Electronic Voice Phenomenon or EVP

EVP is the receipt of audible communications on electrical devices, which are thought to be not generated by a living person, but rather to originate from the spirit world.

Origins of Electronic Voice Phenomena

It is generally supposed that EVP paranormal in origin. The Spiritualist movement is believed to be the first group to formally investigate the phenomena and this happened over many years, between the 1840s and the 1920s. The motivation behind these investigations was the potential to demonstrate that their communications were not self generated.

Pioneering Scientist

Thomas Edison was asked at interview with Scientific American – a very reputable publication, to comment on the use of his inventions during attempts to communicate with the spirit world. His reply was that his sensitive equipment stood more chance of making contact than the then current methods of ouija boards and table tipping. (Ed: so was he being facetious? I don’t think so. Check out this lunk to his Ghost Box)

Early Interest in EVP

Attila von Szalay – an American photographer was among the first researchers to try recording what he believed to be voices from beyond the grave. This was a progression from his success in capturing ghosts on photographic film.

He began in 1941 using 78 rpm recording techniques, which were not successful, but by progressing to reel-to-reel tape recording in 1956, he finally found success.

Early ITC Work

von Szalay and Raymond Bayless made a number of recordings using custom made equipment consisting of a microphone in an insulated cabinet, connected to an external speaker and recording device. It was reported that sounds on the tape were not heard through the speaker during the recordings; they were even present when there was nobody in the cabinet.

(Ed: Check out these covers at least, they are wonderful: The Other Side of Death and Voices from Beyond both by Bayless)

An EVP Pioneer

Raymond Bayless had work published by the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research and later co-authored with D Scott Rogo, in 1979, the book Phone Calls from the Dead (Ed: I love the titles of Bayless’s books too. He was ahead of his time in marketing terms!) 

Early EVP Results

Among the early recordings believed to have come from the spirit dimensions were such messages as “This is G”, “Hot Dog Art” and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all”.

Another Practitioner

Swedish painter and film producer Friedrich Jurgenson, discovered on playing a tape he had made of birdsong, the voice he thought was his dead father, and later the spirit of his dead wife calling his name. He made several recordings including one of a message from his mother.


In 1980, William O’Neil constructed his Spiritcom using information received psychically from George Mueller who had died in 1974. In 1982 O’Neil claimed to be able to have two way conversations with spirits, but nobody has been able to replicate his results.

Other EVP Devices

Frank’s Box also known as The Ghost Box, was invented by Frank Sumption in 2002. He also claimed to have received his design instructions from the spirit world. He combined a white noise generator and an AM radio receiver moving constantly over the AM band and by selecting ultra short snippets of recordings, created messages. This too has never been replicated.

Earlier Experiments

Early on it was found that tuning into white noise – the electronic background sound – via radios, TVs, tape recorders and other devices – allowed spirits to access this dimension and leave messages.

The most famous example of this being the reputed appearance of Friedrich Jurgenson on a colleague’s TV, which had been specifically tuned to a vacant channel, after his – Jurgenson’s – funeral.

Some experimentation with EVP continues despite much scepticism today. Results are often dismissed as hoaxes or of misinterpretation of natural phenomena.

The scientific community is still reticent to get involved with EVP experiments and amateurs are sadly regarded as insufficiently scientific to be taken seriously.

See for yourselves on YouTube, where there are many EVP clips posted.

EVP Follow Up

Well, Anne has whet my appetite to know more. Real or wishful thinking?

Have your say below.

And, if anyone is interested in following this up with more research on EVP please let me know. Conversely, if you have ever had an EVP experience, please share.

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