me that cooperation amongst physical scientists and metaphysicians is in order. Of the many forms of EVP, some may very well be evidence of the holographic nature of the universe. At the same time, other EVP are probably evidence of the survival of Self after physical death. Both schools are right within the appropriate context. However, we may never come to understand this if qualified EVP researchers do not work with people who are qualified to speak of physical principles. Neither can do this alone.
But here is the good news. Some open-minded scientists are beginning to seriously evaluate EVP because they can see that there is something going on that is extraordinary. Physical scientists are trained to follow the evidence. They recognize that phenomena represented by EVP and mediumship cannot be explained with known physical principles. Rather than shrinking away from such controversial subjects, they are seizing the opportunity to study these phenomena.
For instance, there are members of the Association TransCommunication (ATransC) who have the necessary scientific background to address the issues and who are fast becoming serious EVP researchers. Other EVP experimenters are learning to describe their work in terms that are acceptable to the scientific community. We have found that members, as in EVP associations around the world, have a true pioneer spirit when it comes to trying new ideas and techniques. As a community, EVP experimenters represent a collective laboratory ready and able to support scientific investigation.
This illustrates an important point. Many of the scientists whom we seek to certify these phenomena are already interested and are participating in EVP related associations around the world. It is for the rest of us to order our thoughts and to clearly describe our experiments. Not all EVP experimenters are EVP researchers, but all EVP experimenters are potential contributors to EVP research. We know so much and we have so much evidence, now we must bring that to the researchers in a form that is rationally presented and well documented.
Many of you are probably aware of the work being conducted at the Human Energy Systems Laboratory in the University of Arizona, at Tucson [moved??]. This is research concerning the validity of mediumship. A team of mediums has been reliably graded at between eighty and ninety percent accuracy in the messages they are able to deliver via mediumship. Since EVP and mediumship seem to be closely related phenomena, this research tends to validate the concepts involved in EVP as well. This research also offers a formidable method to verify the Survival Hypothesis.
Interestingly, the existence of a nonphysical aspect of reality is beginning to be well established through research by scientists who are not even aware of EVP, but who have learned to look in the direction of a possible nonphysical cause for phenomena. For instance, one of the more exciting bits of news to make the rounds in the Association is a report from the Boundary Institute that they detected a change in the output of an array of random number generators that seemed to predict the attack on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001. Could this be evidence of consciousness influencing physical processes?
In another study, a group of doctors at the University of Southampton have published a groundbreaking report that claims for the first time, that there is scientific evidence of life after death. Dr. Sam Parnia, who led the study, believes the mind might be independent of the brain. He said: “The brain is definitely needed to manifest the mind, a bit like how a television set can take what essentially are waves in the air and translate them into picture and sound.”
Such conclusions would not have been seriously voiced a few years ago.
I will close with an explanation of why I think it is so important that the scientific community validates the Survival Hypothesis. First, it is not to provide validation for people who already accept personal survival. While validation would be nice, these people already have proof. We have the philosophy in ATransC that we are teaching the world to experiment with EVP one person at a time. We believe that Humankind is on the verge of a major shift in worldview. This shift is toward the understanding that the physical and the nonphysical aspects of reality are part of a greater whole. In this worldview, will be the understanding that we survive physical death, and therefore, we must have a new value for life and sense of the importance of personal growth. Humankind is composed of people and people respect the opinion of scientists. Should scientists begin to speak of the Survival Hypothesis as a reasonable theory, people will be more inclined to accept this view. Humankind’s change in worldview will more quickly evolve to embrace these concepts. I believe that is the true benefit in scientific approval. That, and the portable EVP phone booth some engineer will build for us once our scientists have provided the necessary supporting theory.
So I say to you in the scientific community that there is a large EVP community that is waiting and able to help you. EVP is a most powerful tool that can provide a window into the nonphysical aspect of reality. It is here now, it is well understood, it is repeatable and anyone can do it. You should also know that it is very inexpensive. Why not set up a series of survival experiments in which mediumship and EVP are used as cross-correspondence tools for data verification? Why not give it a try to help catatonic patients or for grief management? Why not use it as a possible link into the thoughts of sleeping people for dream research? What if you could record an EVP message that would identify the physical location of something that is lost? Would that interest you? We cannot guarantee that EVP will work in all of these ways, but we can assure you that the communicating entities of EVP are also interested in helping you.
In these pages (Stokes, 2004) and elsewhere, I have argued for the existence of multiple selves (conceived as spheres of pure consciousness) within each human being. Such a modular view of the human mind is frequently adopted by modern neuroscientists to address such phenomena such as behavioral conflict between the hemispheres of split-brain patients and “blindsight,” in which a cortically blind patient evidences knowledge of visual targets that she does not consciously perceive.
When Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am,” I do not believe his error lies in the second clause (the affirmation of the existence of a continuing and unified self), as such writers as Dennett (1991) and Churchland (2002) would have us believe. The experience of oneself as a continuing field of consciousness is for me immediately given. If I cannot even know that I am a field of consciousness that continues from moment to moment, then I cannot know anything. To second Descartes’ conclusion, the knowledge of oneself’s existence, at least from moment to moment, cannot be doubted.
For me, Descartes’ error lies not in his conclusion, but rather in his premise. As a continuing field of consciousness, I do not think; rather, my hapless brain does the bulk of my thinking for me. As has been made abundantly clear by modern research in cognitive neuroscience, my thoughts, my feelings, and the other elements that make up my personality are dependent on brain activity, and if that activity is radically altered or discontinued, they will not persist in any recognizable manner. However, my true self, construed as a field of pure consciousness, might persist, either trapped in a vegetative brain or on to new adventures.
To me the evidence of a continuing self is not that it thinks, which it cannot do without massive assistance from a brain, but that it has feelings and experiences (termed “quales” by the philosophers). Thus, a rectified version of Descartes’ statement might be: “I’m nauseous, therefore I am.”
I have termed the multiple spheres of consciousness within each person “mini-Shins,” which is an adaptation of the term “Shin,” coined by Thouless and Wiesner (1948) to refer to the conscious self in a way that avoids the theoretical and religious baggage that accompanies the use of the word “soul.”
Each such self, if receiving input from widespread areas of the brain, might fall under the delusion that it is the sole center of consciousness in the person.
The informational span of even the executive sphere of consciousness may be quite unimpressive. The psychologist George Miller famously proclaimed that the human mind was able to hold only 7 + 2 items in consciousness at one time (and I question the plus sign for me and my fellow sexagenarians). Whatever else you might say about fields of consciousness, they generally seem to be stunningly stupid all by themselves.
For instance, due to attentional blindness, subjects even fail to notice a gorilla walking among a group of players passing a basketball back and forth (Simons & Chabris, 1999). Thus, mini-Shins may not have a very impressive informational-processing capacity (unlike the brain).
The Evolution of Consciousness
Advocates of the anthropic principle maintain that the laws of physics and the initial conditions of the universe appear to be delicately designed to allow the evolution of conscious observers. The prominent physicist and mathematician John Wheeler (1983) suggested that under quantum theory, the universe could not exist unless it contained a conscious observer to collapse its state vector and thus grant reality to it. Similarly, Walker (2000) argued for the existence of disembodied “proto-consciousnesses” scattered throughout the universe, whose job it is to surf the vast void, to render reality from the vast fog of uncollapsed possibilities.
However, the universe itself appears relatively indifferent to at least human consciousness, which has only existed for a measly half a million years, compared to the 13.7 billion years of the universe’s existence (which itself is an amazingly short time when one stops to consider that the Earth itself is 4.6-billion-year-old).
The vast reaches of space appear to be filled primarily with eerily beautiful lifeless voids sprinkled here and there with dust, clouds, and seemingly uninhabited, lifeless rocks. Given our perhaps carbon-based prejudices, most of the universe appears to be indifferent to, if not outright hostile to, the presence of conscious observers. If, as the advocates of the anthropic principle maintain, the laws of the universe appear to be designed to support conscious observers, it does not seem to be a very “cost-effective” design (the recent discoveries of a large number of extrasolar planets not withstanding). Thus, some (e.g., Hill, 2005) have argued that if the universe is designed to produce any observers at all, it appears that most such observers would be inhabitants of lifeless rocks and clouds of plasma, rather than snuggled warmly in the neocortex of a primate brain. As noted above, Walker (2000) suggested that the universe is suffused with proto-consciousnesses, which though observation cause quantum potentiality to become reality, even in regions remote from carbon-based life-forms. If so, these proto-consciousnesses or mini-Shins can apparently be imprisoned in brains, at least for brief periods of time. However, if they are like most other things in the universe, from antiprotons to Z particles, it is likely that they are capable of being reshuffled and recycled from physical system to physical system, in a process that might be described as a form of memory-less and more or less continual reincarnation.
One answer to the proponents of the anthropic principle is that there may be multiple “bubble universes” evidencing different sets of physical laws and initial conditions. Alternatively, the universe may undergo cycles of Big Bangs followed by Big Crunches. In each cycle the universe may emerge phoenix-like from its ashes, perhaps with its laws and initial conditions reinitialized. Penrose (2008) has proposed that, in fact, the universe may have undergone an infinity of such cycles in the past. In either case, the reason why we find ourselves in a universe that supports the existence of conscious thinkers (vs. conscious observers) is that there would be no complex thoughts if the universe were a lifeless void. To paraphrase Descartes once again, “I think, therefore I must somehow be glued to a complex brain.” At least for the moment.
The Hierarchy of Consciousness
This view leads naturally to panpsychism, the view that consciousness pervades the universe. Many of the most prominent practitioners of human thought, including Leibniz, Spinoza, and Alfred North Whitehead have proposed that consciousness pervades all things and that, at root, the universe consists of a plenitude of spheres of pure consciousness, or “monads” in Leibniz’ terminology. In the early stages of my intellectual career, I scoffed at the notion that a rock might be consciousness. How silly my naive rejection appears in retrospect. It is a shame that the cosmos of Leibniz, Spinoza, and Whitehead has to be “discovered” anew by each generation, due to the fact this point of view is drowned in a seemingly ubiquitous sea of irrationalism on the part of all sides in the debate over religion.
One advantage of this view is that it does not need to explain how consciousness arose from insentient matter, which is perhaps the most vexing, fundamental and seemingly unsolvable problem confronting modern science and philosophy. Consciousness was here from the start. It is angels all the way down.
Our bodies are composed of a vast number of cells and bacteria, with only a fraction of them from our own species. In fact, our bodies seem more akin to a ferocious battleground for microorganisms, which are replaced from minute to minute, than to a unified entity. If one is to grant consciousness to animals “all the way down,” could not our white blood cells possess a (possibly dim) conscious capable of recognizing their foes and engulfing them? Might plants be conscious? While they seem less complex than us, rice plants contain upwards of 50,000 genes, compared to a measly 20,000 to 25,000 for a human being. Thus, appearances may be deceiving. Is it inconceivable that plants possess a glimmer of consciousness, perhaps operating on a much slower time frame than we do? If one watches plants in a speeded up movie, their behavior seems almost animal-like as they open and close their petals and stretch to capture the maximum sunlight. Do plants experience thirst when deprived of water (to say nothing of the Venus flytrap, which might be expected to experience pleasure as it emits a contented burp)? It is true that plants have no nervous systems; however, might we not be biased toward neurons because of our present unfortunate location? McGinn (1999) for instance begins his book The Mysterious Flame with a short story in which future silicon-based artificial intelligences stumble across the Earth and are astounded to find lumps of meat that can think (our brains).
