Spirit Vocalizations: EVP and ITC Methodology

By Nicole Strickland

Audio communication with the spirit realms is one of the most prolific and preferred methodologies paranormal researchers utilize.  While audio gadgets help to capture spirit voices and/or sounds, a session’s success relies on the investigator’s consciousness and intent to communicate.  To date, no one understands how EVP and ITC data are transmitted onto audio devices; however, it appears that ethereal beings are able to control noise conditions provided by living researchers. 

EVP is a common phenomenon in the paranormal world where by voices or sounds are picked up on analog/digital voice recorders, but not heard at the time of actual recording.  Thus, sounds and/or voices are only heard upon playback of recordings.  An analog tape recorder or digital voice recorder is the most common device for obtaining EVP, however, voices and/or sounds have been known to appear on answering machines, radios and cell phones from time to time; some captures have been recorded without microphones.  Impressed EVP has also been documented under Faraday conditions, which consists of environments safeguarded from electromagnetic interference.  This, rules out the chances of obtaining abandoned radio and/or cell phone signals.  Some of the most common sounds documented, consist of knocking, banging, tapping, rapping, footsteps and other non-verbal noises.  Voices can range from a faint whisper all the way to a recognizable word or phrase.  

Known as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison was one of the founding researchers of the electronic voice phenomenon (EVP). In addition to creating a motion picture camera, phonograph and electric light bulb, Edison also experimented with electrics, sound recording and power utilizations. Due to his expertise, many of his gadgets are incorporated in supernatural research, including what he claimed was a “ghost machine” or “telephone to the dead” that could launch the lines of communication between the living realm and afterlife. Since no blueprints exist as to what he exactly built, some people believe he created a large microphone that could detect spirit vocalizations, which is the means by which EVP is recorded today.

American photographer, Attila von Szalay, was one of the first individuals to attempt the recording of spirit voices. He commenced his experiments in 1941 using a 78-rpm record; however, it wasn’t until 1956, via the reel-to-reel tape recorder, that his experimentation proved insightful. Along with Raymond Bayless, he implemented a variety of recording sessions with a custom-made device that included a microphone inside a sequestered cabinet that was linked to an external recording apparatus and speaker. Attila von Szalay alleged that many of the findings belonged to incorporeal entities. One of his intriguing captures included, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.” In 1959, both of their research was published by the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.

Other EVP study pioneers include Konstantin Raudive, who was a psychologist and parapsychological researcher. Believing strongly that consciousness continues after physical death, he explored the concept of electronic spirit voices, which led to the publishing of his 1971 book Breakthrough. Collaborating with Friedrich Jürgenson, he recorded around 100,000 audio tapes of alleged spirit vocalizations.  Sarah Estep was another leading forerunner into the EVP phenomenon. Having founded the American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena (AA-EVP), Estep maintained that she has captured hundreds of EVP messages from deceased friends, relatives and other individuals.

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, in her article, “The Other Side is Just a Phone Call Away,” Luxemborg’s Maggy Harsch-Fischbach and Jules Fischbach started to experiment with tape in the 1980s.  Ethereal energies belonging to the Rainbow People, known as “The Seven,” contacted these experimenters with an intrigue in enabling interdimensional communication. “The Seven” operate in Time Stream, a group of nonhuman entities and the human deceased desiring to work with mortality’s living to create a bridge across realities.  They relayed that the success of communication is dependent on the living’s consciousness and purity of intent.  The Luxemborg couple created the Cercle d’E-tudes sure la Transcommunication (CETL) in 1985.  They collaborated with Mark Macy to bring forth the International Network for Instrumental Transcommunication (INIT) in 1995, which became inactive in 2001.  Macy founded worlditc.org in 2001. Both EVP and ITC have been studied with forensics software by IL Laboratorio in Italy.  Lab Director, Paolo Presi, relays that forensics voice examinations validate that the sounds produced by EVP voices are sometimes impossible to reproduce by human vocal cords. 

As mentioned, an electronic voice phenomenon is a vocalization or sound that is not heard in real-time by the human ear.  This also applies to an electronic noise phenomenon or ENP, where certain sounds are captured on a recording device but not heard audibly at the time of recording.  A type of electronic spirit communication also captured on a recording device, an audible voice phenomenon (AVP) and an audible noise phenomenon (ANP) are voices or sounds that are heard in real-time by the naked ear.

