The Orgin of EVP

     Thomas Edison saw new technology, part of which he invented, as a means by which spirits might try to contact us. Apparently, he strove to make contact through some sort of phonograph device in the 1890s. Then, in the late 1920s, he tried to make contact with the souls of the dearly departed by means of some sort of special chemical equipment. It is claimed that spirit voices were first captured on phonograph records in 1938, seven years after his death.

However, it was with Friedrich Jürgenson (1903-1987) that the study of EVP really begins. Jürgenson was in some ways a Renaissance Man – an archeologist, a philosopher, a linguist, a painter who was commissioned by Pope Pius XII, a singer and recording artist, and a film documentary maker. . Jürgenson’s interest in Electronic Voice Phenomena apparently began when, after having recording bird songs with a tape recorder, he could hear human voices on the tapes, even though there had been no one in the vicinity.

This surprising event naturally piqued his interest, and he turned his attention to making recordings of nothing – that is, recordings made in a quite place with no one around. He continued to detect voices on these tapes, and his studies led to the 1964 publication of his book Rosterna fran Rymden (“Voices from space”).

He subsequently recognized some of the voices that his tape recorder picked up, including that of his mother, who called him by her pet nickname for him. However, as we say where I grew up, his mother was already “on the wrong side of the grass;” that is, she was deceased. It seemed natural to him to assume that she was communicating from beyond the grave. Thus, he came to the conclusion that all the voices that he had recorded were voices of the dead. In 1967, he published Sprechfunk mit Verstorbenen (“Radio-link with the dead”).

Dr Konstantin Raudive (1906-1974), a student of Carl Jung, was a Latvian psychologist who taught at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He was preoccupied with parapsychological interests all his life, and especially with the possibility of life after death, and he kept in close contact with leading British psychical researchers

In 1964, Raudive read Jürgenson’s book, Voices from space, and was so impressed by it that he arranged to meet Jürgenson in 1965. He then worked with Jürgenson to make some EVP recordings, but their first efforts bore little fruit, although they believed that they could hear very weak, muddled, voices.

However, one night, as he listened to one recording, he clearly heard a number of voices- and when he played the tape over and over, he came to understand all of them – some of which were in German, some in Latvian, some in French. The last voice on the tape – a woman’s voice – said “Va dormir, Margarete” ("Go to sleep, Margaret").

Raudive later wrote (in his book Breakthrough): “These words made a deep impression on me, as Margarete Petrautzki had died recently, and her illness and death had greatly affected me.” Amazed by this, he then started researching such voices on his own, and spent much of the last ten years of his life exploring electronic voice phenomena. With the help of various electronics experts, he recorded over 100,000 audiotapes, most of which were made under what he described as “strict laboratory conditions.” He collaborated at times with Hans Bender, a well-known German parapsychologist. Over 400 people were involved in his research, and all apparently heard the voices. This culminated in the 1971 publication of his book Breakthrough, mentioned above. His impact was such that these phenomena are now often referred to simply as "Raudive voices."

Raudive developed several different approaches to recording EVP, and he referred to:

  1. Microphone voices: one simply leaves the tape recorder running, with no one talking; he indicated that one can even disconnect the microphone.
  2. Radio voices: one records the white noise from a radio that is not tuned to any station.
  3. Diode voices: one records from what is essentially a crystal set not tuned to a station.

Raudive delineated a number of characteristics of the voices, (as laid out in Breakthrough):

  1. “The voice entities speak very rapidly, in a mixture of languages, sometimes as many as five or six in one sentence.”
  2. “They speak in a definite rhythm, which seems forced on them.”
  3. “The rhythmic mode imposes a shortened, telegram-style phrase or sentence.”
  4. Probably because of this, “… grammatical rules are frequently abandoned and neologisms abound.”