Our brains are essentially comprised of colonies of single-celled animals (our neurons). What if these animals could move? Might their collective then be considered an even more complex brain?
Hölldobler and Wilson (2008) propose that communities of insects comprise “superorganisms” and that evolutionary selection acts on the colony as a unit, rather than on the on the individual insects. Can the whole of humanity be considered as a single super-brain? If so, are there (perhaps somewhat oxymoronic) mega-mini-Shins associated with the global sphere of consciousness? Goldberg (2009) has even suggested that in the future the Internet may develop into an “advanced intrinsic consciousness” (p. 54).
And what of the famous thermostat? Can it be said to be aware of the rise of heat? Might rocks as they weather and absorb radiation experience consciousness on an extremely slow time span? As I work in my current job I sometime catch glimpses of the patterns on my Windows media player that resemble the light show at the end of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. I sometimes think that the consciousness of a rock might be something like that (as well as how much more peaceful it would be to be such a rock rather than to return to the Microsoft Word window at which I am toiling).
In view of the complexity of the quantum mechanical wave governing the behavior of individual physical particles, it might not be too big of a stretch to hypothesize that a single proton might possess consciousness. Edwards (2006) has argued that single neurons may be centers of consciousness, again based on complexity of input. Each of these centers of consciousness would fall under the illusion that it is the sole center of consciousness in the body.
Attributing consciousness to elementary particles would seem to ignore the usual roles attributed to consciousness by cognitive neuroscientists, which include attention and the binding of diverse neural activity into the unified perception of an object (as well as other functions, such as learning novel tasks and decision-making). In his recent review of studies relating to attention, Yantis (2008) notes that process of directing attention remains unexplained by current findings in neuroscience. Munz (2008) notes that the “binding problem” also remains unexplained, and he even attributes such “binding” to an entity outside of the brain, namely human culture.
It does seem as though the center of consciousness that is the “master of the brain” is somehow able to direct such behavior as the writing of this article. However, perhaps that center is just “lucky” enough to be in the right place and the right time to direct the writing of this article. (It might, for instance, be conceived as affixed to Broca’s area in the left hemisphere, as it does seem to choose the words I will use. Other mini-Shins might for instance have the jobs of moving one’s limbs. Sometimes when I think about it, I am amazed that that my arm actually obeys my directions and executes an intricate sequence of movements without any “micro-management” on my part.)
The Universe and All That
The physicist James Jeans (1937) famously noted that the universe resembles “a great thought” more than it does a “great machine,” given that quantum mechanics has undermined the mechanistic worldview of classical physics, which is grounded in the now discredited doctrine of local realism. Indeed, some have asked, if the universe is a great thought, why does it go through the trouble of actually existing? As Leibniz asked, why is there something rather than nothing? Also, if the universe is a thought, why does the thought appear to be of the consequences of an elaborate set of mathematical laws? As Jeans noted, God appears to be a pure mathematician. Similarly, the Nobel laureate physicist Eugene Wigner asked, what explains the “unreasonable effectiveness” of mathematics in describing the physical universe? Goldberg (2009) compares the universe to a great equation. He views the universe as self-created, as mathematical truths are fundamental and exist outside of space and time. 
However, if the universe is a great thought, why is it not more dream-like, with Alice and Wonderland capriciousness? The vastness and law-like nature of the universe explains why the idealist philosophical viewpoint that the world is mental in nature has lost ground to the view that the material world is the only reality, which ultimately led to the view that mind itself is impotent and has little or no standing in the physical universe.
However, even the very dust from which we were born and into which we will die may well still carry still the stuff of mind.
Churchland, P. S. (2002). Brain-wise: Studies in neurophilosophy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Dennett, D. C. (1991). Consciousness explained. Boston: Little, Brown.
Edwards, J. C. W. (2006). How many people are in my head? And in hers? Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic.
Goldberg, S. (2009). Anatomy of the soul: Mind, God and the afterlife. Miami, FL: Medmaster, Inc.
Hill, T. (2005). [Letter to the Editor.] Skeptical Inquirer, 29(1), 61.
Hölldobler, B. & Wilson, E. O. (2008). The superorganism: The beauty, elegance and strangeness of insect societies. New York: Norton.
Jeans, J. (1937). The mysterious universe. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
McGinn, C. (1999). The mysterious flame. New York: Basic Books.
Munz, P. (2008). Why homo sapiens had to be saved by culture. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 15(12),57-73.
Penrose, R. (2008). Causality, quantum theory and cosmology. In Connes, A., Heller, M., Majid, S., Penrose, R., Polkinghorne, J. & Taylor, A., On space and time (pp.141-195). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Simons, D. J. & Chabris, C. F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28, 1059-1074.
Stokes, D. M. (2004). The survival problem: Up close and personal. Paranormal Review, 3 (April 2004), 3-9
Thouless, R. H., & Wiesner, B. P. (1948). The psi process in normal and “paranormal” psychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 12, 192–212.
Walker, E. H. (2000). The physics of consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.
Wheeler, J. A. (1983). Law without law. In J. A. Wheeler & W. H. Zurek (Eds.), Quantum theory and measurement (pp. 182-213). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Yantis, S. (2008). The neural basis of selective attention” Cortical sources and targets of attentional modulation. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 86-90.
I have currently been writing something I titled, “Hearing with Templates” … For some years now, I have tried to deal only with the best obtainable EVP samples, disposing of the rest. I am aware that funny things can happen and I have attributed these to the very important subject of cueing errors. Working on the Bial Foundation project has forced me to take account of ALL samples recorded, the good, the bad and the downright appalling.
I was rather concerned lately to find that some of the samples I had selected seem to have changed completely while I was working on them. Taking a few days to do something else and then coming back to them, I found I was reporting some of them as something other than the original. Was this a matter of a time effect or a processing effect or what?
Some weeks ago I had sent out two of my local group to a couple of sites to do some recording and then taught one of them a little bit about analysis using Cool Edit Pro (now known as Adobe Audition). The other, Helen, a very perceptive person, asked almost immediately how it was that you could hear one thing at one time but then you could hear something quite different at another time—convinced then that the second version was the correct one. I mentioned cueing and tried to make it all seem quite normal. Earlier than all that, Edgar Müller had remarked in an email that different noise reduction levels could alter the meaning of what one heard. I did some experiments to investigate this point using normal voice and good EVP, which I will later refer to as “A-type” EVP.
My article on hearing with templates makes the point that what we hear is not necessarily the same as what we are listening to. And then the point is made that templates are used in all recognition processes, whether recognizing phonemes (elements of words); or patterns of phonemes which are words; or patterns of words which are phrases.
What you actually “hear” is the template. You can also hear all the other noises that are part of what you are listening to, but what you actually “hear” is the template that best fits the sound pattern.
If you listen to a sequence of phonemes that you have never heard before, for instance, “Gelarumipalat,” which is not a word in the languages that you understand, which does not have Latin, Greek or Germanic roots, what you will hear is a sequence of phonemes, pure and simple. If you listen to a recognized sequence of phonemes such as “angry,” you hear a word. And if you listen to a sequence of known words in a recognized sequence such as, “I am so angry!” what you “hear” is a meaning.
What you listen to and what you hear can be different things.
There has to be a distinction, therefore, between EVP that is so good it is close to normal speech in good listening conditions, we will call that A-type EVP; and EVP that is not that good, we will call that B-type EVP. They are both EVP but they have different behavioral characteristics.
With B-type EVP,
different people may hear different things;
what is heard using headphones may be different from what is heard using a speaker;
what is heard when one is told what it is, may be different from what one heard before being told what it is; and,
what one hears at one time may be different from what one hears at another time.
To the general public this PROVES that EVP is NOT real. Therefore, one should not expose the general public to B-type EVP.
Remember that normal hearing is also dependent on template-based pattern recognition.
The received wisdom over the years was that EVP is deficient in the relative energy level of consonants as compared with vowels, and as consonants are the main carriers of intelligibility, so EVP is less comprehensible. I went along with this explanation unexamined myself and even repeated it.
The world experts in this are in the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics at University College London (UCL). The UCL people have been looking into the speech of people suffering from deafness or some neural/motor deficiency. This speech has consonants that are low or missing, thus reducing its intelligibility. Just like EVP one would suppose.
Let us make up an example. Suppose we have a stroke victim saying, “How are you now?” They might say, “OOOAAOW … AAARGH … EEE-UUU …. NNN N … …AAAAOOOOW….” Almost entirely vowel sounds, and very slowly. Where muscular dexterity is required as in the rapid transition from “n” to “ow” in “now” then there is a delay. However, this is not what EVP sounds like. The problem may not be the consonant/vowel energy ratio.
The UCL people have looked into cueing as an important factor in intelligibility, and they developed a method of manual cue enhancement in a recording. They tried this and indeed it improved intelligibility. However, automatic cue enhancement did not work.
Cues are taken as the regions of transition; the region where one vowel changes into another or into a consonant or the impulse and blank period on which consonant sounds are based. The reason for this is that the significance of a set of consecutive sounds depends on the sequencing, on the timing and so relative position in time. Cue is very important.
Here we should also note that the term “phoneme” is not entirely accurate. For example, when each is isolated out, the “a” at the beginning of the word “attack” sounds quite different from the “a” in the middle of the word. To describe this feature, the word “phoneme” is replaced by the word “allophone;” that is, a phoneme taking into account its phonetic environment.
Timing is crucially important, and just as you can have people who have trouble with the spatial sequencing of a written word, who are “dyslexic,” so also there seems to be a tendency for some to be “dyslexic” in terms of time sequences. Remember that in an audible communication system, the listener is also part of that system.
For some time, my opinion was that EVP was perhaps cue-deficient. My thinking now is that Type-B EVP has an over-supply of cues, and that due to the relative uncertainty or randomness involved in the EVP process, fortuitous transitions appear which can be taken as false cues, enabling more than one interpretation to be found.
Where more than one interpretation is found this does not mean that a correct interpretation does not exist. Although if two interpretations exist then both must be wrong is normal thinking. But that is not necessarily the case.
All sequence-significant hearing is template-based but some patterns are so uncertain that more than one template can seem to fit.
[Note that this explanation is not providing a reason to think that “B-type” EVP change in any way. Editor]
Spontaneous communication across the veil has been characterized as After death Communication (ADC) and Induced ADC for the Botkin method of EMDR. ATransC does not use “death” as a concept, preferring the use of “trans-” to indicate etheric-physical interaction. We do not “die” we “transition.”
After Death Communication or ADC is a concept popularized by Bill and Judy Guggenheim in their book, Hello from Heaven. From their website: [ADC is defined as] “…a spiritual experience, which occurs when you are contacted directly and spontaneously by a deceased family member or friend, without the use of psychics, mediums, rituals or devices of any kind” The important points in this explanation are that ADCs are spontaneous and instruments are not required. They do include phone calls as a type, but they are very definite that EVP is not included in the list.
The Guggenheims are also very definite that ADCs are spontaneous, which is why Allan Botkin refers to his EMDR induced ADCs as induced or IADC.TM Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic technique in which the practitioner guides a client to move his or her eyes back and forth while dwelling on an emotional memory. This is an oversimplification, but in practice, the technique helps remove the emotional charge of a memory. Based on his work with war veterans, Botkin developed a technique in which clients have impressively vivid communication with transitioned loved ones, thus the “Induced” part of ADC.