Audio Classifications

Class A: the “holy grail” of authentic spirit vocalizations. When this occurs, the majority will comprehend the vocalizations without question and without the need for an external speaker or headphones.

Class B: Just under the quality of the Class A variety, those that fall under this category may need an external speaker and/or the use of headphones. Furthermore, there may be differing opinions as to what’s being said via the electronic device.

Class C: Perhaps, the most common type of electronic voice phenomena, these types need external speakers and/or headphones. The majority will be undecipherable as they are merely whispers and inaudible vocalizations.

Class R: This type is quite intriguing. Class R varieties occur when you reverse the audio segment that contains the anomalous vocalization. When in reversed mode, a researcher can comprehend a vocalization that isn’t understood in regular playback mode.  The San Diego Paranormal Research Society has captured a few of these varieties.

Instrumental Trans Communication

Coined by Ernst Senkowski in the 1970s, Instrumental Trans Communication (ITC) mainly refers to communication via any electronic medium, including televisions, tape recorders, fax machines, computers, etc. Those who employ the ITC methodology, also examine, via the Droste effect, a television and video camera feedback loop. This effect, known in art as “Mise en abyme,” produces a smaller version of an image within itself in a recursive manner. While such devices can lend to much subjectivity, it is important that the researcher maintains a critical and objective ear when listening to all recordings.

“The Spiricom” was perhaps, the first Instrumental Trans Communication (ITC) device invented by William O’Neill in 1980. He was able to hold two-way communication sessions with the spirit world through the apparatus. O’Neill asserted that the gadget was constructed to exact specifications that he intuitively received from deceased scientist, George Mueller. Created in 2002 by EVP specialist, Frank Sumption, the “Frank’s Box” or “Ghost Box,” aimed at allowing real-time communication with the afterlife. As with O’Neill, Sumption also claimed to obtain design instructions directly from the spirit world. The “Frank’s Box,” combines a white noise generator and AM radio receiver specialized to sweep back and forth through the AM band, which selects nanosecond extracts of sound. Modernized versions of the “Ghost Box” also include AM and FM radio bands. In addition to its subjectivity, many researchers consider these ITC devices to be electronic Ouija Boards.

EVP and ITC experimentation can be a fun and exciting way to interact with the dearly departed. With both methodologies, however, there is a high probability for both pareidolia (interpreting random sounds or pictures) or apophenia (perceiving certain patterns in arbitrary information). Thus, it takes some restraint and cognizance on the part of the researcher. Other potential problems to pay attention to include artifacts, which are caused when a researcher edits the audio in post-production. During this time, a portion of the audio may be edited to help ascertain what’s being said. Examples of this include re-sampling, frequency isolation, noise reduction or noise enhancement, sound boosting, stretching the audio, and so on. While these methods may prove beneficial in some cases, they can distort portions of the audio, causing them to sound entirely different from the raw recording. Furthermore, it’s important to pay attention to the possibility of capture errors or abnormalities generated from the process used to acquire audio signals.

Intriguingly, meteors can cause foreign vocalizations to be carried through radio waves. All radio transmissions above 30 MHz can cause the radio signal to be reflected by a meteor. When traveling through the upper atmosphere, these asteroids generate a trail of ionized electrons and particles. They replicate radio wave diffusion, which raises the possibility that an extraneous voice may interfere with radio receivers. These specific waves can last 0.05 seconds all the way up to one second.

Utilizing magnetic tape recorders (analog tape recorders) is the preferred method for recording spirit communication audio, according to many paranormal researchers. It is theorized that incorporeal energies can somehow emulsify their energy onto the magnetic tape, as they are thought to contain some form of magnetic energy. If you use this type of recorder, keep in mind that it’s possible to re-record over an existing recording, thus creating false positives in the new file. Even if you erase a prior recording, thus freeing up the tape, it’s entirely probable that fragments of the previous one remain on the new file. Again, this can create false positives in the brand, new recording. In my opinion, this is why I recommend using a brand new, blank tape recorder for each communication session.

As with any other chosen methodology, it’s vital to be respectful and reverent to the energies and the location(s) they inhabit. Following “The Golden Rule” at all times will pave the way for a unified rapport between those of flesh and those of spirit. Since some celestial beings may not know they are passed on, we always shy away from questions regarding their death. As we are here to lend a helping hand should it be needed, we let the spirits know that we are here for them and to let us know if they need any help.

