Study claims EVPs Persist, Even in Controlled Environments
2013-11-21 0:00

By Lee Arnold | Mysterious Universe

Nearly every paranormal investigation these days makes use of recording devices intended to pick up electronic voice phenomena not detectible by human ears at the time of the investigation, but how reliable is it?

Before you read this, I advise you to get a beverage, perhaps a snack, and find a comfortable position in your chair, because this is going to be a long one. I know long pieces on the Internet usually arenít popular with readers, and I donít blame you, but this one isnít just about my ego as the guy typing the words, this gets genuinely interesting. You have my word on itÖ whatever thatís worth.

The debate has been going on since Friedrich JŁrgenson heard his dead fatherís voice while recording bird songs in 1959, and Attila von Szalay recorded spirit voices on a reel-to-reel machine three years earlier and wrote about it the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. It wasnít until the last decade or so, however, that attempting to pick up EVPs became a mainstream, used by everybody from the pros to the amateurs, ghost-hunting tool.

The knock against EVPs, man, I crack myself up when I write, is the human brainís continual effort to make sense out of everything our senses experience, even sensory nonsense. Apophenia and pareidolia are both a curse and a blessing to humanity.

We naturally seek to find significance in insignificant things, and often interpret things incorrectly.

Itís just the way weíre wired.

Take some time to dig through the countless EVP recordings posted to YouTube by ghost hunters and paranormal societies from around the world without reading the notes, or watching the video in cases where text interpreting the sounds is used. Then check out the information explaining what you were supposed to have heard. Sometimes itís clear other times itís not. In other words, auditory pareidolia is most certainly at the heart of at least some EVP claims. So itís easy to see why some are skeptical of EVPs in general.

A study published last year in the Journal of Neuroquantology, which focuses on issues of neuroscience and physics, recorded some very interesting results when it comes to EVPs and pareidolia. Conducted by Anabela Cardoso, a self-professed skeptic of EVPs, the study still found evidence that EVPs could be more than just our brains making erroneous conclusions out of auditory nonsense.

The study lasted two years and experiments were conducted in professional-grade sound recording studios complete with interference blocking construction as a means of limiting outside radio/audio/electromagnetic interference. They used high-quality condenser and dynamic microphones, and software like Pro Tools and SoundForge to process the sounds recorded. Also incorporated into the experiments were background noises including white noise, pink noise, and tracks featuring human speech chopped up into syllabic utterances.

The study picked up where researchers like Hans Bender left off during his studies of JŁrgensonís recordings in the 1970s at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where he concluded the voices were of an unknown paranormal source, and Dr Konstantin Raudive, who was also inspired by JŁrgenson and would eventually record thousands of EVPs himself.

Raudive published a book, The Inaudible Becomes Audible, about his work with EVPs in 1968. His colleagues even claim to have recorded EVPs from Raudive after his death.

The Cardoso study, like those of Raudive and Bender, also produced phenomena that could not be easily explained by science.

During the study researchers recorded dozens of EVPs featuring distinct voices responding to questions or commenting on occurrences in the recording area. They also had better success capturing EVPs when using the noises in the background, and also got better results during sessions where the mood among the participants was light and casual.


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