Because of the emphasis the Guggenheims made about spontaneous ADC, we have always distinguished the class of transcommunication that is spontaneous as ”ADC” and the class of ADC that are induced as “induced ADC.” Botkin has protected “IADC” with a trademark for his therapeutic technique, meaning that he owns its use in this field.
It was recently pointed out to us that people look for information about contacting loved ones by searching for “After Death Communication” or “ADC.” Searching atransc.org for these, we see that virtually all of our references to ADC are either talking about Botkin’s work, the Guggenheim’s book or what others have used when talking about transcommunication. We simply do not use the term for our work.
With There is No Death and There are No Dead the name of the book we wrote for the Association, it should not be surprising that the term, “death,” is not part of our usual nomenclature. The name of the Association is Association TransCommunication. It is based on Instrumental TransCommunication or ITC as coined by Ernst Senkowski in the 1980s to embrace all forms of instrument-based communication across the veil. You have probably noticed that we use the “trans” prefix quite a lot. For instance, the term, “survival” is also used by people preparing for the end of the world, so technically, we should say “trans-survival.” It all depends on the understanding that we mean “trans” as in across the veil.
It is important to understand that the viewpoint of the ATransC is that we transition from one aspect of reality to another when our physical body is no longer able to support us in the physical. We avoid saying that “we die” or that someone is “dead.” We say that “we transition” and that someone has “transitioned.”
This section is new and still to be populated. Our objective is to include information about current research into the nature of subtle energy associated with psi functioning, healing intention, the effects of intentionality on the biofield and the nature of the etheric.
We would like to invite others to contribute to this section. If you have an idea or article, please query via the Contact button below.
Compiled 2014. These links have not been reviewed in 2016.
References for Healing Intention
Remember that non-mainstream journals are often not accepted as reliable sources by mainstream academics.
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) can occur in a number of different ways. Knowing how the voices are formed, or at least where in the circuit, might help researchers design more effective devices and help avoid false positives. This article is intended to explore the various methodologies used in EVP experimentation. It is not intended to select one technology or methodology over another or to discourage research in what might appear to be a less productive approach. The main intent is to understand voice formation so as to avoid mistaking and reporting mundane signal as phenomenal.
This article is intended to frame the discussion of where EVP are formed in the technology and how to detect and avoid false positive results. It is an attempted to deal with the subject in an analytical format without making unsubstantiated comments. Based on this and similar articles, best practices will be proposed in the Collective.
The most common technique for EVP experimentation is the use of an audio recorder, and if necessary, a background sound source. Transform EVP are not an acoustical phenomenon, and so are not heard at the input of the electronic device. In some recorders, it is possible to listen to the signal as it is saved to memory; however, there are problems with experimenter comprehension that usually makes this “real time” approach impractical.
There is a substantial body of evidence based on well-designed research, and years of anecdotal reports, indicating that this form of EVP is the result of a transformation, within an electronic device, of available audio-frequency energy into a simulation of human speech. (1) This research has produced a list of characteristics for EVP that can be considered a “litmus test” that provides a means of avoiding mundane sound being mistaken as phenomena. (2) (See: Characteristic test for EVP) The current working hypothesis for how the voice is actually formed maintains that a small signal “message” is amplified via the action of stochastic resonance on the audio signal caused by background noise. (3)
Sources for a “Message” in Transform EVP
The EVP recording technique of using an audio recorder, and if necessary, supplying audio-frequency noise will be referred to here as the “basic recorder technique.” This technique is intended to produce transform EVP, but there are two other possible results. Figure 1 shows the intended mode, in which the EVP communicator somehow injects an utterance into the electronic device. The utterance exists in the output and the experimenter hears what is said.
A second result that can be encountered is illustrated in Figure 2. The experimenter mistakes mundane sounds in the recording as being paranormal utterances. This is the common human response referred to as “pareidolia” by the skeptical community.
A third result is the accidental recording of unnoticed voices, for instance, someone speaking in the next room. When the recording is played back, the mundane voices are mistaken as EVP. This is illustrated in Figure 3.
A fourth result is more of a possible characteristic than a different result, but it is listed here because of the apparent origin of a new utterance. This is illustrated in Figure 4. An EVP is recorded in the usual manner and is stored in either digital or analog media. When it is played at a later time, the utterance thought to have been recorded is apparently replaced with another or transfigured to say something else. Reports of this were more common when analog and magnetic tape was the storage media. It has also been reported that, once digitized, the EVP remains unchanged whether it is stored in magnetic media or transistor devices.
Figure 4 is representative of a block diagram for any recording device, in that there is an analog input stage which has an output that is the input to a storage mechanism. If the recording is to be heard by human ears, recovery from the storage mechanism is via a second or “output” analog stage. EVP is thought to be formed in analog processes, as (I believe) stochastic resonance does not work in digitized signals. Also the energy well for nonlinear digitized signals is considerably greater than for linear analog and should require considerably more energy to influence. (This is conjecture.)
If the recording is transferred to a computer by connecting the earphone jack of the recorder to the line in jack of the computer, even if it was initially stored in a digital format, it is converted into analog and passes through two analog stages before being digitized for storage in the computer. If the recording is transferred via an all-digital format, say with a USB cable, then it remains digital until it is converted to analog for playback. Thus using a USB interface eliminates two analog stages, and therefore should offer less opportunity for etheric influence.
Close examination of “changed EVP” has shown that there is a likelihood that the utterance only seems to be changed. Class C and many Class B examples can seem to change when the experimenter leaves the recording for a time and then returns to it with a different perspective.
Assuming that EVP does not occur in digital format, each playback will begin with the same sound file once it has been digitized. If the output seems to be different, then it must be different in the same way on each playback. If the recording is stored in magnetic media in an analog format, there is less certainty that the recording cannot be changed in the magnetic media.
The problem of changed utterances is one that is not commonly reported, but such reports should be carefully documented as to the technical circumstances. Analysis of such reports may offer insights as to how EVP are formed.
Transform EVP Summary
Four possible results of using the basic recorder technique are that an EVP will be formed out of available noise (Figure 1), the experimenter might mistake mundane sound as EVP (Figure 2), unnoticed conversations in the recording environment might be mistaken as EVP (Figure 3) and an existing recording might be changed in storage or on output (Figure 4). All of the transform EVP techniques we are aware of are based on voice formation out of available audio-frequency energy, within an electronic circuit. Variations of this theme only represent novel ways to condition the audio-frequency noise used for voice formation.
This category of EVP is relatively new and much less understood as compared to transform EVP. Opportunistic EVP devices usually have additional electronic stages which are different than what is found in the basic recorder technique using just an audio recorder and sound source. It therefore has additional ways in which an EVP might be formed. There are many variations on the theme represented by Radio-sweep technology, popularly known as “ghost boxes” or “spirit boxes” and EVPmaker.
As is illustrated in Figure 5, radio-sweep involves rapidly scanning available Amplitude Modulation (AM) radio stations to create a single stream of sound fragments. The sound fragments are then used as an input to a recording device. In some applications, a speaker is also attached to the output of the sweep stage in an attempt to achieve real-time communication. Although it is possible to simply turn the tuner on a radio with a recorder microphone nearby, there are a number of “boxes” designed by inventors, such as the MiniBox (5) and Frank’s Box. (6) From our observations, these are all variations of essentially the same theme with different mechanizing techniques.
The software program, EVPmaker (7) developed by Stefan Bion, is also opportunistic in that a single stream of conversation is chopped into small bits and then reassembled into a second stream of sound made by concatenating bits based on a random number process. Bion’s research has shown that message formation is caused by manipulation of the random number process.
These techniques are called “Opportunistic EVP” because it appears that the EVP is formed by selecting available sound bits to form a word or sound that closely matches the intended utterance. This is different from changing sound to match the required output.
Figure 6 illustrates what is being referred to as Mistaken, Opportunistic EVP. As in transform EVP, mistaken EVP in radio-sweep and EVPmaker result from the assigning of meaning where there is none intended. Because the resulting stream of sound bits does have voice, it is easy for the mind to assign meaning to word-like sounds, even though none was intended or a second listener might hear something very different. The meaning is not caused by a communicating entity, but is from the tendency of the mind to find meaning in otherwise random sounds.
Figure 7 illustrates how the analog stage might be used to induce a transform EVP into a radio-sweep or EVPmaker circuit. Transform EVP in this circuit will tend to be interrupted by the sound bits from the radio-sweep, causing an effect similar to an experimenter talking over an utterance in the basic recorder technique. EVPmaker is not as likely to produce a transform EVP because all of the processing is in the digital format and the output is usually the only analog stage.
Opportunistic EVP Summary
EVP may be formed in the sound stream resulting from the fragmentation of a mundane source, either pre-recorded conversation in EVPmaker or multiple radio stations in radio-sweep. The resulting sound stream might also be mistaken as EVP when there is none, but transform EVP might be formed in the device. In concept, all of the opportunistic EVP devices depend on the sound frequency, amplitude and inflection to be present in the raw source at the time it is required for voice formation.
Selective reporting of EVP
In transform EVP, the utterance typically occurs before the next question or comment. In some instances, convincing evidence has been reported suggesting that some utterances precede the question, as if anticipating it. (An alternative explanation to precognition is that the experimenter anticipates the question by mentally composing it before speaking, and that mental processing is detected and responded to.)
It would be considered a Best Practice to never associate utterances occurring before the preceding question and after the following question with the question. For instance, as is illustrated in Figure 8, Answer 2 would normally not be associated with Question 1.
Opportunistic EVP poses unique problems for question and answer associations, and the question of appropriate associations should be addressed in this article. For instance, asking a question and simply allowing the sweep to continue until a likely answer is heard does not seem to allow for the old question as to whether or not a typing monkey will eventually produce meaningful text.
Techniques for Eliminating False Positives
A “false positive” is the assignment of “EVP” status to mundane sounds. This would include imagined (Figure 2) and mistaken (Figure 3) results in transform EVP, and mistaken results (Figure 6) in opportunistic EVP. It would also include inappropriate association of questions and answers. The challenge is to find a way to experimentally establish that both categories of EVP formation actually produce EVP. Next is the task of finding a way to distinguish true EVP from mistaken and imagined results.
In transform EVP, the known sources of false positives are:
Unnoticed voices or voice-like sounds in the environment
Imagination of the listener
RF contamination is usually pretty obvious because it produces unusually long messages that are often cut-off as incomplete expressions or which are nonsensical when the circumstances of the recording is considered. Digital wireless devices such as cell phones, wireless servers, most wireless land-line phones and baby monitors using security codes will not produce an intelligible signal in RF contamination. Frequency Modulation (FM) radio will not produce intelligible contamination, as with broadcast television. The only realistic source for such contamination is AM radio.
Research has shown that EVP can be recorded even when the recorder is shielded from RF contamination, so it has been empirically shown that transform EVP are not caused in that manner. (8) (9) Nevertheless, RF contamination is a possible cause of mistaken results, and this source of false positives must be accounted for. The most effective way to avoid any of the false positives in EVP is described in the Best Practice: Characteristic Test for EVP. (2) In that practice, common characteristics of EVP which have been anecdotally identified via long-time experience within the community and empirically via controlled experiments are used as a norm for EVP. If an utterance falls outside of that norm, then it is considered suspect. It is always recommended that practitioners set aside suspect EVP until more evidence is available.