Protocol for Audio Spirit Communication Sessions

There should be protocol applied to any experimental methodology utilized on a paranormal case study.  The San Diego Paranormal Research Society uses a specific practice when conducting audio research.  We have had great EVP and ITC results by starting out with a statement of intent as opposed to just hitting “record” and commencing questions.  Although you may reach other types of energies during your session, such as extraterrestrials or ultraterrestrials, many of the entities you connect with are human earthbounds or spirits.  In life, do you just walk up to a stranger and start asking them questions without a proper introduction?  Before commencing a more intricate discussion with someone you don’t know, you will want to introduce yourself and set the tone for a comfortable interchange. 

This same principle is applied to communication with the ethereal realm as it helps to set the overall tone of the session. This is the time to let the energies know of your good intentions and what you hope to accomplish. At the start, make sure to state the location you’re in, the area within that location as well as the date and time of recording. Have each investigator state his or her name into the recording because it helps with voice recognition, if needed.  Have one or maybe two investigators conduct the EVP session; more doing so may confuse the energies. The following opening statement is an example of what we say before any EVP and ITC session. While it doesn’t have to be verbatim, it can go something like this:

It’s Nicole and Ali here and we are going to attempt a spirit communication session. We are in the majordomo room of the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe. It’s March 21, 2020 at 9:35 p.m. We call upon our guides and the universe as a liaison to help reach the energies. We want to let you all know that we come with respect; we come as friends. We would love to talk with you and learn a little bit about you and the amazing history of this beautiful place. With that said, please know that sometimes it’s hard for us to hear you with our ears but we will do our best. So, if you are speaking to us and we’re not responding, please know that we are not ignoring you. We have various electronic gadgets that can capture your voices and sounds. We promise to review those in the event we can’t hear you. We look forward to communicating with you. 

Prior to implementing the audio communication session, it’s vital to understand the specific audio equipment you’re using. Although it can be boring, it’s imperative to read through the user manual for all the gadgets you decide to use. Since vocalizations can be captured on certain recording devices and not on others, it’s recommended to incorporate at least two to three recording apparatuses. You can sync each recorder so the start times are the same. Depending on the size of the recording space and/or the microphone type and strength, you may decide to implement an external omnidirectional microphone or experiment with binaural ones, such as the 3dio models. Binaural varieties allow the listener to naturally feel as though he or she is in the space that’s being recorded.

If you have a DVR system set up for Infrared day or night surveillance, it may be beneficial to place a recorder in the spot each DVR IR camera is viewing, especially if it lacks audio recording capabilities. Or, you can position one audio recorder in the center of the room and one in each corner of the room. When reviewing the results, it will be easier to ascertain what part of the location spirit vocalizations occur.

It’s important that the audio session mimic that of a conversation rather than an interrogative interview. Remember to go with the flow. You can have a preset list of questions to ask but know that they may not go in the order that you have them written down. Be creative. Have a variety of yes/no and open-ended questions as well as comparative ones that cater to a location’s history and story.  If you are using some audio recorders for “passive” recording, make sure that they are placed in a controlled environment to rule/out the chance for interference and false-positive captures.

As for Instrumental Trans Communication, there are various “ghost boxes” on the market. I do want to emphasize once again that this methodology is extremely subjective. The same goes for electronic voice phenomena sessions. There is a great chance for pareidolia or matrixing the audio into words and/or phrases that aren’t really there. It’s therefore why my team chooses to use these gadgets sparingly and in conjunction with other methods.

There are ITC research tools on the market that eliminate the static, such as the PhasmaBox.  With these, the words that come through are easier to understand.  When reviewing ITC audio via software such as Adobe AuditionPro Tools or Audacity, we look for responses that are clear, profound and relevant. You have the potential for ruling out a stray radio station fragment if a word or phrase is captured that is readily heard and deciphered by everyone who listens while at the same time seems to be historically accurate or correlates to the questions being asked.

When using spirit boxes, such as the PSB-7 and PSB-11 varieties as well as others, we pay attention to these crucial aspects:

1. Does everyone agree to the words and/or phrases that emanate through the device?

2. Do the responses coming through the device correlate to the location’s history and/or the questions being asked?

3. Do certain male and female vocalizations consistently come through, even on separate days? When this happens, it’s beneficial to forensically analyze the audio to see if there’s a match.

