Monday, 27 November 2017

A CURIOUS GLANCE AT ELECTRONIC VOICE PHENOMENA (E.V.P.) - PART II - RAUDIVE TO NOW (1960'S ONWARD)





In the first part, we looked at some of the main historical events of Electronic Voice Phenomena, finishing off with the advances made by the 'Grandfather of E.V.P. - Friedrich Jurgenson in the late 1950's, until his death in 1987.

One of the positive elements of becoming famously associated with a strong belief is that you will undoubtedly draw people towards you who share similar views.
One of the negative elements of becoming famously linked to a powerful belief is that you will assuredly attract people to you who despise your position and everything it stands for.
Which leads us nicely into Konstantin Raudive.

Raudive (1906-1974) was a Latvian psychologist who read Jurgenson's 1964 book on his E.V.P. experiments, called 'Voices from Space'.
Two different stories are claimed from this - firstly that Raudive was so fascinated by the claims of Jurgenson that he immediately went to see him and asked if they might work together and collaborate on mutual research.
Konstantin Raudive, with several pieces of his recording equipment.

A second story claims that Raudive was so incensed by the 'ridiculous claims' of Jurgenson that he hopped on to an aircraft, flew out to see the author, told him to his face how ridiculous these claims were and implored him to stop making them...to which Jurgenson said something along the lines of:  'Here's the blueprints for the machines I use...go make one and find out for yourself instead of bothering me with ignorant and unfounded judgements'.
Whether the Latvian psychologist was initially drawn towards Jurgenson because of belief or indignation, the upshot was that Konstantin Raudive - thankfully being an open-minded sceptic - built a recording device and began experimenting with the claims that Friedrich Jurgenson had made within his writing.

The upshot of this was that Raudive collected tens of thousands of voices during his experiments, including 72,000 over a 3 year period.  Whilst the quality of the independent voices on these recordings (and their source) have been questioned by some, Raudive's work passed an interesting examination in 1971.  
His book, 'Breakthrough' which examined 25,000 of his recorded voices had been translated into English and published.  Subsequently, 'Pye Records' - quite a large musical recording concern at that time - invited Raudive to their London studio.  While not being allowed to touch anything technical, Raudive was instructed to stand still within a soundproofed room, with only a  microphone close by.  After doing this for a total of 18 minutes, Raudive left the studio.  Despite hearing nothing for this time span, when the studio engineers examined the tape, they found over 200 independent voices on it.


Raudive's book, 'Breakthrough' in 1971,
came with a recording of  EVPs.
The impressive breadth of Raudive's experimental work into EVPs has given him the honorary title of 'The Father of EVP'.

During 1972, recording specialists, 'Belling and lee Ltd.', based at Enfield in the UK, were involved in various experiments with Raudive.  At that time, Peter Hale, the physicist & electronics engineer, was considered to be a top expert in the field of electronic suppression and the quality of the equipment used in experiments was excellent.  Prior to beginning any tests, Peter Hale was highly sceptical of Raudive's claims, believing them to be merely the result of random, stray radio signals -  a claim still upheld by many cynics today.  After stringent testing by Hale and his team, the electronics engineer admitted 'I cannot explain what happened in normal physical terms'.


Claims from 'beyond the grave'.
Amongst some spectacular claims made after the deaths of Jurgenson and Raudive, one holds particular interest.  
In 1992, a French TV crew were interviewing German author and researcher, Professor Ernst Senkowski.  An attempt to record subsequent EVPs was not successful, but just as the TV crew were about to leave, the telephone rang.  A voice on the other end of the line claimed to be the late Friedrich Jurgenson.  Speaking firstly in French, the voice thanked the TV crew for their attendance.  While a simple act of courtesy, this detail struck everyone as odd, as the presence of the crew was known to no-one outside of the room. Also, the date of the TV crew's arrival had been changed very shortly before.
Switching to German, the voice claiming to be Jurgenson, stated that further 'evidence' would be appearing soon, via two other researchers, Adolf Homes and Maggy Harsch-Fischbach.  
The following day, Senowski contacted a surprised Harsch-Fischbach, who informed him that she had just received a phone call from someone claiming to be the late Konstantin Raudive.  The voice stated that 'they' were intending to send a photograph, or image, via the television set of Adolf Homes.   
A few weeks later, the daughter of Adolf Homes received a telephone call from a voice claiming to be Raudive (call recorded), saying that an image would be sent tomorrow and that preparations should be put in place.  Consequently, Homes set up a video camera in front of his television and put the TV onto a blank channel.  This style of recording images had been pioneered a few years earlier by a German experimenter, Claus Schreiber (more of Claus's fascinating experiments to come in a planned future article on ITC).
When a message appeared on the computer of Maggy Harsch-Fischbach, Homes began recording in front of his TV set.   The result was an apparent image of Jurgenson. 
Friedrich Jurgenson.



The alleged capture of Friedrich Jurgenson's image after his death.
Over time, further images of a similar nature would appear, showing both alleged pictures of Konstantin Raudive and Claus Schreiber.  

Another important name in modern EVP research is retired Scottish, NASA engineer, Alexander MacRae who collected his research into a book called 'EVP and New Dimensions' (2004).  Basically, to summarise events, MacRae read a copy of Raudive's book.  Being about as logistical and sceptical as they come, MacRae decided to examine/debunk Raudive's claims.  Naturally, if you are a former NASA engineer, you probably won't need to buy any equipment that you can't build yourself, to your own specifications.  MacRae did exactly this, surprisingly finding many voices on his recording device, when he nipped out to make a coffee and left the machine running.  One of the voices was that of his late father.
Having received some interesting evidence, MacRae then set about doing two things.  Firstly, the task was set to improve and experiment with this form of EVP and collect further data.  Secondly, he sought to convince the scientific community that there was something to all of this EVP malarkey and that the subject required some serious research and scientific experimentation.  
In the first instance, he succeeded.  Experiments were done all across the world over years of testing.  MacRae found enough data to suggest that the voices were not merely echoes from radio stations, or stray radio waves from some unknown (and unspecified) source.
In the second case, sadly his attempts to recruit believers from the science community fell firmly upon deaf ears.  
'EVP and New Dimensions, Alexander MacRae, 2004.
The more evidence he provided, the more evidence was demanded.  Ultimately, after many years of following 'advice' from his peers and engaging in a final experiment to receive an EVP from the most secure location, where there would be absolutely no doubts that this was perhaps something beyond our current understanding of physics, MacRae 'saw the light' and stopped trying to convince cynical minds, who clearly didn't believe in a single word he was saying.


Contemporary EVP
The use of EVP equipment has become standard issue for many paranormal groups today.  The rise in technology over the past decades has meant that equipment can now be detailed and cheaper in price than in former years. 
From personal experiences, I tend to favour a balance of retro, analogue machinery, alongside more modern digital equipment.  The ease now with which audio recordings can be made and edited via computer software, has led to both positive and negative feedback.  Positively, things are a lot more simpler with a far wider choice of equipment to choose from, including budgetary requirements with some digital recorders costing around £20.
Negatively, this rise within digital sources has also given rise to criticism from sceptics and cynics - similar to the impact that Photoshop has upon alleged paranormal photographs - that basically anything digital can ultimately never be classed as evidential, due to the relative ease with which audio files can be altered, or manipulated.
Therefore, as with most aspects of the paranormal, all data suggesting evidence of paranormal/metaphysical activity appears to be most important only at a highly personal level, rather than attracting the wider, global attentions of the scientific community.   






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