Unnoticed Voices or Voice-Like Sounds in the Environment
This is a bigger problem than might be expected. It is common for a practitioner to make a recording in the field and not review the results until after returning home. For most people, memory is not sufficient for knowing whether or not voices in recordings were from physical people speaking elsewhere in the environment.
The recommended solution for this is the use of a second recording device as a “control.” (10) Two important characteristic of EVP are that the exact same utterances is never recorded in more than one recording circuit at the same instant, and that higher quality recorders are less likely to record an EVP. As such, a simple solution is to require that field recording be done in tandem with a second, higher quality recorder such as is found in a video camera. This is a Best Practice titled: Control recorder for EVP.
Recorder Artifacts and Imagined EVP
The less expensive digital voice recorders are thought to be so successful in EVP experimentation because of the noise generated within the recorder, presumably in the analog input stage. It is often unnecessary to supply background noise. At least with the earlier models, they were also subject to bursts of noise that are reminiscent of an angry man yelling a message. Further analysis has shown that the bursts of noise are simply artifacts, but that the communicating entity sometimes uses the sound to form voice. Since the sound naturally has an angry sound, the resulting EVP sounded angry.
Other artifacts include induced noise from nearby electrical devices. The induced noise has a frequency of equal to power-line frequency, two times line frequency or a harmonic of line frequency, and it can be modulated to sound like voice by moving the recorder in relationship to the source.
Protection from false positives of this kind is the characteristic test (2) and a listening panel. The intention of a listening panel is that people experienced in hearing EVP should be able to agree with what the utterance is thought to say without prompting. The EVP online listening trials report details the results of double-blind listening trials. In the trials, 25.2% of the words were correctly identified by website visitors. The examples are considered Class A that should be correctly heard 100% of the time by an experienced listener. In fact, a not exactly same experiment was conducted for the same examples using more experienced ATransC members with estimated average correct word recognition of 74%.
Mistaken Results in Opportunistic EVP
When radio-sweep is configured with a direct connection to a recorder or recorder program, both radio-sweep and EVPmaker are closed to ambient voice, and therefore, unnoticed voices in the environment are not a consideration. However, understanding random sequences of audio bits as EVP is a problem, the extent of which is unknown. I am not aware of any empirical studies that have been conducted to establish a standard for accepting results.
In what has been “normal” experimentation by individual researchers, the question of how to avoid false positives has not been an issue except in the case of radio-sweep. This has been true because most researchers have gained a reasonable level of experience and have developed an “ear” for understanding the utterances. Today, we are seeing more and more people begin their experience with EVP by using the radio-sweep devices or EVPmaker software. The resulting lack of experience is producing false positives that are too often being accepted as genuine EVP.
In behalf of the ATransC, we recommend that all people new to trans-etheric communication learn to record for EVP using the basic recorder technique. Then, after learning how to record EVP and how to recognize false positives in that way, we encourage people to try other methods. The field has progressed, but it may be true that the basic recorder technique is not ultimately as productive as other techniques, so it is important that people try approaches such as radio-sweep. Beyond the desire that people should not believe something that is not true, we are concerned with the damage to the entire field of study that can be caused by a large population of people claiming EVP that are seen as false positives.
Testing to Identify False Positives
Currently the content of the message is the primary test for determining a false positive, but even that seems to require modification to accommodate the kind of results being reported with opportunistic EVP. For instance, it is common for the practitioner’s name to be spoken in the results while this is much less the case with transform EVP. The messages are potentially endless while an important characteristic of transform EVP is that they are relatively short. It is also difficult to distinguish which possible utterance is associated with which question put by the practitioner while transform EVP is pretty clearly a question and answer response as in normal communication.
While these differences pose a problem for avoiding false positives, they may also tell us something about how EVP are formed. For instance, if the experimenter’s name is being called out more often in opportunistic EVP, why is there a difference?
A potentially inflammatory question that needs to be addressed is why there is so much more social tension associated with opportunistic EVP than is associated with transform EVP. For some experimenters who report extraordinarily long messages, the communication has turned to predictions of doom that have not been fulfilled. EVP is as much about the person as it is about the technology, so these questions do need to be asked and answered in a candid, but analytical way.
Gullà, Daniele, Computer–Based Analysis of Supposed Paranormal Voice: The Question of Anomalies Detected and Speaker Identification, Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Biopsychocybernetics Research, Bologna, Italy, atransc.org/gulla-voice_analysis.htm/
Trans-etheric influences are seen to require physical processes to propagate in the physical. In practical terms, this means that such influences can be classified by the physical processes they require, and how they are seen to manifest. While actual physical principles employed in the formation of EVP have yet to be empirically determined, many elements of hypotheses proposing categorization and expected behaviors have been proposed and tested. From this knowledge base comes a clearer understanding of what is and is not EVP.
Historically, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) have been thought of as unexpected voices found in recording media. The primary technique for recording EVP has been with an audio recorder and the voice is thought to be formed of available audio energy (background noise).
Recent developments have made it practical to work with real-time, two-way EVP. With this development, an expanded definition is required. As one has not gained wide acceptance, the following should be considered a draft definition:
Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) are anomalous, intelligible speech produced in electronic devices. They may be heard as a real-time output but are more generally heard on review of a subsequent recording. No currently understood physical processes account for the existence of EVP.
EVP can be collected under circumstances which preclude the possibility of such mundane sources as radio frequency contamination, unnoticed background conversations, contamination from previously recorded speech and mundane sounds mistaken as voice. People around the world have demonstrated this fact since before Friedrich Jürgenson made his famous EVP recordings fifty years ago June 12, 1959. The important point is that much is known about ordinary EVP formation which allows practitioners to recognize what is and is not phenomenal.
As shown in Figure 1, the phenomenal utterance is formed in the recording device. Current theory is that noise is used for voice formation and the dominant physical process is thought to be the amplification of a weak telekinetic signal by the action of stochastic resonance on the broad-spectrum audio-frequency noise. The “frequencies” available in the sound stream at any moment will determine the richness of the resulting voice and no new audio energy is produced.
There is no evidence that the psi processes involved in the trans-etheric communication produce additional physical processes. Once the information is in the physical, it is completely subject to physical principles. Keep in mind that stochastic resonance was not documented as a process prior to 1981. The fact that a physical process needed to explain some aspect of EVP has not yet been defined does not mean that a paranormal solution must be used. It is important to this essay to note that the preponderance of evidence indicates the requirement of physical processes. There is no need to say that a phenomenal event “somehow” occurs or is caused by by divine intervention.
The characteristics associated with traditionally formed (transform) EVP that are part of the theoretical model used by the ATransC include:
EVP are not acoustical phenomena, meaning that they are formed in the recording mechanism, and can be collected with an acoustically isolated recorder.
The voice is formed by transforming audio-frequency energy available in an electronic circuit into an approximation of human speech.
EVP are energy limited, meaning that their formation is in short packets of a few words so that shorter packets tend to have greater volume, longer packets tend to have less volume and very long utterances are seen as several concatenated packets with brief pauses between each one.
Any audio-frequency energy is apt to be transformed into voice as EVP.
EVP formation occurs in analog circuits, and once digitized, tends to be stable.
The utterances are formed by selecting available audio-frequency energy. Audio-frequency energy is not created for this purpose by the etheric communicator and may be in the form of relatively random noise, fragments of voice or synthesized voice.
Because of the many years of study by practitioners around the world, much is known about EVP recorded by traditional means. Small details of the characteristics listed here may be arguable but there is little doubt that this form of EVP occurs in audio recorders in a predictable way.
EVP formed by random selection
Stefan Bion has developed a computer program named EVPmaker which has been shown to produce EVP based on random selection of segments of a sound file. The input audio file may be recorded “live voice” but the program is able to use synthesized human voice fragments known as allophones and/or the smaller phonemes.
Precedence for psi influence of random processes has been established by the parapsychological community. For instance, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) Lab reported a small but significant effect in psi studies. Depending on presets made by the practitioner, the randomly selected segments of input file are typically too short to contain recognizable speech, especially when using synthesized speech. Once selected by the random process, the segments of sound are combined with others to produce the desired words. As such, EVP formation is thought to be controlled by control of the random process.
Audio output for EVPmaker is a staccato sound as if the system has developed a severe stutter. Recorded speech is considered “live voice” and is inherently suspect as a sound source for EVP formation; however, when using synthesized voice fragments, the input file can be controlled to minimize pre-existing recognizable words. As such, words in the output should be clearly random or they are phenomenal.
EVP formed by speech synthesis
A recent development in the study of EVP is the introduction of speech synthesis technology. Bill Chappell has shown that it may be possible to produce meaningful utterances by detecting changes in the environment to control a speech synthesis process. The working assumption is that the communicating entity will change the environment to cause synthesis of the intended words. More research is needed, but the implication is that detection of presumably easily influenced chaotic processes such as room temperature and electrical charge can be used to initiate EVP formation by controlling a speech synthesis process. A second possibility is that the communicating entity is able to directly influence the speech synthesis circuit; however, more research must be conducted to determine this.
Chappell’s Paranormal Puck is programmed with words (speech mode), and a library of English-language phonemes (phoneme mode). Phonemes are the smallest segment of human speech, and when appropriately combined in an audio file, will produce meaningful speech.
An important point to consider in the analysis of environmentally controlled speech synthesis for EVP formation is that the only physical process necessary to explain observed results is a change in ambient energy detected by the device. The library of words or speech fragments is present in the designed capabilities of the technology.
Physical processes in EVP formation
Substantial research and field observation has shown that the processes involved in trans-etheric phenomena are probably knowable. Physical processes such as propagation of sound or light are measurable and their understanding can be applied to devices and other processes. In the same way, the processes governing subtle energy and the behavior of personalities after transition are knowable and able to be applied in technological solutions. A few of the assumptions used in this study of how EVP are formed are:
EVP are formed via the influence of subtle energy (as intention) on physical processes according to knowable principles. With this assumption, the explanation for a phenomenal event that it “somehow” occurred cannot be used for research. The “somehow” should be quickly replaced by an established or modified theory. See: Physical Processes Involved in Trans-etheric Influences
There is consistency in how subtle energy influences are able to affect physical processes. For instance, both visual forms such as images found in video feedback noise and EVP formed from background noise appear to depend on something like stochastic resonance. See: The Energy Profile of Transform EVP
The influence of physical processes by subtle energy is energy limited and the most energy-efficient processes should be considered first. This also means the physical energy required for phenomena can be accounted for. See: The Energy Profile of Transform EVP
Available physical processes can be initiated by an etheric influence to cause observable phenomena, but matter and energy are not seen to be created. An important implication of this assumption is that physical energy and objects may be transformed but they are not created to form phenomena. For instance, if sound is not present, it cannot be transformed into the words of EVP. The required sound will not be created but a physical process may be initiated which in turn causes sound for voice formation.
The observed characteristics of EVP suggest how they are (typically) formed, and by extension, how they (usually) are not formed. The average person can use this information to evaluate examples to help determine if they are mundane or paranormal. It also means that a deviation to the typical method of formation should be considered rare and the example should be held in reserve by practitioner and researchers alike until more data is available.
