Haunted Yorkshire

They're Closer Than You Think!


E.V.P.s Explained

Over the years, interest in Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP, has waxed and waned with the capriciousness of the growing cult of paranormal enthusiasts. This quasi-scientific method of attempted contact with (and by) the dead is not an old concept – throughout their respective careers both Edison and Marconi, the fathers of modern communications, were developing techniques they hoped would result in contact with departed human personalities. Later, galvanized by the Spiritualist movement of the early 20th century, attempts at the recording of disembodied voices once more became an important part of paranormal research, at least on the amateur level.

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the first “verifiable” spirit voice was recorded on tape. This was accomplished by the Reverend Drayton Thomas who, while investigating the psychic abilities of famous medium Gladys Osborne Leonard, apparently captured the audible, disembodied voice of a spirit manifestation she had produced. Thomas later identified the voice as that of his own father.

More intense research and investigation began seriously in the 1950’s and produced interesting results. Once fears had been allayed that the unexplainable communications were not actually Cold War propaganda broadcasts from “the enemy,” it became possible for investigators to postulate that EVP might be a “recurring system of interdimensional communication.”

It was at the end of the 50’s that Friedrich Jurgenson, a retired Swedish opera singer with a confessed interest in EVP research, claimed to have recorded fragmentary, garbled bits of strange, seemingly human speech while recording wild bird songs for his personal use. Jurgenson contended that he was “absolutely certain” that he had been completely alone when he made the recordings; he also stated that he recognized one of the voices as that of his dead mother, calling his name.

Jurgenson’s amazing recordings fueled a decade of intense interest in EVP with individuals such as Dr. Konstantin Raudive and other researchers contributing astonishing, sometimes creepy examples of what they claimed to be extra – (and intra -) dimensional communications from the spirit world. For the first time, a comprehensive cataloguing was undertaken providing researchers with a means of study, comparison and, where appropriate, elimination of hundreds of examples of EVP.

Popular interest in ESP and psychokinesis reached a peak in the 1970’s and early 1980’s and for a time eclipsed what was considered the “fringe” research into EVP. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that EVP research once more emerged as a valid subject of investigation, if not yet a viable science.

Today, one only has to go online and “google” the EVP abbreviation to gain access to a literal treasure trove of information – including misinformation and disinformation – about the subject. Web searchers can tune in to hours upon hours of tape recordings of alleged spirit contact, most of which are identified (perhaps hastily) as communication from discarnate human beings who have “passed on.” There is not a single “paranormal” website worth its salt that does not, however briefly, address this burgeoning popular preoccupation; and as a consequence of this renewed interest, haunted houses, haunted buildings, abandoned or empty places, but most especially cemeteries across Britain are often filled with people who are interested not in just seeing dead people, but in talking to them as well.


But just what is EVP? Most people probably have some idea of what they think it is; many people claim to know exactly what it is, widely dispatching their opinion for all and sundry to enthuse over. Or, not.

But, really, what is EVP?

Strictly defined, EVP is “weird, mysterious, apparently paranormal sonic events of unknown origin, which can sometimes be heard (and captured in recordings) on various types of electronic apparatus

The “apparently paranormal sonic events” take on diverse forms. Often they appear to be speaking in other languages or in the “polyglot” peddled by some as the “language of the spheres,” indecipherable to human beings but apparently spoken with abandon by denizens of the spirit realms. Sometimes the voices call on individuals by name and speak directly to researchers, responding appropriately when questioned. These electronic voices have also been known to interrupt normal radio signals and interfere with radio communications in general. Some others engage in dialogue with each other, so that the researcher is delegated an eavesdropper; often the voices will provide many clues to their veracity such as secret or highly intimate personal information, or by assisting in everything from avoiding traffic jams to solving murder cases. This is seen by some to be a result of the “greater insight” communicating entities have assumed in the passage through death.

It’s not for nothing then, that EVP research is often called “Ouija Board with Batteries.” Just as spirit communication through use of the Ouija board is discouraged because of the unpredictability of the results and the very real dangers this random tool can turn up while “trolling” in the lower etheric regions, so many professionals also feel that EVP is the “Russian roulette” of audiopsychic research.

It would be naïve to assume, therefore, that every voice captured on a tape recorder or other sonic apparatus is most definitely that of a departed human being. In fact, this is most often NOT the case and it has been contended that legitimate examples of actual disembodied human voices are, in fact, extremely rare. Certainly, there are deliberate attempts by survivors to contact deceased family members or friends who have passed on, and if these attempts are made within a reasonable period following death – most say within six months to a year – then it is likely that the spirit response, if any, will originate with that particular deceased individual. A limited exception to this general rule is if the “investigation” is conducted in a cemetery where bodies are being buried on a regular basis. In this event, a good many graveyard specters may be around, and EVP obtained among the active burial areas may be considered as possibly more legitimately discarnate human in origin.

