Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing


Articles from the Archives of Fate Magazine
Today's Date: September 27, 2007

Articles from Llewellyn's Archives

You Can Hear Dead People
FATE Magazine 2001-02-01
by Konstantinos

You can hear the voices of the dead. I’ve done it, thousands of other researchers have done it, and with a little patience and persistence soon you will, too. The other side is closer than most imagine.
And it can be reached with the help of machines.
As Thomas Edison put it, when working on his own device for contacting the dead: “I am inclined to believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected, or moved, or manipulated by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something” (Scientific American, October 30, 1920.) Although he died before finishing his “instrument,” Edison’s dream was realized in the latter half of the twentieth century. By duplicating some of these breakthroughs, you may once again enjoy communication with a departed loved one.

Voices in the Wind
Although not the first to make contact with the deceased via electronic means, Friedrich Jurgenson will always be considered the discoverer of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). On a summer day in 1959, this well-known Swedish documentary producer was out recording birdsong in the Swedish countryside. But when he later sat down to play back his tape, he found a lot more than just birdsong.
Intermingled with the chirps and whistles was a whispery male voice lecturing, in Norwegian, on the differences between nocturnal and daytime birdsong. Jurgenson had heard no one while making the recording-the voice was only there in playback. A detailed investigation proved that no radio station in the region was transmitting a program similar to what Jurgenson recorded. Jurgenson decided to try to recreate his results, recording natural sounds at various locations. As with the birdsong tape, Jurgenson heard nothing unusual while recording. But when played, some of the tapes shocked him. They contained messages from voices claiming to be Jurgenson’s dead relatives.
These voices addressed him by name, and commented on his personal life. Jurgenson even believed he recorded his dead mother, who addressed him as her “Little Friedel,” his childhood nickname.
Jurgenson began experimenting regularly, and he published his preliminary results in 1965. Titled Voices from Space, the booklet attracted Latvian psychologist Dr. Konstantin Raudive, who asked Jurgenson for a demonstration of recording techniques. The two spent a few days together and accomplished numerous results in front of witnesses.
Raudive realized that the best results were achieved when some kind of carrier wave or background noise, such as radio static, was available during recording. The dead seemed to influence this sonic matter to create voices. Even though Jurgenson’s first recordings were made in the presence of natural noise (bird chirps, wind, and so on), he never attributed his success to carrier waves. A number of skeptics in the scientific community picked apart Raudive’s initial findings. Raudive would occasionally tune between radio stations and use such broadcast static as his background noise. Critics argued that any voices received over the airwaves were nothing more than stray radio signals. While such radio interference is possible, critics failed to comment on the impossible. Namely, Raudive also received personal messages from deceased family members, calling him by his name and nicknames, and providing their own names. Such transmissions couldn’t have been accidental combinations of words from interfering broadcasts.<>br And after cataloging 70,000 voices, Raudive was probably able to tell the difference.
Soon you’ll be able to add your own opinion to the mix. It’s broadcast-static carrier waves that we’ll be using in the experiment presented here. There are other communication techniques, but you can apply what you read in this article to achieve some amazing results.

The Sound of EVP
What exactly will you be listening for on the tapes you make? Those of you with Internet access can find out right now by visiting my Web site, www.konstantinos.com, and clicking on samples of EVP I’ve captured. Whether you do so or not, however, I’ll be providing a brief description here. Most notably, EVP do not sound like normal speech. They vibrate rapidly, as if the phantom “voice boxes” producing them are being jiggled hundreds of times a minute. You’ll notice this tremolo quality first-it affects each word spoken by a voice entity.
The entire sentence rhythm of an EVP also has a paranormal speed about it. Without sounding high pitched, EVP tend to be faster than normal speech. It ’s almost as if each word is spoken quickly, yet the pauses between the words are of a natural length.
Another general characteristic of all EVP is the monotony with which sentences are delivered. Rarely will you hear true cadence or pitch variances in a message. Interestingly, you’ll still be able to recognize the voice of a loved one in high-quality EVP.
And researchers do rank EVP by quality. From best to worst, they’re often labeled Class A, Class B, or Class C.
Class A EVP are easily understood by all who hear them, with little or no dispute as to the words in a message. They’re the loudest voices you’ll find on a tape, and the most distinct because none of the vibrations making up each word fade away. Such warping, where a voice warbles in and out at certain syllables, is common in Class B and nearly omnipresent in Class C voices. Class B voices, in addition to suffering some warping, tend to be of a lower volume than Class A, resulting in distant-sounding EVP that are sometimes unclear in meaning. Indeed, two or more people listening to Class B EVP may hear certain words or even phrases differently.
Class C voices suffer from excessive warping, and are even fainter than Class B. Making out one word in every dozen or so is a feat, in part because Class C voices are the most whisper-like.
Once you get some experience at listening to EVP and can distinguish between the types, you can safely skip any Class C phenomena you capture. Spend most of your time focusing on Class A voices, some on Class B EVP. As you’ll soon find, even a five-minute taping session can result in an hour’s worth of playback and deciphering time.
Unfortunately, broadcast static EVP do not come without problems. In addition to the controversy surrounding its use, static sometimes irritates listeners, numbing their hearing so that EVP “disappear” altogether. There are methods for better isolating voices from static, but for now, just pace yourself and practice listening for the unique sound of EVP to detect what you capture in a recording session.