[Editor: In the proposed Energy Profile of Transform EVP study, it is speculated that stochastic amplification is the physical process involved in transform phenomena. That process depends on available physical energy–light or sound. Morphic fields are proposed as a possible etheric-physical process for the expression of intended order. The most speculative proposal, but one clearly supported in the above list, is that wave forms or images that already exist in the physical are apported into the transform process. The study associated with “The Energy Profile of Transform EVP” is intended to help quantify possible changes in energy profile for transform EVP formation. If one exists, it would tend to reinforce the apportation hypothesis.]
Sounds mistaken as EVP
Understanding common ways that ordinary sounds are mistaken as EVP provides a way of better understanding how the phenomenal voices are formed. As a reminder, the three types of EVP described above are well-established as trans-communication and there is little doubt of their authenticity as paranormal phenomena. The ways that ordinary events might be mistaken as phenomena are provided here as a way of helping practitioners avoid common “human nature” pitfalls.
Hearing what is expected
EVP practitioners listen very closely to sound files in an attempt to find meaningful sounds. This is because the audio signal normally thought of as just background noise is considered a likely place to find a paranormal message. However, audio files thought to be needed for voice formation are usually very noisy and meaning is potentially everywhere. It is common for a distant but ordinary conversation to be detected by a recorder and then be reported as phenomenal. When a practitioner is expecting a meaningful sound, the next sound is sometimes given that meaning no matter what intelligence the sound actually carries.
Typical sources of sound mistaken as EVP include:
Ordinary variations in background sound mistaken as voice: For instance a burst of static is sometimes heard as an angry voice.
Stray radio signals mistaken as EVP: Hand-held, battery-powered recorders are excellent antenna for radio reception and the electronics are capable of making stray AM signals understandable.
“Morphed” foreign-language sound source: Naturally occurring foreign-language words are sometimes reported as having been “morphed” into EVP but then are recognized by a person who speaks the foreign language as not being EVP at all.
Reversing a sound track: Some words sound like other words when heard in the reverse.
Ordinary sound changed with an audio editor to simulate EVP: Changing the tempo of a sound file can change its intended meaning. Since voices of EVP are usually formed out of the background noise, filtering the noise can sometimes change how the words are heard. Excessive amplification can make detected radio audible.
Ways EVP might be misreported
There is some evidence that a sound file might be altered while it is in an analog form, but sound files are thought to be stable once they have been digitized. As such, many people can hear the same digitized sound file and should hear the same sounds. If there is an anomalous utterance in the sound file, then it will be the same each time. This is an important characteristic of EVP if online listening tests are to be trusted to produce meaningful data.
With that said, it is common to see a doubtful EVP example shared on the Internet with a surprising number of people saying they hear it as the practitioner reported. In subsequent tests, it is possible that even the person who reported the example will not be able to understand the utterance. Assuming the practitioner and listeners did hear the example as reported even though the words were not actually present, what would explain the confusion?
The most common problems include:
Suggesting what should be heard: Especially when the example is of marginal quality, the listener is easily guided to hear what is expected by how the example is reported even though the words may not be present.
Fabricating a “likely story”: The practitioner has asked a question and expects the next sound to contain the answer. Whatever the next sound “sounds like” is taken as part of the answer even though it may not make logical sense. To make it sound correct, the practitioner applies meaning to subsequent sounds to tell a story that provides a plausible answer to the question.
Setting listener expectation in “real-time” dialogue: Two-way conversations via EVP are very difficult, and while shown to be possible, the process can also be misleading. It is reasonable for the practitioner to ask the entity to repeat a word by saying something like, “Did I hear you say ‘Tom?’” However, in doing so, the listener is preconditioned to hear “Tom,” even though the word may not be present.
Selectively relating utterances to questions: The usual recommendation is that the words of an EVP just before or just after the practitioner’s question can appropriately be applied to the question. As such, asking a question and selecting a word out of a string of possible utterances would be considered selective reporting.
In times past, the ability to function as an spiritual healer or physical medium was described as an ability to manage the subtle energy. Spiritualists have long known that this subtle energy can be accumulated and tends to remain for a while. Through the ATransC, we came to see that haunting events were more frequent in places that have had long-time human occupancy or in which strong emotions were expressed. Putting two and two together, we decided that the haunting events were more likely because there was more energy available to facilitate trans-etheric influences. We saw the same effect with developing EVP practitioners, and we now recommend that a person set aside a special place for meditation and transcommunication so that the energy can accumulate.
Like mediums, some EVP practitioners are just naturally more effective than others. The ability to manage the intention seemed to be the most obvious reason and recent research with Random Event Generators (REG) seems to confirm this. You are probably familiar with the Global Consciousness Project (see: noosphere.princeton.edu). The study detected a decisive change in randomness of the output of an REG array just before the 9-11 attack on New York and the Pentagon. It has become routine for researchers to use REGs to detect the effects of meditation and other psi processes on ambient subtle energy.
At the same time, researchers have been developing effective protocols for the study of energy healing. You will hear a lot more about this rapidly evolving field of study in future issues of this NewsJournal. The research often shows decisive changes in the well-being of organisms in response to the practitioner’s intention to heal. For our discussion, the study of energy healing is also the study of the effect of intentionality on subtle energy.
We now know that there is a field of, not energy but influence, existent throughout known reality which is responsive to the influence of intention. It is being referred to as the psi field in parapsychology because it appears to be the product (or the enabler) of life. When a person senses the thought of others, influences physical objects with thought or mentally tries to send healing to another person, he or she is what parapsychologists refer to as psi functioning. In practice, all of these psi abilities are the expression of intention which is transmitted as a change in the psi field. Your intention to love or hate someone is immediately delivered to them wherever they are in the world as a change in this field which we all share.
The influence of intentionality cannot be shielded against as one might shield from radio signals, and distance does not seem to be a factor in its influence. Clear visualization and focused intention appears to be the deciding factor.
Focus of attention is really what Spiritualists teach in healing intention and in mediumship. In metaphysical terms, the process of creation is turning attention to an imagined result with the intention that it will be so. It is useful to think that the psi field provides the substance from which objects of reality are created, so the two things that you can control are the ability to clearly imagine your objective and how to focus your intention to make imagination real.
Most of us have pretty vivid imaginations which are difficult to control. Traditional meditation is all about learning to control that imagination. When someone tells us not to think of a pink elephant, for most of us, the very next thing we do is think of one. Most of what we are taught in the various forms of healing intention is the clear visualization of good health. Mental mediumship is all about learning to set aside our internal visualizing so that we can sense the impressions coming from our etheric communicators.
Intention is much the same, in that we might think we want something but there may be numerous unconscious reasons why we do not. This is a common complaint of healers. Some people will say they want to be healed, but they have also become comfortable with their ailment and the social support it might bring. If there is an underlying concern that the person might not be able to live independently, being healed might pose unexpected risk and the healing is rejected as a subconscious act by the sitter. It is easy to say that you forgive a transgression, but too common to harbor unconscious anger. Psi functioning is a product of all of our intentionality. If we only think we want something, we are not as likely to create it as we are if we want it with all of our personality.
The article about the Fishharp provides one way to manage intention. It appears that, through history, people have learned to use devices and tricks to guide thoughts away from distractions. Just as one might train for the use of a memory aid, it is possible to train the mind to respond in a certain way when a particular path is followed or a specific object is handled.
Transcript of portions of the séances pertaining to metaphysical concepts. First published in the Fall 2013 ATransC NewsJournal
Spoken by Hans Bender via the mediumship of the Felix Experimental Group:
[An observation by a sitter: Hans appears to follow a path from knocks and touches, spirit lights, levitation of objects, production of shapes visible over a luminous plaque, the production of ectoplasm, and finally, faces in ectoplasm. Not all of these milestones are met every time, but it seems clear that there is a progression of complexity and level of difficulty for Hans and the Chemists. (The Chemists are a group of entities that work behind Hans and who make the phenomena happen). Hans talks about erecting a field in which sitters and medium cooperate with the Chemists to enable physical phenomena. He speaks of psychic structures which are tenuous at first, but which become more substantial as the field strengthens. Interspersed with Hans’ comments transcribed below, are many demonstrations of physical phenomena which are in some part visible and/or audible.]
FEG Session 3, 25 August 2013 Séance
We will erect now something which is hard to explain in the terminology of the three dimensional land. It is something like a mesh-like force field. It will extend into the room to reach opposite sides of the room and up to the ceiling. From this mesh-like force field, compacted units (we think endoplasmic structures) can act independently into the room.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you all have come with a company. None of you have come alone. Those you admire; there are those you do not even think of that came with you and that will be given the opportunity on behalf of that force field to regain a certain form of physicality; a substituted form of physicality for a certain time so that each of you will experience caresses and touches. This does not happen without a purpose. That means each of you will be touched purposefully by someone out of the planes of spiritual energy that you carry around with you, at least to a certain degree.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, you will feed that force field with the physiological energy of your biological system. We are coalescing the psychological, the psychical and the spiritual with the material, but because the spiritual, the consciousness and the emotional is involved, your psychology is not efficient. That is why we want you to emanate positive mental energy by singing with the music, and yes, by participating over the course of the evening.
Yes, when the force field starts to extend, the objects will be affected the moment the force field reaches the little focus table. The moment the objects are affected in rhythm to the music, then the grade of controllability is reached and we can proceed into the evening.
Ladies and gentlemen, during our demonstrations, we are always talking about gifts; that precious gift we all have been given. This gift which transports you; this gift that transports us and that has the ability to transport us farther than you might think.
This consciousness is now encased in your body. This consciousness can be projected. To be specific, you all are projections of consciousness. Consciousness is the core field of everything. There is no reality without consciousness. You are all projections of consciousness on a certain physical plane.
Your consciousness projects onto other planes as well. You are not aware of this at the moment. But let me tell you, your consciousness is not engaged in your body. Even on your plane, your consciousness can reach far out beyond your body’s borderline. Always be aware of this.
“I” (Hans Bender) come into physical union [with the FEG medium] to explain that the spiritual land is not an afterlife land. It is not a land of the deceased. It is a land of the living. We talked about that before but I want to talk about that again today because I know that we have certain of you here that work or are part of association, churches or societies …
When we came towards you in the mist of the eighteenth century, we wanted to give you the knowledge about bodily survival to expand your mind, to enable you to step backwards to see the bigger picture. Consciousness was not given to you to walk alongside your flesh after years of living on the physical plane. No, the gift of consciousness was given to you to play a responsible part in the huge creational plan; the huge creational path on which every step would lead you closer towards what you would call creator.
Unfortunately, those of you who could explore the spiritual realm, this unbelievable realm of all sorts of life, are mislead because the institutions, the educators make the spiritual land into a survival camp, so to speak. Spiritualism is survivalism today. In reality mediumistic efforts can actually only be evaluated by communication from the brother, mother, aunt or an uncle talking to those who are left behind.
Now let me tell you something. We know how much it can hurt to lose someone. When I was on your plane, I also lost someone. I know how that can feel but the point is that it cannot interfere with the creational plan and that is a part of our existence and our birth. Don’t waste what was given to you by staying with the grief. Don’t waste your time.
Do you know what the greatest pain of those who have transferred to the spiritual realms is? The greatest pain is seeing you in an unfinished grieving process; to see you not realizing that you are part of a bigger plan. The pain becomes unbearable when we consider that those who have transferred step onto a plane on which they feel immediately reunited with you.
You can’t feel it, but it is actually the case because that which you call the spiritual realm is the location from which your existence is projected into the physical world. When a relative or a friend is gone and arrives on that plane, he becomes reunited with you, and you become reunited with him. You cannot always feel it in your physical shell. Sometimes you smell something or you see something and you feel that the one you have lost is actually very, very close to you.
