No one can deny that computers and electronics have revolutionized life on this planet. There are electronic controls and computer chips in everything from the small appliances that toast our bread to the cars we drive, and make possible myriad forms of new entertainment, from DVDs to video games and iPods. We’re just at the beginning of this remarkable revolution.
And now many serious and casual researchers are claiming that some of this gadgetry can be useful in a quite unexpected way: to contact the dead… or at least allow the dead to contact us.
Obviously, these claims are highly controversial. They make many assumptions: that there is life after death, that the dead are interested in contacting us, and that they have the means by which to do so. Assuming all that, many people experimenting with electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC) say they have received messages from “the other side” through tape recorders, VCRs, televisions, telephones and even computers. It seems we may no longer exclusively need Ouija boards, psychics and mediums to contact dear deceased Uncle Harold… just turn on the TV instead. Yes, even spiritulism has entered the electronic age.
These phenomena have manifest themselves since the appearance of the instruments themselves. EVP (electronic voice phenomena), for example, has been reported for well over 30 years: unexplained voices heard faintly on magnetic recording tape. It’s said that even Thomas Edison experimented with devices for spirit communication. Investigators around the world are trying to get to the bottom of EVP and ITC, endeavoring to explain, in one way or another, how these voices are encoded on audio tape, how unexplained images appear on video tape and TV screens, where phantom phone calls come from and how computers can relay messages from “the beyond.”
Here are some interesting cases of EVP and ITC, about which you can read more at the links provided:
Two of the pioneers of EVP were Konstantin Raudive, a Swedish psychology professor, and Fredrich Juergenson, a Swedish filmmaker. In the late 1950s, Raudive began to hear words recorded on blank audio tape and eventually made more than 100,000 recordings. (A CD of some of this recordings is even available.) Around the same time, Juergenson first captured unexplained voices while taping bird songs outdoors. He continued his research for over 25 years.
Is ITC phenomenon genuine? relates how Belling and Lee, a British laboratory, conducted some experiments in EVP, suspecting that the “spirit voices” were actually caused by ham radio broadcasts bouncing off the ionosphere. The tests were conducted by one of the leading sound engineers in Britain, and when phantom voices were recorded on factory-fresh tape, he was baffled. “I cannot explain what happened in normal physical terms,” he is quoted as saying.
Another interesting case is that of two Italian Catholic priests who in 1952 were trying to record a Gregorian chant, but a wire in their equipment kept breaking. Out of desperation, one of the priests asked his dead father for help. Then, to his amazement, his father’s voice was heard on the tape saying, “Of course I shall help you. I’m always with you.” The priests brought the matter to the attention of Pope Pius XII, who reportedly accepted the genuineness of the phenomenon.
Today, many individuals and groups are experimenting with and gathering EVPs. Dave Oester and Sharon Gill of the International Ghost Hunters Society travel the US collecting EVPs from various haunted sites, and they post many of their recordings on their site.
In 1990, two research teams (one in the U.S. and one in Germany) claimed to have independently developed devices that allowed them to talk to the dead. Using a modified form of ham radio that receives 13 different frequencies at once, the researchers claimed to have held conversations with several people who have passed on to another plane of existence. Dr. Ernst Senkowski, in Germany, said that he contacted a Hamburg dockmaster who died in 1965. “We verified this information,” Senkowski said. “He told us he was well and happy.”
In the U.S., George Meek, director of the MetaScience Foundation in Franklin, N.C., said that more than 25 times he has talked to Dr. George J. Mueller, an electrical engineer who died in 1967 of a heart attack. “Dr. Mueller told us where to find his birth and death certificate records” and other details, Meek said. Supposedly, it all checked out.
In 1985, according to Instrumental Contact with the Dead?, German psychic Klaus Schreiber started receiving pictures of deceased family members on his television. Sometimes just voices would come across, telling Schreiber how to tune his TV for better reception. When Schreiber died soon after, his own image began to show up on the TV screens of some European ITC researchers.
Some researchers have claimed success in capturing ghost images with an instrumental transcommunication (ITC) set-up. With this technique, a video camcorder, connected to a television, is pointed at the television screen. In other words, the camera is recording the image it is simultaneously sending to the TV, creating an endless feedback loop. The frames of the video are then examined one by one, and sometimes ver distinct human faces can be seen. You’ll find examples here:
In January 1996, ITC researcher Adolf Homes received a series of paranormal phone calls, according to Is ITC phenomenon genuine? Reportedly, a female voice said, “This is mother. Mother is going to contact you several times on your phone. As you know, my thoughts are sent in different speech patterns. The vibrational ties with your equipment make our contacts possible…”
Of course, there are also many documented cases of phantom phone calls, or phone calls from the dead. You can read several chilling examples in my article on the subject.
The seeming ability of entities to make contact through a computer were first noticed in Germany in 1980, according to Electronic Links to Other Dimensions & Entities. A researcher received a spontaneous message that appeared first as a series of letters, then words and finally phrases that referred clearly to a deceased friend of the investigator. Four years later, an English professor claimed to have exchanged messages (supposedly this was not e-mail) for over 15 months with a group of advanced entities living in the year 2019 as well as a man from 1546.
In 1984-85, says Instrumental Contact with the Dead?, Kenneth Webster of England said he received 250 communications via several different computers from a person who lived in the 16th century.
Can we believe such stories? Some are so far out that they should be taken with a megadose of salt. And the field of spiritualism and contact with the dead has always been so rampant with charlatans and fraud that there’s no reason to think that that tradition is not being continued with the assistance of electronic devices. But it’s always best to keep a cautiously open mind and welcome legitimate research into this dark, nebulous region of the paranormal.