Waiting for periods longer than six months to a year following burial, investigations in “historic” and mostly unused or notorious burial grounds, or, as most frequently happens, general “fishing” with tape recorders and cameras among the anonymous dead in any given cemetery, will probably produce EVP, but it will be less likely that the phenomena is generated by spirits that were once living human beings.

If the discarnate living are eliminated as the source of EVP recorded in these cemetery forays, then what, exactly, is leaving its voice imprint on the recorders and videotapes of these mostly nascent investigations?

The dead, our dead, will usually linger for a period of time around the area where their discarded physical body has been laid to rest; these are the familiar “graveyard specters” of folklore, of whom it is often said that the most recently buried must assume the role of graveyard watch for a year or until another new burial releases it from this duty. (In fact, there are reports of families fighting to avoid this dubious honor when two persons have died at the same time, each family literally running to the cemetery, dead relative in tow, in an attempt to avoid the fate of the latest buried falling on their loved one.)

After a period of time, however, (and not as long as some have suggested) the spirit of the dead person is finally released into the astral realms through the experience many experts call the “Second Death.” This means that they are no longer “adrift” near the physical plane of existence they formerly shared with us, and, presumably, they may be contacted only with the skills and guidance of a trained spiritual medium, or alternately, if they initiate contact.

So, for instance, if you want to “talk” to your Uncle Joe after he has passed on, the best time to do this is when the event is still recent, the rule of thumb being not to wait longer than a year. By this time, the recently dead (or at least those who persist in lingering on this earthly plane) ought to have come to understand that they have, indeed, died, and hopefully should be ready to depart to the adventure that awaits them in their life on the other side.

It is interesting to note, while looking at the real-life experiences of hobbyists and investigators who frequently visit cemeteries on “ghost hunting” expeditions, just how many accounts there are of entities apparently following these individuals home. In many cases, a full-blown haunting begins at the new location with all the attendant “proof” present – more EVP (surprise!), anomalous photographs, and often visual manifestations and poltergeist activities. Invariably, the individuals who begin to experience this activity will be amazed by it and, in some cases, actually delighted that they have been favored with a visit from beyond the grave. At this initial stage a kind of “haunting envy” is not uncommon, with other investigators in the original group wondering why they haven’t had the opportunity to experience this themselves. Rarely, at this point at least, does anyone seem to stop to think about what it may be that has followed him or her home. Most often, it’s not just – or not even – “the dead.”

This kind of pervasive naïveté is highly problematic and is usually most apparent among self-styled “experts” in the paranormal field; these are usually people who know a lot, but who, evidently, don’t know enough to be scared like their less experienced peers who still approach every encounter with the spirit world with a wise dose of caution.

Another fascinating thing that occurs frequently and can be found a great deal in the massive files of EVP evidence posted on the myriad paranormal websites is that, in nearly every collection, there are usually several examples of disturbing, threatening, “angry voices” that have been recorded. More insistent than the goosebump-producing pleas to be left alone, these voices, as anyone can hear, sound as if they were never human, and the aggressive, demanding tone they often display makes this argument even more convincing. These horrible, disturbing voices appear out of nowhere, often hissing or growling, but always insisting: “GET OUT!”

“It is important to remember that there are many kinds of beings without physical bodies, and only a certain percentage of them were once living human beings . . . equally well it may be some other sort of spirit. Ghosts play so large a role in surviving folklore traditions that almost any non-physical entity is likely to be identified as a ghost, whether it has any connection to the human world or not.”

It seems apparent, then, that a large percentage of the “voices” and sounds being recorded by EVP investigators and enthusiasts ought to be considered of highly dubious origin. This is not in the least to say that these individuals are not recording EVP, nor is it to imply that they are not receiving respondent interaction with some discarnate entity. But it should be obvious to any individual who has spent any amount of time researching the paranormal and who has any experience in recognizing the activity of non-human spirit beings that most of the recorded EVP material presented as “evidence” of the existence of the human spirit after death is in reality the product of human interaction with discarnate spirits who have never walked the earth in the flesh, the true inherent nature of whom can only be speculated upon.

Put bluntly, if some Civil War soldier interred in 1864, for example, is still hanging around his grave and talking to modern interlopers, then there’s a real problem present, and instead of pestering this beleaguered spirit to respond like a robot to insipid questioning, a truly compassionate individual would seek a way to help this “lost soul” find his way to the other side!

