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This looks fascinating. Can't wait to be a part. Thank you. Karen

I predict they will come away with airtight conclusions that the afterlife and ghosts don't exist.

"We’ll get to the bottom of this mystery by building the most airtight experiments ever devised to test EVP. Designed with the help of mainstream scientists who don't believe in the paranormal, these procedures will screen out fraud, random radio or television transmissions, or any other ordinary explanations for such phenomena ..."

Now this is where real care is needed. If a procedure is discovered that prevents this phenomena it potentially tells us a lot. The danger lies in jumping to the conclusions we want.

For example, is the technique that blocks EVP blocking something fairly normal, say, TV transmissions leaking into the equipment (or attempted fraud) or is it blocking the actual EVP "signal" itself. If it were the second, the implications are shattering: For the first time we would be getting a glimpse of the physics (and in the end it's all physics) that lie behind ESP, the after life, and all that stuff.

There seem to be plenty of things that can block purported communications from the dead.

Interesting!

Paul said:

"There seem to be plenty of things that can block purported communications from the dead."

Should we be surprised at that? One can make the same comment about communications from the living.

I have to say, though, that I watched a good chunk of this video and am not impressed with the "communications" I heard (or similar EVP examples I've heard elsewhere.) They remind me of ink blots that can be perceived as a variety of things.

I'm much more convinced by other forms or means of contact.

That's the problem you either get scientists totally closed to the idea of an afterlife or ones that believe in it but not ones open to the possibility that it may or may not exist. Because those scientists would have their reputation ruined by using the scientific method to find out rather their is or their isn't an afterlife. Plus any good theory, such as the survival hypothesis comes from multiple areas of evidence not just one.

@Bruce

Not surprising at all. That was the point I was trying to make :)

I've captured many Class A EVPS on a small Sony digital. They were recorded in a quiet room with absolutely no white noise or other background sounds. My name was said several times and also a male voice saying "Miss you, too" after my brother passed away. I wish them the best of luck receiving funds for their project.

If such proposed communications involve the willful volition of those who do the communicating then I don't think there is any way to conduct a valid statistically analyzable study of it. There would be nothing random about it. There is no way to consider it in terms of probability, what if those who have gone on choose to not cooperate or are told not to. We have no reason to expect that the conditions that hold and make probability work in the physical universe would hold in the hereafter.

Still, if people want to put their money in it, it's probably harmless.

I don't really have a problem with EVP'S. I've had spirits talk to me out loud, turn the light dimmer on, then light up the room etc. So I don't see why they couldn't use technology as a means to communicate.

On another tangent - tried the lucid dreaming to no avail, mind you don't adhere to writing dreams down etc. So I am really a bit half hearted about it.

Last night I had a go at remote viewing though, just for fun. I had tried it a year ago and found I tend to get colours quite easily.

But last night rather than just trying to bring the image to the foreground, I told myself I wanted the image attached to the letter which I placed in my mind.

The first one was a blue sky against flat ice with a person as a dark shadow in the background. I immediately got a flash of light blue, then flat white on the ground- which I thought was concrete, and the dark image of a person- I saw dark and thought it may be an animal. The next image was a jumble of yellow and red small yachts in the fore ground with dark, drawn like a rectangle in the corner and white clouds streaking out from it across the sky . I got warm colours in a muddle at the front then scribbled that out as I got a dark rectangle at the back with white streaking out from it.

I found it easier this time, telling my subconscious what to do much as I tell the tarot cards. So I tend to think that my consciousness is just travelling through the universe, either that or my thoughts are changing the atoms to the image attached to the given letter. I don't think its psychic, but perhaps shows how consciousness changes matter.

Sorry off topic here, What do people think? Lyn x.

@Lisa: many years ago I played around with EVP using white noise as a background. I only did it for an hour or so, but a very clear and strong male voice came through and said, "I am here." Those to whom I played the tape back heard it immediately. The words were said quickly and with some urgency. Quite honestly it frightened me a little and made me feel as if I was being watched. I've never bothered using the technique since, but I might try the method you suggest. May I ask how long you left the tape running for each session?

I think EVP is probably a psychological not parapsychological phenomenon.

However, it is just as subject to the possibility of being "super psi", or resulting from psi in the experimenters, as is apparent mediumistic communication. The phenomenon may be paranormal but not really any sort of discarnate communication. Influenced by the conscious desire to find this kind of evidence, the subconscious mind of the experimenter may psychokinetically rearrange the background noise in a recording device so that he finds an apparent message - what he is looking for. Super psi could account for the rare instances of clear messages.

Or it could be playful or mischievous deceptions on the part of "lower astral" entities.

