Voices from Beyond: The Mystery of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)

Voices from Beyond: The Mystery of Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)

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Ghosts in the machine? Do electronic devices have the uncanny ability to pick up spirit voices and allow the dead to communicate with the living? Or is it all just random noise? As we look at the mystery of EVP, you can be the judge.

Is EVP real or a pseudoscience? Some of the greatest inventive minds in history believed devices could pick up the voices of spirits. Companies now promote and sell products for you to capture your own EVP recordings (which we’ll cover below).

EVP recordings typically capture brief discernible sounds, most consisting of single words or short phrases, according to The Conversation. For example: “Get Out!”

The history of electronic voice phenomena (EVP)

In 1848, Margaret and Kate Fox claimed to have made contact with a spirit called Mr. Splitfoot and, thus, spiritualism, or speaking with the dead, became a craze.

In the next few decades, technology increased substantially. And after Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876, mediums began to claim they could hear the voices of the dead crackling through the telephone wires.

Energy cannot be created nor destroyed

The inventor of many devices, Thomas Alva Edison, who developed electronic power generation, the light bulb, phonograph, the motion picture camera, and more, believed our personalities consisted of “tiny entities” which could never be increased, decreased, or destroyed, OZY reported. This idea Aligns with Émilie du Châtelet’s proposal first tested in the 1700s that showed energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.

Edison believed thought particles representing our personalities exited our bodies after death, and that they swirled about in the ether, sometimes coming in contact with the living. Edison believed it might be possible to make contact with these entities.

“I have been at work for some time, building an apparatus to see if it is possible for personalities which have left this Earth to communicate with us,” Edison told American magazine in 1920.

A rare version of Edison’s published diary was found in a thrift store in Paris in 2015. It included an entire chapter on Edison’s theory of the afterlife, in which he described plans for creating a hypersensitive phonograph that would be capable of picking up spirit communications.

First EVP encounter in history

According to the known records, the earliest EVP recording was made in 1901 with an 1877 Edison-invented phonograph by anthropologist Waldemar Bogoras (Vladimir Bogoraz), Medium reported. Bogoras was recording a spirit conjuring ritual being performed by a shaman of the Tchoutchi tribe. The recording captured unexplained voices which spoke in both English and Russian.

Many examinations of the phonograph were performed by physicists, and all were unable to explain the phenomena. To this day, it is considered one of the most fascinating pieces of paranormal evidence, as the recording device was mechanical instead of electrical.

EVP boom: The 1970s

The 1970s is considered to be when the idea of electronic voice phenomena (EVP) really took off, popularized by para-psychologist Konstantīns Raudive from Uppsala University, Sweden, who described EVP as typically brief, usually the length of a word or short phrase, according to Wikipedia. He made over 100,000 recordings he described as communications with discarding people.

His first book, Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead was published in 1968 and translated into English in 1971.


However, one successful study by Von Szalay and Raymond Bayless was published by the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1959. Bayless co-authored a 1979 book, Phone Calls From the Dead.

EVP in the 1980s-2000s

William O’Neil constructed an electronic audio device called “The Spiricom” in 1980 that he claimed could hold two-way conversations with spirits.

In 1982, Sarah Estep founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP) in Severna Park, Maryland, a nonprofit organization with the purpose of increasing awareness of EVP, and of teaching standardized methods for capturing it, according to Wikipedia.

In 2002, Frank Sumption created an EVP device he called “Frank’s Box” or the “Ghost Box” which he alleged made it possible to hold real-time communication with the dead.

EVP today

It is widely accepted by those in the field of paranormal study today that EVP is a phenomenon created by either a magnetic or an electromagnetic (EM) field. Natural electromagnetic fields swirled through our atmosphere. These and mechanical fields are frequently associated with paranormal activity.

One thing happening today, more than any other time in human history, is the abundance of electronic devices. All of these are capable of storing electromagnetic energy within their internal circuitry.

Another thing in heavy usage is LED lighting, which is also capable of carrying vibrations in its crystals.

EVP researchers categorize recordings based on the quality of the audio, defining them in these three categories:

Class A: voices are very clear and easily understandable.

Class B: voices are fairly loud and clear and are sometimes audible without headphones.

Class C: voices are very soft and often indecipherable.

How to capture your own EVP recordings

While digital audio recorders are one of the most popular tools of EVP researchers, a number of dedicated devices specifically designed for the purpose of capturing EVP can now be purchased easily from Amazon, Newegg, and other vendors. One such device is the SBOX ghost scanner with spirit box and EVP recorder. A & E

 published a “ghost hunters Tech guide for audio” and even serious audio recording manufacturers such as TASCAM have promoted devices that “capture voices of the dead.”