Experimental Methods for EVP

The San Diego Method

I am not sure if this particular method has been utilized by researchers across the globe.  It’s similar to a standard EVP session, but the main difference is evident with the investigator relying on telepathic questioning as opposed to verbal questioning to the spiritual world.  This method takes patience and meticulous note-taking.  Any potential telepathic response (one the questioner intuitively senses) is written down. The San Diego Paranormal Research Society has experimented with this approach and has had some fascinating results. It’s beneficial to have a prepared list of questions you plan to ask along with what times (including recorder times) you ask each question.  If other questions arise during the course of the session, make sure to write them down along with the specific time asked as well.  Allow about five to ten seconds in between each question. 

How to Use This Method:

You will need two researchers, one recording device and a set of headphones.

  1. The questioner (Investigator A) is not plugged into the recording device; thus, he or she is only hearing the questions he or she is asking in addition to any audible vocalizations heard (those not considered EVP).  The second investigator (Investigator B), using a set of headphones, is plugged into the recording device so he or she is  listening to the session as its recording (hears questions and any potential EVP, but not any audible spirit voices). 
  2. Investigator B will write down any potential EVPs he or she hears but not share them until after Investigator A has disclosed whether he or she has heard any responses audibly or picked up any responses telepathically.  Basically, this allows for any potential telepathic responses to be compared with any EVPs Investigator B hears when listening to the recording. 
  3. Also, since Investigator B is plugged into the recording, he or she can’t hear any audible spirit vocalizations Investigator A hears.  So, this allows Investigator A to compare any audible voices heard to be potentially compared with EVPs to see if there’s a match.  Let’s say the word “yes” is heard audibly by Investigator A and captured as an EVP as well, one that is only heard upon playback of the recording? That showcases a connection between an audible voice and an EVP.

To aid the energies in communicating, you can experiment with certain crystal amplifiers, such as quartz and/or limestone by placing them on the recording device and/or by holding them in your hand.  White noise generators can be used as well to help the transmission of communication between human and spirit. 

While discussing the unique benefit of employing crystal amplifiers in paranormal research, let’s mention Alan and Diane Bennett, psychic mediums who participated in the Scole group mediumship experimentation many years ago.  After photographing natural crystals at high magnification, faces and/or images showed up in the crystal’s matrix pattern.  Apparently, this idea was brought on by a dream where an ethereal energy showed Alan a crystal.

Double Recording Method

This style of conducting EVP sessions has been implemented at various locations, including the RMS Queen Mary.  As with the San Diego method, it takes patience and diligence.  You will need two audio recorders (recorder A and recorder B), a set of headphones and a notepad.  In a sense, this particular experiment is electronic-to-electronic communication.

Record a standard EVP session on recorder A with various questions for about five to ten minutes.  After the session, immediately review it to see if any EVP or AVPs were captured and notate the time and recorder time of when they were captured.  You need to do this so as not to confuse any that are captured during the experimentation that comes later on.

Next, bring that same recorder into the exact location where you want to apply this unique experimentation.  When you are ready to start, introduce the new session as you normally would, but instead of “you” asking the questions, you will push “play” on recorder A while simultaneously recording on recorder B.  So, the questions are now being asked via recorder A. Recorder B will “record” the previous session from recorder A (with questions and previous EVPs and/or AVPs).  Once complete, you listen to recorder B for any “new” EVPs and/or AVPs.

A unique capture using this method was obtained in the former first and third-class pool aboard the Queen Mary.  In the pool area, recorder B actually picked up an EVP of a woman saying “No” to the question, “Do you like my singing?” that was asked on recorder A in my stateroom. The “No” was not captured during the initial questioning in my stateroom.  When I was in the pool area, I pushed “play” on recorder A and recorder B picked up an extra EVP of “No” to the above question.

The Estes Method

You will need at least two people, one set of headphones, a blindfold and one device that creates white noise.  The receiver puts on the blindfold and the headphones and listens to the white noise scan for various words and phrases. The receiver cannot hear the operator asking questions.  The receiver blurts out any words or phrases heard through the white noise scanner.  Like the above methods, the Estes Method allows for unbiased answers and experimentation.

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