It is very unlikely this "kickstarter" campaign will come up with much in the way of funds, but anyway the evidential value of this phenomenon for afterlife communication is so poor I don't think it is worth spending a lot to research it.

"I think EVP is probably a psychological not parapsychological phenomenon." This is something I struggle with - any evidence can be said to be just a psychological phenomenon - our brain is tricking us to believe something that's not there. So ANY evidence of the paranormal can be so dismissed. But this same thinking can be applied to everything. Our eyes trick us all the time - we actually see a color differently depending on the color that it's next.

I actually got scared-off of EVP devices after reading some reviews on them. All-in-all, I've read too many convincing accounts of EVPs, and though I'm not convinced,they give me pause for some reason. As the journalist Charles Dana wrote: "I don't believe in ghosts, but I've been scared of them all my life."

"This is something I struggle with - any evidence can be said to be just a psychological phenomenon - our brain is tricking us to believe something that's not there. So ANY evidence of the paranormal can be so dismissed. But this same thinking can be applied to everything."

However, we have ways to dismiss the errors. For example, make a recording to be heard by several people independently and then find out if people have heard the same possible message. So this project can not be totally misguided.

Juan, I do think it's a good project actually. But the skeptics will say it's auditory pareidolia. People will deny everything. I once had an experience when I was in an old building, about 250 years old, and it seemed someone whispered something (nice) in my ear. The speaker was a young girl. Now it could have been something to do with the acoustics of the building and a real person said this not far away (though I doubt it). I posted about it on a board devoted to the supernatural, and got all sorts of responses, insinuating I was hallucinating, it couldn't possibly be real, etc. Even on a board devoted to the supernatural, people will still play skeptic.

My take on whether EVP is real: I've listened to a lot of them online, and they certainly sound like real voices to me. I don't think it's just a trick of the ear/mind/etc. There is a full spectrum of clarity, however, and some of them could certainly be seen as patterns in the noise and some of them certainly are that. But by no means all.

The reason why I don't think it can be dismissed as "auditory pareidolia" is that, when the EVPs are more or less clear (in an auditory sense, not necessarily in a message sense), the voices jump out from the background noise (if there is any/much) quite clearly. They are sounds that should not be in the recording in the first place.

If you see a face in, say, tree bark, that's pareidolia. If you see a face in the tree bark in pink and yellow dots, you can argue whether you are getting the intention of those dots right, but you can't argue that those dots represent an abnormal situation. Same thing with hearing human voices in these recordings.

As to what they *mean,* I really don't know. There are a wide range of possibilities, and they have more than one cause.

If it turns out that EVP can be recorded almost anywhere at any time, I think that would be evidence against them being (in general) the voices of the discarnate dead, since I don't think every place is haunted.

Matt writes: "The reason why I don't think it can be dismissed as "auditory pareidolia" is that, when the EVPs are more or less clear (in an auditory sense, not necessarily in a message sense), the voices jump out from the background noise (if there is any/much) quite clearly. They are sounds that should not be in the recording in the first place."

That certainly was my experience. Absolutely no mistaking the human voice. In the instance I described it seemed to have something of a German accent.

This may appear to be off subject but may add a clue to the nature of EVP experiences, for some at least.

This past weekend I was in Munich and visited the site of the Dachau concentration camp. Beyond historical and human interest I was quietly keen to discover for myself if frequently reported claims that such places house an atmosphere born of their past which trigger emotional or physical responses in some, and where no birds enter or sing, is true. For me the answer was quite simply no. It was no more profound on the senses than visiting any museum. The only part of it where a sense of place did occur was in a jewish memorial at the far end of the grounds. A peculiar stone building with barbed iron gates, and sunlight entering it's dark interior through a hole in the roof. It was otherwise empty and bare and dark. It was very gothic and foreboding. The solemn effect was not supernatural but architectural. Where am I going with this? Well..

As we left this structure and went back towards the main building I distinctly heard jewish - ie hebrew - religious chanting/singing carried on the wind. I couldn't locate where it was coming from, it was faint and had a metalic vibrato to it but all the distinct cadences of human voices. I asked my friend if he heard it - adding I didn't mean it in a ghostly way, as I know he's a committed disbeliever and would think me a gullible idiot to suggest it - and he heard nothing. As I still could this had me thinking to myself I'd have a mystery to report even though I wasn't spooked by it.

As we carried on walking the voices continued, till he heard the sound too...then I spotted in the far distance a workman with a leaf blower...a few more yards confirmed the connection. The sound carried on the wind was his machine at work. Mystery solved. But here's the bigger mystery...