The plane on which we exist lies above the timeline that organizes your lives in the physical. It tells you when to wake up and when to go to bed. When to eat and when to go to work. We live above that timeline. We live in a state of constant and eternal clarity, but what happens is that, those who have transferred to that plane should be projected into new existences of life. But, can be bound [by your grief]. Love is a strong bond and can hold back [those who have transferred]. You can hold back your loved ones. You can hold them back from development when you don’t finish processing your grief.
Take a step back and see the whole picture. Consciousness was not given to you to die away with your body after seventy or eighty years. Consciousness is the ultimate vehicle that transports you through the dimensions and enables you as a free spirit to enter the depths of the cosmos and to gain the knowledge of universes within seconds, so don’t hold back. Don’t let your love hold back your loved ones. Make your love let your loved ones go on.
This is my message.
We are sometimes asked what makes a good medium and usually we like to answer two things. First, what is the meaning you are usually expecting? This is what he or she wants. Getting knowledge from a higher organized plane of existence; maybe the plane you call the afterlife or the spiritual plane? The problem is that we on other organized lands cannot directly communicate with you. We must grade down [our energy] to do that, but we can communicate with you.
The problem is that we are talking about the level from which psychic structures emerge. It has to do with the problem that a higher organized reality, and a parallel-organized physical plane can’t be described with the terminology of your plane. That means every idea you make about the prefield [etheric energy field representing the physical?], every image you make for the prefield, even if it is an image of the afterlife; these are earthly images. These are earthly ideas. They follow the laws of psychical structure. You are hindering yourself by projecting such ideas within your mediumistic world. You will only receive what you project, when you project these physical ideas into where you want to get higher organized information this can happen.
So, get rid of those ideas and open yourself freely and be ready to receive what valuable information might come from these planes and don’t follow institutionalized dogma as long as you want to evolve personally. If you want to be part of an institutionalized church, yes then follow their dogma. If you want to evolve, then open your mind. Forget everything that was told to you. Make yourself empty. Make yourself a vessel so that whatever might come from there will be of value. So, get rid of all these earthly ideas. They cannot fit a higher organized plane of existence. They can never be described in earthly terms.
The second thing we like to answer is [to say] what the medium is actually learning when he encounters the cornucopia of creation that is in the different lands of existence. He becomes humble, humble towards creation, humble towards every creature of creation.
When people ask me what shall I be, a Spiritualist or a Buddhist, we tell him, it makes no matter if you are a Spiritualist or a Buddhist. Just be a good man. Just be a good person. Don’t be involved in politics or these different belief systems. Only gain true compassion between men. Make yourself a free spirit with true compassion because the true compassion gives you the key of happiness on the plane you are living on. True compassion; just be a good man.
This is my message.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to remind you that you are in position of the creational tool that can transport you far beyond your mind’s ability. Don’t waste your time seeking for things that were taken from you by a natural occurrence. No, that makes no sense. Honor what you have been given. Honor your existence because you yourself will become creationists. The consciousness field I was talking about will gather information from all its sources. Consciousness is not one-dimensional. No, it is the spring; it is the source that feeds many, many rivers. It collects information from all these paths it has created, and once the time is right, the information density will be so dense that from the spiritual, things will shift into the physical and then a new world will be born on your behalf.
With this, I want to say goodnight. Of course what I have said raises many questions. I will send you into the night, dear friends. Every one of you will become new creational hosts when the consciousness field has been compacted to a certain degree of density; information compacted so dense that it shifts itself into the physical. A creation will occur then. Every woman and every man is a universe.
Good night Ladies and Gentlemen.
Mügge Session 2, 23 August 2013 Séance
When we talk about the spiritual land, it is important to know that there is not an afterlife existence. There is the space in which consciousness core fields are projecting onto different physical levels of existences. That means there is not an afterlife in the sense of a comparable existence to yours.
There are a myriad of possibilities. You will enter a stage that is totally indescribable in human terms and by human imagination. There is survival, and the “afterlife” as you are calling it, is not a place. The afterlife is a space you go into, at least for a short time. It is first, above the timeline. Second, it is a space where on a certain plane, and only for a certain time, all of us become one. From then on, the free spirit will be projected into new universes.
That is why it is so important to expand your feeling of responsibility towards your natural environment. Not only onto your own realm, because on that projectional path toward your physical existence, the consciousness field has produced uncountable effigies of you. Every thought, every action, every being produces multidimensional effigies of you on that projectional path towards your momentary existence.
This has to do with the question of why entities who have left the earth plane come back, and [the fact that] they don’t come back alone. They come back in a union of entities that are positive toward humankind. Positive in the first place because we come with our own interests. The ruthless behavior of humankind is not only affecting your own nature and your own existence down to a point. I don’t need to expand that. You all know how late it is. This ruthless behavior, that exploitative behavior of every resource in nature, exploitative behavior even towards your own kind not only destroys your values and your environment, it affects these parallel levels and dimensions that are connected with you as well. On some of them, this history of human kind has created real monsters; negative potentials, huge potentials with which you are connected; which will affect you.
I don’t want to make you frightened. Every one of you is watching the news, and every one of you may ask yourself from time to time how could that happen? Why were we not able to control that? Because, these huge potentials grow and grow, and yes, affect the dimensional planes. That is why I want to say that it is especially important that you consider your responsibility; that you comprehend that you are able to create reality. Your consciousness was not given to you to be encased within your physical body. Your consciousness reaches far out into the physical and onto the multidimensional [planes]. You can create and you can change and it is so important that you do because it is not only you who are affected. It is us as well.
That is what is coming toward you as an afterlife. [It is] only an intermediate stage from which a free spirit roams into the depth of the cosmos to swallow the knowledge of galaxies within seconds and carry on, on your creational path toward what we all call the creator.;'[p
I can never remember a time in my life when I was not interested in the question whether or not we survive physical death. It seemed to me, even as a very young boy, that this question was relevant not only to what happened when we die, but to the way in which we live our lives while on this Earth. If death was the end of everything, then life here and now was meaningless, a cosmic accident that led to nothing. On the other hand, if we survived, it meant we were part of a greater scheme of things, with this life only a stage on our journey, a stage in which our behavior determines what happens to us when we move on to the next stage. It surprised me that most people seemed not to share this interest. At the church I attended everyone seemed to believe in an afterlife, yet to have little idea of what it was like. We were supposed to take everything on trust, and to look forward to a kind of vague afterlife in which (presumably if our voices were good enough) we joined a heavenly choir.
Although this seemed to satisfy most churchgoers I doubted if God really wanted us to stand (or sit) around simply praising him. Surely he would have far better things to do with his time than listen to us, and surely he would expect us to contribute more to the next world than just hymn singing. God would not have created us just to tell him how wonderful he is, since surely he must know this already. So although one could take the existence of an afterlife on trust it seemed to me as a boy that there could be no harm in wanting to know more about it and to find out what evidence had accumulated for it over the years. When I grew older and discovered psychical research I found that indeed a very great deal of evidence had accumulated, and once I became involved in this research I was fortunate to be able to come across similar evidence for myself.
Much of this evidence, both from the literature and from my personal experience, is summarized in my most recent book, Is There an Afterlife? Which brings me onto a further question, why isn’t this evidence more widely known and accepted? Let us take ITC as our example. The evidence for ITC has been growing steadily since Jürgenson’s pioneering work over half a century ago. As evidence, it has three unprecedented advantages which we can look at in turn.
The First Advantage of ITC
ITC evidence is evidence that anyone can try to obtain for oneself, directly and in the privacy of one’s own home. The equipment involved is easy to obtain and relatively cheap – a tape recorder, a microphone and a source of white noise – for convenience usually a radio tuned between two stations. A computer is also necessary if one prefers to record onto the hard disc instead of onto tape. One can work at one’s own speed and in one’s own time, devoting as little as a few minutes once or twice a week to the work. There is no need for a medium or for any previous experience. The only personal qualities that are needed are patience, commitment (it may be weeks or months or even longer before the first results are obtained) and an open mind. Working with one or two like-minded friends or family members helps to maintain interest and may produce quicker results, but this is by no means essential. Many people get on very well on their own.
The Second Advantage of ITC
The second advantage of ITC is that, as the communications come through electronic media rather than through the mind of a medium, they are unlikely to be influenced in any way by human thought. It is true that some critics suggest that psycho-kinesis (PK) from the living – the supposed ability of the mind to affect matter directly – may be responsible for impressing the communications on tape or onto the radio waves, but we have no evidence that PK can produce anything approaching the extensive messages that have been received by ITC researchers. In addition, some of these messages contain material that was unknown to the researcher at the time, rendering it doubly unlikely that the latter was in any way responsible for the phenomena. Thus the belief that the human mind is not responsible for ITC communications seems well founded. In addition, since it is clear that electronic media can hardly obtain material telepathically from the researcher or clairvoyantly from the environment in the way that the medium can, it is fair to say that ITC effectively disposes of the SuperESP (or SuperPSI) hypothesis, the idea that all survival-related messages come psychically (albeit unconsciously) from the living rather than from the deceased.
The Third Advantage of ITC
The third unprecedented advantage of ITC is that when results are obtained a permanent record of them is created. Psychical researchers have long sought for what are called PPOs (‘Permanent Paranormal Objects’), objects that are obtained paranormally and that remain in existence as good evidence for anyone to see and examine. ITC presents us with just such objects in the form of recorded communications apparently from the deceased. Of course, it has to be provable that these recordings are paranormal if they are to qualify as PPOs. Anyone who is sufficiently dishonest or foolish can fake voices on tape or through the radio and claim they were obtained paranormally. It has to be demonstrated beyond doubt that the recorded voices cannot be explained by normal means. There are two methods for doing this, the first of which applies only to the Direct Radio Voice (DRV) and the second of which applies both to DRV and to EVP.
In the first method the voices are either received under conditions that rule out any possibility of fraud (the experimenter receiving the voices knows fraud is not involved, but it is not easy to convince a skeptical scientist of this!) and in the second method the voices themselves are acoustically analyzed to see if they show characteristics that differ significantly from the human voice and that cannot be imitated correctly by faking. Neither of these methods is particularly easy to implement. To achieve the first, one needs to have independent witnesses who ideally provide their own equipment (tape recorder, tapes, radio, microphone etc.) and have full control of it throughout. Furthermore the possibility that transmitting devices are hidden nearby for the purposes of faking voices needs be ruled out by holding the experiments in a neutral venue – which raises a problem in that successful ITC results appear to depend upon a special relationship between the communicators the experimenter, the equipment and the location, and moving to a neutral venue may thus disrupt this special relationship and prevent good results. Consequently a better procedure is to use one of the highly sophisticated devices currently available that tests for the presence of spurious radio signals while the ITC experiment is taking place (although even here it is important that such tests are carried out and recorded by the independent witnesses). If financial concerns rule out the possibility of obtaining such devices, an alternative way of guarding against spurious radio transmissions is to provide two radios, both tuned to the same frequency, on the grounds that if communications are received through one radio and not through the other then this supports the claim that no such transmissions are being received. As a further precaution both radios can be tuned to frequencies forbidden by law to amateur radio operators (see September 2005 ITC Journal, pages 38 to 56, and April 2006 ITC Journal, pages 68 to 69 for details of these frequencies). Again independent witnesses would need to be present to confirm everything is done correctly.