Unless one is standing beside a newly placed pile of dirt under which a coffin has just been laid, or next to a grave whose resident has only been in place for several months – and whom you are calling directly by name – there is no knowing just who – or what – is talking to you in EVP encounters. In more cases than it is probably comfortable for most people to know, the voices being recorded as EVP are the mimic reflexes of discarnate (and very likely malevolent) spirits who set up their domain among the decomposing human dead millennia ago and who are happy to oblige the living who come among them. Spirits who feed on the dissipating etheric energy of dead corpses will no doubt happily oblige living humans in an effort to more closely interact with the potent, living energy they provide. This more than anything is the real danger in presumption, in taking for granted that there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, and that you KNOW this for a fact - especially where the world of the spirit is concerned.

Many times, paranormal investigators and other paranormal enthusiasts who frequent cemeteries and burial grounds will admit when they feel uncomfortable in certain places. Across the UK and the world there are cemeteries and consecrated burying grounds that have unwholesome reputations because visitors are aware of the fact that ritual magick has been performed there in the past. Some cemeteries are avoided and ultimately abandoned after having acquired such disconcerting reputations; as with any legend, there is often a kernel of fact buried at the core.

Some people who live a “Gothic” lifestyle and others who have taken up ghost-hunting as a hobby because they want to be “like the guys on TV,” will often deliberately seek out cemeteries that have this disturbing reputation. In fact, the more grisly the “facts” about what has happened in a place, the more attractive, apparently, it becomes to some individuals. Everything from weddings to frat parties, to really, truly legitimate research has occurred in these sinister locations which makes one wonder if a lifetime of valid paranormal investigation couldn’t be accomplished by just following-up with these indiscrete folks to see how often their disregard for the darker side of the paranormal has been found standing by their bed on a moonless night…

Devotees and practitioners of the “left-hand way,” of bokor Voodoo, or what is commonly called Black Magick, can often be found connected with cemeteries in one way or another, either as a source of materials for use in rituals or as a location for the rituals themselves. So it should surprise no one that the residual effect of these black practices should remain imprinted on the area where they have occurred for many years to come. In particular, places where blood rituals or rituals involving the sacrificial spilling of human or animal blood have occurred, will be “polluted” by these activities for a very long time. Other rituals, such as necromantic ritual magick or the deliberate invocation of demonic entities (known as Goetic or Enochian magick) could leave a residual effect that generations of Christian burial rites and prayers cannot allay. This should always be kept in mind since, really, no one really knows what goes on in the acres of the dead when no living being is around.

Among the numerous folk beliefs concerning cemeteries and their occupants – and there are literally thousands of superstitions worldwide – there is always a sapient reason for something being the way it is. There is a fence around a burying ground for a reason, ostensibly to keep “us” out but in reality it is to keep “them” in. The headstones in most older cemeteries are always facing away from the fence or gate. Why? So that any dead inclined to wander out of their grave will be confused and remain confined in the cemetery. Circuitous routes to and from burial of a corpse are designed to confuse the corpse and keep it from rising and following the mourners home.

Recently, a movie was released about the subject of EVP. “White Noise” was largely derided by critics and skeptics, though in the paranormal community it was welcomed, even if not wholly endorsed, because for the first time it introduced to mass audiences a subject that is dear to the heart of dyed-in-the-wool fans of ghostly phenomena.

Though the plot was tedious and much of the technology would seem dissimilar to what is actually used by experts who have had success in the field of EVP, there is an underlying and very important fact at the root of the film – the kernel, for lack of a better word. Without intending to, the makers of this bonafide thriller actually touched on the most important caveat in the world of paranormal research. In fact, they weren’t the first to do so because this particular caution was ingrained in most of our psyches by that dinosaur of paranormal movies, “Poltergeist.”

Simply put, it is this, opening a channel to the unknown, be it a digital voice recorder, a “white noise” static channel, a television channel with no broadcast, or, most succinctly and perhaps most dangerously, our minds, is taking a risk of such possibly tragic and disastrous proportions that it is hardly within human ability to contemplate. The bizarre and unbalanced that inhabit the ether and astral planes around us do not live by any rules and are certainly not cognizant of human concepts of honor and fair play. These entities, who feed on our discarded physical bodies, will eagerly and willfully attach themselves to a living human being to feed on our illnesses, our arguments, our guilt, our fears, and, ultimately, our souls, until we go to join them in their “Kingdom of Shells.”

If you are someone who enjoys the activity of hunting for EVP, remember that a little caution can go a long way. No matter how much you think you know, or how empowered you feel by all the information you’ve read on all the websites and in books, leave arrogance and naïveté at the gate. Treat the dead with respect. Treat their captors with caution and intelligence.