I hadn't merely misheard the sound as that of voices, but - in total sincerity and without feeling I was in any way expecting such a thing - as JEWISH voices. Just minutes after leaving the gothic and mildly eerie jewish memorial. Clearly these facts contributed to my brain's sincere interpretation of the sounds even though I would never have described myself as primed or expectant or influenced at all.

That surely tells us something about what's likely to happen with people seeking such recordings in dark houses they believe or surmise to be haunted.

Lawrence B,

Interesting story, thanks!

I'm not sure I understand your ultimate meaning, however: do you mean that people in dark houses making recordings *cause* particular voices to appear in the recording?

Typically, people do not hear the voices "live" but only hear them later on the recording, so I'm not sure how the recording of EVPs matches up with the leaf blower phenomenon.

No, my meaning was that if I could hear jewish prayerful singing in the distorted sound of a leaf blower after emerging from a jewish memorial site with not the slightest expectation of hearing anything, or conscious priming, to explain my doing so then it would rather suggest that people doing evp experiments in supposedly haunted buildings - ie both expecting and hoping to hear such voices - are extremely likely to hear random noise fluctuations as the voices they wished for. That doesn't mean that is what's going on, but it does suggest its very likely.

Lawrence,

I don't think the logic really applies. Yes, if they believe that EVP are real, they are going to be listening to the tape with the expectation/hope of having obtained EVP. But what's on the tape is on the tape, right? The sounds are objective reality. If not only the experimenters but also uninvolved people hear the voices, then the voices are there.

No the sounds are there. And the little distortions that give them the rythmic sense of human speech patterns are there. The question is whether those sounds are responsive human voices or not. I'm suggesting that the incident with the voices at Dachau, where I heard IN the sound of hte leaf blower, even without any expectation, something clearly influenced by the setting, might indicate something happens in the brain, and would do so even more where such interpretations are expected in advance, that changes our perception and interpreation of the thing being heard without any conscious effort on our part.

Whenever I've seen EVP recordings on TV or youtube or wherever they are always accompanied by subtitles or a voice over telling us what words we are hearing. Once its suggested to you you can't fail to hear it. But without the prompt - and even though you certainly here a burst or bubble of speech like distorted sound - you often discern no specific words at all or different ones entirely from those being fed to you.

A test to see if SPECIFIC intelligent words are on the recordings would presumably be to get people with no knowledge of EVP and no expectation of hearing voices to listen to tapes for some invented but convincing reason (what reason I can't imagine!) and see if they voluntarily point out the voices and, if they do, whether their interpretation of the "words" are consistent from person to person.

A good test of EVP tapes would be to get a group of 100 randomly selected people. Do not tell them it's a test of EVP. Make up some other story, like it's a test of some kind of audio surveillance. Then ask the group what, if anything, it hears.

Analyze the results. If you get close to 100% agreement on multiple tapes, then you could say that you just might have something; unless of course the agreement is that there is nothing but noise.

Otherwise, I think Lawrence has a point. Yes, something is on the tape, but expectation, set and setting could guide interpretation of what that something is. Humans, are both subject to these psycho/social forces and they are prone to pattern formation.

Actually, what would be interesting is to randomly select multiple groups of 100 people to listen to the tapes. Tell each group a different story about what is being tested for. Ex; group 1 is told it's audio surveillance of a terrorist cell. Group 2 is told that is surveillance of a break room in a health insurance corporate office. Tell another group that it is a test of EVP.

Then see if the story colors what is heard.

It would be interesting if the different groups heard different messages. Group 1 hears, "Akhmed, build the bomb" Group 2 hears, "Actuary department set a budget" and the EVP group hears, "Alas, I am dead in the basement".

no one,

lol. The only problem is that we all know that terrorists don't do their terror work in English! :|

Lawrence,

Followup question. OK, you agree that the sounds are there, but are you agreeing that the sounds are paranormal in origin?

I would say that, if we accept the recordings at face value (i.e., that they are not faked), then at least some of them have to be paranormal in origin.

As a related story, I once heard a "ghost." This was in my mom's old house, which definitely seemed haunted (I later saw in this same room a mist swirling that whooshed right past me out the door).

Anyhow, I was up late one night reading, and a *very* loud voice said something that sounded like, "Mine!"

Barring a hallucination (and it was nothing like an auditory hallucination--I've thought I've heard my name called a couple times in my life, but the voice was very faint--this was LOUD), it was 100% of paranormal origin. I thought, "Wow, OK, I just heard a ghost."

I can't say for certain it said "mine" or anything in particular--there was no context. But I feel sure I heard something that could not have been produced by normal material means. I think a substantial majority of EVPs are like this: they are paranormal phenomena because there is no way they could have ended up in the recording. What words are actually spoken and what their origin is are important but secondary considerations, I think.

An EVP that is easily understood is rare.

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