Failure to provide all these elaborate and expensive precautions allows hardened skeptics to claim triumphantly that they have discovered how the ‘trick’ is done. The absurdity of such a claim is all too obvious, but hardened skeptics are far more interested in discrediting ITC than in absurdity. The difficulty involved in providing these precautions means it is virtually impossible for most people to set up skeptic-proof experiments. In consequence – and rightly – they are far more interested in convincing themselves than in convincing skeptics. Nevertheless such experiments are vital and will be set up in due course; the expertise exists, it is only the funding that is lacking. In the meanwhile, all those working on ITC can use the simple experiment that I have tried in two of Anabela Cardoso’s DRV recording sessions, i.e. to ask the communicators to repeat phrases after me. Anabela had no idea on the first occasions that I had even thought up such an experiment, so our successful results ruled out any possibility of subterfuge. Obviously an independent witness should ideally again be involved, and an experiment of this kind can even be tried with the tape recorder (EVP) method. When using this method the request for repetition should come from the independent witness and at an unspecified time, and the tape should then remain under his or her control until it is rewound and played back. Hopefully an ITC voice will be heard repeating the words concerned.
The second of the two methods for demonstrating beyond doubt that recorded ITC voices cannot be explained by normal means, the acoustic analysis of the ITC voices, looks much simpler at first sight, and has the added advantage that it can be used both with DRV recordings and EVP recordings. A further, and particularly important advantage, is that the analysis can be carried out and confirmed any number of times by skeptics themselves (assuming they have the expertise and the appropriate software). Again however there are problems, the most important of which is that the equipment required to carry out the analysis is expensive and highly specialized, and can only be operated by an expert and appropriately qualified acoustic engineer. Anabela and I are currently conducting research of this kind as part of the Oliver Knowles Research Project with the help of acoustics expert Daniele Gullà (see Gullà’s paper in the Proceedings of the First International Conference on Survival/ ITC for details of the acoustic analyses used. [Editer: See Computer–Based Analysis of Supposed Paranormal Voice: The Question of Anomalies Detected and Speaker Identification for a related article by Gullà] ), and hope to be able to publish results soon, but the need for professional software and for the involvement of a suitably qualified acoustic expert means that it is not the kind of work accessible to most people.
Why the Struggle for Acceptance?
In view of these three major advantages, which potentially put ITC in a particularly favorable position when compared not only to other forms of research into survival but all other forms of psychical research, why is it still struggling to gain acceptance outside the circle (admittedly a large and growing one) of those who have experienced results at first hand? The answer is that it shares the opposition that exists towards all forms of survival research. This opposition comes primarily from four groups which we can look at in turn.
Typically scientists claim they don’t find the evidence for ITC or for survival in general convincing, but the truth is they have never studied this evidence and show little sign of wanting to study it. Lack of knowledge of a subject is acceptable – most scientists find it difficult to enough to keep abreast of advances in their own field and can hardly be expected to wade through the extensive data on survival of death (I have over 600 books on the subject), but what is not acceptable is lack of knowledge that dishonestly claims to be knowledge. Thus we still hear top scientists maintaining in the media that no properly conducted studies have ever found claims for the existence for survival or for psychic abilities to be anything other than nonsense. Such behavior is not only misleading but very poor science. A cardinal rule in science is that you don’t pretend to knowledge that you do not have, particularly when you know that your views carry weight with both colleagues and laypeople. The complexities of modern science and the aura of infallibility that surrounds it mean that many people take the pronouncements of eminent scientists on trust, wrongly believing that such is their distinction in their own fields that they must know what they are talking about when they pronounce on any subject.
The main reason for this uninformed hostility on the part of many scientists towards psychical research is the belief that if psychic abilities exist and if the mind survives death (and is therefore non-physical) many of the most fundamental laws of science would have to be re-written. This claim is of course absurd. The known laws of science have their own range of convenience within which they work perfectly well, and far from challenging them the existence of psychic abilities and of a non-material mind simply adds a new dimension to our understanding, just as quantum mechanics adds a new dimension to Newtonian physics. This fact leads me to suspect that behind this hostility towards psychical research and survival lies the fear that if such things are true they challenge the supremacy of material science. Instead of being the final authority on life and death and everything else, material science simply becomes the science of material things. Many scientists appear to resent the idea of the physics/chemistry/biology triumvirate being dethroned in this way, forgetting that science is really about the search for truth and not about the protection of authority and status.
The second group against which research in survival has to struggle is parapsychology – the very subject that should be most identified with survival research. As Edgar Muller put it in the last issue of the ITC Journal (September 2006) “… survival [research] has a low status within parapsychology. It seems that most parapsychologists endeavor to avoid being connected with the topic.” The reason is of course that parapsychologists believe psychical research will never be accepted by established science if it involves itself in hauntings, séances, mediumship, poltergeist phenomena and anything that goes on outside the laboratory – most particularly research into survival. This attitude dates back to Professor J. B. Rhine, who was one of the principal founders of parapsychology, and although more than 25 years have passed since his death parapsychologists still insist on clinging to it – in spite of the fact that the subject is still not accepted among scientists regardless of the extensive range of positive results obtained by it (see e.g. Radin 1997 for an excellent survey). Even demonstrating an interest in the subject risks blighting the career of even the most promising young academic. Sadly it has to be said that the consequence of the efforts by parapsychologists to appeal to established science has therefore not been scientific acceptance. Instead it has been the diversion of attention away from the very subject, survival research, that helped inspire parapsychology in the first place.
Professor William MacDougall, who established what became the parapsychology unit at Duke University with Professor J. B. Rhine in charge, believed like the founders of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) that mind is non-physical. MacDougall, who served as SPR President in 1920 and whose book Body and Mind remains a classic study of the mind-body relationship, put it that although the SPR takes no formal position on such issues its principal aim “is to obtain, if possible, empirical evidence that human personality may and does survive in some sense and degree the death of the body,” and adds that “A considerable mass of evidence pointing in this direction has been accumulated” (MacDougall 1928 page 347). MacDougall also insisted that his own theory of the mind-body relationship, which he called Animism, “is the only psycho-physical hypothesis which is compatible with a belief in any continuance of human personality after death” and points out its relevance “[now that] for the first time serious attempts are being made to discover empirical evidence of such survival; and the fact that these attempts seem already to justify hope of their success ….” (ibid page 202).
Most parapsychologists seem to have forgotten – if they have ever read – MacDougall’s wise words. And even those parapsychologists who do show some interest in survival research seem to incline towards the view that communications from the deceased can best be explained by the SuperESP theory mentioned earlier. However, not only do results show the inadequacy of this explanation in the context of ITC, it is unconvincing even when applied to mediumship. The notion that mediums may, unconsciously and while deceiving themselves that the deceased are responsible, be capable of hunting through living minds and through the environment for information associated with the deceased even though they have no clue where to look and no emotional connection with the people or the information concerned stretches credulity beyond the bounds of possibility (I have set out these arguments and others more fully in Fontana 2004 and 2005).
The third group that has traditionally opposed survival research, established religion, should in theory also be among its strongest supporters. Established religion has across the centuries typically equated communications from the beyond with the powers of evil arguing, attributing them to impersonations by demons. The justification for this point of view is sometimes said to come from Exodus Chapter 22 Verse 18 of the Bible when Moses informs the people that one of God’s ‘social ordinances’ is that ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’. However, the word ‘witch’ seems to have been chosen by the translators to satisfy their own prejudices, as the Latin word is veneficus which is more correctly translated as ‘poisoner’. Even King Saul (Samuel I Chapter 28) who banished all those with ‘familiar spirits’ (spirit guides) from the land pays a visit to one of them himself when he wants to consult the spirit of Samuel to tell him the outcome of his impending battle with the Philistines Samuel duly appears and tells Saul in no uncertain terms that he has lost favour with God and not only will he be defeated he will perish along with his sons in the battle – all of which turns out to be correct.
Saul’s loss of favor with God – together with the Bible’s account of his generally shabby behaviour during much of his reign – hardly suggests he is a suitable role model on how to treat those with ‘familiar spirits’ (i.e. spirit guides). Given therefore that there seems no Biblical objection to ‘familiar spirits’, we are driven to the conclusion that the attitude of the Christian churches (Catholic and Protestant alike) towards converse with the departed stems more from a threat to the authority of the priesthood than from anything else. I am not arguing against religious belief, which is an essential part of human nature, but it seems clear that the teaching which claims that the priesthood are the intermediaries between man and God and the only key holders of the Kingdom of Heaven has been an important obstacle to interest and research into survival. Far from being Biblical, the beginnings of this teaching stretch back to the decision by the Emperor Constantine to make Christianity the state religion of Rome, and thus were always more political than religious. The result of them is that we in the West lag far behind the cultures of the East, whose psycho-physical systems such as Hinduism and Buddhism have extensive and detailed teachings both on survival and on the nature of the afterlife.
The General Public
The fourth group, the general public – particularly the general public in Britain and in the USA – do not so much oppose survival research as show little interest in it. We are in fact the only generation in which the subject of death has been so widely ignored. Right through to the mid 20th Century and World War Two people lived with the reality of death. In the earlier part of the Century large numbers of children died young, and even for adults death was a constant companion. In the 16th Century scholars kept skulls on their desks as momento mori, and in Britain the Victorians and Edwardians in the 19th and early 20th Century frequently wore lockets containing tresses of hair from deceased loved ones. Catholic countries had their Day of the Dead on November 2nd, and this is one of the few remembrances that are still observed. Apart from this, the reality of death is largely ignored. In earlier times people fell sick, declined and for the most part died at home, and the tragedy of death was forever present. Advances in medical care and public health mean that we are the first generation in recorded history insulated from many of the reminders of our own mortality. Together with the growth of consumerism and the prevalence of materialistic philosophies, this has led to a general resistance to any talk of leaving this life and of what might happen next. There is also a failure to recognize that belief in an afterlife does not distract us from trying to improve this life. Instead it gives this life meaning and purpose and increases our awareness of its sacred nature and of the need to cherish the physical world and the opportunities it gives to us.
We have reached a point in human history where many people now realize that science cannot provide us with answers to life’s fundamental questions, that we have pushed consumerism past its sustainable limits, and that materialism does not provide the route either to individual happiness or to a future for our planet. Together with the advances currently being made in survival research – and particularly in ITC – we may find that opposition from the four groups we have identified begins to weaken, meaning that at the very least the results of research into survival will begin to be taken more seriously. The problem may then be that parapsychologists, recognizing the importance of the PPOs produced by ITC, may attempt to claim the subject as their own and to take much of the credit for its development. We can but wait and see.
Fontana, D. (2004). Survival research: opposition and future developments. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 68.4 (877), 193-209.
Fontana, D. (2005). Is There an Afterlife? Alresford: John Hunt.
MacDougall, W. (1928). Body and Mind. London: Methuen (7th edn.).
by Tom and Lisa Butler Published in the Winter 2003 AA-EVP NewsJournal
World events are very unpredictable these days. If we think about it, this is often the case, as we never really know what tomorrow will bring. One thing that is of great comfort to most of the members of the AA-EVP is the knowledge that we don’t die. Now we are finding that more people are joining the ranks of the AA-EVP who share our belief in survival. Some of these people, you may be surprised to know, are respected scientists.
In the last couple of years we have seen an increase of the public interest in mediums and survival, due in a large part to the success of TV programs like that of John Edward and James Van Praagh. These mediums bring in messages that are very evidential and millions more people today are learning about survival through their television sets then were just two years ago.