Capturing the Other Side
Although there are multiple variations to broadcast static recording, we’ll focus here on one you can easily reproduce with equipment you may already own. First, you will need a combo AM/FM radio and cassette recorder. This can be either a standalone “boombox” or part of a larger stereo. The only requirement for this experiment is that the unit have a headphone jack. You’ll never be able to find EVP using speakers-use a comfortable pair of headphones that completely cover your ears (these can be found cheap if you don’t have any lying around).
Buy a pack of good-quality tapes. Choose a name brand, and a good offering at that. Tapes labeled “Normal” from a company like Maxell or Fuji are affordable and decent for EVP work. “High-Bias” tapes from such name brands, however, are superior and worth the minor extra cost. Do not buy generic tapes that some variety stores sell in volume. It’s hard enough hearing an EVP in some instances-don’t make it harder by using a cheap, noisy tape that can’t handle repeated playback.
To set up your gear, put on your headphones. Set the device to “tape,” turn the volume up about halfway, and insert your new cassette. Zero the pushbutton counter (if there is one) and press Play. When the leader tape advances to the brown part that you can actually record on, you’ll hear a change in the sonic hiss. Press Stop and note the counter number. This is where your session will begin. You can begin future sessions on the same tape, but only on a portion that is unused and unerased.
Lower the volume to about 20 percent, set the device to “radio,” and begin to hunt for an unused frequency. Slowly turn the dial to find those between-station spots that contain good, solid static, free of station interference. When you find a candidate spot, spend a few moments checking just how barren it is-even if you only hear interference every minute or so, avoid that frequency. You may need to try switching bands (from FM to AM, for instance) to get pure static. When you’ve found a frequency, keep your headphones on. You’ll now need to relax your mind for the effort at hand. Take deep breaths, dim the lights, and light a candle-do whatever feels right to you. Center your attention on the work at hand. Remember, you are about to contact the other side.
When you’re relaxed, hit the Record button and ask the dead to speak to you. Try to do so with serious intent.
After you voice your call, focus on the sound of the static. Be aware that the dead are molding these noise waves to produce voices. Don’t expect to hear EVP while you’re recording-you won’t. Only know that the voices are being formed before the signal reaches your tape. As Raudive found, positive thinking seems to be a big aid to contact sessions.
If during your session you hear interference, make a note of its approximate time or counter reading. This way, you’ll be able to examine the disturbance later to ensure it’s not some communication that’s audible in real time (these are rare with this method).
After three to five minutes, hit Stop. You may want to offer thanks to those who spoke.
Now get ready to hear them.

Playing Back Their Voices
Rewind the tape to the beginning of your session, to the tape counter number you noted. The benefit to using the counter is that, as you play back the tape, you’ll be able to jot down numbers whenever you hear possible phenomena manifest. These will then be kept relative to the starting counter reading of your session, and you will be able to easily find these anomalies in the future. During playback, start with the volume at about 20 percent; hit Play and begin to adjust the volume to a comfortable level. Again, static can aggravate your hearing. Don’t raise the volume too loud.
Focus on the sound of the static. Listen for its uniform aspects-become used to these waves. Familiarity with the hiss is important, so the slightest change will leap out at you. You’ll be listening for any fluctuations, warbles, or outright voices. Make note of the counter reading where any such anomalies occur on your first pass.
When you’re finished, rewind the tape and repeat the process, looking for more suspect spots. There may be some that you missed on the first pass. After pass two, rewind to and focus on each of the spots you noted. Here’s where things get a little strange. You’ll find that the more times you replay each of the anomalies, the clearer they’ll become. For this reason, these repetitions are called “developing playbacks.”
Pay close attention to the content of any messages that do develop. Before you go touting them as transmissions from the other side, make sure they’re not terrestrially based. Be especially wary of sounds that you heard while recording-these are most often interference.
I wish you the best of luck, and hope you’ll keep an adventurous spirit. This and other methods of afterlife communication may, after all, take away your need to say good-by to a lost loved one.
Treat each playback session as an opportunity to discover a little miracle.

Editor’s note: We invite Fate readers to share with us any experiences they have with attempts to contact the other side.




Sky Pilots of the Apocalypse: Weather As a Weapon
The Mystery of Adam's Alien Genes
Birds of a Feather
How Did She Know?
Watery Surprises on Mars



Natural Witchery
Garden Witchery
Cottage Witchery
Crone's Book of Magical Words
Advanced Candle Magick
Cosmic Karma
Psychic Development for Beginners
Everyday Magic
Craft of the Wild Witch
The Complete Node Book



© 2000 - 2001 Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.