National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 76


Voice Recordings - Past and Present

Electronic Voice Recording

Analog sound recording of “spirits” started in the 1940’s. Paranormal sound recording, now known as EVP – Electronic Voice Recording is thought to have started with an American photographer named Attila von Szalay. He was among the first to try recording what he believed to be voices of the dead as a way to augment his investigations in photographing ghosts. He began his attempts in 1941 using a 78 rpm record, but it wasn't until 1959, after switching to a reel-to-reel tape recorder, that he believed he was successful. Working with Raymond Bayless, he conducted a number of recording sessions with a custom-made apparatus, consisting of a microphone in an insulated cabinet connected to an external recording device and speaker. Szalay reported finding many sounds on the tape that could not be heard on the speaker at the time of recording, some of which were recorded when there was no one in the cabinet. He believed these sounds to be the voices of discarnate spirits. Among the first

therefore must come from beyond the natural realm. He published his first book, Breakthrough: "An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication with the Dead" in 1968 but it wasn’t until 1971 that it was translated into English.

It could be said that Thomas Edison hinted at our first attempt at EVP. In 1920 in an interview with B.C. Forbes of the then American Magazine he said he was to create a so called “Spirit Phone”. This was later debunked in a 1926 New York Times interview, where he admitted he was just telling a story. Thus started our fascination with the recorded voice of spirit.

Analog recording was originally the primary method of collecting EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon. A tape recorder and a supply of

recordings believed to be spirit voices were such messages as "This is G!", "Hot dog, Art!", and "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all."

Late in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, Konstantin Raudive, a Latvian psychologist who had taught at the Uppsala University in Sweden, made over 100,000 recordings which he described as being communications with discarnate (having no physical body or form) people. Some of these recordings were conducted in an RF-screened laboratory and contained words Raudive said were identifiable. When he attempted to confirm the content of his collection of recordings, he invited listeners to hear and interpret them. As he listened to the voices, he concluded that they could not be man-made, and