Dr. Gary Schwartz, at the Human Energy Systems Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona conducted a series of experiments to test the validity of mediumship. Schwartz’s experiments were conducted using carefully designed protocols and provided credible evidence for survival. As you might expect, they created considerable controversy, especially with the skeptical press.
The International Association for Near-Death Studies held their Fourth Esalen conference on Survival of Bodily Death, in May of 2002. Researchers from the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, psychology and physics concluded that three areas of research provided strong evidence for survival. Near Death Experiences (NDE) was at the top of the list. Reasons sited were, accurate observations of medical operating procedures made by clinically dead patients, reported encounters with deceased persons even though the experiencer did not know the person was dead and accurate reports by blind experiencers. Reincarnation was cited as a strong proof for survival based on examples, such as children accurately recounting previous lives and birthmarks corresponding to lethal wounds experienced in a previous lifetime. Mediumship was also noted as strong proof of survival because of the veridical messages often delivered by mediums.
Dr. Sam Parnia is one of two doctors from Southampton General Hospital in England who has been studying NDEs. The work is very significant in that it shows that a group of people who were clinically dead had well-structured, lucid thought processes with reasoning and memory formation, even though their brains were shown not to be functioning. Parnia was quoted as saying, “The possibility is certainly there to suggest that consciousness, or the soul, keeps thinking and reasoning even if a person‘s heart has stopped, he is not breathing and his brain activity is nil”
Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands was published in volume number 358 of The Lancet.The Lancet is one of the world’s most respected medical journals and publication of this article caused quite an uproar in the medical community. The article cites a study by Dr. Pim van Lommel and colleagues of Rijnstate Hospital in Arnhem. The results showed that medical factors could not account for the occurrence of NDEs. Although all patients had been clinically dead, most did not have an NDE. The researchers noted that, “If purely physiological factors had caused the NDE, most of our patients should have had this experience.” The paper states that induced NDE experiences are not identical to spontaneous NDE experiences. It questions, “How can clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death with flat EEG?”
A National Science Foundation report based on interviews with 1,574 people across the country found widespread and increasing belief in what it terms, “pseudoscience.” It also cited several other polls with similar conclusions. Among those was a Gallup survey last year that showed belief in ghosts, haunted houses, witches and the ability to communicate with the dead, all increased by double-digit percentage points in the past decade alone. Belief in ghosts and haunted houses is now around 40 percent, and communicating with the dead is nearing 30 percent. Eight of 13 such phenomena included in the Gallup report showed significant increases and only the belief in devil possession declined. The Science Foundation survey showed that sixty-percent of the people surveyed believed that some people possess psychic powers or ESP.
Those of us who are doing research in EVP and ITC, not only have the advantage of knowing that consciousness survives but we also get to hear and see our loved ones. For instance, in our last Video ITC experiment, we asked for the first time to have a relative appear. We called on Tom’s father and asked him to appear in the middle of a frame. Amazing enough, he came through in the center of the frame as requested. Interestingly, his pose is the same as that in a picture Tom keeps at his desk. When we saw the paranormal picture we immediately grabbed the picture off Tom’s desk for the comparison. As you can see in the accompanying picture, the nose is distorted and enlarged. Also, from the nose down the face is mostly lost in the noise that is created with the Video ITC method. However, you should be able to make out the similarity of the eyebrows, high temple, distinctive widow’s peak and nose.
The Survival Hypothesis hold that we are an etheric entity in a symbiotic relationship with a physical body. It is through this etheric-physical entanglement that we are able to bring etheric objects of reality into the physical and still satisfy the Principle of Natural Law which holds that “An object of reality must be in perceptual agreement with the aspect of reality it inhabits.” An etheric object, such as a dog bark or an idea, must somehow be embodied into the physical. Thus for etheric-to-physical influences to be possible, that influence (an object of reality) must be “embodied” into the physical (made energetically in agreement with the physical). There are other sources of information that support the idea that we are responsible for providing the etheric-physical energy necessary for EVP or any other form of etheric to physical phenomena.
In mental mediumship and in EVP, we are pretty sure that the etheric communicators must use the vocabulary and image library of the person enabling the communication. That is usually the experimenter and/or a person who has their attention on the experiment. I have a little training in mediumship and this is consistent with my experience. Essentially all EVP are in a language that the experimenter or interested party understands. It is common to hear an experimenter say, “that means …” to explain an obscure utterance in EVP. We think this is because the person understands the imagery and may have even sensed the translation of the image into voice. That is essentially how mediumship works.
Experiments have shown that it is possible to deliberately record the thoughts of sleeping people–even to solicit meaningful comments about what the experimenter is doing far in another part of the world. This is reasonable, because while sleeping or in some way mentally disengaged from the physical, we are pretty much the same as the etheric entities we communicate with via EVP.
An animal is also an etheric entity embodied into the physical, and so, there is no reason to think that an animal could not also communicate ideas to us via EVP and using our language and image library. Experiments need to be conducted to determine if this makes sense.
This is a video ITC image of a man–maybe in uniform–holding a dog as if for a portrait. The technique is to set up a camera so that it “sees” what it has just “seen” on the screen of a TV. The objective is to generate chaotic optical noise with the video loop. Order naturally emerges in the optical noise via stochastic resonance, but those otherwise haphazard patches of order are sometimes transfigured into recognizable features. The features are found later by examining individual video frames.
We see quite a few animals in visual forms of these phenomena, often being presented as a favorite pet. We believe that the physical mechanism of stochastic resonance enhancing small telekinetic influences is the same for mental mediumship, and audio and visual forms of ITC.
As a side note, you will see scholarly dissertations about how EVP is just the telepathic manipulation of the electronic device by the experimenter, and is therefore not evidence of survival. (Telepathy obviously being the lesser of two evils for these physical scientists when compared to survival.) As you can see above, we agree that it is telekinetic manipulation by the experimenter, but caused by the etheric communicator. The evidence of survival is in the message not in the mechanism.
I hope that answers your question. Please remember that all I have said about the theory is hypothetical. Much more research is needed.
A hypothesis is proposed to explain why multiple face-like features are often found in individual frames of recorded video-loop noise.
In the video-loop technique for visual ITC, a video camera is pointed toward a video monitor and the output of the camera is connected to the input of the monitor so that the camera “sees” what it has just recorded. A person might expect the resulting optical noise to look like the “snow” seen on an unassigned TV channel; however, in at least some configurations of equipment, the resulting noise has the appearance of patches of light of different brightness rushing toward the viewer from the center of the screen. Some of these will have color if a color camera and TV are used. See the examples at atransc.org/examples/examples_video.html.)
The bright area in the center is the face of a woman. In the color version of this, you can make out red lipstick. A man’s face covers the right half of her face. He is looking toward your right. Nearly all of the medium-density areas around the two faces are other, less well-formed faces. (We apologize to those receiving the printed Journal as ITC pictures do not print well.)
The working hypothesis is that the patches of brightness in the looped video are areas of relative order that naturally form in chaotic noise because of a process known as stochastic amplification. In that process, a small irregularity in the uniformity of “baseline” energy can be amplified, and in video-loop ITC, those emergent splotches are often shaped like people.
Update: We have been working with the concept of intended order. This concept may be applicable to such phenomena as both audible and visible ITC, energy healing, meditation and morphogenetic fields. The standard model we are using is that trans-etheric influences are the expression of a personality’s intention. Physical people are personalities that exist in the etheric, but are able to inhabit the physical aspect of reality because of the physical body. In effect, people are all the same, but some may not have a physical body. In that way, all personalities influence the environment via intention. Personality brings intended order to chaotic environments.
Examination of individual video frames sometimes shows an astounding number of face-like shapes and some of them are sufficiently detailed to be arguably real faces. There are also examples of this in the Butler Galleries.
The Techniques section has an article explaining how to record for these phenomena. Some people have had success with digital equipment, but we have not seen the detail exhibited by examples collected using analog equipment. For this reason, we recommend that anyone wishing to replicate this work should use at least an analog camera, and preferably an analog monitor. We use a Canon 8mm ES2000 analog camcorder with a Sony KV20TS32, 20 inch Trinitron color TV. We like using color because the resulting features often seem to have true color such as with skin tones. See the website for technical notes.
The key to recording video ITC is in establishing a display with a good balance of bright and dark areas. The loop tends to be a cycle from all black, through medium bright patches of color, to an all white and back again. The video is at about thirty frames a second, and a cycle from dark back to dark takes several seconds. We record for ten to fifteen seconds and may find thirty to fifty frames from that recording that need examining. Here is an example of a useful video loop:
Who is in the video
You can see that there is no physical input to the system other than electricity and ambient light. It can be argued that there is no physical reason for faces to be in the noise, other than the occasional fortuitous arrangement of light and dark that might resemble a face. Certainly, there should not be faces with clearly identifiable red lips and eyes with pupils. Phenomenal faces are found in many different techniques, but all seem to depend on the transformation of visual energy. Moving water, light reflected from crystals, even audio spectrograms have produced features. Most visual ITC features are of strangers, but there are a few that have been recognized. For instance, using forensic software, a moving water feature taken by Margaret Downey has been favorably compared to a photograph of her long-transitioned great, great grandfather.
There are differences in clarity and detail amongst the different forms of visual ITC, but the common factor appears to be broad-spectrum optical noise and an active analog process such as an amplification circuit. This is the common factor for audio ITC as well.
Based on the Trans-survival Hypothesis, it is speculated that the features are formed by the amplification of a weak psi signal from the practitioner or an interested observer, by the action of stochastic resonance on the optical-frequency noise. We speculate this is a mind-to-mind exchange of information between the etheric personality of the practitioner and the communicating etheric entity. This is believed to occur in the etheric as a nonphysical process.
The information is then transformed into the physical aspect of reality by way of the person’s etheric personality-to-physical body entanglement, and expressed into the physical as a psi signal that represents the practitioner’s impression of what was experienced in the etheric.
While looking at this picture of the 2004 conference speakers, your attention is on Sarah Estep. For the moment, the others in the photo would make less of an impression in your mind’s eye.
The observed effect of one or two well-formed faces in visual ITC may be due to the practitioner’s attention on a specific personality in the etheric. However, there are apparently many other personalities present, of which the practitioner is only partially aware. These background personalities are therefore only poorly formed in the resulting ITC.
The group picture above is an attempt to show how we might be aware of everyone in the group, but our attention is momentarily on one person at a time. In this case, Sarah Estep is clearly imaged, and the other people are only vaguely noticed.
Of course, all of this is hypothetical, but so many poorly formed faces present in virtually every suitable region of optical noise, along with a few well-formed faces, argues that the practitioner (or an interested observer) is the channel for the information and the practitioner’s focus of attention determines what is communicated.
Update: Two theories are emerging as alternatives to stochastic resonance to explain image formation. Stochastic amplification may still be the physical mechanism, but the “small psi signal” my be more complex than previously thought. Examination of the essay on Etheric Fields will show that intended order may be a factor as the etheric personality (still via a physical person’s entanglement) influences the recording process’ formative field.
A second theory is that the faces might be apported from some existing media source. Distortions are evident in EVP that suggest a partially successful transformation of noise into voice and the same might be seen in visual ITC.
Both theories are new and require more vetting, so at this time (6/19/2013) it is best to suspend decisions until more information is available.